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Title: Memoirs of the Generals, Commodores and other Commanders, who distinguished themselves in the American army and navy during the wars of the Revolution and 1812, and who were presented with medals by Congress for their gallant services
Author: Wyatt, Thomas
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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[Illustration: Plate 1.


    Oh spirits of the mighty dead!
    The pen that writes your deathless story


    Should be a sunbeam winged and shed
    O’er every page its golden glory

_W. L. Ormsby, sc._]

                                OF THE
                         GENERALS, COMMODORES,
                         AND OTHER COMMANDERS,

                        AMERICAN ARMY AND NAVY
                              DURING THE
                   WARS OF THE REVOLUTION AND 1812,


                      FOR THEIR GALLANT SERVICES.

                        BY THOMAS WYATT, A.M.,

                       FROM THE ORIGINAL MEDALS.

                      PUBLISHED BY CAREY AND HART

      Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1847, by

                            CAREY AND HART,

           In the office of the Clerk of the District Court
               for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

                   T. K. & P. G. COLLINS, PRINTERS,
                          No. 1, Lodge Alley.


Americans, proud of the achievements of their countrymen, who in the
field of honor have fought with superior valor for the independence
or glory of their native land, will look with complacency on the
decisive _stamp of nationality_ which a work of this kind necessarily
possesses; while it is equally true, that the world will find, in
the circumstances of the age, or period of the gallant deeds when
LIBERTY was so nobly asserted, and when the invincibility of the proud
“mistress of the seas” was so successfully contested, a bright page of
history on which our national pride may justly dwell.

Here, as in “Old Rome,” where the public honors are open to the virtue
of every citizen, the lives of those heroes who have been distinguished
by their country’s highest rewards, will develop virtuous deeds,
heroic exertions and patriotic efforts, when all now commemorated
shall be no more. Nor is it difficult to predict, that a like high
pre-eminence of virtue and of public services will long perpetuate
the glorious annals of America. It has appeared to us that there has
been no publication in which the illustrious commanders of our two
wars, who have been signalized by the presentation of gold medals,
&c., have been singled out, and their lives illustrated in connection
with graphic delineations of the beautiful and glorious emblems of
their country’s gratitude. This work is now offered to the public as a
text-book of men who have sealed their patriotic devotion with wounds
and scars, as well as of historical incidents sacred to patriotism. Our
plan admits of none of the embellishments of romance; on the contrary
it confines itself to the simple facts as they really were, giving
to each commander that share of bravery and virtue which his country
has thought proper to signalize by the medals, &c., awarded him. The
biographical scope we take admits only of the relation of the principal
events of their lives, more particularly in the department in which
they rose to fame, and we have endeavored to do our part with all the
accuracy that conciseness will allow; leaving to others to give more
finished and full-sized portraits, which, in judicious hands, may be
the more entertaining and instructive, as they are more in detail.

We trust, however, though aware it may not be possible to avoid some
error, or to satisfy every expectation, that from the efforts we have
made, and the scrupulous impartiality we have endeavored to observe, as
well as on account of the authentic materials which have been kindly
furnished us, we shall be found to have been successful in our attempt
to aid in the perpetuation of the fame of men so well entitled to
lasting celebrity, and to the gratitude of posterity.

We acknowledge our indebtedness to former historians and biographers;
but, in a greater degree, we have to thank those officers now living
who have so kindly supplied us with facts drawn from their own private
papers, &c. We have also to return our most grateful acknowledgments
to the representatives of the illustrious dead who have so cheerfully
contributed to our materials.

In conclusion, it is hoped that they, and the public, will dwell with
pleasure and satisfaction on these pages.



                                  PAGE  FIGURE; PLATE
    GEN. GEORGE WASHINGTON,          9       1;  1
    GEN. ANTHONY WAYNE,             17       4;  2
    MAJ. JOHN STEWART,              40       3;  2
    LIEUT. COLONEL DE FLEURY,       42       5;  2
    MAJ. ANDRE, CAPTURE OF,         48      10;  4
    GEN. NATHANIEL GREENE,          52       6;  3
    GEN. HORATIO GATES,             59       8;  3
    GEN. DANIEL MORGAN,             63       7;  3
    COL. EAGER HOWARD,              70       9;  4
    COL. WILLIAM A. WASHINGTON,     79       2;  1
    MAJ. HENRY LEE,                 84      11;  4
    GEN. WINFIELD SCOTT,            89      12;  5
    GEN. EDMUND P. GAINES,         101      14;  5
    GEN. JAMES MILLER,             113      13;  5
    MAJ.-GENERAL JACOB BROWN,      129      16;  6
    MAJ.-GENERAL RIPLEY,           135      17;  6
    GEN. PETER B. PORTER,          147      15;  6
    GEN. ALEXANDER MACOMB,         151      18;  7
    GEN. ANDREW JACKSON,           160      19;  7
    GEN. ISAAC SHELBY,             164      20;  7
    GEN. WM. HENRY HARRISON,       175      21;  8
    LIEUT.-COLONEL CROGHAN,        181      22;  8
    PAUL JONES,                    186      23;  8
    CAPT. THOMAS TRUXTUN,          193      24;  9
    COM. EDWARD PREBLE,            202      25;  9
    CAPT. ISAAC HULL,              206      26;  9
    CAPT. JACOB JONES,             214      27; 10
    CAPT. STEPHEN DECATUR,         222      28; 10
    COM. BAINBRIDGE,               229      29; 10
    OLIVER HAZARD PERRY,           236      30; 11
    COM. ELLIOTT,                  241      31; 11
    LIEUT. WILLIAM BURROWS,        249      32; 11
    LIEUT. EDWARD R. McCALL,       257      33; 12
    CAPT. JAMES LAWRENCE,          261      34; 12
    CAPT. THOMAS MACDONOUGH,       270      35; 12
    CAPT. ROBERT HENLEY,           278      36; 13
    CAPT. STEPHEN CASSIN,          281      37; 13
    COM. WARRINGTON,               285      38; 13
    CAPT. JOHNSTON BLAKELEY,       289      39; 14
    CAPT. CHARLES STEWART,         297      40; 14
    CAPT. JAMES BIDDLE,            307      41; 14


Among those patriots who have a claim to our veneration, George
Washington claims a conspicuous place in the first rank. The ancestors
of this extraordinary man were among the first settlers in America;
they had emigrated from England, and settled in Westmoreland county,
Virginia. George Washington, the subject of these memoirs, was born on
the 22d February, 1732.

At the time our hero was born, all the planters throughout this county
were his relations--hence his youthful years glided away in all the
pleasing gayety of social friendship. In the tenth year of his age he
lost an excellent father, who died in 1742, and the patrimonial estate
devolved to an elder brother. This young gentleman had been an officer
in the colonial troops, sent in the expedition against Carthagena.
On his return, he called the family mansion Mount Vernon, in honor
of the British admiral with whom he sailed. George Washington, when
only fifteen years of age, ardent to serve his country, then at war
with France and Spain, solicited the post of midshipman in the British
navy, but the interference of a fond mother suspended, and for ever
diverted him from the navy. His devoted parent lived to see him acquire
higher honors than he ever could have obtained as a naval officer; but
elevated to the first offices, both civil and military, in the gift
of his country. She, from long established habits, would often regret
the side her son had taken in the controversy between her king and her
country. The first proof that he gave of his propensity to arms, was
in the year 1751, when the office of adjutant-general of the Virginia
militia became vacant by the death of his brother, and Mount Vernon,
with other estates, came into his possession. Washington, in his
twentieth year, was made major of one of the militia corps of Virginia.
The population made it expedient to form three divisions. When he was
but just twenty-one, he was employed by the government of his native
colony, in an enterprise which required the prudence of age as well as
the vigor of youth. In the year 1753, the encroachments of the French
upon the western boundaries of the British colonies, excited such
general alarm in Virginia, that Governor Dinwiddie deputed Washington
to ascertain the truth of these rumors; he also was empowered to enter
into a treaty with the Indians, and remonstrate with the French upon
their proceedings.

On his arrival at the back settlements, he found the colonists in a
very unhappy situation, from the depredations of the Indians, who were
incessantly instigated by the French to the commission of continual
aggressions. He found that the French had actually established posts
within the boundaries of Virginia. Washington strongly remonstrated
against such acts of hostility, and in the name of his executive,
warned the French to desist from those incursions. On his return, his
report to the governor was published, and evinced that he had performed
this honorable mission with great prudence.

It was in consequence of the French calling themselves the first
European discoverers of the river Mississippi, that made them claim
all that immense region, whose waters run into that river. They were
proceeding to erect a chain of posts from Canada to the Ohio river,
thereby connecting Canada with Louisiana, and limiting the English
colonies to the east of the Alleghany mountains. The French were too
intent on their favorite project of extending their domain in America,
to be diverted from it by the remonstrances of a colonial governor.

This induced the Assembly of Virginia to raise a regiment of three
hundred men to defend their frontiers and maintain the right claimed by
their king.

Of this regiment, Professor Fry, of William and Mary College, was
appointed colonel, and George Washington lieutenant-colonel. Fry died
soon after the regiment was embodied, and was succeeded by our hero,
who paid unremitting attention to the discipline of his new corps. The
latter advanced with his regiment as far as Great Meadows, where he
received intelligence, by the return of his scouts whom he had sent on
to reconnoiter, that the enemy had built a fort, and stationed a large
garrison at Duquesne, now Pittsburgh. Having now arrived within fifty
miles of the French post, Washington held a council of war with the
other officers, but while they were deliberating, a detachment of the
French came in sight and obliged them to retreat to a savanna called
the Green Meadows. On an eminence in the savanna they began to erect a
small fortification, which he named Fort Necessity.

On this redoubt they raised two field-pieces. On the following
day they were joined by Captain McKay, with a company of regulars,
amounting now to about four hundred men. Scarcely had they finished
their entrenchments when an advanced guard of the French appeared in
sight, at which the Americans sallied forth, attacked and defeated
them; but the main body of the enemy, amounting to fifteen hundred men,
compelled them to retire to their fort.

The camp was now closely invested, and the Americans suffered severely
from the grape shot of the enemy, and the Indian rifles. Washington,
however, defended the works with such skill and bravery, that the
besiegers were unable to force the entrenchments. After a conflict of
ten hours, in which one hundred and fifty of the Americans were killed
and wounded, they were obliged to capitulate. They were permitted to
march out with the honors of war, to retain their arms and baggage,
and to march unmolested into the inhabited parts of Virginia. The
legislature of Virginia, impressed with a high sense of the bravery of
our young officer, voted their thanks to him and the officers under
his command, and three hundred pistoles to be distributed among the
soldiers engaged in this action.

Great Britain now began to think seriously of these controversies, and
accordingly dispatched two regiments of veteran soldiers from Ireland,
commanded by General Braddock. These arrived early in 1755, and
their commander, being informed of the talents and bravery of George
Washington, invited him to serve in the campaign as his aid-de-camp.

The invitation was joyfully accepted by Washington, who joined
General Braddock near Alexandria, and proceeded to Fort Cumberland;
here they were detained, waiting for provisions, horses, wagons, &c.,
until the 12th of June. Washington had recommended the use of pack
horses, instead of wagons, for conveying the baggage of the army.
Braddock soon saw the propriety of it and adopted it. The state of the
country, at this period, often obliged them to halt to level the road,
and to build bridges over inconsiderable brooks. They consumed four
days in traveling over the first nineteen miles. On the 9th of July
they reached the Monongahela, within a few miles of Fort Duquesne,
and pressing forward, without any apprehension of danger, a dreadful
conflict ensued; the army was suddenly attacked in an open road, thick
set with grass.

An invisible enemy, consisting of French and Indians, commenced a heavy
and well directed fire on the uncovered troops. The van fell back on
the main body, and the whole was thrown into disorder. Marksmen leveled
their pieces particularly at the officers and others on horseback.

In a short time, Washington was the only aid-de-camp left alive and
not wounded. On him, therefore, devolved the whole duty of carrying
the general’s orders. He was, of course, obliged to be constantly in
motion, traversing the field of battle on horseback in all directions.
He had two horses shot under him, and four bullets passed through his
coat, but he escaped unhurt, though every other officer on horseback
was either killed or wounded. The battle lasted three hours, in the
course of which General Braddock had three horses shot under him, and
finally received a wound, of which he died soon after the action was
over. On the fall of Braddock, his troops gave way in all directions,
and could not be rallied till they had crossed the Monongahela. The
Indians, allured by plunder, did not pursue. The vanquished regulars
soon fell back to Dunbar’s camp, from which, after destroying such of
the stores as they could spare, retired to Philadelphia.

Washington had cautioned the gallant but unfortunate general in vain;
his ardent desire of conquest made him deaf to the voice of prudence;
he saw his error when too late, and bravely perished in his endeavors
to save the division from destruction. Amid the carnage, the presence
of mind and abilities of Washington were conspicuous; he rallied the
troops, and, at the head of a corps of grenadiers, covered the rear of
the division, and secured their retreat over the ford of Monongahela.

Kind Providence preserved him for great and nobler services. Soon
after this transaction, the regulation of rank, which had justly been
considered as a grievance by the colonial officers, was changed in
consequence of a spirited remonstrance of Washington; and the governor
of Virginia rewarded this brave young officer with the command of all
the troops of that colony. The troops under his command were gradually
inured in that most difficult kind of warfare called bush-fighting,
while the activity of the French and ferocity of the Indians were
overcome by his superior valor.

Washington received the most flattering marks of public approbation;
but his best reward was the consciousness of his own integrity.

In the course of this decisive campaign, which restored the
tranquillity and security of the middle colonies, Washington had
suffered many hardships which impaired his health. He was afflicted
with an inveterate pulmonary complaint, and extremely debilitated,
insomuch that, in the year 1759, he resigned his commission and retired
to Mount Vernon. By a due attention to regimen, in the quiet bowers of
Mount Vernon, he gradually recovered from his indisposition.

During the tedious period of his convalescence, the British troops had
been victorious; his country had no more occasion for the exertion of
his military talents. In 1761, he married the young widow of Colonel
Custis, who had left her sole executrix to his extensive possessions,
and guardian to his two children. The union of Washington with this
accomplished lady was productive of their mutual felicity; and as he
incessantly pursued agricultural improvements, his taste embellished
and enriched the fertile fields around Mount Vernon. But the time was
approaching when Washington was to relinquish the happiness of his home
to act a conspicuous part on the great theatre of the world.

For more than ten years had the colonies and their mother country
been at variance from causes of usurpation and tyranny, and the
awful moment was fast approaching when America was to throw off her
fetters and proclaim herself free. In 1775, Washington was elected
commander-in-chief of the whole American army. The American army were,
at the time of this appointment, entrenched on Winter Hill, Prospect
Hill and Roxbury, Massachusetts, communicating with each other by small
posts, over a distance of ten miles; the head-quarters of the American
army was at Cambridge, while the British were entrenched on Bunker’s
Hill, defended by three floating batteries on Mystic river below.

Washington having now arrived at the army, which consisted of fourteen
thousand, he was determined to bring the enemy to an alternative,
either to evacuate Boston, or risk an action. General Howe, the British
commander, preferred the latter, and ordered three thousand men to fall
down the river to the castle, to prepare for the attack, but during
their preparations, they were dispersed by a storm; which so disabled
them for their intended attack, that they at last resolved to evacuate
the town.

Washington, not wishing to embarrass the British troops in their
proposed evacuation, detached part of his army to New York, to
complete the fortifications there; and with the remainder, took
peaceable possession of Boston, amid the hearty congratulations of the
inhabitants, who hailed him as their deliverer.

When the Americans took possession of Boston, they found a multitude
of valuable articles, which were unavoidably left by the British army,
such as artillery, ammunition, many woolens and linens, of which the
American army stood in the most pressing need.

Washington now directed his attention to the fortifications of Boston;
and every effective man in the town volunteered his services to devote
two days in every week till it was completed. By a resolve of Congress
of March 25th, 1776, a vote of thanks was passed to General Washington
and the officers and soldiers under his command, for their wise and
spirited conduct in the siege and acquisition of Boston. Also a gold
medal to General Washington, of which the following is a description:--

OCCASION.--Evacuation of Boston by the British troops.

DEVICE.--The head of General Washington, in profile.

LEGEND.--Georgio Washington, supremo duci exercitum adsertori
libertatis comitia Americana.

REVERSE.--Troops advancing towards a town which is seen at a distance.
Troops marching to the river. Ships in view. General Washington in
front, and mounted, with his staff, whose attention he is directing to
the embarking enemy.

LEGEND.--Hostibus primo Fugatis.

EXERGUE.--Bostonium recuperatum 17 Martii, 1776.


Anthony Wayne, of whose military career America has much to boast,
the son of a respectable farmer in Chester county, Pennsylvania, was
born on the 1st of January, 1745. His propensities and pursuits being
repugnant to the labors of the field, his father resolved to give him
an opportunity of pursuing such studies as his acquirements might
suggest, and accordingly placed him under the tuition of a relative of
erudition and acquirements, who was teacher of a country school. Our
young hero was by no means an attentive student; his mind seemed, like
the young Napoleon, bent on a military life, for instead of preparing
his lessons for recitation during his leisure hours, he employed
himself in ranging his playmates into regiments, besieging castles,
throwing up redoubts, &c. &c.

He was removed from the county school into an academy of repute
in Philadelphia, where he soon became an expert mathematician,
sufficiently so, that on his leaving school he became a land surveyor,
with a very respectable and lucrative business. At the persuasion of
Dr. Franklin, he removed to Nova Scotia, as agent for a company of
settlers about to repair to that province on a scheme of emigration.

As an able negotiator he acquitted himself honorably, and returned to
Pennsylvania, where he married the daughter of Benjamin Penrose, an
eminent merchant of Philadelphia, and settled once more on a farm in
his native county. The aspect of affairs between the mother country
and the provinces at this time convinced our young hero that desperate
means must soon be resorted to to prevent invasion from abroad and
insurrection at home. Satisfied that the controversies between the two
countries would only be adjusted by the sword, he determined to apply
himself to military discipline and tactics, that whenever his country
required it, he might devote his energies in raising and preparing
for the field a regiment of volunteers. The moment arrived, and young
Wayne was only six weeks in completing a regiment, of which he was
unanimously chosen colonel. At the sound of taxation the undaunted
spirit of liberty burst forth, and thousands of young and fearless
patriots thronged around the sacred banner to enrol themselves in a
cause which must eventually end in freedom. News of the opening of the
revolution at Bunker’s Hill and Lexington arrived, and Washington, who
had accepted the command of the army, repaired to the seat of war.

Congress, now sitting at Philadelphia, called upon the colonies for
regiments to reinforce the northern army, and the one raised by the
exertions of Anthony Wayne was the first called into service, and upon
him was conferred the command. His orders to join General Lee at New
York were quickly obeyed, whence he proceeded with his regiment to
Canada, to be stationed at the entrance of Sorel river.

Shortly after his arrival there, news arrived that a detachment of
six hundred British light infantry were advancing toward a post called
Trois Rivières (Three Rivers). Anxious to check their advance, or
strike before they could concentrate their forces, three regiments,
commanded by Wayne, St. Clair and Irvine, commenced their march for
that purpose. Unfortunately, however, untoward circumstances compelled
them to retreat with considerable loss of men, and Colonels Wayne and
St. Clair severely wounded. The movements now devolved upon Wayne,
who collected the scattered troops and returned to his former post at
Sorel river, where he remained but a short period, being followed by
a heavy British column, giving him only sufficient time to leave the
fort before the enemy entered it. The retreat was made good by the able
conduct of Wayne, who, with his stores and baggage, safely arrived at

At a consultation among the generals it was determined that at
this post they should take their stand. After reconnoitering the
fortifications, and finding them so well prepared to resist an attack,
the British general re-embarked his forces and retired to Canada.

Immediately on the withdrawal of the British troops, General Gates
repaired to Washington’s army, leaving Colonel Wayne in entire charge
of Ticonderoga. This high compliment paid to Colonel Wayne, agreeable
to the troops and approved of by Congress, caused the gallant soldier
to be promoted to the rank of Brigadier-general. He remained at this
post six months, when, Washington having marched his main army into
Jersey, General Wayne solicited permission to join him, which he did
at Bound Brook, a few miles from Brunswick, in New Jersey. Soon after
the arrival of Wayne, General Howe, having received reinforcements
from England, at New York, took up his line of march across Jersey,
in order to intercept the American army before reaching Philadelphia.
Washington conceived the plan of General Howe to be to surprise the
city of Philadelphia and disperse the congressional assembly, who were
then sitting there; he accordingly dispatched Wayne and his troops to
meet and strike them, in order to resist their passage at Chad’s Ford.
This was done, and a sharp conflict ensued, which was gallantly kept up
until late in the evening, when it was thought prudent to retreat; the
loss sustained by the Americans was stated to be three hundred killed
and four hundred taken prisoners. The statement given by the British
general himself, was one hundred killed and four hundred wounded, but
which was afterwards ascertained to be nearly double that number. In
this battle the young patriot Lafayette first drew his sword in the
cause of America’s freedom, and although severely wounded in his leg at
the very onset of the battle, he continued to cheer and encourage his
soldiers, (with the blood flowing from his wound, having bound his sash
around it,) till the end of the conflict.

The British, taking a circuitous route, now marched with all haste
towards Philadelphia, and Washington wishing to give them the meeting
before reaching the city, retired to Chester, where both armies met at
some distance from the Warren tavern, on the Lancaster road. General
Wayne commenced the action with great spirit, but a violent storm came
on which rendered it impossible for the battle to continue, and each
army withdrew from the field.

Washington, in order to save Philadelphia, with the main army fell
back and crossed the Schuylkill at Parker’s ferry, leaving General
Wayne with about fifteen hundred men to watch the enemy, who had
retreated back about three miles. After remaining at that post for four
days, he was apprised of the near approach of the British army, and
after giving three distinct orders to one of his colonels to lead off
by another road and attack the enemy in the rear, which order was not
understood, and consequently not obeyed, gave the British time to come
upon them before they could make good their retreat. The enemy fell
upon them with the cry of “No quarters,” and one hundred and fifty of
his brave men were killed and wounded in this barbarous massacre. The
next battle at which this valiant soldier distinguished himself, was
at Germantown. The British having taken a position in the immediate
vicinity of that village, General Wayne, moving with much secrecy,
attacked them in their camp at the dawn of day, but after many hours of
hard fighting and a succession of untoward circumstances, was obliged
to retreat. The loss of the Americans in this action, was one hundred
and fifty-two killed, five hundred and twenty-one wounded, and four
hundred taken prisoners; the loss of the British was eight hundred
killed and wounded.

The British army remained in nearly the same position till the 26th
of October, when General Howe, with a detachment of his troops,
took peaceable possession of Philadelphia. _Watson, in his Annals
of Philadelphia, says_,--“As they entered the city, Lord Cornwallis
at their head led the van. They marched down Second street without
any huzzaing or insolence whatever, and the citizens thronged the
sidewalks with serious countenances, looking at them. The artillery
were quartered in Chestnut street, between Third and Sixth streets. The
State House yard was made use of as a parade ground.”

Congress had previously been removed to Lancaster, in the interior
of the state, sixty miles from Philadelphia. Washington and his army
were posted at White Marsh, about fourteen miles from Philadelphia,
and in order to draw the commander-in-chief from his strong position,
the British general, Howe, marched his soldiers to the neighborhood of
the American lines, and after many demonstrations of attack, finding
that Washington was not disposed to bring on another action, retreated
again to the city. This gave Washington an opportunity of proceeding to
Valley Forge, where, in the month of December, with his almost famished
and naked soldiers, they cheerfully commenced building huts with their
own hands in the woods. Early in January, General Wayne repaired to
Lancaster, where the government was then located, to use his exertions
in raising supplies, both of provisions and clothing, for the army.

In part did he succeed, but the scarcity of provisions becoming so
great, that Washington was at length compelled to detach a body of
troops, under General Greene, with orders to obtain “an immediate
supply of provisions by any means within his power.” This was done by
seizing every animal fit for slaughter; and by this means the immediate
wants of the starving troops were supplied.

In order to prevent a similar deplorable state of want, our gallant
hero, who knew no danger, in the month of February, a most inclement
season, left the army with a body of troops on an expedition to New
Jersey, to secure cattle on the banks of the Delaware.

This, of all others, was a dangerous enterprise, for the British were
wintering in detachments in many places near the Delaware. However,
in our hero bravery knew no fear, and for the relief of his suffering
soldiers he was determined to attack and wrest from the British,
(whenever he came in contact,) provisions for his men and sustenance
for his horses. After several skirmishes, which might really be termed
battles, he succeeded, by his soldier-like and judicious management, in
capturing from them and sending to the American camp several hundred
fine cattle, some excellent horses, and a large amount of forage.
About the middle of March he returned to Valley Forge, to receive the
thanks of his commander-in-chief and the blessings of the army. The
British remained in quiet possession of Philadelphia till the 18th of
June following, when they commenced their march through Jersey. On
the same day Washington left Valley Forge in order to follow them,
and on the 24th encamped about five miles from Princeton, while the
British had encamped at Allentown. During the winter General Howe had
requested to be recalled, and the command now devolved upon Sir Henry
Clinton. Wayne, with four thousand men, was ordered, accompanied by
Lafayette, with one thousand men, to take a position near Monmouth
Courthouse, about five miles in the rear of the British camp, in order
to prevent their reaching the Highlands of New York. Washington, who
had determined to attack the British the moment they moved from their
ground, received intelligence on the morning of the 28th of June that
they were on their way. The troops were immediately under arms, and
General Lee ordered to march on and attack the rear, as the enemy
advanced towards the troops of Wayne and Lafayette. This was done,
and the Americans, though much fatigued by their previous march,
fought with such determined bravery that the British gave way. Taking
advantage of the night, which saved them from a total rout, they
withdrew to the heights of Middletown, leaving behind them two hundred
and forty-five killed of their soldiers, and many of their officers;
others they had before interred. The following is an extract of a
letter of Wayne to a friend:--

                                       “_Paramus, 12th July, 1778._

    “We have been in perpetual motion ever since we crossed the
    Delaware until yesterday, when we arrived here, where we shall
    be stationary for a few days, in order to recruit a little
    after the fatigue which we have experienced in marching through
    deserts, burning sands, &c. &c.

    “The enemy, sore from the action of the 28th ult., seemed
    inclined to rest also. They are now in three divisions; one on
    Long Island, another on Staten Island, and a third in New York.

    “The victory on that day turns out to be much more considerable
    than at first supposed. An officer who remained on the ground
    two or three days after the action, says that nearly three
    hundred British had been buried by us on the field, and numbers
    discovered in the woods, exclusive of those buried by the
    enemy, not much short of one hundred. So that by the most
    moderate calculation, their killed and wounded must amount to
    eleven hundred, the flower of their army, and many of them of
    the richest blood of England.

    “Tell those Philadelphia ladies who attended Howe’s assemblies
    and levees, that the heavenly, sweet red-coats, the
    accomplished gentlemen of the guards and grenadiers, have been
    humbled on the plains of Monmouth. These knights have resigned
    their laurels to rebel officers, who will lay them at the feet
    of those virtuous daughters of America, who cheerfully gave up
    ease and affluence in a city, for liberty and peace of mind in
    a cottage.

                        “Adieu, and believe me

                                 “Yours most sincerely,

                                                   “ANTHONY WAYNE.”

The British commander, having in the night escaped from his adversary,
took a strong position on the high grounds about Middletown, where
remaining, however, but a few days, he proceeded to Sandy Hook, and
passed over to New York.

Washington, at this time, proceeded by slow and easy marches to the
Highlands of the Hudson.

It was his intention to fortify West Point, and the Highlands of the
North River; accordingly the works at Stony and Verplanck’s Points were
commenced for that purpose, yet only on Verplanck’s a small but strong
work had been completed and garrisoned by seventy men, under Captain
Armstrong, while the works on Stony Point, of much greater extent and
of incomparably more importance, were unfinished. To secure these
valuable positions was a matter of great magnitude both to the British
as well as American commander-in-chief; hence was the determination of
fortifying the Highlands, so as to comprehend within it these important
positions. To arrest the progress of these fortifications, Sir Henry
Clinton sailed with a fleet up the Hudson, and landed his troops in
two divisions; the one under General Vaughan, destined against the
works at Verplanck’s on the east side of the river--the other, which he
commanded in person, against those of Stony Point, on the west side.
The fortifications on Stony Point being unfinished, were abandoned
without resistance, on the approach of the enemy, who instantly
commenced dragging some heavy cannon and mortars to the summit of the
hill, and on the next morning about sunrise opened a battery on Fort
Fayette, erected on Verplanck’s, the distance across being about one
thousand yards.

The cannonade during the day, from the very commanding position
of Stony Point, as also from vessels and gun-boats in the river,
occasioned much injury to the fort; which, being invested both by water
and land, and no means of saving the garrison now remaining, Captain
Armstrong, (who had command,) after a gallant resistance, was compelled
to surrender himself and troops prisoners of war. Sir Henry proceeded
immediately to place both forts in what he supposed a perfect state
of defence, especially that of Stony Point, which he garrisoned with
six hundred men, under the command of an officer distinguished for his
bravery and circumspection. In consequence of Washington being now at
West Point, Sir Henry declined a further movement up the Hudson, but
remained with his army at Phillipsburg, about midway between New York
and Stony Point. Immediately on the arrival of Wayne at head quarters,
Washington commenced laying plans for the recapture of Stony Point, and
in a conference between the commander-in-chief and Wayne, the latter,
emphatically to express his willingness to undertake the perilous
enterprise, is said to have remarked:--“General, if _you_ will only
plan it, I will storm _Hell_!”

As no industry had been wanting in completing or repairing the works
at Stony Point, which the length of possession by the British would
admit of, that post was now in a very strong state of defence; its
garrison consisted of the seventeenth regiment of foot, the grenadier
companies of the seventy-first and some artillery; the whole under the
command of Lieutenant Colonel Johnson. The garrison at Verplanck’s
was under the conduct of Lieutenant Colonel Webster, and was at least
equal in force to that of Stony Point. General Wayne was appointed to
the difficult and arduous task of surprising and storming Stony Point,
for which Washington provided him with a strong detachment of the most
active infantry in the American service. These troops had a distance
of about fourteen miles to travel over high mountains, through deep
morasses, difficult defiles and roads exceedingly bad and narrow, so
that they could only move in single files during the greatest part
of their journey. About eight o’clock in the evening of the 15th of
July, the van arrived within a mile and a half of their object, where
they halted, and the troops were formed into two columns as fast as
they came up. While they were in this position, Wayne, with most of
his principal officers, went to reconnoitre the works, and to observe
the situation of the garrison. It was near midnight before the two
columns approached the place; that on the right, consisting of Febiger
and Meigs’ regiments, was led by General Wayne. The van, consisting
of one hundred and fifty picked men, led by the most adventurous
officers, and commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Fleury, advanced to the
attack, with unloaded muskets and fixed bayonets. They were preceded
by an avant-guard, consisting of an officer of the most distinguished
courage, accompanied by twenty of the most desperate private men, who,
with other officers, were intended to remove the _abatis_, and whatever
obstructions lay in the way of the succeeding troops. The column on
the left, was led by a similar chosen van, with unloaded muskets and
fixed bayonets, under the command of Major Stewart; and that was also
preceded by a similar avant-guard. The general issued the most positive
orders to both columns, (which they strictly adhered to,) not to fire a
shot on any account, but to place their whole reliance on the bayonet.
The two attacks seem to have been directed to opposite points of the
works; whilst a detachment under Major Murfree engaged the attention of
the garrison, by a feint in their front. They found the approaches more
difficult than even their knowledge of the place had induced them to
expect; the works being covered by a deep morass, which, at this time,
happened to be overflowed by the tide.

The general, in his official papers, says, “that neither the deep
morass, the formidable and double rows of _abatis_, or the strong works
in front and flank could damp the ardor of his brave troops; who, in
the face of a most incessant and tremendous fire of musketry, and of
cannon loaded with grape-shot, forced their way at the point of the
bayonet through every obstacle, until the van of each column met in
the centre of the works, where they arrived at nearly the same time.”
General Wayne was wounded in the head by a musket-ball, as he passed
the last _abatis_; but was gallantly supported and assisted through the
works by his two brave aids-de-camp, Fishbourn and Archer, to whom he
acknowledges the utmost gratitude in his public letter. Colonel Fleury,
a French officer, had the honor of striking the British standard with
his own hand, and placing in its room the American stars and stripes.
Major Stewart and several other officers received great praise;
particularly the two Lieutenants Gibbons and Knox, one of whom led the
avant-guard on the right, and the other on the left. Both, however, had
the good fortune to escape unhurt, although Lieutenant Gibbons lost
seventeen men out of twenty in the attack.

There is nothing in the annals of war which affords more room for
surprise, and seems less to be accounted for, than the prodigious
disparity between the numbers slain in those different actions, which
seem otherwise similar or greatly to correspond in their principal
circumstances, nature and magnitude. Nothing could well be supposed,
from its nature and circumstances, more bloody, in proportion to the
numbers engaged, than this action; and yet the loss on both sides was
exceedingly moderate.

Nothing could exceed the triumph of America and Americans generally,
upon the success of this enterprize, and the vigor and spirit with
which it was conducted.

It must, indeed, be acknowledged, that considered in all its parts
and difficulties, it would have done honor to the most veteran
soldiers. General Washington, the Congress, the General Assembly, and
the Supreme Executive Council of Pennsylvania, were emulous in their
acknowledgments, and in the praises which they bestowed upon General
Wayne, his officers and troops. In these they particularly applaud
the humanity and clemency shown to the vanquished, when, by the laws
of war, and stimulated by resentment from the remembrance of former
cruelty received from the British, they would have been justified in
putting the whole garrison to the sword.

As soon as Stony Point was taken, the artillery was directly turned
against Verplanck’s, and a furious cannonade ensued which necessarily
obliged the shipping at the latter place to cut their cables and fall
down the river. The news of this disaster, and of Webster’s situation,
who also expected an immediate attack on the land side, no sooner
reached Sir Harry Clinton, than he took the most speedy measures for
the relief of Verplanck’s. The whole British land and naval force
was in motion. But, however great the importance or value of Stony
Point and Verplanck’s, Washington was by no means disposed to hazard
a general engagement on their account; more especially in a situation
where the command of the river would afford such decisive advantages
to his enemy in the disposition and sudden movement of their troops,
whether with respect to the immediate point of action, or to the
seizing of the passes, and cutting off the retreat of his army, as
might probably be attended with the most fatal consequences.

In his letter to Congress, he says, that it had been previously
determined in council not to attempt keeping that post, and that
nothing more was originally intended than the destruction of the works
and seizing the artillery and stores. This adventurous and daring feat
kept the advanced posts of the British in a state of serious alarm.

By the journals of Congress for July 26, 1779, it appears that the
attack on the fort at Stony Point was ordered by General Washington
on the 10th of July. General Wayne issued his orders on the 15th, on
the night of which day the attack was made. The prisoners taken were
five hundred and forty-three; not a musket was fired by the Americans;
and although the laws of war and the principle of retaliation for past
cruelty, would have justified the sacrifice of the garrison, yet not a
man was killed who asked for quarters. Soon after this gallant action,
General Wayne repaired to his family in Chester county, and thence
to the seat of Government, to use his exertions in stimulating the
councils of the nation in behalf of the suffering army, one-half of
which was at this time nearly barefooted, and otherwise destitute of
comforts. As the winter was now approaching, Washington was preparing
to take up his quarters at Morristown, New Jersey, in order to restrain
the British, who were then stationed at New York, from incursions into
the adjacent country.

In May, 1780, Wayne was ordered to repair to the camp at Morristown,
and resume his command in the Pennsylvania line. Little more than
useless marches, and casual skirmishes with the enemy was accomplished
during this year.

In November of the same year Wayne appears before his government
supplicating supplies for his soldiers. This he accomplished, and
returned in December to his winter quarters at Morristown, where he
remained till the end of February, 1781. Receiving orders to join the
southern army under General Greene, now in Virginia, Wayne accordingly
commenced collecting his troops; but, from so many and unaccountable
delays, it was May before he could concentrate them at York,
Pennsylvania. Early in June the Pennsylvania troops, eleven hundred in
number, formed a junction with Lafayette, whom they met in Virginia,
and determined at once to march against Cornwallis, who was now
retreating. Lafayette held a position about twenty miles in the rear
of the British, whilst the advanced corps of Wayne kept within eight
or nine miles, with the intention of commencing an attack on the rear
guard, after the main body should have passed the river. Lafayette,
having received intelligence that the enemy were preparing to cross the
James river, he immediately took a position at Chickahominy church,
eight miles above Jamestown. Early the following morning, Wayne
believing that the main army of the British had effected its passage,
was determined to march forward and attack the rear guard; but upon
arriving within sight he found he was mistaken, and that he had now to
confront the whole British force with only five hundred men; the only
safe mode which he could now calculate upon, was that of attacking
vigorously and retreating precipitately. “For,” said he, “moments
decide the fate of battles,” and accordingly the firing was commenced
with great firmness at three o’clock, and continued till five in the

In this severe but gallant action one hundred and eight of the
Continental troops were killed, wounded and taken; most of the officers
were severely wounded, and many of the field officers had their horses
killed under them. Lafayette, in his official notice of this action,
says--“From every account the enemy’s loss has been very great, and
much pains taken to conceal it.”

In a letter from General Washington to Wayne, he adds:--“The Marquis
Lafayette speaks in the handsomest manner of your own behavior, and
that of the troops, in the action at Green Spring. I think the account
which Lord Cornwallis will be obliged to render of the state of
southern affairs, will not be very pleasing to ministerial eyes and
ears, especially after what appears to have been their expectations by
their intercepted letters of March last. I am in hopes that Virginia
will be soon, if not before this time, so far relieved as to permit
you to march to the succor of General Greene, who, with a handful of
men, has done more than could possibly have been expected; should he
be enabled to maintain his advantage in the Carolinas and Georgia, it
cannot fail of having the most important political consequences in
Europe.” The movements of Cornwallis indicated a permanent post at
Yorktown, a short distance up the York river, where he had removed
the principal part of his forces, and commenced his fortifications.
Washington hearing of this movement, commanded Lafayette to take early
measures to intercept the retreat of Cornwallis, should he discover the
intended blow, and attempt a retreat by North Carolina.

At the interposition of the Marquis Lafayette with his government,
a French fleet, consisting of three thousand troops, were equipped
and dispatched to the assistance of struggling America; and on the
2d September landed at Burwell’s Ferry, near this place. Lafayette,
who was encamped about ten miles from General Wayne, on hearing of
the arrival of the French fleet, requested an interview with him. In
a letter to a friend, Wayne describes an accident that occurred to
him on his way thither:--“After the landing of the French fleet, and
pointing out to them the most proper position for their encampment, I
received an express from the Marquis Lafayette, to meet him on business
of importance that evening. I proceeded accordingly, attended by two
gentlemen and a servant. When we arrived in the vicinity of the camp,
about ten o’clock at night, we were challenged by a sentry, and we made
the usual answer, but the poor fellow being panic-struck, mistook us
for the enemy, and shot me in the centre of the left thigh; then fled
and alarmed the camp. Fortunately, the ball only grazed the bone, and
lodged on the opposite side to which it entered.” The main works of
Cornwallis were at his strongly fortified garrison at Yorktown, on the
York river. He also occupied Gloucester, on the opposite side, where he
erected works to keep up the communication with the country. General
Washington reached the neighborhood of this interesting scene of
operation on the 14th of September, and immediately proceeded on board
the Ville de Paris, (flag-ship of the French admiral,) where the plan
of the siege was concerted.

Subjoined is an extract of General Wayne’s diary of the siege of
Yorktown and capture of Lord Cornwallis:

“On the 28th of September, 1781, General Washington put the combined
army in motion, at five o’clock in the morning, in two columns, (the
Americans on the right and the French on the left,) and arrived in view
of the enemy’s lines at York about four o’clock in the afternoon.

“29th. Completed the investiture. The enemy abandoned their advanced
chain of works this evening, leaving two redoubts perfect within
cannon-shot of their principal fortifications.

“30th. The allied troops took possession of the ground vacated by the
British, and added new works.

“1st October. The enemy discovering our works commenced a cannonade,
continuing through the day and night with very little effect.

“2d. Two men killed by the enemy’s fire.

“3d. A drop-shot from the British killed four men from the covering

“4th. The redoubts were perfected; the enemy’s fire languid.

“5th. Two men killed by rocket-shot.

“6th. Six regiments, viz., one from the right of each brigade marched
at six o’clock, P. M., under the command of Major General Lincoln and
Brigadier Generals Clinton and Wayne, and opened the first parallel
within five hundred and fifty yards of the enemy’s works and their
extreme left, which was continued by the French to the extreme right.

“7th. The parallel nearly complete, without any opposition, except a
little scattered fire of musketry, and a feeble fire of artillery, by
which a few of the French troops were wounded and one officer lost his

“8th. Completed the first parallel; two of the Pennsylvanians were
killed by rocket-shot.

“9th. At three o’clock P. M., the French opened a twelve gun battery
on the extreme right of the enemy; and at five o’clock the same day,
a battery of ten pieces was opened on their extreme left, by the
Americans, with apparent effect.

“10th. At daybreak three more batteries were opened, (one of five heavy
pieces by the Americans, and two containing twenty-two by the French,)
opposite the centre of the British works; at five P. M., another
American battery of two ten inch howitzers was also opened, which
produced so severe a fire, that it in a great degree silenced that of
the enemy; at seven o’clock P. M., the Caron, of forty-four guns, was
set on fire by our balls and totally consumed.

“11th. Second parallel opened this night by the Pennsylvanians and
Marylanders, covered by two battalions under General Wayne, on the part
of the Americans.

“12th. Nothing material.

“13th. That part of the second parallel which was opened, nearly

“14th. A little after dark, two detached redoubts belonging to the
enemy were stormed; that on the extreme left by the light infantry,
under the Marquis Lafayette, in which were taken a major, captain, and
one subaltern, seventeen privates, and eight rank and file killed.

“Our army lost, in killed and wounded, forty-one. The other was
carried by the French, under the Baron de Viominial, who lost, in
killed and wounded, about one hundred men. Of the enemy eighteen
were killed, and three officers and thirty-nine privates were made
prisoners. The above attacks were supported by two battalions of the
Pennsylvanians, under General Wayne; whilst the second parallel was
completed by the Pennsylvanians and Marylanders, under Colonel W.

“15th. Two small batteries were opened this evening.

“16th. The enemy made a sortie, and spiked seven pieces of artillery,
but were immediately repulsed, the spikes drawn, and the batteries
again opened.

“17th. The enemy beat the chamade at ten o’clock A. M., Cornwallis now
sent out a flag, proposing a cessation of hostilities for twenty-four
hours, and that commissioners might be appointed to meet to settle the
terms upon which the garrisons of York and Gloucester should surrender.
General Washington would only grant a cessation for _two hours_;
previously to the expiration of which, his lordship, by another flag,
sent the following terms, viz:--The troops to be prisoners of war; the
British to be sent to Great Britain, and not to act against America,
France, or her allies, until exchanged; the Hessians to Germany, on the
same conditions; and that all operations cease until the commissioners
should determine the details. To this his excellency returned for
answer:--That hostilities should cease, and no alterations in the
works, or any new movement of the troops, take place, until he sent
terms in writing; which he did on the 18th, at nine o’clock, A. M.,
allowing the enemy two hours to determine. They again requested more
time; and the general granted them until one o’clock, when they acceded
to the heads of the imposed terms, and nominated Colonel Dundas and
Major Ross, on their part, to meet with Colonel Laurens and Viscount
de Noailles on ours, to reduce them to form, which was completed by
nine o’clock at night; and on the 19th, at one o’clock P. M., the
capitulation was ratified and signed by the commander of each army,
when the enemy received a guard of Pennsylvania and Maryland troops in
one of their principal works, and one of the French troops in another.
At four o’clock, the same afternoon, the British army marched out of
Yorktown with _colors cased_, between the American and French troops,
drawn up for the purpose, and then grounded their arms agreeably to

After this successful struggle, General Wayne was commanded to repair
without delay to the aid of General Greene, who was encamped near
Savannah, Georgia, in which state the enemy had been long rioting
without the fear of opposition from either regulars or militia. Not,
however, before the 19th of January, 1782, did he reach the Savannah
river, and having crossed it with a detachment of the first and fourth
regiments of dragoons, with this force, aided by a small state corps
and a few spirited militia, he soon routed the enemy from some of
their strongest posts. Wayne receiving intelligence of a body of Creek
Indians being on their march to Savannah, detached a strong party of
horse under Colonel McCoy, dressed in British uniform, in order to
deceive and decoy them. This deception succeeded, and the Indians were
all surrounded and taken without the least resistance.

General Wayne, in a letter to a friend, dated the 24th of February,
writes, “It is now upwards of five weeks since we entered this state,
during which period not an officer or soldier with me has once
undressed for the purpose of changing his linen; nor do the enemy
lie on beds of down--they have once or twice attempted to strike our
advance parties. The day before yesterday they made a forward move
in considerable force, which induced me to advance to meet them; but
the lads declined the interview, by embarking in boats and retreating
by water to Savannah, the only post they now hold in Georgia.” This
post remained in possession of the British till the month of May,
when the British administration, having resolved upon abandoning all
offensive operations in America, it was ordered to be evacuated.
Accordingly, on the 11th of July, 1782, Savannah was delivered into
the possession of General Wayne, whose time was now fully occupied in
replying to the numerous applications of the merchants and citizens of
that place. About the end of November, General Wayne, with the light
infantry of the army, and the legionary corps, reached the vicinity of
Charleston, S. C., where Greene was posted near the Ashley river, a
convenient position to attack the rear of the enemy when the hour of
evacuation should arrive; but a proposition from the British General,
to be permitted to embark without molestation if he left the town
untouched, was acceded to, and on the morning of the 14th of December,
General Wayne had also the honor and satisfaction of taking peaceable
possession of Charleston, thus closing his last active scene in the war
of the American revolution.

General Wayne continued busily engaged at the south till the following
July, when he took passage for Philadelphia in very delicate health,
having contracted a fever while in Georgia.

In 1784, Wayne was elected by his native county to the General
Assembly, where he took deep interest in every act which agitated the
Legislature. His family estates, which had so long been inoperative,
now claimed his attention; which, for the space of two years, was most
assiduously devoted to them. President Washington nominated Wayne to
the Senate as Commander-in-chief of the United States army--which was
confirmed and accepted the 13th of April, 1792. The object of this high
and honorable post being bestowed on Wayne, was to bring to a close
the war with the confederated tribes of Indians, which was raging on
the northwestern frontier. During the four years of Indian warfare,
General Wayne suffered severely from his previous disease, living,
however, to witness the termination of those troubles which had so long
existed, but not to share in the happy results which his bravery and
exalted wisdom had consummated. He died at Presque Isle, on the 15th
of December, 1796. An able writer thus portrays the character of this
exalted man:--

“The patriotism, spirit and military character of General Anthony Wayne
are written on every leaf of his country’s history, from the dawn of
the revolution to the close of his eventful life. If you ask who obeyed
the first call of America for freedom? It was Wayne! he was first on
the battleground and last to retire. If you ask who gallantly led his
division to victory on the right wing at the battle of Germantown? Who
bore the fiercest charge at the battle of Monmouth? Who, in the hour
of gloom, roused the desponding spirits of the army and nation by the
glorious storming and capturing of Stony Point? It was GENERAL ANTHONY

“In Congress, July 26th, 1779, it was resolved unanimously, that the
thanks of Congress be presented to Brigadier General Anthony Wayne,
for his brave, prudent and soldierly conduct, in the spirited and
well-conducted attack of Stony Point.”

A gold medal was voted to him at the same time, of which the following
is a description taken from the original in the possession of his
family. (_See_ Plate II.)

OCCASION.--Taking of Stony Point, on the North River, by storm.

DEVICE.--An Indian Queen crowned, a quiver on her back, and wearing
a short apron of feathers: a mantle hangs from her waist behind: the
upper end of the mantle appears as if passed through the girdle of her
apron, and hangs gracefully by her left side. She is presenting, with
her right hand, a wreath to General Wayne, who receives it. In her left
hand, the Queen is holding up a mural crown towards the General. On her
left and at her feet an alligator is stretched out. She stands on a
bow: a shield, with the American stripes, rests against the alligator.

LEGEND.--Antonio Wayne Duci Exercitas comitia Americana.

REVERSE.--A fort, with two turrets, on the top of a hill: the British
flag flying: troops in single or Indian file, advancing in the front
and rear up the hill: numbers lying at the bottom. Troops advancing in
front, at a distance, on the edge of the river: another party to the
right of the fort. A piece of artillery posted on the plain, so as to
bear upon the fort; ammunition on the ground: six vessels in the river.

LEGEND.--Stony Point expugnatum.

EXERGUE.--15th July, 1779.

[Illustration: Plate 2.




_W. L. Ormsby, sc._]


It is a singular fact that no biographical memoir can be found of this
gallant officer.

By the journals of Congress for July 26, 1779, we find, that that body
passed a unanimous vote of thanks to General Wayne, and the officers
and soldiers, whose bravery was so conspicuous at the memorable attack
on Stony Point; particularly mentioning Colonel De Fleury and Major
Stewart, as having led the attacking columns, under a tremendous fire.
By the same resolve of Congress, we find, that a medal, descriptive of
that action, was ordered to be struck and presented to Major Stewart.
(_See_ Plate II.)

In a communication soon after the close of the war, it says, that
Major Stewart was killed by a fall from his horse, near Charleston,
South Carolina. Should this meet the eye of any of the representatives
of the late Major Stewart, the publishers of these memoirs would feel
grateful for any particulars respecting that distinguished officer, as
they may be added in another edition.


OCCASION.--Taking the fort of Stony Point.

DEVICE.--America, personified in an Indian queen, is presenting a palm
branch to Captain Stewart: a quiver hangs at her back: her bow and
an alligator at her feet: with her left hand she supports a shield
inscribed with the American stripes, and resting on the ground.

LEGEND.--Johanni Stewart cohortis prefecto comitia Americus.

REVERSE.--A fortress on an eminence: in the foreground, an officer
cheering his men, who are following him over a _battis_ with charged
bayonets in pursuit of a flying enemy; troops in Indian files ascending
the hill to the storm, front and rear: troops advancing from the shore:
ships in sight.

EXERGUE.--Stony Point oppugnatum, 15th July, 1779.


Very little is known of the hero of the following memoir previous to
his leaving his native country. He was educated as an engineer, and
brought with him to this country testimonials of the highest order.
His family were of the French noblesse; his ancestor, Hercule André de
Fleury, was canon of Montpelier, and appointed by Louis XIV. preceptor
to his grandson. At the age of seventy years he was made cardinal and
prime minister, and by his active and sagacious measures the kingdom of
France prospered greatly under his administration.

De Fleury, the subject of this brief sketch, was pursuing his
profession when the news of the American revolution reached the shores
of France. Endowed by nature with a spirit of independence, vigorous
intellect, undaunted courage, and a spirit of enterprise, he seemed
peculiarly fitted to encounter perils and hardships, which his daring,
prompt and skillful maneuvers, in some of the sharpest battles of the
revolution, proved most true. He read with excited anxiety, again and
again, of the oppression and tyranny exercised by the mother country
against the colonies.

Next came the news that at once decided our young hero on embarking
for America; the colonies had actually revolted, had thrown off
the yoke of tyranny and usurpation, declaring themselves a free
and independent people. This was a struggle, but it must be
conquered. De Fleury reached the shores of America, was received by
the Commander-in-chief, received a commission, and commenced his
revolutionary campaign, to which he adhered with that unflinching
constancy which leaves no doubt of the purity and disinterestedness
of his motives. Soon after the battle of Brandywine our hero was
dispatched to Fort Mifflin in the capacity of engineer, described in
the following letter from General Washington to Lieutenant-Colonel
Samuel Smith, in which he says:--“Enclosed is a letter to Major Fleury,
whom I ordered to Fort Mifflin to serve in quality of engineer. As
he is a young man of talents, and has made this branch of military
service his particular study, I place confidence in him. You will,
therefore, make the best arrangement for enabling him to carry such
plans into execution as come within his department. His authority,
at the same time that it is subordinate to yours, must be sufficient
for putting into practice what his knowledge of fortification points
out as necessary for defending the post; and his department, though
inferior, being of a distinct and separate nature, requires that his
orders should be in a great degree discretionary, and that he should
be suffered to exercise his judgment. Persuaded that you will concur
with him in every measure, which the good of the service may require, I
remain,” &c.

For six days previous to the evacuation of Fort Mifflin, the fire
from the enemy’s batteries and shipping had been incessant. Major
Fleury kept a journal of events, which were daily forwarded to General
Washington, from which the following are extracts.

“November 10th, _at noon_.--I am interrupted by the bombs and balls,
which fall thickly. The firing increases, but not the effect; our
barracks alone suffer. _Two o’clock_:--the direction of the fire is
changed; our palisades suffer; a dozen of them are broken down; one of
our cannon is damaged; I am afraid it will not fire straight. _Eleven
o’clock at night_:--the enemy keep up a firing every half hour. Our
garrison diminishes; our soldiers are overwhelmed with fatigue.

“11th. The enemy keep up a heavy fire; they have changed the direction
of their embrasures, and instead of battering our palisades in front,
they take them obliquely and do great injury to our north side. _At
night_:--the enemy fire and interrupt our works. Three vessels have
passed up between us and Province Island, without any molestation from
the galleys. Colonel Smith, Captain George, and myself wounded. These
two gentlemen passed immediately to Red Bank.

“12th. Heavy firing; our two eighteen pounders at the northern battery
dismounted. _At night_:--the enemy throw shells, and we are alarmed by
thirty boats.

“13th. The enemy have opened a battery on the old Ferry Wharf; the walk
of our rounds is destroyed, the block-houses ruined. Our garrison is
exhausted with fatigue and ill-health.

“14th. The enemy have kept up a firing upon us part of the night.
Day-light discovers to us a floating battery, placed a little above
their grand battery and near the shore. _Seven o’clock_:--the enemy
keep up a great fire from their floating battery and the shore; our
block-houses are in a pitiful condition. _At noon_:--we have silenced
the floating battery. A boat, which this day deserted from the fleet,
will have given the enemy sufficient intimation of our weakness; they
will probably attempt a lodgment on the Island, which we cannot prevent
with our whole strength.

“15th--_at six in the afternoon_.--The fire is universal from the
shipping and batteries. We have lost a great many men to-day; a great
many officers are killed or wounded. My fine company of artillery is
almost destroyed. We shall be obliged to evacuate Fort Mifflin this
night. Major Talbut is badly wounded.

“16th. We were obliged to evacuate the fort last evening. Major Thayer
returned from thence a little after two this morning. Everything was
got off that possibly could be. The cannon could not be removed without
making too great a sacrifice of men, as the Vigilant lay within one
hundred yards of the southern part of the works, and with her incessant
fire, hand grenades and musketry, from the round-top, killed every man
that appeared upon the platforms.”

After this devastating conflict, Fleury was promoted to the rank of
lieutenant-colonel in the army. He had already received from Congress
the gift of a horse, as a testimonial of their sense of his merit at
the battle of Brandywine, where a horse was shot under him.

    “To the President of Congress--

                     “_Head Quarters, West Point, 25th July, 1779._

    “SIR:--Lieutenant-Colonel Fleury having communicated to me his
    intention to return to France at the present juncture, I have
    thought proper to give him this letter to testify to Congress
    the favorable opinion I entertain of his conduct. The marks of
    their approbation, which he received on a former occasion, have
    been amply justified by all his subsequent behavior. He has
    signalized himself in more than one instance since; and in the
    late assault of Stony Point, he commanded one of the attacks,
    was the first that entered the enemy’s works, and struck the
    British flag with his own hands, as reported by General Wayne.
    It is but justice to him to declare, that, in the different
    services he has been of real utility, and has acquitted himself
    in every respect as an officer of distinguished merit, one
    whose talents, zeal, activity, and bravery, alike entitle him
    to particular notice. I doubt not Congress will be disposed to
    grant him every indulgence. I have the honor to be, &c. &c.

                                                     G. WASHINGTON.


                                     _West Point, 28th July, 1779._

    I certify that Lieutenant-Colonel Fleury has served in the
    army of the United States since the beginning of the campaign
    in 1777, to the present period, and has uniformly acquitted
    himself as an officer of distinguished merit for talents, zeal,
    activity, prudence, and bravery; that he first obtained a
    captain’s commission from Congress, and entered as a volunteer
    in a corps of riflemen, in which, by his activity and bravery,
    he soon recommended himself to notice; that he next served as
    brigade major, with the rank of major, first in the infantry
    and afterwards in the cavalry, in which stations he acquired
    reputation in the army, and the approbation of his commanding
    officers, of which he has the most ample testimonies; that
    towards the conclusion of the campaign of 1777, he was
    sent to the important post of Fort Mifflin, in quality of
    engineer, in which he rendered essential services, and equally
    signalized his intelligence and his valor. That in consequence
    of his good conduct on this and on former occasions, he was
    promoted by Congress to the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel, and
    has been since employed in the following stations, namely,
    as a sub-inspector, as second in command in a corps of light
    infantry, in an expedition against Rhode Island, and lastly as
    commandant of a battalion of light infantry, in the army under
    my immediate command; that in each of these capacities, as
    well as the former, he has justified the confidence reposed in
    him, and acquired more and more the character of a judicious,
    well-informed, indefatigable and brave officer. In the assault
    of Stony Point, a strong, fortified post of the enemy on the
    North River, he commanded one of the attacks, was the first
    that entered the main works, and struck the British flag with
    his own hands.

                                                     G. WASHINGTON.

In July, 1779, Congress passed a vote of thanks to Colonel De Fleury,
with a gold medal (_see_ Plate II.) for his bravery and courage at
Stony Point. During the two years De Fleury was attached to the
American army, he took a conspicuous post in all the battles fought
within that period; and such was his bravery, that every commander
under whom he had the honor to serve, recommended him to the especial
notice of Congress.


OCCASION.--Taking the fort of Stony Point.

DEVICE.--A soldier helmeted and standing against the ruins of a fort:
his right hand extended, holding a sword upright: the staff of a stand
of colors reversed in his left: the colors under his feet: his right
knee drawn up, as if in the act of stamping on them.

LEGEND.--Virtutis et audiciæ monum, et præmium D. De Fleury equiti
gallo primo muros resp. Americ. d. d.

REVERSE.--Two water batteries, three guns each: one battery firing at
a vessel: a fort on a hill: flag flying: river in front: six vessels
before the fort.

LEGEND.--Aggeres paludes hostes victi.

EXERGUE.--Stony Pt. expugn. 15th July, 1779.


John Andre, a British officer, was clerk in a mercantile house in
London; being anxious for a military life, he obtained a commission
as ensign in the regiment commanded by Sir Henry Clinton, then about
to embark for America. His energetic and enterprising spirit soon
raised him to the rank of major and aid-de-camp to Sir Henry. Benedict
Arnold, the American traitor, a man guilty of every species of artifice
and deception, smarting under the inflictions of a severe reprimand
from his superiors, for misconduct, was resolved to be revenged by
the sacrifice of his country. By artifice he obtained command of the
important post of West Point. He had previously, in a letter to the
British commander, signified his change of principles, and his wish to
join the royal army. A correspondence now commenced between him and Sir
Henry Clinton, the object of which was to concert the means of putting
West Point into the hands of the British. The plot was well laid,
correct plans of the fort drawn, and as they supposed, the execution
certain. The arrangement was effected by Major John Andre, aid-de-camp
to Sir Henry Clinton, and adjutant-general of the British army. Andre,
who had effected all the arrangements with Arnold, received from him a
pass, authorizing him, under the feigned name of Anderson, to proceed
on the public service to the White Plains, or lower, if it was required.

He had passed all the guards and posts on the road without suspicion,
and was proceeding, with the delicate negotiation, to Sir Henry, who
was then in New York.

Having arrived within a few miles of Tarrytown, he was accosted by
three individuals who appeared loitering on the road. One of them
seized the reins of his bridle, while another in silence pointed a
rifle to his breast. Andre exclaimed, “Gentlemen, do not detain me;
I am a British officer on urgent business; there is my pass,” at the
same time drawing from his breast a paper, which he handed to one of
the three, while the other two, looking with anxious scrutiny over the
shoulders of their comrades, read as follows:--

                _Head Quarters, Robinson’s House, Sept. 22d, 1780._

    Permit Mr. John Anderson to pass the guards to the White
    Plains, or below, if he chooses. He being on public business by
    my direction.

                                             B. ARNOLD, _M. Gen’l._

Andre made a second effort to be dismissed; when one of the men
requested to know, how a British officer came in possession of a pass
from an American general. A notice appeared some time since, purporting
to be from a person who had remembered the circumstance, and an actual
acquaintance of Paulding, Van Wart and Williams, that Paulding wore a
British uniform, which accounted for the fatal mistake made by Andre,
in so quickly declaring himself to be a British officer. The three
militia men insisted upon Andre’s dismounting, which he did. They then
led him to the side of the road, and told him he must divest himself
of his clothing, in order to give them an opportunity to search him.
This was done with reluctance, after offering his splendid gold watch,
his purse, nay thousands, to be permitted to pass; but no bribe could
tempt, no persuasion could allure: they were Americans! Paulding, Van
Wart and Williams had felt the hand of British wrong; they had been
robbed, ill-treated, and trampled on, and would sooner suffer death
than aid the enemy of Washington.

This, then, was the appalling moment. Andre knew that all must be
divulged. He had but one hope, that their ignorance might prevent their
being able to read the papers contained in his boot. In this he was
mistaken, for Paulding first seizing the papers, read them aloud to his
comrades in a bold voice. Nothing can picture the terrible treachery,
which, to their uneducated minds, was planned in these papers.

Andre was speechless, and as pale as death. His fortitude seemed to
forsake him; and laying his hands on Paulding’s arms, exclaimed, in
tones of pity not to be described, “Take my watch, my horse, my purse,
all! all I have--only let me go!” But no! the stern militia men could
not be coaxed or bribed from their duty to their country. By a court
martial ordered by General Washington, Andre was tried, found guilty,
and agreeably to the law of nations, sentenced to suffer death.

Though he requested to die like a soldier, the ignominious sentence of
being hung was executed upon him the 2d of October, 1780, at the early
age of twenty-nine years.

Benedict Arnold effected his escape, remained in the British service
during the war, then returned to London, where he died in 1801.

“By a vote of Congress, 3d of November, 1780, a silver medal or shield
(_See_ Plate IV.) was ordered to be struck and presented to John
Paulding, David Williams, and Isaac Van Wart, who intercepted Major
John Andre in the character of a spy, and notwithstanding the large
bribes offered them for his release, nobly disdaining to sacrifice
their country for the sake of gold, secured and conveyed him to the
commanding officer of the district, whereby the conspiracy of Benedict
Arnold was brought to light, the insidious designs of the enemy
baffled, and the United States rescued from impending danger.”

A pension of two hundred dollars, annually, during life, was bestowed
on each of them.


OCCASION.--Capture of Major Andre, Adjutant-General of the British army.

DEVICE.--A shield.


REVERSE.--A wreath.

LEGEND.--Vincit amor Patriæ.

[Illustration: Plate 3.




_W. L. Ormsby, sc._]


Nathaniel Greene, the son of a preacher of the Society of Friends, was
born on the 27th of May, 1742, in Warwick, Rhode Island.

Nathaniel received the first rudiments of his education among that
peaceful sect; but being of a strong and robust form, he often had to
intersperse his hours of study by a relaxation of labor in the field,
at the mill, or at the anvil. His early years were passed at the home
of his parents, and in the garb of a strict Quaker, till he was twenty
years of age, when he commenced the study of law.

Not long, however, did he continue his studies, for in 1773, when the
states began to organize their militia, his attention turned to the
subject, and he became a member of the “Kentish Guards,” a military
company composed of the most respectable young men in his county. For
this he was dismissed from the Society of Friends; yet he ever after
regarded the sect with great respect.

Greene remained in the ranks of this corps till after the battle
of Lexington; when Rhode Island embodied three regiments of
militia, and placed them under his command with a commission as
brigadier-general. He marched his regiments to Cambridge, where he met
the commander-in-chief, and was the first to express his satisfaction
in his appointment, which was met by the confidence and friendship
of Washington, which he retained through life. He was appointed by
Congress major-general in 1776. He accompanied the army to New York,
and took the command of the troops on Long Island. His absence, caused
by sickness, from the disastrous battle of Flatbush, was severely
regretted; but when the commander-in-chief found it necessary to
retreat across New Jersey, General Greene was his companion. Although
scarcely able, from debility, to sit on his horse, his cheerfulness and
confidence never forsook him, and the spirits of the troops were ever
cheered by his example.

On the night of the 25th of December, 1776, General Greene crossed
the Delaware, and in command of the left wing of the army, surprised
the enemy at Trenton, seized their artillery, and prevented their
retreat to Princeton. He never left the army during the following
winter, but bore his share in its hardships and glories. He commanded
the left wing of the American army at the battle of Germantown. “Such
was the distressed situation of the American army through the winter
of that year, that Washington was doubtful of his ability to take the
field the ensuing season. Every exertion was made to put the army in a
condition for the campaign, and General Greene was urged to accept the
appointment of quarter-master general. The office was accepted with
great reluctance, for his inclination was to serve in the line; and
the charge and disbursing the public money was to him of all things
unpleasant. The necessities of the army, however, and the strong
expression of Washington, that ‘some one must make the sacrifice,’
at last induced him to consent; but not until the condition was
acceded, that he should not lose his right to command in action. Of
this he availed himself at the battles of Monmouth, and on the retreat
from Rhode Island. The duties of his new station were arduous and
embarrassing, but were rendered more so by the unhappy factions which
divided the councils of the country. Notwithstanding the distress and
poverty which threatened ruin to the cause, intrigue and slander were
in active operation, to undermine the reputation and character of the
men who were devoting themselves to accomplish the almost hopeless
work. Washington himself was assailed; and Greene, who was supposed to
have been his favorite officer and confidential adviser, was made an
object of suspicion; but the purity and integrity of General Greene’s
character bore him above the storm.--Congress did him justice, and his
personal friends never faltered in the discharge of their duty towards
him.” In 1780, General Greene was appointed to the command of the
southern department; on his arrival at Charlotte, he found the southern
army destitute of almost everything: no artillery, baggage or stores.
In a letter to Lafayette, he says:--“Were you to arrive now, you would
find a few ragged, half-starved troops in the wilderness, destitute of
everything necessary for the comfort or convenience of soldiers.”

He had arrived in an exhausted country, the inhabitants divided into
hostile parties, and an enemy before him, well provided, and flushed
with the prospect of victory.

His only dependence and hope of success were in a number of spirited
and devoted officers, who gathered around him, and the promise of
reinforcements from the states he had passed through during his route.
General Greene thought it most prudent to remove to a place where
subsistence and the means of transportation could be obtained.

He accordingly marched to the Cheraw hills, on the Pee Dee; and
detached General Morgan to the west of the Catawba, to cut off the left
wing of Cornwallis’ army, and otherwise annoy him as circumstances
might permit. This movement of General Morgan and his army alarmed
the British from their posts. Colonel Tarleton was dispatched with
a force to cut off and destroy him; but in this case the victory
took an opposite direction, and Colonel Tarleton’s troops met their
annihilation at the Cowpens. The news of this victory was a severe blow
to Cornwallis, and he at once determined to cut off Morgan’s retreat
with his prisoners, and prevent his joining the main army. But in this
he was foiled; for, mistaking the route supposed to be taken by his
enemy, Morgan was enabled to reach Greene in safety. Notwithstanding
the victory at the Cowpens, General Greene had to encounter a number
of successive disasters. He was defeated at Guildford, and again at
Camden, but prevented Lord Rawdon from improving his success, and
obliged him to retire beyond the Santee. While in the vicinity of the
Santee, he was under the painful necessity of ordering the sentence
of the law to be put in force on some of his men. From the continual
desertions taking place, he found it necessary to hang eight of
his soldiers in one day. A number of forts and garrisons in South
Carolina now fell into his hands, but the army, at the approach of
Lord Rawdon, was under the necessity of retreating to the extremity
of the state. Discouraging as this was, the firmness and decision of
General Greene sustained him through every trial. Being at this time
advised to abandon South Carolina and retire to Virginia, he replied,
“I will recover the country or perish in the attempt.” Lord Rawdon soon
found that pursuit was hazardous, and retired to Charleston. General
Greene retired to the Santee Hills, to enjoy the breezes during the
debilitating heat of the summer months. An able historian gives the
following account of the battle at Eutaw Springs, which was the last
of General Greene’s battles:--“The battle at the Eutaw Springs, on the
8th of September, was described by the American commander, as the most
obstinate and bloody he had ever seen. The militia, with a firmness
‘which would have graced the veterans of the great King of Prussia,’
advanced with shouts into the hottest of the enemy’s fire; but one
part of the line faltering for a moment, the British, elated at the
prospect, sprang forward to improve that moment, but at the same time
deranged their own line. General Greene, who was watching for such an
incident, ‘ordered the second line to advance and sweep the field with
the bayonets!’

“The order was promptly obeyed, and the enemy were driven from the
ground, through their camp in the rear. But their pursuers were
diverted by the spoils of their tents, and became irretrievably
confused. In the mean time the enemy rallied, and under cover of
the fire from a large party who had taken possession of a brick
house, recovered their camp. Had it not been for the temptation, so
unexpectedly thrown open, the British forces must have surrendered.
As it was, their power in South Carolina was prostrated, for in this
action they lost upwards of one thousand men. The enemy abandoned the
whole of South Carolina, except Charleston, and the American army
retired to their former encampment.”

Except for the purpose of procuring provisions, the enemy lay inactive
in Charleston, for with all their sagacity they had not been able to
retain possession of the country. They therefore prepared to evacuate
the city, having agreed with General Greene to leave it uninjured, and
without interruption from the American army. On the 14th of December,
1782, the delighted citizens of Charleston beheld the British troops
march out of their city, and with joyous congratulations received with
open arms the liberators of their country. This, indeed, was a happy
day; many and sincere were the prayers offered to the ALMIGHTY for
their deliverance; the whole city presented a scene of festivity.

From the governor to the lowly citizen, General Greene was regarded as
the object of every eye, the praise of every tongue. South Carolina
conveyed to him a valuable portion of land; Georgia presented him with
a beautiful and highly improved plantation in the vicinity of Savannah.

When peace was restored, General Greene returned for a time to his
native state, in order to remove his family to his new plantation in

On his arrival at Princeton, New Jersey, where Congress was then in
session, that body unanimously resolved to present him with two pieces
of ordnance, taken from the British army, “as a public testimony of the
wisdom, fortitude and military skill which distinguished his command
in the southern campaign. They had previously voted him a British
standard and a gold medal, an engraving of which is given on Plate III.,
commemorative of the battle of Eutaw.

In 1785 General Greene removed, with his family, to his new residence
in Georgia, where he engaged in agricultural pursuits, and in the
education of his children, but his period of domestic repose was short;
scarcely a year did he enjoy the happiness of his family, for on the
19th of June, 1786, he closed a life of deep, pure, devoted patriotism
to his country, and love and good-will to all mankind.


OCCASION.--Gallant conduct at Eutaw Springs, S. C.

DEVICE.--Head of General Greene, profile.

LEGEND.--Nathanieli Greene egregio duci comitia Americana.

REVERSE.--Victory lighting on the earth, stepping on a broken shield;
under her feet broken arms; colors; a shield.

LEGEND.--Salus regionem australium.

EXERGUE.--Hostibus ad Eutaw debellatis, die 8th Sept. 1781.


Horatio Gates was the son of a clergyman at Malden, in England, and was
born in the year 1729. Having lost his father at an early age, he was
left pretty much to the dictates of his own passion. He appears to have
determined on a military life as early as twelve years of age, when
the frequent remonstrances of his uncle and guardian could not prevail
on him to relinquish the thoughts of a profession so much against the
wishes of his family.

At the age of seventeen he was appointed to an ensigncy in the
regiment commanded by General Monckton, who was a personal friend of
the father of Gates, and who gave him every opportunity of improving
himself. Shortly after he was promoted to a lieutenancy, and was
aid-de-camp to General Monckton at the capture of Martinico, where his
bravery and soldier-like conduct won for him the rank of major. He was
among the first troops who landed at Halifax, in Nova Scotia, under
General Cornwallis, and was stationed there for some time. He was only
in his twenty-sixth year when he accompanied the unfortunate Braddock
in the expedition against Fort du Quesne, and with the illustrious
Washington, was among the few officers, who, on that occasion,
escaped with their lives. Gates did not escape, however, without a
very dangerous wound; he was shot through the body, which for a time
shut him out from the bloody and perilous scenes which attended the
various battles of the French war. Although he had not been a citizen
of the new world but a few years, he evinced his attachment to it by
purchasing a farm in Virginia, where he retired till he was perfectly
restored to health. His attachment to the new country, and a military
reputation so high, Congress, without any hesitation, appointed him
adjutant-general, with the rank of brigadier-general in the new army
of the revolution of 1775. General Washington was well acquainted with
his merits in his military character, and warmly recommended him to
Congress on the occasion; they had been fellow-soldiers and sufferers
under General Braddock.

From this period he took an active part in most of the transactions
of the war, and his bravery and good fortune placed him in a rank
inferior only to Washington. In July, 1775, he accompanied the
commander-in-chief to Cambridge, and was employed for some time in a
subordinate but highly useful capacity. In June, 1776, the government
evinced their confidence in Gates, by conferring on him the chief
command of the forces at the north, and the new general was found in
no way deficient in courage and vigilance, so necessary under such

The Congress had turned an anxious eye towards Canada at the opening
of the contest; being fully aware of the danger of their gaining
possession of our harbors and lakes, and the great difficulty to us,
to obtain possession of their strong forts on their settled frontier.
The British commenced the naval preparations on their side with great
alacrity and success. But the Americans had every obstacle, but the
want of zeal, to encounter in preparing for defence. General Gates
was directed to co-operate with General Schuyler, but there was a
miserable and irreparable deficiency in cannon, in the materials of
ship-building, and even in the necessary workmen. The country had
been hitherto a desert. Colonization, in its natural progress, had
not approached these solitary shores. Nothing but the exigencies of
the former war with France had occasioned this region to be traversed
or inhabited. A few forts, with suitable garrisons, were all that
could be found in it, and that abundance of workmen, vessels and
prepared timber, which a well-planted country would have spontaneously
furnished, was unknown. Schuyler, indeed, was not destitute of a naval
armament, but it was insufficient to cope with the greater preparations
of the enemy. With all the exertions of the two commanders, they
were merely able to equip about fifteen vessels, half of which were
little better than boats, and the largest carried only twelve small
guns very ill supplied with ammunition. This small armament, at the
recommendation of General Gates, was placed under the command of the
intrepid, and then, unsuspected Arnold. The first operations of the
campaign consisted in a contest between these vessels under Arnold, and
a much superior force under General Carleton, in which the land forces
had no concern. The British army under Carleton commenced their advance
to Ticonderoga, where Gates and Schuyler were already stationed with
eight thousand men, well provisioned and determined to defend it to the
last extremity; all parties expecting to witness a long, obstinate,
and, perhaps, a bloody siege.

Some causes, however, and most probably the lateness of the season,
induced Carleton to disappoint these expectations, by precipitately
retiring to Canada in search of winter quarters.

This retreat enabled General Gates to march southward, with a
considerable detachment of his army, to assist General Washington in
his operations in the middle colonies. The ensuing year was passed in a
great variety of movements and skirmishes in the lower districts of New
York, Pennsylvania and Jersey, between detachments of each army. In the
ordinary records of the time, we meet with no splendid or conspicuous
part performed by the subject of these memoirs, though there is
sufficient reason to believe that his services in that motley warfare
were active, strenuous and useful.

News having reached General Gates that Burgoyne, with part of his
army, had passed the Hudson and encamped at Saratoga, he, with numbers
already equal, and continually augmenting, advanced quickly towards
him, with a resolution to oppose his progress at the risk of a battle.

On the 17th of September he arrived at Stillwater, where he encamped,
being then within four miles of the enemy. Two days after, skirmishes
between advanced parties terminated in an engagement almost general, in
which the utmost efforts of the British merely enabled them to maintain
footing of the preceding day. Burgoyne, who was daily expecting
reinforcements from Clinton at New York, was content to remain in his
camp, although his army was diminished by the desertion of the Indians
and the Canadian militia, to less than one-half of its original number.

Gates, on the contrary, finding his forces largely increasing, being
plentifully supplied with provisions, and knowing that Burgoyne had
only a limited store, and that rapidly lessening, and could not be
recruited, was not without hopes that victory would come, in time,
even without a battle. His troops were so numerous, and his fortified
position so strong, that he was able to take measures for preventing
the retreat of the enemy, by occupying the strong posts in his rear.

Accordingly, nineteen days passed without any further operations, a
delay as ruinous to one party as it was advantageous to the other.

At the end of this period, the British general found his prospects of
assistance as remote as ever, and the consumption of his stores so
alarming, that retreat or victory became unavoidable alternatives.
On the eighth of October a warm action ensued, in which the British
were everywhere repulsed, and a part of their lines occupied by their
enemies. Burgoyne’s loss was very considerable in killed, wounded and
prisoners, while the favorable situation of Gates’ army made its losses
in the battle of no moment.

Burgoyne retired in the night to a stronger camp, but the measures
immediately taken, by Gates, to cut off his retreat, compelled him
without delay to regain his former camp at Saratoga. There he arrived
with little molestation from his adversary. His provisions being now
reduced to the supply of a few days, the transport of artillery and
baggage towards Canada being rendered impracticable by the judicious
measures of his adversary, the British general resolved upon a rapid
retreat, merely with what the soldiers could carry on their backs. They
soon found they were deprived even of this resource, as the passes
through which their route lay were so strongly guarded, that nothing
but artillery could clear them. In this desperate situation a parley
took place, and on the sixteenth of October the whole army surrendered
to Gates. The prize obtained consisted of more than five thousand
prisoners, some fine artillery, seven thousand muskets, clothing for
seven thousand men, with a great quantity of tents, and other military
stores. All the frontier fortresses were immediately abandoned to the
victors. This successful capture filled America with joy: Congress
passed a vote of thanks, and ordered a gold medal (_See_ Plate III.)
to be presented to him by the President. It is not easy to overrate
the importance of this success. It may be considered as deciding the
war of the revolution, as from that period the British cause began
rapidly to decline. The capture of Cornwallis was not considered of
equal importance to that of Burgoyne, nor an event which caused more

The conduct of General Gates towards his conquered enemy was marked
by a delicacy which did him the highest honor; he did not permit his
own troops to witness the mortification of the British in depositing
their arms. The system of General Gates was that of forbearance
and lenity--of allowing for honest intentions and difference of
opinion. The benignity of his measures were seconded by the urbanity
of his personal deportment--he was courteous and even friendly to
the proscribed, and this event entitled him to a high rank among
the deliverers of his country. Soon after General Gates retired to
his estate in Virginia, and died in 1806, at the advanced age of
seventy-seven years.


OCCASION.--Surrender of Lieutenant-General Burgoyne and his army at
Saratoga, New York, in 1777.

DEVICE.--Bust of General Gates.

LEGEND.--Horatio Gates duci strenno comitia Americana.

REVERSE.--Gates and Burgoyne in front of the American and British
troops. Burgoyne in the act of presenting his sword to Gates. The
Americans on the right, with arms shouldered and colors flying. The
British on the left, in the act of grounding their arms, and laying
down their colors. By the side of the two generals are a drum and a
stand of colors.

LEGEND.--Salus Regionum Septentrional.

EXERGUE.--Hoste ad Saratogam in dedition. Accepto die 17th October,


The father of Daniel Morgan was a Welshman, who had emigrated from
Wales, and settled in the state of New Jersey, some years before
the birth of his son, which took place in the year 1736. His father
was poor, consequently his education was confined to the ordinary
branches of a country school. At an early age, an enterprising
character appeared to be developing itself, and our hero, at the age of
seventeen, left the humble roof of his parents, to improve his fortune
at the south. Accordingly, we next find him as wagoner on the estate
of a wealthy planter, in Frederick county, Virginia. In the situation
of teamster, he continued until after the unfortunate expedition of
Braddock; during the whole of this campaign he drove his own team
attached to the army. During this unfortunate campaign he was charged
with insolence to a British officer, tried and sentenced to receive
five hundred lashes, which he submitted to with that firm indifference
which was peculiar to him through the remainder of his life. Lee, in
his memoirs says, “That in a few days after the infliction of this
disgraceful punishment, the officer became convinced of the injustice
of the charge, and made an ample atonement to young Morgan before the
whole regiment.” It was during this disastrous campaign, that the
military qualifications of Morgan were first noticed, when the officers
recommended him to the colonial government of Virginia, from which he
received a commission as ensign in the English service. It was in this
capacity that his powers of mind burst forth, in those qualifications
which twenty years afterwards distinguished him as one of the prominent
heroes of the glorious revolution.

Although engaged from 1775 to 1781, in which he saw more actual service
than any other American officer, he received but one dangerous wound.
He was attacked by a party of Indians, while carrying dispatches to
a frontier post, accompanied by two soldiers; he received a ball,
which entering the back of his neck, came out through his left cheek,
shattering his jaw in a dangerous manner. He was mounted on a fleet
horse, and in falling, grasped firmly the neck of the animal. The
savages, presuming he was dead, left him to scalp the two that had
fallen. Morgan, who believed that his wounds would prove fatal, or that
he should be exhausted by loss of blood, urged his horse to full speed,
and the noble animal escaped with him into the fort. One of the savages
followed him for some distance, as fast as he could run, with open
mouth and tomahawk in hand, expecting every moment his victim would
fall. When the disappointed savage found the horse was fast leaving him
behind, he threw his tomahawk with great force, but without effect, and
abandoned the pursuit with a most hideous yell.

This serious wound confined Morgan to the hospital for six months; as
soon as convalescence permitted, he returned to his native state, where
he remained till he was quite recovered. In 1774, we find him possessor
of one of the finest farms in the county of Frederick. During this year
he took the command of a company in an expedition to the west, under
Lord Dunmore, against the Indians, who were defeated. On his return, on
the Ohio river, he first heard of the hostilities between the English
and the Bostonians. On their arrival at Winchester, Virginia, the corps
was disbanded, and they severally pledged themselves to each other,
to aid their eastern brethren if they should require it. Matters now
becoming serious, he applied to Congress for permission to raise a
company, which was immediately granted, with an appointment as captain.
His military popularity being so well known, that in the short space of
eight days, ninety-six men had enrolled themselves under his command,
which formed the nucleus of that celebrated rifle company, which so
signally distinguished itself in so many battles. His corps being
complete he reached Boston in fifteen days, and remaining there some
time in inactivity, he requested to be detached to Quebec. This was
done, and under the orders of General Arnold, in that celebrated march
through the woods, he led the van. Shortly after his arrival, General
Montgomery also arrived, when the attack was decided upon. Morgan led
the vanguard, under the order of General Arnold, who, being badly
wounded in the leg, was carried from the field at the commencement of
the attack.

At this time there were three field officers superior in command to
Morgan, but each, from inexperience, insisted upon waiving their rank,
and placed Morgan in command. His attack was upon a two gun battery,
supported by fifty men. Having twice fired and missed, he ordered the
ladders to be placed, which he mounted, and leaped into the town amidst
the fifty men who, after a faint resistance, fled; this daring act
inspired the soldiers, who lost no time in following their leader.

The English soldiery were panic-struck, the battery was carried
without resistance, the barrier left open, and the people gave
themselves up, asking for protection. Before entering the barrier
gate, he was ordered to wait for General Montgomery. In this he very
reluctantly acquiesced, saying at the same time that it would give
the enemy time to rally, and recover from their panic. In this he was
correct, for the news of the death of the brave Montgomery seemed
to damp the ardor of the brave soldiers; although they fought to
desperation, they were overwhelmed by numbers and made prisoners of
war. Soon after the exchange of Morgan, he received the appointment
of colonel in the continental army; and marched at the head of the
partisan rifle corps to the assistance of General Gates. At the
glorious victory of Saratoga, he took a most conspicuous part; although
Gates shamefully omitted to do him justice at the time, the English
account of the battle gave the principal credit of the victory to

A reconciliation, however, soon took place between Morgan and Gates;
and the latter, on every subsequent occasion, endeavored to make amends
for the injustice. The legislature of Virginia presented Morgan with
a horse, pistols and a sword; and his neighbors named his plantation
“Saratoga,” in honor of his late victory. His next act of bravery and
skill was displayed in the defeat of General Tarleton, at the battle of
the Cowpens, on the 17th of January, 1781, where he took nearly as many
prisoners as he had men of his own; and Congress testified the high
sense they entertained of this brilliant victory, by presenting him
with a gold medal, (hereafter described.) At the end of the war General
Morgan retired to his plantation at Saratoga, and devoted himself to
agricultural pursuits. He was elected to Congress, but after serving
two sessions, his debilitated health obliged him to retire from public

In 1800, General Morgan removed to Winchester, where he was confined
by extreme debility for nearly two years, and expired on the sixth day
of July, 1802. General Morgan had two daughters, the eldest married to
the late General Presly Neville, of Pittsburgh, and the youngest to
Major Heard, of New Jersey. Of this gallant soldier it may truly be
said, that no officer rendered more efficient aid to the cause of his
country, and that he well merited the character at that time given him,
the hero of the three greatest victories, Quebec, Saratoga, and the


(_See_ Plate III.)

OCCASION.--Victory at the Cowpens, North Carolina.

DEVICE.--An Indian queen with a quiver on her back, in the act of
crowning an officer with a laurel wreath; his hand resting on his
sword: a cannon lying on the ground: various military weapons and
implements in the back-ground.

LEGEND.--Danieli Morgan, duci exercitus comitia Americana.

REVERSE.--An officer mounted, at the head of his troops, charging a
flying enemy. A battle in the back-ground: in front, a personal combat
between a dragoon unhorsed and a foot soldier.

LEGEND.--Victoria libertatis vindex.

EXERGUE.--Fugatis, captis aut cæsis ad cowpens hostibus, 17th January,

[Illustration: Plate 4.




_W. L. Ormsby, sc._]


John Eager Howard, the subject of this memoir, was born on the 4th of
June, 1752, in Baltimore county, and state of Maryland. He was the
grandson of Joshua Howard, who, when young, left his home, in the
vicinity of Manchester, England, and against the wishes of his parents,
joined the army of the Duke of York, afterwards James the Second,
during Monmouth’s insurrection; fearing to encounter the displeasure
of his parents, he joined a band of adventurers, who were preparing to
seek their fortunes in the British colonies in North America, in the
year 1685.

He soon obtained a grant of land in Baltimore county, (which is still
held by the family,) and married Miss Joanna O’Carroll, of an Irish
family, but recently emigrated from Ireland.

Cornelius, his son, and father of the subject of this sketch, married
a Miss Eager, whose estate now forms part of the city of Baltimore.
During the interval that elapsed between the emigration of the early
members of the family to the revolution, they appear to have been quiet
cultivators of the soil, taking no part in the political broils that
were frequently arising in the colonies.

The time had now arrived, when every true son of America felt bound to
participate in the approaching struggle for liberty and independence,
and John Eager Howard received a commission as captain, in one of those
bodies of militia termed flying camps in the regiment commanded by
Colonel Hall. The commission depended upon his raising thirty men in a
given time; but such was the esteem in which our hero was held, that he
formed his company required in two days, and marched direct to the army.

In the following year he was promoted, till finally he succeeded
Lieutenant-Colonel Ford in the command of the second Maryland regiment.
He was present at the battle of White Plains, and continued to serve
till the end of the year 1776, when his corps was dismissed. Congress
having resolved to raise additional regiments to serve during the war,
with officers commissioned by Congress, Major Howard was one of the
number allotted to Maryland, and in April 1777, we find him marching
with his regiment to join the army at Rocky Hill, near Princeton, where
he remained till the latter end of June, when receiving information
of the death of his father, he returned home, till the following
September, when he rejoined the army a few days after the Battle at
Brandywine Springs, but in time to give proofs of his bravery at the
battle of Germantown, which afterwards so greatly distinguished him.

Colonel Hall being disabled at the commencement of the battle of
Germantown, Major Howard assumed the command and encountered the
British corps of light infantry, posted some distance from the
main body, and after a sharp conflict, pursued them through their
encampment, Howard passing with his regiment amidst the standing tents,
and in front of Chew’s house, without any serious injury from the fire
of the British. Having passed in safety, he advanced his Maryland
troops about a quarter of a mile farther towards the main body of the
British troops, who now sallied forth from their temporary fortress,
and attacked the Maryland corps, but a return fire killed the officer
who had commanded the garrison, and no further molestation ensued.

Major Howard still remained with the army, and was present at the
battle of Monmouth, but we do not hear of any particular share that
he bore in that contest. In June, 1779, Major Howard received the
commission of Lieutenant-Colonel of the fifth Maryland regiment in the
army of the United States, and accordingly prepared for a southern
march, to meet General Gates and his army at the camp at Deep Run,
North Carolina.

Having reinforced, they made night marches, in order to attack the
British army, commanded as they thought by Lord Rawdon, but Cornwallis,
who had lately arrived from Charleston with a strong reinforcement,
was resolved to assault Gates in his camp. Gates, who had left his
camp, and was proceeding by night marches to meet his antagonist, was
encountered in the woods, where, to his great astonishment and dismay,
he found that not Lord Rawdon, but Cornwallis, was the commander of
the British troops, and that the enemy was much superior in force
to the American troops. A retreat now was impossible, and the only
alternative offered, was to form a line of battle. The disheartening
intelligence, that Cornwallis had reinforced the British army, and
the darkness of night, may, in some measure, account for the conduct
of the militia in the battle of Camden, for they gave way early in
the action, thereby throwing the whole of the British troops entirely
upon the two Maryland brigades, who maintained the contest obstinately
against superior numbers, at one time making a partially successful
attempt to use the bayonet. Colonel Howard drove the corps in front of
him out of line; and if the left wing of the American army had been
able to occupy the attention of the British right, the day would have
been propitious; but attacked as he was in front and rear, by horse
and foot, the American troops were overpowered and driven into the
woods and swamps in all directions. Colonel Howard succeeded in keeping
a few of his men together, and being occasionally joined by other
officers and men, they reached Charlotte, a distance of sixty miles,
in about three days: their only subsistence during that time was a few
peaches. From this time, and until the arrival of General Greene in
December, Colonel Howard was employed in equipping and forming into a
battalion, four companies of light infantry, placed under his command,
and then transferred to Greene. The next conspicuous act of our hero
was at the celebrated battle of the Cowpens, 17th of January, 1781. We
find from manuscript and printed documents of Colonel Howard himself,
whose scrupulous accuracy places his authority beyond a doubt, that it
was Howard, and not Morgan, who gave the order to the right company
to change its front and protect his flank, and it was Howard also,
who, on his own responsibility, ordered the charge with the bayonet.
We give his own language:--“Seeing my right flank was exposed to the
enemy, I attempted to change the front of Wallace’s company, (Virginia
regulars;) in doing it, some confusion ensued, and first a part,
and then the whole of the company commenced a retreat. The officers
along the line seeing this, and supposing that orders had been given
for a retreat, faced their men about and moved off. Morgan, who had
mostly been with the militia, quickly rode up to me and expressed
apprehensions of the event; but I soon removed his fears by pointing
to the line, and observing that men were not beaten who retreated in
that order. He then ordered me to keep with the men, until we came to
the rising ground near Washington’s horse; and he rode forward to fix
on the most proper place for us to halt and face about. In a minute we
had a perfect line. The enemy were now very near us. Our men commenced
a very destructive fire; which they little expected, and a few rounds
occasioned great disorder in their ranks. While in this confusion I
ordered a charge with the bayonet, which order was obeyed with great
alacrity. As the line advanced, I observed their artillery a short
distance in front, and called to Captain Ewing, who was near me, to
take it. Captain Anderson, (now General Anderson, of Montgomery county,
Maryland,) hearing the order, also pushed for the same object; and both
being emulous for the prize, kept pace until near the first piece, when
Anderson, by putting the end of his spontoon forward into the ground,
made a long leap, which brought him upon the gun and gave him the honor
of the prize. My attention was now drawn to an altercation of some of
the men with an artillery man, who appeared to make it a point of honor
not to surrender his match. The men, provoked by his obstinacy, would
have bayoneted him on the spot, had I not interfered and desired them
to spare the life of so brave a man. He then surrendered his match.
In the pursuit I was led to the right, in among the seventy-first,
who were broken into squads; and as I called to them to surrender,
they laid down their arms, and the officers delivered up their swords.
Captain Duncanson, of the seventy-first grenadiers, gave me his sword
and stood by me. Upon getting on my horse, I found him pulling at my
saddle, and he nearly unhorsed me. I expressed my displeasure, and
asked what he was about. The explanation was, that they had orders
to give no quarter, and they did not expect any; and as my men were
coming up, he was afraid they would use him ill. I admitted his excuse
and put him into the care of a sergeant. I had messages from him many
years afterwards, expressing his obligation for my having saved his
life.” At the time Colonel Howard was “among the seventy-first,” as he
observes, he had in his hand at one time, seven swords of officers who
had surrendered to him personally.

The moral effect of this celebrated battle was felt throughout the
whole country. Congress voted a gold medal to Colonel Howard, (_See_
Plate I.,) descriptive of his gallant conduct at the Cowpens, which is
described at the end of this sketch.

The battle of the Cowpens is the only one on record, in which the
American troops fairly conquered the British with the bayonet in open

In the extreme danger incurred by the rear guard, in protecting the
retreat of Greene, Colonel Howard bore his full share; in the battle of
Guildford, which soon followed, we find his skill and bravery displayed
in no common degree. In his own manuscript, he observes:--“My station
being on the left of the first regiment, and next the cleared ground,
Captain Gibson, deputy adjutant-general, rode up to me, and informed
me that a party of the enemy inferior in number to us, were pushing
through the cleared ground and into our rear, and that if we would face
about and charge them, we might take them. I rode to Colonel Gunby and
gave him the information. He did not hesitate to order the regiment to
face about, and we were immediately engaged with the guards. Our men
gave them some well directed fires, and we then advanced and continued
firing. At this time Gunby’s horse was shot, and falling upon him,
injured him, but not severely. Major Anderson was killed about this
time. As we advanced, I observed Washington’s horse, and as their
movements were quicker than ours, they first charged and broke the
enemy. My men followed very quickly, and we pressed through the guards,
many of whom had been knocked down by the horse without being much
hurt. We took some prisoners, and the whole were in our power.

“After passing through the guards, as before stated, I found myself
in the cleared ground, and saw the seventy-first regiment near the
court-house, and other columns of the enemy appearing in different

“Washington’s horse having gone off, I found it necessary to retire,
which I did leisurely; but many of the guards who were lying on the
ground, and who we supposed were wounded, got up and fired at us as we

Such is the unadorned narrative of this brave and gallant soldier.
At the battle of Hobkirk’s Hill, he also ably distinguished himself.
At Eutaw he had the command of the second Maryland regiment, who
distinguished themselves at the bayonet’s point, and (according to Lee)
in encountering the obstinate resistance of the Buffs, many of the
Marylanders and of the Buffs were mutually transfixed with each other’s
bayonets. Colonel Howard, in a letter, says, “nearly one-half of my
men were killed or wounded, and I had seven officers out of twelve
disabled; four killed, and three severely wounded.” Towards the end
of the battle, Colonel Howard received a ball in the left shoulder,
which, passing entirely through, came out under the shoulder-blade, and
disabled him. In a letter from General Greene to General Smallwood,
written a few days after the battle, he says, “nothing could exceed
the gallantry of the Maryland line, the uncommon bravery of Colonels
Howard, Williams, and the other officers, and the free use of the
bayonet, by this and some other corps, gave us the victory.”

As soon as he was able to be removed, Colonel Howard was taken home,
followed by the affectionate commendations of his brother officers.
General Greene, in writing to a friend, after his departure, says,
“Colonel Howard is as good an officer as the world afforded, and
deserves a statue of gold, no less than the Roman or Grecian heroes.”

At the conclusion of the war, Colonel Howard retired to his estates
in Baltimore county, and soon after married Margaret, the daughter of
Benjamin Chew, of Philadelphia. He was shortly after chosen governor
of Maryland, which office he filled for three years. In 1795, General
Washington invited him to a seat in his cabinet, but this was declined.
In 1796, he was transferred from the legislature of his own state to
the senate of the United States, where he remained seven years; he then
returned again to his agricultural pursuits, where he remained till
the trumpet of war broke in upon his retirement in 1814. The capture
of Washington by the enemy, and the meditated attack upon Baltimore,
demanded a preparation for resistance, and a troop of aged men was
organized to render such services as their strength would allow, and
Colonel Howard was, by unanimous consent, placed at its head. Colonel
Howard now began to feel the effects of his early wound, which at
every slight exposure brought on severe pain, which made inroads in
his constitution not easily repaired. In 1821 he had the misfortune
to lose his eldest daughter, and in 1822 his eldest son, and in 1824,
the loss of his devoted wife gave him a shock from which he never
recovered; from that time his health began fast to decline, and in
October, 1827, he resigned his life with characteristic fortitude and
pious resignation. An obituary notice written by a celebrated dignitary
of the Catholic church, demands a place in these pages. “One after
another, the stars of our revolutionary firmament are sinking below the
horizon. They rise in another hemisphere, as they set to us; and the
youth of other times will gaze upon their lustre, as he learns their
names and marks them clustering into constellations, which will recall
to his mind some interesting event of our period of struggle.” An able
historiographer thus speaks of the lamented Howard: “In private life he
was distinguished for the amenity of his manners, his hospitality, and
his extensive and useful knowledge. He possessed a memory uncommonly
minute, and a love of information that never sank under the labor of
acquisition. These faculties rendered him, perhaps, the most accurate
repository of the history of his own time, in this or any other
country. His habits of life were contemplative, cautious, scrupulously
just, and regulated by the strictest method. Few men have enjoyed a
more enviable lot;--his youth distinguished in the field, his age in
the council, and every period solaced by the attachment of friends.
Affluent in fortune, as rich in public regard, and blessed in his
domestic and personal associations, he has glided away from the small
band of his compatriots, as full of honors as of years. The example
of such a citizen is a legacy to his country, of more worth than the
precepts of an age.”


OCCASION.--Victory at the Cowpens, N. Carolina.

DEVICE.--An officer mounted, with uplifted sword, pursuing an officer
on foot, bearing a stand of colors: Victory descending in front over
the former, holding a wreath in her right hand over his head: a
palm-branch in her left hand.

LEGEND.--John Eager Howard, legionis peditum præfecto comitia Americana.

REVERSE INSCRIPTION--(_within a laurel wreath_.)--Quod in nutantem
hostium aciem subito irruens, præclarum bellicæ virtutis specimen dedit
in pugna, ad Cowpens, 17th January, 1781.


William Augustine Washington was the eldest son of Baily Washington, of
Stafford county, Virginia. The subject of these memoirs had commenced
his studies for the church, when the war sound of the revolution rung
in his ears; he was one of those who exerted such an exalted influence
throughout the whole campaign, that his biographers distinguish him as
the “modern Marcellus.”

Colonel Washington was a scholar of rare attainments, especially in the
Greek language, in which, in his day, he was unequalled. At the request
of his relative, General George Washington, he was appointed to the
command of a company of infantry, in the third regiment of the Virginia

He was distinguished for his manly fortitude in sustaining the greatest
difficulties and dangers.

He led one of the attacking columns, at the surprise of the Hessians
at Trenton, where he received a severe wound from a musket-ball
which passed entirely through his hand. He was afterwards appointed
a major in a regiment of dragoons, commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel
Baylor, which was shortly after surprised by a detachment of the
enemy, commanded by General Grey, and almost cut to pieces. Our hero
fortunately escaped, and in the year following joined the army of
General Lincoln, of South Carolina, with whose troops he was constantly
employed, in encounters with the British, first, near Ashley Ferry,
where he drove back the cavalry of the British legion, commanded by
Lieutenant-Colonel Tarleton, and took several prisoners: but being
unsupported by infantry, he gained but little advantage or success.

It has been asserted, and it is believed from good authority, that
Colonel Washington and Tarleton were personally engaged, and that
during the skirmish, Tarleton lost three of his fingers from a stroke
from the sword of Colonel Washington. An anecdote is related and
believed to be correct, respecting the meeting of these two officers:
it is as follows:--Tarleton, when on a visit to an American family,
remarked, that he should be glad to get another look at this Colonel
Washington, of whom he had heard so much: when a lady in company
quickly observed, “What a pity Colonel Tarleton did not turn his
head when he lost his fingers!” Subsequently, Colonel Washington
was attached to the light corps, commanded by General Morgan; and
by an ingenious stratagem carried a valuable post in possession of
the British, called Rugely’s, and took a great number of prisoners,
without firing a single shot. Aware of the character of his opponent,
Colonel Rugely, he placed a pine log on the wheels of a wagon, so
painted as to have the appearance, at a distance, of a field-piece,
threatening immediate destruction if any resistance should be offered.
The affrighted Colonel begged for quarter and surrendered without

Next followed the brilliant victory of the Cowpens, in which Colonel
Washington contributed in no small degree. His ardor in this contest
had nearly cost him his life. Animating the troops to the pursuit
by his example, he advanced so far as to be surrounded by several
British officers. At the moment when the sword of one of them was
actually raised for his destruction, his brave bugleman fired a pistol
which disabled the British officer, and saved the life of his gallant
commander. Shortly after his cavalry was added to a body of horse
and foot selected by General Greene, and placed under the command of
Colonel Williams. Colonel Washington was happy to a degree in baffling
the efforts of Cornwallis to force Greene to a battle. He took a very
conspicuous part in the contest at Guildford Courthouse, where, by a
spirited and daring charge, he broke the British regiment of guards,
commanded by Colonel Stewart, who was killed; and with the brave
Colonel Howard and his gallant Marylanders, nearly effected their
entire destruction. Colonel Garden relates the following remarks made
to him by an officer of distinction in the army of the enemy:--“I
was near General Webster when the charge was made by Washington. The
desperate situation of the guards had its effect on all around. An
American officer quickly perceiving it, rode up to the British line and
called aloud, ‘Surrender, gentlemen, and be certain of good quarters.’
Terrified by appearances, and concluding that defeat was inevitable,
the soldiers of the regiment of De Bose were actually throwing down
their arms. In the midst of the confusion, General Webster, famed for
great presence of mind, exclaimed, ‘Unless that gallant fellow is taken
off, we are lost.’ A field-piece at this moment was brought up, and
directed to be fired into the throng where the guards now appeared
to be greatly outnumbered, and did so with the happiest success; the
cavalry wheeled off, the remains of the battalion rallied, and the army
was saved.”

At Hobkirk Hill, Colonel Washington added another wreath to his
well-earned laurels. Famous for skillful maneuvering, he cut off
the rear of the British line, capturing eleven officers and two
hundred men, but the early retreat of the American forces prevented
his bringing more than fifty of his prisoners off the field; these,
however, contained the eleven officers. At the battle of Eutaw, his
repeated charges on the British light infantry were signalized by
extraordinary bravery and valor. In an effort which required all his
courage, his horse was shot from under him, and becoming entangled
as he fell, he was taken prisoner. This was the closing scene of
his military performances, which had always been characterized by
ardor, bravery and decision; he knew danger only by name, and though
unfortunate at last, no officer in the American revolution ever in a
higher degree merited success.

He remained a prisoner until the close of the war, when he retired to
his plantation at Sandy Hill, about thirty miles from Charleston, South
Carolina. He served for several years as a member of the legislature,
during which service he was persuaded to become a candidate for the
office of governor; but this honor he respectfully declined.

He married a lady to whom he had become attached during his
imprisonment. By her he had a son and daughter. After a long and
tedious illness, borne by the most heroic and Christian fortitude, he
died on the 6th of March, 1810.

By a resolve of Congress, 9th March, 1781, which stated that eighty
cavalry and two hundred and thirty-seven infantry of the United States,
and five hundred and fifty-three southern militia, obtained a complete
victory over a select and well-appointed detachment of more than eleven
hundred British, commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Tarleton, a silver
medal was ordered to be struck and presented to Colonel Washington, of
which the following is a description:--

OCCASION.--Victory at the Cowpens, North Carolina.

DEVICE.--An officer mounted at the head of a body of cavalry, charging
flying troops: Victory over the heads of the Americans, holding a
laurel crown in her right hand, and a palm branch in her left.

LEGEND.--Gulielmo Washington legionis equit. Præfecto comitia Americana.

REVERSE.--Quod parva militum manu strenue prospectus hostes, virtutis
ingenitæ præclarum specionen dedit in pregna ad Cowpens, 17th January,
1781. (Within a laurel crown.) (_See_ Plate I.)


Henry Lee, the subject of the following sketch, was born in Virginia on
the 29th of January, 1756. His family was one of the most respectable
among the first settlers of that state. His father was for many
years a member of the provincial assembly of Virginia. Henry Lee was
prepared for college by a private tutor at his father’s residence,
and afterwards graduated at Princeton College, New Jersey, under the
superintendence of Dr. Witherspoon, then President.

Two years after his graduation, and in the twentieth of his age, he
was appointed to the command, as captain, of one of the six companies
of cavalry, raised by his native state; the whole under the command of
Colonel Theodoric Bland.

During the campaigns of 1775 and 1776, there was not a single troop of
horse attached to the continental army. General Washington, seeing the
danger arising from this, was urgent in his applications to Congress,
and consequently the Virginia regiment was received into the service of
the United States.

Here, under the immediate eye of the commander-in-chief, his skill
in discipline and gallant bearing rapidly acquired confidence. He was
promoted to the rank of Major, with the command of a separate corps of
cavalry. From his able and rigorous attention to his horses and men,
he was enabled at all times to act with promptness and efficiency.
Not only in attacking light parties of the enemy, but in foraging
and obtaining information, he rendered most essential service to the
American army.

As it was the province of Lee to lay near the British lines to discover
their movements, an attempt was made to cut off both him and his
troops. A body of British cavalry, amounting to about two hundred
men, made a circuitous route, seizing four of his patrols, and came
unexpectedly upon him in his stone house used as quarters. He had with
him at the time but _ten_ men; the majority were dispersed in search of

With this small but gallant band, he made such a resolute and
determined defence, that the enemy hastily retreated, after having
four men and several horses killed, with one officer and three men
wounded. This gallant and almost miraculous affair called forth from
his commander-in-chief marks of his warmest approbation. Congress
also voted him their thanks and congratulations upon his fortunate
escape. In the year 1779, Lee again called forth the approbation of his
country, by the successful execution of a plan for the capture of the
British garrison, stationed at Paulus Hook, near New York.

At the head of about three hundred men, he completely surprised the
garrison, and after taking one hundred and sixty prisoners, retreated
with the loss of but two men killed and three wounded.

As a reward for the “prudence, skill and bravery” shown by Major Lee
in the affair of Paulus Hook, Congress ordered a gold medal to be
struck, under the direction of the board of treasury, and presented to
him; a description of which will be given at the end of this memoir.

Early in 1780, he returned with his legion to the south, having been
previously promoted to the rank of lieutenant-colonel, to join General
Greene, who was then watching the movements of Cornwallis.

At the celebrated retreat of Greene, before Cornwallis, the legion of
Major Lee formed the rear-guard of the American army; and so hasty was
the pursuit, that Lee, coming in contact with the dragoons of Tarleton,
in a successful charge, killed eighteen, and made a captain and fifteen
privates prisoners. When the safety of General Greene’s retreat was
certain, Lee, with Colonel Pickins, was detached to intercept and watch
the movements of Lord Cornwallis. Lee now formed a plan to surprise
Tarleton, and on their way to execute the plan, they fell in with some
messengers, dispatched by some loyalists to Tarleton, to apprise him of
his situation. These messengers, mistaking the legion of Lee for the
British, freely communicated the object of their errand, which enabled
Lee to act accordingly.

He particularly distinguished himself in the battle of Guildford.
Afterwards he succeeded in capturing Fort Cornwallis, and other forts.

In the battle of Eutaw Springs, which soon followed, his military
talents were again exerted, and again contributed in no small degree
to the successful issue of the day. Our hero was next dispatched by
General Greene to lay before his commander-in-chief the exigencies of
the troops under his command. Washington was then engaged in the siege
of Yorktown, and Lee arrived a few days only before its surrender. He
was present at that imposing and eventful ceremony, and, after having
executed his commission, returned again to the south. The health of
Colonel Lee had been much impaired by the fatigues and hardships he
had undergone; besides, he fancied himself neglected, and his services
underrated. Under the influence of these feelings, he sought and
obtained permission to retire from the army. Soon after his return to
Virginia, he married Matilda, the daughter of Philip Ludwell Lee, and
settled at Stratford, in Westmoreland county.

In 1786, he was appointed a delegate in Congress from Virginia, in
which body he remained till the constitution was adopted. In 1791, he
was chosen governor of Virginia, and retained the office three years.
He was a member of Congress at the death of General Washington, and was
appointed by Congress to deliver an eulogy on the occasion. He retained
his seat in Congress until the election of Jefferson to the chief
magistracy, when he retired into private life. The last years of this
gallant officer were clouded by pecuniary embarrassments. The profuse
and extravagant mode of living in Virginia ruined his estate, and
obliged him for some time to submit to the incarceration of a prison.

During his confinement he composed his memoirs of the southern
campaign, in which he had been one of the principal actors; the
events of which he had so good an opportunity of knowing. In hopes of
restoring his broken health, Colonel Lee repaired to the West Indies,
in order to try a warmer and more equable climate; but his hopes proved
futile, and in 1818, on his return to the United States, he died on the
25th of March, at the house of Mrs. Shaw, on Cumberland Island, near
St. Mary’s, Georgia, the daughter of his old friend and companion in
arms, General Greene.


OCCASION.--Attack on Paulus Hook.

DEVICE.--Bust of Colonel Lee.

LEGEND.--Henrico Lee, equit præfecto.

EXERGUE.--Comitia Americana.

REVERSE.--Non obstantib fluminibus, vallis astutia et virtute
bellica, parva manu hostes vicit victosq. Armis humanitate devinxit. In
men. pugn. ad Paulus Hook, 19th August, 1779. (_See_ Plate IV.)

[Illustration: Plate 5.




_W. L. Ormsby, sc._]


Winfield Scott was born on the 13th of June, 1785, in the county of
Dinwiddie, near Petersburg, Virginia. Designed for the profession of
the law, he received a liberal education, and graduated at William and
Mary College in that state. In 1806, having completed his studies, he
commenced practice at the bar, with talents and acquirements which
bade fair to introduce him to a very lucrative business. In 1807, the
aggressions upon our defenceless commerce, by European powers, and the
outrage upon the frigate Chesapeake, roused the indignant feelings of
the nation. Redress was promptly called for, and the more ardent of our
countrymen prepared for an immediate war. One of the first measures,
at the next session of Congress, was to pass a bill for the increase
of the army, and young Scott forsook the law, and was appointed a
captain in a regiment of light artillery; in which capacity he remained
prosecuting, with his usual zeal, his military studies, until the
declaration of war in 1812, which opened a more arduous field for the
exercise of his brilliant talents.

On the 6th of July, 1812, Scott was promoted to the rank of
Lieutenant-Colonel in the second regiment of artillery; and arrived on
the Niagara frontier, with the companies of Towson and Barker, and was
posted at Black Rock, to protect the navy yard at that place.

On the 13th of October, the attack upon Queenstown, under Colonel
Solomon Van Rensselaer, took place.

On the day previous, Lieutenant-Colonel Scott had arrived with his
regiment at Schlosser, twelve miles from Lewiston. The object of
this movement was to dispossess the enemy from the fort and village
of Queenstown Heights, and thus to make a lodgment for the American
troops on the Canada shore, the invasion of Canada being then the
leading object of the northern campaign. Anxious to be near the scene
of action, Scott obtained permission to march his regiment to Lewiston,
and to use his artillery as circumstances might direct. In the early
part of the action which followed he bore no part; but Colonels Van
Rensselaer and Fenwick having fallen severely wounded, Colonel Scott’s
request to cross the river was finally acceded to. The enemy was driven
from the heights, which were now in the possession of the Americans,
who gallantly repulsed an attack under General Brock, who had come up
with reinforcements, but was himself killed in the engagement.

On his arrival, Colonel Scott found the troops in great disorder.
Announcing his name and rank, he immediately formed them into line.
Colonel Scott’s attention was first directed to an eighteen pounder,
which the enemy, in his retreat, had left in the hands of the
Americans, after having hastily spiked it; and he proceeded in person
to direct the measures for rendering the piece again useful. Returning
in a short time, he was surprised to find a large body of Indians
preparing to attack the American lines, while the troops, already in
some confusion, were on the point of giving way. His presence soon
changed the state of affairs, and the savages were compelled to make a
hasty retreat. With an unanimous burst of enthusiasm, the line suddenly
rallied from right to left, threw itself forward upon the enemy,
putting him to precipitate flight, and leaving the ground strewed with
the dead and wounded. In this manner successive conflicts were kept up,
till a reinforcement of British arrived, under the command of Major
General Sheaffe.

Colonel Scott now perceiving that a crisis must be near at hand, every
effort was made by the commanding officers to induce the American
militia, on the opposite side of the river, to cross over to the
assistance of their countrymen, but in vain. Entreaty was wasted upon
them, and as all the boats were upon the American side, the little band
under Scott was left to await a fate from which there was no retreat.
All had now been done that was required by honor, and longer resistance
would only have sacrificed in vain the lives of brave men. Terms of
capitulation being agreed upon, Colonel Scott surrendered into the
hands of the enemy his whole force, now reduced to one hundred and
thirty-nine regulars, and one hundred and fifty-four militia; in all
two hundred and ninety-three men. Thus ended the battle of Queenstown
Heights; an engagement desultory in its movements, but unfortunate
in its results. From Queenstown, Scott was sent to Quebec; whence,
upon being exchanged, he soon after embarked for Boston. Previous to
this, however, one of those scenes occurred in which the decision of
character of Colonel Scott was most strikingly displayed.

When the prisoners were embarked on board the transport to be conveyed
to Boston, they were first mustered on the deck by British officers,
and every man whose accent betrayed his British birth, was set apart
to be sent to England as a traitor, there to be tried and executed. As
soon as Scott became aware of what was going on, he instantly forbade
his soldiers to make further answer. Twenty-three had already been
set apart for a shameful death. After the command from their Colonel,
no threats from the British officer could induce the men again to
speak. Scott, amidst constant interruptions from the British officer,
addressed the men, encouraged them to be of good cheer, and solemnly
pledged himself to them, that if a hair of the head of one of them
was touched, because of their having served in the American army,
retaliation should be made upon British prisoners in the hands of the
Americans. These twenty-three men, all Irish, were, nevertheless,
put in irons and sent to England, bearing with them the pledge of a
gallant soldier, who, they knew, would not fail them. His first care,
on his arrival at Boston, was to lay the whole circumstances before
the secretary of war, who communicated the same to Congress. A law was
passed vesting the President with the power of retaliation, and two
months after, at the capture of Fort George, Scott having made many
prisoners, true to his pledge, selected twenty-three of his prisoners,
and confined them to abide the fate of the twenty-three naturalized
Americans. In making this selection, Scott was careful not to include a
single Irishman.

The British authorities saw the peril, and, it may be presumed, the
injustice of the step they had taken, and not one of the prisoners was
tried or harmed. The sequel to the foregoing narrative is told by his
biographer, and must be read with interest. In July, 1815, when peace
had been some months concluded, and Scott (then a major-general), was
passing along on the East River side of the city of New York, he was
attracted by loud cheers and bustle on one of the piers. He approached
the scene, and great was his delight to find that it was the cheer of
his old Irish friends, in whose behalf he had interfered at Quebec, and
who had that moment landed in triumph, after a confinement of more than
two years in English prisons! He was quickly recognized by them, hailed
as their deliverer, and nearly crushed by their warm-hearted embraces!
Twenty-one were present, two having died natural deaths. Scott had not
then recovered from the wounds he had received in the bloody battle of
the Niagara, and was about to embark on a voyage to Europe. Yet, in
conformity with the promises of friendship he had made with these men,
he found time to write to the departments at Washington, and solicit
for them their patents for land bounties, and their long arrearages of
pay. He was successful, and they were at length restored both to their
adopted country and their promised rewards. Several of these brave
sons of Ireland are yet alive, and can testify to the truth of this

Shortly after the capture of York, the capital of Upper Canada, in
1813, Colonel Scott joined the army at Fort Niagara. He joined in the
capacity of adjutant-general, (chief of the staff,) under the command
of Major-General Dearborn. Though thus engaged in staff duties, he
insisted upon the right, and it was conceded, of commanding his own
regiment on extraordinary occasions. On the British side of the
Niagara was a peninsula, of which Fort George was the defence. This
position General Dearborn was determined to carry. The first act of
Colonel Scott was in leading the advanced column of the attack, which
so completely succeeded that the enemy was driven from the work and
the field; and but for repeated and peremptory orders, Scott would
probably have captured the whole British force. Fort George, the colors
of which had been taken down by Colonel Scott himself, became the head
quarters of the American troops, and in command of it Colonel Scott was
left, when the main body of the army went down the St. Lawrence, in
the summer of that year, to attack Montreal. The whole summer passed
without any attack from the British, when Scott obtained permission to
turn Fort George over to General McLure, of the New York militia, and
to join the main army at Sacket’s Harbor; marching to the mouth of the
Genesee river, where the commander-in-chief promised that transports
should meet him. It is well known that the expedition, after exciting
much expectation, finally resulted in utter failure. The troops endured
great fatigue, and encountered considerable danger in the difficult
and perilous navigation of the St. Lawrence, without obtaining an
opportunity of distinguishing themselves or benefiting their country.
This unlucky campaign was, however, brilliantly redeemed by that of the
following year. On the 9th of March, 1814, Colonel Scott was promoted
to the rank of Brigadier-General, and he joined General Brown on his
route to Niagara, in the commencement of the next month.

Soon after General Brown was called to Sacket’s Harbor, and the
command, in consequence, devolved upon General Scott, who immediately
assembled the army and established a camp of instruction. His whole
attention was now given to perfecting the discipline of the troops,
to give them that celerity and combination of movement, which in
modern times has made war a science, and rendered individual prowess
of so little avail. For two months and a half the troops were drilled
daily, from seven to nine hours each day, until finally they exhibited
a perfection of discipline never before attained in our army. They
were now prepared to meet on terms of equality the veteran troops of
the enemy, and they soon had an opportunity of showing the advantages
they had derived from their instruction. In June, Major General Brown
reached Buffalo with reinforcements, and in the commencement of the
next month the campaign was opened.

The Niagara was passed on the 3d of July in two brigades, Scott’s and
Ripley’s, the former below, the latter above Fort Erie, which almost
immediately surrendered. On the morning of the 4th, the army moved
towards Chippewa, General Scott’s brigade being in advance; and on the
evening of the same day, took up a position on the bank of Street’s
Creek, about two miles distant from the British encampment. The stream
was in front of the American position, having beyond it an extensive
plain; its right rested upon the Niagara, and its left upon a wood. On
the following day the British militia and the Indians having occupied
the wood, commenced annoying the American piquets from it, until
Brigadier General Porter, at the head of his brigade of militia and
friendly Indians, drove the enemy from the wood back upon the Chippewa.
The British regulars being here supported by their whole army, drawn
out in line and advancing to the attack, General Porter, in his turn,
was compelled to give way. The heaviness of the firing informed
General Brown of the advance of the main body of the enemy. It was now
about four o’clock in the afternoon. General Scott was at this moment
advancing with his brigade to drill upon the plain, on which the battle
was afterwards fought. On the march he met General Brown, who said
to him, “The enemy is advancing. You will have a fight.” Beyond this
brief remark, Scott received no further orders during the day. General
Brown passed to the rear, to put Ripley’s brigade in motion, and to
reassemble the light troops behind Street’s Creek. It was not till he
arrived at the bridge over Street’s Creek, two hundred yards to the
right of his camp of the night before, that Scott saw the enemy.

The army of Riall had crossed the bridge over Chippewa, and displayed
itself on the plain before described. It was composed of the one
hundredth regiment, under Lieutenant-Colonel, the Marquis of Tweedale;
the first, or Royal Scots, under Lieutenant-Colonel Gordon; a portion
of the eighth, or King’s own regiment; a detachment of the royal
artillery; a detachment of the royal nineteenth light dragoons; and a
portion of Canada militia and Indians. The main body of these troops
were among the best in the British army. This force was supported by a
heavy battery of nine pieces, within point blank range of the American
troops. Under the fire of this battery, the corps of General Scott
passed the bridge in perfect order, but with some loss. His first and
second battalions, under Majors Leavenworth and McNeil, after crossing,
formed a line to the front, which brought them opposed respectively to
the left and centre of the enemy. The third battalion under Major, (now
General) Jessup, obliqued in column to the left, and advanced to attack
the right of the enemy, which extended into the wood. Captain (now
General) Towson with his artillery, was stationed on the right, resting
in the Chippewa road. General Scott soon perceived that, although there
were no intervals in the British line, yet their right wing outflanked
his left.

To remedy this difficulty, the movement of Jessup was caused, and the
interval between the battalions of Leavenworth and McNeil on the plain,
was greatly enlarged. These evolutions were executed rapidly and with
great precision, under the fire of both musketry and artillery. The
action soon became general; Jessup, having engaged and broken off the
right wing of the enemy, while their main body continued to advance,
gave their army a new flank. Taking advantage of this circumstance, and
assisted by the enlarged interval between the battalions of Leavenworth
and McNeil, General Scott threw the battalion of the latter forward
upon its right flank, so as to stand obliquely to the charge of the
enemy, outflanking them upon the right. This movement, executed with
precision, together with the steadiness of our troops and the heavy
fire from the artillery, decided the fate of the day. The British army
retreated a short distance in good order, then broke, and fled in
confusion to their entrenchments, beyond the Chippewa. Thus was the
whole British line fairly routed, in a field action, on an open plain.
They fled to their entrenchments beyond the Chippewa, hotly pursued by
Scott, to the distance of half-musket shot of Chippewa bridge. He took
many prisoners, leaving the plain strewed with the dead and wounded
of both nations. Justly, indeed, did General Brown, in his official
report of the battle, say:--“Brigadier-General Scott is entitled to the
highest praise our country can bestow: to him, more than to any other
man, I am indebted for the victory of the 5th of July.”

The fight was fierce and bloody in an unwonted degree, the killed
on both sides amounting to eight hundred and thirty, out of about
four thousand engaged--more than one in five. This gallant action
was followed in just three weeks by another yet more decisive of the
courage and discipline of the American army--that at Lundy’s Lane.

General Riall, unknown to General Brown, had been largely reinforced
by General Drummond from below; and when, on the morning of the 26th
of July, General Scott, in advance, was on a march to attack General
Riall’s forces, he suddenly came upon the British troops, which,
reinforced that very day by Drummond, were themselves bent on attack.
Scott had with him but four small battalions, commanded by Brady,
Jessup, Leavenworth and McNeil; and Towson’s artillery, with Captain
Harris’ detachment of regular and irregular cavalry. The whole column
did not exceed one thousand three hundred men. With this small force,
Scott found himself in the presence of a superior body. His position
was critical, but it was one of those where promptness and decision of
action must supply the want of battalions.

Dispatching officers to the rear to apprise General Brown that the
whole British army was before him, General Scott at once engaged the
enemy, who all the while believed they had to do with the whole of
General Brown’s army, not at all expecting that a mere detachment of it
would venture upon the apparently desperate course of encountering such
greatly superior numbers as the British knew they had in the field. The
battle began about half an hour before sunset. The armies were drawn
out near the shores of that rapid river whose current mingles lake
with lake; and as his able biographer beautifully observes:--“Hard by
was the CATARACT, whose world of waters rushes over the precipice, and
rushing, roars into the gulf below! The ceaseless spray rises up, like
incense, to the Eternal FATHER! The beams of sun, and moon, and stars,
fall ceaselessly on that spray, and are sent back in many-colored hues
to the source of light! So it was when, wheeling into the field of
battle, the slant beams of the setting sun, returning from the spray,
encircled the advancing column with rainbow colors! The sun went down,
to many an eye, no more to rise on earth! With the darkness came the
greater rage of battle--charge after charge was made. For a time the
faint beams of the moon struggled with the smoke, and gave a little
light to the combatants; but it was but little. The moon itself became
obscured, and no light, save the rapid flashes of musket and cannon,
pierced the heavy clouds. The fight raged in the darkness of the night.
From the height on the ridge, the battery of the enemy still poured its
deadly fire. It was then the gallant Miller said, ‘I WILL TRY.’ It was
then that Scott piloted his column through darkness to Lundy’s Lane. It
was then that brave regiment charged to the cannon’s mouth. The battery
was taken. The victory rests with the American army.”

Twice had Scott charged through the British lines--two horses had been
killed under him--he was wounded in the side--and about eleven o’clock
at night, on foot, and yet fighting, he was finally disabled by a
shot which shattered the left shoulder, and he was borne away about
midnight from the battle--his commander, General Brown, having been
previously, in like manner, carried away wounded from the field. The
wounds of General Scott, which were severe, confined him for a long
time; nor had he again an opportunity of distinguishing himself before
the conclusion of peace put an end to all active service in the field.
In the mean time his sufferings were alleviated by the testimonials of
the approbation and gratitude of his countrymen. Congress ordered a
vote of thanks, and a gold medal (_See_ Plate V.). Virginia and New York
each presented valuable swords. He was also elected an honorary member
of the Cincinnati, and numberless states named new counties after
him. In the long interval of comparative inaction which followed the
close of the war, General Scott’s services were made available to the
general government,--first, in that most painful task of reducing the
army to a peace establishment, which necessarily imposed on the general
great responsibility. The next important benefit rendered, and which,
perhaps, was not the least of all the many he was capable of rendering,
was to translate from the French, prepare, digest, and adapt to our
service, a complete system of military tactics. In the execution of
this trust, his previous military studies gave him great facilities and
advantages over his brother officers.

In March, 1817, General Scott was married to Miss Maria Mayo, daughter
of John Mayo, Esq., of Richmond, Virginia--a lady whose charms and
accomplishments are much admired both in this country and in Europe.
They have had several daughters, but no living son.

Such is the brief memoir of General Winfield Scott, extracted from his
life, so ably portrayed by Edward D. Mansfield, Esq. General Scott is
now in the sixty-second year of his age, and retains, to a remarkable
degree, all the vigor and buoyancy of youth. At the head of our armies
at war with a neighboring republic, all eyes are directed to him as the
chief of that gallant band upon whom must depend the honor and success
of our arms.


OCCASION.--Battles of Chippewa and Niagara.

DEVICE.--Bust of General Scott.

LEGEND.--Major General Winfield Scott.

REVERSE.--Resolution of Congress, November 3d, 1814. Battles of
Chippewa, July 5th, 1814; Niagara, July 25th, 1814. Surrounded by a
wreath of laurel and palm entwining a snake.


Edmund Pendleton Gaines was born in the county of Culpepper, Virginia,
on the 20th of March, 1777. His father, James Gaines, served in the
latter part of the revolutionary war at the head of a company of
volunteers, and having removed with his family to the north-west border
of North Carolina, he was soon after chosen a member of the legislature
of that state. He was the nephew of Edmund Pendleton, for many years
presiding judge of the Court of Appeals, in Virginia, and one of those
illustrious statesmen whose services were most prominent in the cause
which produced a Washington, and enrolled the names of Jefferson,
Madison, Randolph and Mason, among the most distinguished in the annals
of American history. To the early affectionate solicitude and pious
care of a highly gifted mother, may be imputed the strict integrity,
and devoted sense of duty, which have always distinguished the subject
of this memoir; to whose prudence and excellent example he acknowledges
himself indebted for the high sense of honor and rectitude which have
been his support amid the trying and eventful scenes of his life.

At the close of the war of independence, his father returned to his
estate in North Carolina, consisting of some hundred acres. He, like
most of his neighbors, had lost his money in the form of valueless
continental bills. In these circumstances, at this period, all classes
were more or less involved.

Edmund, now in his thirteenth year, assisted his father in the toils
of agriculture. His heart became early imbued with the pleasures which
result from the performance of duties, and his health invigorated by
such wholesome exercise.

About this period, his father removed his family to Sullivan county,
(afterwards the eastern part of Tennessee,) in the immediate vicinity
of which the Cherokee Indians were constantly committing depredations.
With these Indians the United States were at that time, and continued
to be for several years afterwards, at war. Surrounded by hostilities,
our hero’s thoughts now actually turned to arms, and he employed his
leisure hours in the study of such military works as were within his
reach. By the time he was fourteen, he had acquired such skill in the
management of the rifle, as to excel most of his young associates. At
the age of eighteen, he was elected lieutenant of a rifle company of
volunteers, which was raised at that time as a terror to the Cherokees,
who were a continual annoyance to the neighborhood. In January, 1799,
he was appointed an ensign, and attached to the sixth United States
regiment, and ordered on duty in the recruiting service. In the
following year the sixth regiment was disbanded, and Ensign Gaines was
transferred to the fourth infantry, as second lieutenant.

In 1801, Colonel Butler, who commanded the fourth regiment, was
instructed to select the subalterns of that regiment best qualified
for making a topographical survey from Nashville to Natchez, for the
location of a military road.

He appointed Lieutenant Gaines, who, in the performance of this duty,
and in the survey of certain Indian boundary lines, near the Choctaw
nation, was engaged until the winter of 1804. In that year, Spain
having refused to withdraw her troops from the military posts of Mobile
and Baton Rouge, and deliver up the country lying between the island of
Orleans and the rivers Iberville, Mississippi and Perdido, as a part
of Louisiana, the President of the United States determined to appoint
a military collector of the customs, for the district of Mobile, and
appointed Lieutenant Gaines to that office.

He accordingly was stationed at Fort Stoddart, thirty-six miles
north of the town of Mobile, in the confident expectation of sooner
or later having the honor of taking possession of the disputed
territory. In 1806, in addition to the duties hitherto assigned to
him, Lieutenant Gaines was appointed postmaster, and also agent to the
postmaster-general, with authority to suspend all postmasters and mail
contractors who were in any wise aiding persons supposed to be engaged
in the machinations of Colonel Burr. In the interim, he was promoted
to a captaincy. Captain Gaines, as commandant of Fort Stoddart, was
authorized to employ such of the United States troops as should be
deemed necessary for the protection of the mail, and inspectors of
the revenue between the city of Orleans and Athens, Georgia, then a
wilderness of nearly six hundred miles in extent. Having performed
the arduous duties of this situation to the perfect satisfaction of
his government, for nearly five years, Captain Gaines determined to
retire from the army, and engage in the profession of the law. But the
increased probability of a war with England, for a time suspended this
resolution. He at length decided upon asking for leave of absence.

In this interval he commenced the practice of law, in the counties
of Washington and Baldwin, Mississippi territory; but scarcely had he
completed his first year’s practice, when war was declared against
Great Britain, and Captain Gaines joyfully resumed his sword, never
again to abandon it as long as his country should need his services.

In the war which followed, it will be seen that our hero was among the
most steadfast in the performance of every arduous duty.

In the greatest danger he was distinguished alike by the fertility of
his resources, the coolness of his courage, and the amiable simplicity
of his manners. In his operations on the northern frontier, his gallant
conduct received the highest commendation. At the battle of Chrystler’s
Fields, on the 11th of November, 1813, Colonel Gaines commanded the
twenty-fifth regiment of United States infantry. He was deprived of
the honor of a participation in the glory of Harrison’s victory on the
Thames, by a long and serious illness; but his brave regiment was one
of the most effective, on the memorable 11th, covering the retreat of
our several corps, after the check received by the enemy, to their
re-embarkation on the St. Lawrence.

The relative strength of the two armies, when Colonel Gaines, who
had recently been promoted to the rank of Major-General, arrived at
Fort Erie, and took command on the morning of the 4th of August, 1814,
was as follows:--the British veteran force amounted to a fraction
over three thousand six hundred officers and men, besides six hundred
Canadians and Indians--making altogether an aggregate of more than four
thousand two hundred. This force was opposed by only nineteen hundred
United States regulars, and six hundred New York and Pennsylvania
volunteers, making the aggregate strength for duty, nearly two thousand
five hundred. On the following day, August 5th, commenced the first
of those actions, consisting of a vigorous cannonade and bombardment,
with alternate sharp conflicts between the infantry and rifle corps of
the two armies, with occasional skirmishing, which were kept up with a
degree of vigor, daily and successively, until the morning of the 15th.
These daily conflicts were so conducted as to pave the way for the more
important victory which was to follow.

Although the losses in these smaller actions amounted to considerably
more than those sustained in the battle of the 15th, still they were
carried on in a spirit and temper, evincing a determination on the
part of every officer and soldier to maintain the old-fashioned maxim,
namely, “Victory or Death.” This sanguinary battle of the 15th, with
the other actions of the following fourteen days, were altogether so
conducted as to secure to a moral certainty, not only the safety of
the whole northwestern frontier, but to cover the war-worn division
with imperishable fame, by a series of triumphs extending throughout
the months of August and September, 1814, the _value_ and _moral
effect_ of which, can only be rightly estimated by the statesman or
soldier capable of counting the cost of blood and treasure, which
must have followed the sacrifice of that division--and the consequent
recombination of a British army flushed with victory--and their
lately _whipt_, and, therefore, doubly ferocious _savage friends_
and _allies_--with free access to a sparsely settled and unprotected
frontier of near twelve hundred miles in extent, from Buffalo to Lake
Michigan, and thence to the upper Mississippi, Missouri and Arkansas:
a frontier embracing an extensive section of the then suffering
northwestern settlements, that had during the first fourteen months of
the war been bleeding at every pore. And this deplorable catastrophe
to have followed upon the heels of the fiendish and disgraceful scenes
which terminated in the taking, sacking, and burning the capitol
of our beloved Union. The total defeat of this crippled and maimed
remnant of Brown’s heroic division, _a catastrophe which, from the
night of the 25th of July, to the fourth of the following month--to
many brave officers of high rank--(one of whom was at the head of a
brigade,) seemed to be inevitable, without an immediate abandonment
of Canada, might have prolonged the war, with its increasing horrors
of the massacre and scalping of women and children, for seven years_.
This mutilated remnant of our noble division, however, gallantly met
and gloriously triumphed over a veteran British army of near double
our numbers during twenty consecutive days, and some nights, and
accomplished these triumphs before the harassed and broken down war
department could send on the requisite reinforcements, to give our
operations the _offensive_ in place of the _defensive_ cast, and
increased vigorous character.

The great and gallant state of New York, with her Tomkins, and her
Clintons, and her Porter, and her Spencer, and hosts of other master
spirits of this state, Pennsylvania, and Ohio, soon devised measures to
put in rapid motion the chivalry--constituting the minute-men of the
volunteers around them--and these sanguinary conflicts, which commenced
on the 5th, and continued until the 28th of August, under the direction
of the gallant Gaines, from thence until the 5th of September, under
Miller, and to the 10th, under Ripley, were brilliantly terminated on
the 17th of that month, under Brown.

It may safely be left to the future statesman and soldier to
decide--and to the impartial historian to record--how far these
triumphs of August, 1814, may have contributed to allay the _panic_
produced by the victory of the British at Bladensburg, the capture
of Alexandria and the city of Washington, with the destruction of
the capitol; or to what extent they may have tended to arrest the
exultation which this _victory_, and these captures produced in the
ranks of the enemy; and to establish throughout the Union the moral
power, and unshaken confidence reposed in the efficiency of our
volunteers. They had never, before the month of August, 1814, given
such indubitable evidence of their being in all respects equal to
the best of veteran regulars, in an open field fight, and in the
close conflict of repeated heavy charges of veteran infantry with the
bayonet--in the deepest darkness of night. It is for posterity to
decide (when the actors are all in the grave), how far the moral effect
of those sanguinary struggles, and long-continued triumphs, may or may
not have contributed to seal the fate of the enemy, from the 29th of
August to the 17th of September, on the Niagara frontier, at Baltimore,
at Plattsburg, and at New Orleans, in December, 1814, and January,
1815. The description of troops here referred to as so eminently
distinguished at each place, had long been known to be invincible
_in the woods_ against Indians and their white allies, and _behind
breastworks_, against the best of British veterans. But they had never,
before the month of August, 1814, afforded such incontestable proofs of
their entire fitness for the close conflicts of the open field, as at
that time near Fort Erie.

These triumphs were duly appreciated by the wise, the just, the
virtuous Madison, as well as by the supreme judiciary of the United
States; by the assembled wisdom of both houses of Congress, and by the
enlightened and patriotic public authorities of the sovereign states
of the Union--who promptly, and in most cases _unanimously_, testified
in terms of high approbation, their sense of the value of the services
rendered by that division of the army during the period here referred

General Gaines, in his official report to the war department, gives
the following account of the battle of the 15th of August: He says, “I
hasten to communicate particulars of the battle fought at this place
(Fort Erie, Upper Canada), on the 15th inst., between the left wing of
the second division of the northern army, under my command, and the
British forces in the Peninsula of Upper Canada.

“At half past two o’clock, on the morning of the 15th, the right
column of the enemy approached; and though enveloped in darkness, was
distinctly heard on our left, and promptly marked by our musketry,
under Major Wood, and artillery under Captain Towson. Being mounted at
the moment, I repaired to the point of attack, where the sheet of fire
rolling from Towson’s battery and the musketry of the left wing of the
21st infantry, under Major Wood, enabled me to see the enemy’s column,
of about fifteen hundred men, approaching on that point; his advance
was not checked until it approached within ten feet of our infantry;
a line of loose brush, representing an abattis, only intervened; a
column of the enemy attempted to pass round the abattis, through the
water where it was nearly breast-deep. Apprehending that this point
would be carried, I ordered a detachment of riflemen and infantry
to its support; but having met with the gallant commander, Major
Wood, was assured by him that he could defend his position without
reinforcements. At this moment the enemy were repulsed; but instantly
renewed the charge, and were again repulsed.

“My attention was now called to the right, where our batteries
and lines were soon lighted by a most brilliant fire of cannon and
musketry. It announced the approach of the centre and left columns of
the enemy, under Colonels Drummond and Scott. The latter was received
by the veteran ninth, under the command of Captain Foster and Captains
Broughton and Harding’s companies of New York and Pennsylvania
volunteers, and were repulsed. That of the centre, led by Colonel
Drummond, was not long kept in check; it approached, at once, every
available point of the fort, and, with scaling ladders, ascended the
parapet, but was repulsed with dreadful carnage. The assault was twice
repeated, and as often checked; but the enemy, having moved around
in the ditch, covered by darkness, added to the heavy cloud of smoke
which had rolled from our cannon and musketry, enveloping surrounding
objects, repeated the charge, re-ascended the ladders--their pikes,
bayonets and spears, fell upon our gallant artillerists. The gallant
spirits of our favorite Captain Williams, and Lieutenants M’Donough
and Watmough, with their brave men, were overcome--the two former,
and several of their men, received deadly wounds--our bastion was
lost. Lieutenant M’Donough, being severely wounded, demanded quarter.
It was refused by Colonel Drummond;--the Lieutenant then seized a
handspike and nobly defended himself, until he was shot down with a
pistol, by the monster who had refused him quarter, who often was
heard to reiterate the order, ‘_Give the damned Yankees no quarter_.’
This officer, whose bravery, had it been seasoned with virtue, would
have entitled him to the admiration of every soldier; this hardened
murderer soon met his fate: he was shot through the heart by ----, of
the ---- regiment, while repeating the order to ‘give no quarter.’ The
battle now raged with increased fury on the right; but on the left, the
enemy was repulsed and put to flight; thence, and from the centre, I
ordered reinforcements--they were promptly sent by Brigadier-Generals
Ripley and Porter. Captain Fanning, of the corps of artillery, kept
a spirited and destructive fire, with his field-pieces, on the enemy
attempting to approach the fort. At this moment, every operation was
arrested by the explosion of some cartridges, deposited in the end of
the stone building, adjoining the contested bastion--the explosion was
tremendous--it was decisive--the bastion was restored. At this moment,
Captain Biddle, with his field-piece, enfiladed the exterior plain and
salient glacis: although not recovered from a severe injury in the
shoulder by one of the enemy’s shells, promptly served his field-piece
with vivacity and effect. Captain Fanning’s battery, likewise, played
upon them at this time with great effect--the enemy were, in a few
moments, entirely defeated, taken, or put to flight, leaving on the
field two hundred and twenty-one killed, one hundred and seventy-four
wounded, and one hundred and eighty-six prisoners--total five hundred
and eighty-one, including fourteen officers killed, and seven wounded
and prisoners. Americans, seventeen killed, fifty-six wounded, eleven
missing, total eighty-four.

“I have the honor, &c.”

It must be remembered that General Gaines had collected and arranged
the requisite papers and memorandums, such as would have enabled
him to make a faithful report of every material incident of each
day’s operations, from the 5th to the 28th of August. But on this
last-mentioned day he was crippled; and the British bomb-shell that
wounded him, demolished his writing-desk, with so many of his valuable
papers, including most of the reports and memorandums just now referred
to, that his detailed report fell very short of what was intended, with
the exception of giving to his officers that praise which their courage
and bravery deserved; this report, as before intimated, was very
hastily and imperfectly thrown together amidst the cares and constant
interruptions of incessant _daily action_ and _nightly vigilance and
preparation for increased vigorous action_, unavoidably omitting some
incidents of great interest to the service, to corps, and to individual
officers and soldiers, gallantly engaged in this as well as in some of
the smaller conflicts.

The official reports of the then acting Adjutant-General Jones,
(now adjutant-general of the army,) and Major Hall, then acting
Inspector-General, show, that in the smaller actions, before referred
to, from the 5th to the 14th, the actual loss of United States regulars
and volunteers, was altogether much greater than in the battle of
the 15th, which, though resulting in a decided victory, in which the
enemy acknowledged his loss to be greater than he sustained in any
one battle during the year 1814 in America, yet this was, in truth,
but one of _twenty-three days’ sharp conflicts_--all crowned with
success; although Gaines’ encampment near Fort Erie, from the daily
flow of blood which it exhibited, was compared by the officers to a
slaughter-pen. And from the 15th to the 28th of August, was still
greater; amounting in all to nearly four hundred--officers and soldiers
killed and wounded. The enemy took from us but one prisoner, it is
believed, during the month; the brave Lieutenant Fontaine, who was
knocked down from his battery in the dark.

For his gallant conduct in this ever memorable battle, General Gaines
was honored by the federal government with an unanimous vote of thanks,
and a gold medal (_See_ Plate V.), whilst the three great and patriotic
states of New York, Virginia and Tennessee, awarded to him unanimous
resolutions of thanks, with a fine gold hilted sword, which he received
from each of these states. This gallant officer is now employed in the
honorable and important service of his country. We are sensible that in
so brief a space allowed us in this memoir, justice cannot be done to
such bravery, magnanimity and patriotism as have marked his character,
through a life which has ever displayed a highly intelligent and
unremitted zeal for the welfare of his country.


OCCASION.--Battle of Erie.

DEVICE.--Bust of General Gaines.

LEGEND.--Major-General Edmund P. Gaines.

REVERSE.--Victory standing on a shield, under which are a stand of
colors and a halbert, and holding a palm-branch in her left hand, as in
the act of placing a laurel crown on the cascabel of a cannon marked R,
which is fixed upright in the ground, and is surrounded with a scroll
inscribed “Erie.” On one trunnion rests a stand of British colors, and
from the other is suspended a broad sword. By the side of the cannon
are a howitzer, helmet, and several balls. Behind the cannon is a

LEGEND.--Resolution of Congress, Nov. 3d, 1814.

EXERGUE.--Battle of Erie, Aug. 15th, 1814.


James Miller, late Brigadier-General in the United States army, was
born in the town of Peterborough, Hillsborough county, New Hampshire,
April 25th, 1776. His grandfather, Samuel Miller, came from the
North of Ireland, about the year 1720, and settled in Londonderry,
New Hampshire, accompanied by his wife, (whose maiden name was Mary
Shearer,) and their eldest child. They had seven children; five sons,
Matthew, James, William, Samuel and John; and two daughters, Mary and
Jane; all of whom, except Matthew, the eldest, were born in America.
The four younger sons subsequently removed from Londonderry to
Peterborough and settled on a tract of wild land, which, as tradition
states, had been purchased for them, and paid for in linen cloth and
thread manufactured by their mother, a woman of great energy and
industry. The purchase comprised an extent of four hundred acres,
and includes some of the best land in Peterborough. The eldest son,
Matthew, remained in Londonderry with his parents.

Of the four who went to Peterborough, James, the father of General
Miller, was the twin brother of William, and for many years they
improved their land in common and divided the produce. He married
Catherine Gragg, the first child baptized in Peterborough. She was
the daughter of Hugh Gragg, who also came to America from the north
of Ireland, and settled in Groton, Massachusetts, but subsequently
removed to Peterborough, when his daughter Catherine was a child of
about eight or nine years of age. James Miller and his wife, Catherine
Gragg, had four sons, Hugh, Samuel, James and Jacob; and three
daughters, Jane, Mary and Catherine: of these, James, the subject of
this memoir, was the third son. His earlier years were spent at home
with his parents. Although he was of a robust constitution, and had a
muscular and powerful frame, he was never a very valuable assistant in
the agricultural labors of the farm, if we may be allowed to judge from
the appellation by which he is said to have been familiarly designated
in the family, and perhaps in the neighborhood, that of “_lazy Jem_.”
The facilities for education in that part of the country were at that
period very limited, but they were then, as now, free to all so far as
the town or district schools were concerned. He attended one of these,
such portions of the year as it was kept open; and it so happened that
his earliest military as well as literary instruction was received
there. One of the persons employed for a time as teacher of the school,
had been a sergeant in the army of the Revolution, and had still so
much of his former military taste remaining, as to render it quite
as much a matter of pride and gratification to him to drill the boys
(provided with wooden guns for the purpose) in the manual and company
movements, at intervals between school hours and on holidays, as it
was to preside over their literary progress in doors. He was, withal,
a strict disciplinarian, and the event now to be related would not, in
all probability, have happened during his administration. In the time
of one of his successors in the school, the boys, incited perhaps by
traditionary accounts of similar schoolboy doings in the old country,
determined to gain a holiday, which had been refused them, by “barring
out” the master and holding adverse possession of the school-house
until their demand was complied with.

The plan was carried into effect by those who, from residing at a
distance from the school-house usually remained at noon-time, (while
the master and another portion of the scholars were temporarily
absent,) aided by such as they had persuaded to stay with them and take
part in the conspiracy. The door was accordingly shut and barricaded
by those in the plot, but a window, which (in the scarcity of glass
and window-frame, incident to a new settlement) was fitted only with
a wooden shutter, could not be closed against the “executive” and
“conservatives,” without at the same time excluding _daylight_; a
deprivation to which the young conspirators felt a distaste very
similar to that attributed by Homer to the Grecian Ajax. It was,
besides, highly desirable that an avenue for negotiations between
the parties should be kept open, through which, at the proper time,
the terms of an accommodation might be settled. The defence of this
important and assailable point was committed to young Miller, although
one of the youngest of this juvenile band: and when at the exhortation
of the master, (who, after all, was possibly at heart as little averse
to a holiday as any of his pupils,) an assault on the fortress was made
by the advocates of “law and order,” so resolutely did he maintain his
post, that the _storming party_, headed by an older cousin of the young
defender, were effectually kept at bay. A parley was now held, and the
demand for a holiday having been acceded to on the part of the teacher,
coupled with a stipulation for the entire immunity from punishment of
all concerned, the door was once more opened and the affair terminated
in a manner agreeable, doubtless, to all concerned, since all shared
alike in the indulgence obtained.

He continued to attend the town schools during a portion of each
season, until the autumn of his eighteenth year, when, desirous of
greater facilities for education than his native town afforded, he left
home for the purpose of attending the academy at that time established
in Amherst, New Hampshire, some twenty-five miles distant from
Peterborough. His _outfit_ on the occasion was neither very splendid
nor extensive; consisting of a bundle of clothes, not at all burdensome
to carry, and the sum of one dollar and twenty-five cents in money.

The “credit system” was, in those days almost a matter of necessity,
and although he had no personal acquaintance in Amherst, except with
one or two of the students at the academy, he found no difficulty
in making an arrangement for his board in the family of one of the
townspeople, and his tuition at the institution. He remained at the
academy for several months, and then left for the purpose of recruiting
his finances and paying off arrearages by teaching; and having done so,
was enabled himself to go to school again, and then open a new account
with his boarding house and learning. He went on in this manner,
alternately pupil and teacher, receiving knowledge by instalments, and
disbursing it very fairly as it accumulated, until after years (when,
having spent a short portion of the time as a student at Williams
College,) he was qualified to commence the study of law, which he
pursued in the office of the late James Wilson, Esquire, then of
Peterborough, and latterly of Keene, New Hampshire, a gentleman at that
time of extensive and successful practice in the law. Having completed
the requisite term as a law student, he was admitted to practice in the
state court, at the spring term for Hillsborough County, 1803.

He removed to the town of Greenfield, adjoining Peterborough, and
continued the practice of the law there until, in the year 1808, he
received from President Jefferson an appointment as major, in the
Fourth Regiment of United States Infantry, the highest appointment
made from New Hampshire under the act of Congress for increasing the
army. He was in a great measure indebted, for this appointment, to
the favorable opinion and influence of the late Governor Pierce of
New Hampshire, himself a distinguished officer in the revolutionary
army. James Miller had previously held a commission under the state
government, as captain of artillery. His commission as major of the
Fourth Regiment of United States Infantry, bears date the 3d of March,
1809, taking rank from 8th of July, 1808. In June, he joined his
regiment, then commanded by Col. John P. Boyd, at Fort Independence,
in Boston harbor, in the spring of 1809, where he remained (with
the exception of a short interval, spent on duty at Springfield,
Massachusetts, and on a march from there with a detachment of troops
to Newport, Rhode Island,) until the spring of 1811, when he embarked
with the fourth regiment, for Philadelphia--having shortly before been
commissioned as lieutenant-colonel of the fiftieth regiment. The troops
arrived at Philadelphia, on the 16th of May, and on the following day
proceeded on their march to Pittsburgh, where they arrived on the 21st
of June.

In consequence of hostile indications on the part of the Northwestern
Indians, prompted by the master spirit Tecumseh, government had
determined on a military expedition into the Indian country, and
Colonel Miller was, with his regiment, ordered to prepare with all
possible dispatch to proceed to Vincennes and join the forces under
General Harrison. The first steamboat ever launched on the western
waters was then on the stocks at Pittsburgh, and of course afforded
matter for much observation and comment. On the 2d of August, the
troops embarked in keel boots for Vincennes. They reached Newport,
Kentucky, the distance of five hundred and twenty miles, in seven days,
and there landed and remained until the 30th of the same month, when
they again embarked and descended the river to Jeffersonville, Indiana,
in order to meet General Harrison.

At the request of General Harrison, Colonel Boyd, then in command of
the regiment, left the expedition and went with General Harrison across
the country to Vincennes, leaving Colonel Miller in command of the
troops, with orders to proceed by water.

They descended about three hundred miles to the farther Wabash, and
then made their way up that river one hundred and seventy miles more to

The ascending the Wabash was at that time exceedingly toilsome and
harassing; the river was very low, and they had eleven large boats from
fifty to seventy-five feet long to pass over the bars and shallows
of the river, which were of very frequent occurrence. It sometimes
required the united efforts of an hundred men to lift or drag a single
boat over a rocky shallow. On the 17th of September, the day of the
great solar eclipse, they were engaged in passing the grand rapids of
the Wabash.

To encourage and animate the men, Colonel Miller himself frequently
went into the water to assist at the boats, as did every other officer,
and for several successive days, had not the opportunity of a change
of dry clothes. It was to this exposure and fatigue that Colonel
Miller was probably indebted for the severe illness with which he was
subsequently attacked.

The boats, with the troops, reached Vincennes on the 19th and
there joined the militia under General Harrison. The combined force
immediately commenced drilling for Indian warfare, and on the 27th
of September, marched for the Prophet’s town, in the vicinity of the
Tippecanoe ground. On the 2d of October, the army reached the spot,
seventy miles from Vincennes, where they halted to build Fort Harrison,
which was subsequently so bravely and successfully defended against
the Indians by Lieutenant, _now_ Major-General Zachary Taylor. The
next day after his arrival at this place, Colonel Miller was seized
with a violent bilious fever, which at once completely prostrated him,
from the effects of which, and the treatment and exposure which he
necessarily had to undergo, he has never entirely recovered.

Until the fort was built, he was sheltered in a tent, with a bearskin
and blankets for bedding. The weather for the first few days was very
warm, and then suddenly changed to cold, with snow and rain; to hasten
salivation, the physicians applied mercury very freely externally, as
well as administering it internally, with blisters on the neck and

He had never been confined by sickness for a single day in his life
before. He received the kindest attention from General Harrison,
Colonel Boyd, and other officers, particularly from Colonel Davis, of
the Kentucky dragoons, who was afterwards killed at Tippecanoe.

When the army moved from Fort Harrison, on the 29th of October,
Colonel Miller had so far recovered as to be able to walk a few steps
with the assistance of a cane, but was utterly unable to accompany the
troops. For fifteen days he had been unable to move from his hard bed
without being lifted, a tent his only shelter; and the weather suddenly
changed from warm to cold, sufficiently to allow the snow to remain
on the ground for two days at a time. His regret at being compelled
to remain behind, is thus expressed in a letter written some time
after:--“I reflected that I had sailed, marched, and rowed in boats,
more than two thousand miles in search of, and with the expectation of
acquiring, in common with my brothers in arms, some military fame: to
be brought to the ‘right about’ and obliged to halt within a few miles
of the scene of action and consequent honor acquired by the glorious
victory obtained--I thought my lot a hard one.” From the 4th day of
May to the 18th of November, he had slept in a house but two nights.
Colonel Miller was left in command of Fort Harrison, with the invalids
of the army, and although thus debarred from participating in the
battle which ensued, and resulted in the victory of Tippecanoe, he was
fortunately able to be of essential service after the battle. For when
apprised of the result, by express from General Harrison, he dispatched
boats up the river, with hay in them for the reception of the wounded,
and fresh provisions for the troops, to a point where the army would be
likely to strike the river, on their return to Fort Harrison.

When the army left Fort Harrison, on its return to Vincennes, in the
following November, although still an invalid, Colonel Miller requested
to accompany them, and he was sent in command of the troops and boats,
by way of the river: although it was considered the most easy way of
traveling, he suffered much from exposure on the journey. He spent
the following winter at Vincennes, and during that time became an
inmate in the house and family of General Harrison, who with the most
affectionate kindness urged this hospitality upon him. In May, 1812, he
received orders to proceed with the fourth regiment to Dayton, Ohio,
and from thence marched to Detroit, having joined General Hull at

The communication with the state of Ohio being completely blocked
up, thereby preventing the transportation of supplies of provisions
for General Hull’s army, he saw it necessary to turn his attention
to that point, and accordingly detached from the army a part of the
regular troops, numbering about six hundred men, under the command of
Lieutenant-Colonel James Miller, of the fourth regiment United States
infantry, for this object. Colonel Miller was permitted to take two
field pieces with the detachment, one six pounder and one five and a
half inch howitzer, with their appendages and ammunition.

The detachment having drawn two days’ provisions, being organized and
everything prepared for the march, General Wayne was chosen to lead
the spies to reconnoitre the country; these were volunteer citizens of
Detroit well acquainted with the route.

At five o’clock P. M., on the 8th of August, 1812, the troops being
ready to march, and drawn up in line in the main street of Detroit,
Colonel Miller rode to the centre and in front of the line, and
addressed the troops in the following words:--“Soldiers, we are going
to meet the enemy and to beat them! The blood of your brethren, spilt
by savage hands on the 5th, must be avenged by their chastisement, and
by the chastisement of the enemy who employs them, more savage than
they! I shall lead you--I trust that no man will disgrace himself or
me--every man who is seen to leave the ranks, to give way, or fall back
without orders, shall instantly be put to death. My brave soldiers!
you have once faced the enemy in a hard conflict, and beaten them,
and gained glory to yourselves and honor to your country! Let this
opportunity be improved to add another victory to that of _Tippecanoe_,
and new glory to that which you gained on the _Wabash_. Soldiers, if
there are any now in the ranks of this detachment, who are afraid to
meet the enemy, they are now permitted to fall out and stay behind.” At
which the words, “I’ll not stay,” ran through the ranks with a “huzza.”

The detachment then moved off in order and high spirits, and exhibited
so much ardor to engage in the conflict, that the anxious citizens felt
perfect confidence in the success of the enterprise. The detachment
arrived at the river Rouge, six miles from Detroit, about sunset. There
being no bridge and the water very deep, they were conveyed over in
scows, and as two only were within reach, it was ten o’clock before
the whole had crossed over. The weather being somewhat rainy and very
dark, it was determined to encamp there for the night. They therefore
stationed their guards and picquets, and permitted the men to rest on
their arms till daylight. Accordingly, at daybreak, they commenced
their march, with Colonel Miller at the head of a column of cavalry,
accompanied by his aids, in the road and in a line with the heads of
the columns of musketry. In this order the detachment marched from
the encampment, near the river Rouge, on the morning of the 9th. They
proceeded through the white settlement, which was about five miles, and
entered the woods.

The country, from the river Rouge to Brownstown, is generally flat, and
lies a little above the surface of the river Detroit. Indian huts and
fields are interspersed through the woods; at that time the fields were
covered with corn, which was grown to seven and eight feet high.

When the advanced guard had arrived at the farther edge of this
wood, the spies advanced into the Indian opening; they were fired
upon by a party of ten Indians, who were on horseback, and had
concealed themselves behind the house of the celebrated chief,

The spies fell back. A citizen from Detroit, who accompanied them, was
killed, and fell from his horse. The guard advanced quickly towards
the house, and the Indians immediately fled without receiving much
injury, though the guard fired upon them while they were uncovered by
the house. The Indians bore away as a trophy, the citizen’s scalp whom
they had shot; and the facility with which the scalp was taken, was
astonishing. There scarcely appeared to have been time for the Indian
to reach the spot where the man fell, before the guard arrived and
found the scalp taken off, and the Indian gone. When the firing was
heard by the columns, the order was given by Colonel Miller to march on
with haste, but only some scattered Indians were discovered, who had
been sent out by the British to watch the movements of the Americans,
and to give information of their approach towards Brownstown, where the
enemy, as it appeared afterwards, then lay in ambush to receive them.
The position which the enemy had chosen, lay in an open oak wood, just
at the declivity of a rising ground, over which the Americans had to
pass. He had thrown up a breastwork of trees, logs, &c., behind which
he lay concealed in force, and in order of battle. His works were
thrown up in form of a _courtine_ with two flanks. The line of the
_courtine_ lay across the road and perpendicularly to it. The banks
formed an angle with the _courtine_ of about one hundred and twenty.
The _courtine_ was lined with British regular troops, two deep of
the forty-first regiment of foot, under the command of Major Muer of
that regiment, who had long been in command at Malden. The flank of
the _courtine_, on the enemy’s right, and American left, was lined
with Canadian militia and Indians, commanded by _Walk-in-the-water_
and _Marpot_. Most of the militia were dressed and painted like their
“brethren in arms,” the savages. The left flank of the courtine was
lined entirely by savages, under the command of the celebrated Indian
warrior Tecumseh, of the Shawnoese nation.

The number of the British regulars and militia amounted to about three
hundred; about two hundred regulars. The Indians amounted to four
hundred and fifty, making the enemy’s forces about seven hundred and
fifty men. The position and strength of the enemy were entirely unknown
to Colonel Miller and to the army at this time.

At twelve o’clock M. the detachment arrived at a large opening which
contained four or five Indian houses, gardens, and orchards, and the
army halted to take some refreshment, and to bury the man who had been
killed; there they lay one hour. The village was deserted, and nothing
of any consequence left in the houses.

At one P. M., the troops resumed their march, and soon reached the
woods, near Brownstown, where some guns were heard by them. In a few
seconds a volley was heard from Captain Snelling’s advance guard, and
another instantly returned from a great number of pieces. The troops,
by this time, were in preparation for battle, when Colonel Miller
rode towards the centre at full speed, halted, and with a firm voice
ordered the columns to “form the line of battle,” which was executed
with that order, promptness and zeal, which he had expected; after the
first volleys, the firing became incessant in front. Captain Snelling
stood his ground till the lines were formed, and moved to his relief.
He stood within pistol shot of the enemy’s breastworks in a shower of
balls from the regular troops in his front, who showed themselves after
the first fire, and set up the Indian yell.

When the first line appeared before the breastwork, they received the
fire of the whole front and a part of the flanks. At this instant,
Colonel Miller discovered that the enemy outflanked him, when the
second line and flank guards were brought upon the flanks of the front
line of the enemy.

The savages, in unison with the British troops, set up a horrid yell,
and a severe conflict ensued.

The incessant firing of individual pieces soon changed to volleys,
and while silence prevailed for an instant, the discharge of the six
pounder burst upon the ear. At this instant, Colonel Miller was thrown
from his horse which took fright at the discharge. He was supposed
to be shot; those near him flew to his aid; the savages who saw him
fall sprang over the breastwork to take his scalp, but were repulsed.
Colonel Miller instantly remounted and returned to continue his orders.
The fire from the Indians, who were screened by their breastworks, was

Another discharge of grape from the six pounder, caused the British
line to yield, then to break, and the troops to fly in disorder!
Tecumseh, and some Indians under his command, who had leaped over
the breastwork in the full assurance of victory, were driven back at
the point of the bayonet. The British and some Indians fled directly
down the river, and were pursued by Colonel Miller, and that part of
the troops which had opposed them. Tecumseh, with his Indians, fled
directly from the river westwardly, into the wilderness, and were
pursued. After the British had retreated about one mile, they came to
an opening, of about half a mile in diameter; here they attempted to
rally again, but on the approach of the Americans they again broke and
fled into the woods down the river. Colonel Miller immediately ordered
the troops to follow in further pursuit of the British.

After following them through the woods for nearly half a mile, they
came upon the beach of Lake Erie, and discovered the enemy all in
boats, steering towards Malden, and out of reach of their shot. They
had concealed their boats at this point, when they came over, for this
purpose, if they should be defeated. The troops returned to the battle
field, where they met the division which had returned from the pursuit
of Tecumseh.

When the troops were formed in line, Colonel Miller rode in front and
addressed them in the following words:--“My brave fellows! you have
done well! every man has done his duty. I give you my hearty thanks
for your conduct on this day; you have gained my highest esteem; you
have gained fresh honor to yourselves, and to the American arms; your
fellow soldiers in arms will love you, and your country will reward
you. You will return to the field of battle, to collect those who have
gloriously fallen; your friendly attentions to your wounded companions
are required.” Detachments were sent out with wagons to search the
woods, and collect all the wounded and dead, and bring them to the
ground then occupied by the troops. All the Indian houses, only three
or four in number, were prepared to receive them, and the surgeons were
industriously employed with them, during the whole night.

The troops encamped on the bank of the river, fronting the woods, the
river forming their back. The time from the attack on the vanguard
to the time of forming the line on the Indian fields, after the
pursuit was finally ended, was two and a half hours. During this sharp
conflict the conduct of each individual officer and soldier was so
uniformly and strictly military, that the commander was scarcely able
to make distinctions in his brief and modest report to General Hull.
The physical powers of almost every man were called into action, and
severely tried.

The troops then returned to Detroit, where they were apprised of the
declaration of war between England and the United States.

Colonel Miller, on hearing the above news, determined to make an
attempt to land on the Canada shore, with the fourth regiment, which
he still continued to command, accompanied by Colonel, now General
Cass, with a regiment of militia, together with a company of artillery,
under Captain Dyson; the whole, under the command of Colonel Miller,
embarked at a point about a mile above Detroit, crossed the river and
landed on the Canada side without opposition. Colonels Miller and Cass
had, on this occasion, the honor of planting with their own hands, on
the bank of the Detroit river, the first American flag carried into
Canada in the last war. After remaining but a short time in Canada,
they re-embarked to the American side. Colonel Miller, it appears by
official reports, took an active part in nearly all the principal
battles of the western frontier. In a dispatch from General Harrison,
at Lower Sandusky, he observes, “the detachment led by that brave
officer, Colonel Miller, did not exceed three hundred and fifty men,
and it is very certain that they defeated two hundred British regulars,
one hundred and fifty militia men, and four or five hundred Indians.”
Again, in a letter from Major-General Brown to the secretary of war,
after the battle of Bridgewater, he says, “to secure the victory, it
was necessary to carry this artillery and seize the height; this duty
was assigned to Colonel Miller, who advanced steadily and gallantly to
his object, and carried the height and the cannon.” He also observes,
“from the preceding detail, you have evidence of the distinguished
gallantry of that brave officer.” In the battles of Chippewa, Niagara
and Erie, he is alike distinguished. After the battle of Chippewa,
Colonel Miller was promoted to the rank of Brigadier-General. Congress
presented him with a gold medal (_see_ Plate V.) with the unanimous
thanks of that body.

After the close of the war, General Miller retired to his estate at
Peterborough, New Hampshire, where he resided for some time, enjoying
the sweets of quietude and the pleasures of agricultural pursuits;
subsequently he received the appointment of collector of the port
at Salem, Massachusetts, where he is now living in the bosom of his
family. Although nearly deprived of the powers of articulation by
paralysis, he enjoys his other faculties with comfort to himself and
happiness to all around him.

The kindness and affability of General Miller made him a favorite in
the field, as well as in the domestic circle. Before his affliction,
it was indeed difficult to be long in his society without feeling
happier as well as wiser. He was blessed with a great cheerfulness of
disposition, which diffused its charms on all around him. He lives,
commanding universal veneration and attachment from his illustrious
services as a soldier, and his social virtues and generous hospitality
as a man.


OCCASION.--Battles of Chippewa, Niagara, and Erie.

DEVICE.--Bust of General Miller.

LEGEND.--Brigadier-General James Miller.

EXERGUE.--I’ll try.

REVERSE.--Two armies engaged on a hill; troops advancing at a distance.

LEGEND.--Resolution of Congress, November 3d, 1814.

EXERGUE.--Battles of Chippewa, July 5th, 1814; Niagara, July 25th,
1814; Erie, September 17th, 1814.

[Illustration: Plate 6.




_W. L. Ormsby, sc._]


Jacob Brown, the subject of the following memoir, was born in Bucks
county, Pennsylvania, in the year 1775, of a highly respectable
family of Quakers. His father inherited a valuable and flourishing
estate, but anxious still to increase it, he imprudently embarked in
some commercial transactions which proved unfortunate, and his whole
property was sacrificed. This happened when our hero was about sixteen
years of age, and, it is said, made a great change in his character and
conduct; he was determined to devote himself to something that might be
a support for himself, and enable him to retrieve the broken fortunes
of his family.

At the age of eighteen he took charge of a large and respectable
school at Crosswicks, New Jersey; at the same time endeavoring, by
close study, to improve his own mind for future labors. At the age of
twenty-two, he was employed in surveying and laying out lands, in that
section of country now the state of Ohio. He also became agent for M.
Le Roy de Chaumont, a distinguished Frenchman, who owned a large tract
of that country, and was industrious in obtaining settlers. In 1798 he
removed to the city of New York, where, by the urgent solicitations of
his friends, he was induced again to take charge of a school; this,
after a time, became irksome, and he commenced the study of law, but
soon abandoned it as uncongenial with his active and adventurous
pursuits. Having acquired a small property by his exertions in Ohio,
he made a purchase of some land on the borders of Lake Ontario and the
river St. Lawrence, now Jefferson county, in the state of New York.
Here he built the first human dwelling within thirty miles of the lake,
and after effecting some necessary improvements, he removed his parents
to his new abode; and to the close of his life devoted himself to their
happiness and comfort.

Brown, through his early life, had much to contend with. Thrown upon
his own resources for subsistence and education, and the poverty of
his beloved parents on his mind, he was repeatedly discouraged; but
his energy never forsook him; his firmness and perseverance seemed to
overcome every obstacle that surrounded him. In 1809, he was appointed
a colonel of militia; and in the year following, he was promoted to
the rank of brigadier-general. At the commencement of the war in 1812,
he was appointed to defend the frontier of Lake Ontario and the river
St. Lawrence, from Oswego to Lake St. Francis, an extent of coast
reaching two hundred miles. He fixed his head-quarters at Ogdensburg,
where he was attacked by a British force much superior to his own in
numbers; but in this affair no one received the least injury, while the
enemy lost several men in killed and wounded. In 1813, General Brown
joined Colonel Backus, of the dragoons, stationed at Sacket’s Harbor,
a demonstration against the post having been made by a British force
from Kingston, under the command of Sir George Prevost and Sir James
Yeo. General Brown had hardly time to arrive and dispose his brigade,
before the enemy commenced the attack, which for a time was fierce and
successful; but after a series of skillful and spirited movements, the
British forces were completely vanquished, and retreated precipitately
in their boats. The loss of the enemy was four hundred and fifty, while
that of the Americans was one hundred and fifty-six. Among the slain
was the gallant Backus, who fell while exciting his men by his own
bravery. The same year General Brown was appointed a brigadier-general
in the regular army of the United States, and soon after planned the
expedition against Montreal, which, by a want of concert between the
generals of the northern army, was entirely frustrated.

Early in 1814, General Brown was placed in command of the northern
division of the army at French Mills, with the rank of major-general.
The reputation of the military was at this time rather low; many
enterprises had proved abortive, and a feeling of disappointment was
fast spreading through the country, and unfavorable impressions against
the military capacity of the generals, were gaining ground. General
Brown was determined, with the aid of able coadjutors, to endeavor to
retrieve the reputation of the army; to these arduous exertions are to
be ascribed the brilliant triumphs which were subsequently achieved.

In the Spring of 1814, he crossed the Niagara river and carried Fort
Erie, which surrendered without any resistance.

On the 5th of July, 1814, was fought the battle of Chippewa, the first
in that series of battles by which the American army so eminently
distinguished itself. The British commander made a rapid advance,
supposing the American forces not prepared for the attack he was about
to make. In this he found himself mistaken, for hardly had he formed
his line, when the gallant Scott made an attack. The conflict was
severe on both sides, and for some time seemed about even, when, on the
approach of a second brigade, under General Ripley, the British made a
precipitate retreat under cover of their works on the Chippewa creek.
News having reached General Brown that the British were intending to
cross the Strait at Niagara, for the purpose of seizing the depot
of the American army, and cutting off supplies of ammunition and
subsistence, he accordingly advanced General Scott, with his brigade,
to divert the enemy from his purpose, and on the 25th instant General
Scott came in sight of the enemy, and shortly after made an attack.
General Brown was also on the field in a few minutes, and immediately
after General Ripley with his brigade. The combat now became obstinate
and bloody beyond all parallel: like the battle of Chippewa it was
fought on an open field; but here, as at Chippewa, the American army
was completely victorious.

Although the enemy had chosen his own ground, on a commanding
position, sheltered by heights, superior in numbers, and flanked by
numerous artillery, he was driven from his position at the point
of the bayonet, his cannon captured, and completely routed. Being
reinforced by additional troops, the enemy made three unsuccessful
attempts to regain his former position, by charges on the American
line; the two last of which are described as the most desperate in the
whole history of the war, being decided entirely at the point of the
bayonet. General Brown, although he had received two severe wounds,
and was so much exhausted by loss of blood, that at one time he was
obliged to be supported on his horse by members of his staff, evinced
through the whole, coolness and intrepidity, seemingly determined to
maintain his position with his last drop of blood, till the victory was
complete. General Brown was born to excel in his military profession.
A stranger to surprise or intimidation, he met every emergency with a
moral courage, his safeguard on the most trying occasions. When dangers
were greatest, his coolness and resolution shone most conspicuous.
His plans, which were never rash or imprudent, were distinguished for
energy and vigor.

History informs us, that no enterprise undertaken by General Brown
ever failed, or which he caused to be executed under the direction of
others. It was not until the beginning of September, that General Brown
was sufficiently convalescent from his wounds to resume his command.
Our hero then commenced making secret preparations, and on the 17th of
September, made a sortie, drove the besiegers from their entrenchments,
and either destroyed or rendered their works wholly unserviceable; the
loss of the enemy was one thousand, that of the American army five
hundred. On the 21st, the enemy abandoned his position, and retreated
beyond the Chippewa.

The American army heretofore had been looked upon by the British as
vacillating and dilatory, and therefore such firmness and vigor,
accompanied by such offensive movements, were entirely unexpected,
and may in some measure account for such signal success. It had been
said that the “British bayonet was irresistible;” but on the Niagara,
the tide of victory was turned by that very weapon on which lay their
invincibility. At the close of the war, General Brown was retained
in the army, and took up his residence at Washington; but he never
recovered from the severe wounds received at Fort Erie. His health
gradually declining, he died at his residence at Washington, 24th
February, 1828.

By a resolve of Congress, November 3, 1814, a gold medal was struck
and presented to General Brown, for his brilliant achievements in the
battles of Chippewa, Niagara and Erie.


(_See_ Plate VI.)

DEVICE.--A bust of General Brown.

LEGEND.--Major-General Jacob Brown.

REVERSE.--The Roman fasces, as indicative of the union and strength
of the states; the top encircled with a laurel wreath, from which
are suspended three tablets, bearing the inscriptions Erie, Niagara,
Chippewa; and encircled by three stands of British colors, its wings

LEGEND.--Resolution of Congress, Nov. 3, 1814.

EXERGUE.--Battles of Chippewa, July 5th, 1814; Niagara, July 25th,
1814; Erie, Sept. 17, 1814.


Eleazer Wheelock Ripley was born in Hanover, in New Hampshire, in the
year 1782. His father, the Reverend Sylvanus Ripley, was professor
of divinity of Dartmouth College; his maternal grandfather was the
Reverend Eleazer Wheelock, founder of the institution of which his
father was professor, and the son a graduate. By the same side he was
lineally descended from the celebrated Miles Standish, the Scanderberg
of his day, whose memory is justly cherished as the early protector
of the Plymouth colony. The Reverend Mr. Ripley dying early in life,
left a large family under the care of his widow, to whose virtuous and
devoted attention may be ascribed the future success of her offspring,
particularly that of the subject of this memoir, then at the tender
age of five years. At the age of fourteen, Eleazer was admitted to
Dartmouth college, from which institution he received the degree of
Bachelor of Arts, in the year 1800, being only in the eighteenth
year of his age. His course, while an under graduate, had been
distinguished, and at the time of graduation he received the highest
honors of the college. After leaving college, he commenced the study of
the law in the town of Waterville, Massachusetts.

In this memoir we can only give slight traces of his early life, but
infer from the information of historians, that he gave early presages
in youth of what has since been realized in manhood. He was assiduous
and successful in his studies, and exemplary in his life and conduct;
and the early eminence attained by Mr. Ripley in his profession, tested
the assiduity with which he had devoted himself to the study of it. In
the year 1807, he was elected to the legislature of Massachusetts, from
the town of Winslow, in that state. At the period when the nation first
felt the effect of the offensive edicts of the two great belligerent
powers of Europe, Mr. Ripley’s political character strongly developed
itself. He was aware that the insults and aggressions of France would
lead to a war, for which just cause had been given, provided the equal
avidity and greater means of annoyance of Great Britain did not make
that country the mark of an equally just enmity.

When, in the year 1808, their combined hostility became more apparent
and oppressive, he conceived that was the moment for a declaration of
war, for which the country would never be better prepared, a crisis
which sooner or later must come.

In 1811, Mr. Ripley was elected to the chair of the speaker of the
house of Representatives of Massachusetts, vacated by the late Hon.
Joseph Story; over which he presided with distinguished ability and

In 1812, he declared for the necessity of a war, and was induced to
assume an active duty in it, by accepting a lieutenant-colonelcy in
the army of the United States. On leaving his civil and legislative
duties, Colonel Ripley was entrusted by the commander-in-chief with
the charge of a sub-district, from Saco to the eastern frontier, with
orders to place the same in the best posture of defence. To this was
added the superintendence of the recruiting service, which in a short
time embodied his recruits into a regiment, called the twenty-first, of
which he had the sole command.

With this regiment he marched to Plattsburgh, on the northern frontier,
where an army under the command of the late General Pike was encamped.

The winter of 1812 he spent with his regiment at Burlington, Vermont,
where he commenced that school of discipline and police which led his
regiment to its subsequent fame, and made it the model of the army.
In March, 1813, Colonel Ripley left his winter quarters for Sacket’s
Harbor, to join General Pike’s brigade, and prepare for the attack on
York, Upper Canada. On the 23d of April, the troops embarked on that
enterprise, and on the morning of the 27th, arrived before the town
which was the object of it. The immediate command of the assault was
entrusted to General Pike. On entering the bay of York the ships were
severely cannonaded by the forts defending the harbor, while they in
turn covered with their guns a large portion of the beach, on which
it was intended that the troops should form. On the debarkation of a
body of riflemen under Major Forsyth, the enemy fled to the woods,
giving time for the main body to form on the beach, and move in close
column to the attack of the principal fort. The troops thronged into
the works, when the awful explosion of the magazine took place, which
annihilated the leading columns, and mortally wounded their gallant
commander General Pike. During the confusion, the enemy called in his
detached parties, and concentrated his force in the town. Colonel
Ripley, who also had been wounded in the explosion, soon collected his
scattered army and prepared to charge the enemy, who made a precipitate
retreat, leaving an immense quantity of artillery and stores, some few
prisoners, and the town to make its own conditions. A surrender was
made, and Colonel Ripley’s regiment was stationed to guard the property
of the citizens from depredation. On the 30th, the army re-embarked
for the assault of Fort George; but a long and severe storm detained
and prevented its reaching its destination until the 27th of May, when
Fort George was assaulted and taken. On the 3d of June, Colonel Ripley
having been ordered to return to Sacket’s Harbor to organize the large
body of recruits collected during the winter, reached that place on the
11th instant, where he was detained by severe indisposition, until the
15th of July; from that time until October the regiment was employed
in an incessant course of instruction; the drill, general discipline,
and police, were carried to their highest perfection, which produced
the most successful results. In November following, Colonel Ripley and
the 21st regiment played a conspicuous part in the descent of the St.
Lawrence; after which they retired again to their winter quarters at
Sacket’s Harbor. In the spring of 1814, the army was put in motion for
the Niagara frontier. On the 15th of April, Colonel Ripley was created
brigadier-general, and early took his leave of the corps of his own
training, the 21st regiment. The command of General Ripley was not
augmented by his increased rank. The division of the army under General
Brown consisted of two brigades, of which General Scott commanded the
first, General Ripley the second. From the 4th of May until the 3d
of July, the army pursued its usual routine of instruction, when it
commenced the passage of the Niagara, and invaded the province of Upper
Canada. On the morning of the 5th, General Brown detached a portion
of General Porter’s volunteers to drive back a body of the enemy’s
light troops and Indians that infested a wood on the left wing of the
army. About mid-day Generals Brown and Ripley advanced to ascertain
the effect of this attempt, when it was observed that the firing,
which had been irregular and receding, from the circumstance of the
enemy’s having been driven back, changed into a regular heavy platoon
discharge. This discovery made it necessary for Generals Ripley and
Scott to join them; they had scarcely advanced when the enemy appeared
in line, and the brilliant action ensued, so well known, and so justly
celebrated, which caused the enemy to retire in such rapid and confused
precipitation across the Chippewa, that no attempt to impede his flight
could prove effectual. Everything that could not be moved in haste was
abandoned, and the enemy retreating into his entrenchments, left the
American army undisturbed possession of the ground in front of them.
From this until the 24th the army were in frequent skirmishes with
the enemy. As the succeeding day produced the most memorable battle
during the war, there are circumstances which require a somewhat minute
relation, and which are given on these pages from the concurring
testimony of the most distinguished officers present. During the
course of the 25th, a piquet stationed beyond the Chippewa, reported
the advance of a small party of the enemy on the Niagara road, and
that several columns had been thrown across the river to Lewistown, to
proceed towards Schlosser, to seize on our wounded and baggage. General
Scott, in order to draw them back, made a demonstrative movement toward
Queenstown. About two hours after its departure a fire of musketry was
heard, on which General Ripley immediately formed his brigade, to be in
readiness for an emergency of which he had not been apprised; scarcely
was it ranged, when the increased fire of musketry, accompanied by
heavy discharges of artillery, announced the unexpected certainty of
General Scott’s being engaged. Shortly afterwards an order arrived from
General Brown, directing him to advance.

The enemy was posted on an eminence, his artillery in the centre,
and from it, and a long line of infantry, poured on the first brigade
an annihilating fire: that brigade had held position in direct front
of the enemy, less than one hundred yards distance; the action had
continued nearly two hours, during which an attempt to turn our left
had been repulsed, but no advance had been made on the enemy’s line,
which, from its superior position, beyond the reach of material
annoyance from our artillery, kept up so deadly a fire that the first
brigade was fast sinking under the effect of it. The 25th regiment
line of brigade, under the command of Major, now General Jessup,
being thrown on the enemy’s right flank, captured General Riall, and
performed other acts of heroism reflecting the most unfading honor on
its gallant commander. At the same instant he formed the 21st regiment
under the command of the brave Colonel now General Miller, to attack
the cannon in direct line in front, and to push both the 21st and 23d
regiments upon the enemy. The two bodies struck the enemy’s line at
nearly the same moment, the 21st falling immediately upon the cannon,
the 23d on the infantry supporting it. At this moment of confusion it
is scarcely possible to do justice to many individuals most honorably
engaged. Colonel Miller, to whom the sole charge of the attack in front
was entrusted, evinced that unconquerable gallantry which is identified
by but one spirit, and that of the noblest sort. As the enemy was now
advancing under cover of the darkness, General Ripley gave orders that
the fire should be retained until that of the assailants was received,
in order that ours might be made more effective by being directed by
the light of his. In a few moments he advanced to within a distance
of ten or twelve paces, and, from a line far outflanking ours, poured
in one continued blaze of musketry; this was promptly answered by our
troops, and at this short distance, a tremendous conflict commenced:
for the space of twenty minutes an incessant gleam of light was emitted
from both lines; sections mutually recoiled where the severity of the
fire was most excessive; those on our side were inspirited and brought
again to the charge by the personal exertion of General Ripley, and
such a vigor infused in their resistance, that the enemy was forced
back in confusion, and fell to the bottom of the hill. During the short
period that intervened between this charge and a subsequent repetition
of it, the first brigade was forming itself in the rear of the second,
and at the moment when the two lines were in their second encounter,
General Scott passed his corps through an opening in the one before it,
to throw himself upon the enemy then engaged in a vigorous discharge
of musketry. From this point he again advanced to the attack of the
enemy’s right flank, but being compelled to fall back, he left his
brigade on the left and pushed along the line to the extreme right. The
enemy’s second charge being repulsed, General Ripley still retained
his position on the eminence. It was now midnight, and the enemy
being reinforced, advanced to his third and most vigorous effort. The
same deadly assault was made, which in like manner was frustrated and
forced back. This was a perfect skirmish; the enemy mingled himself
with our ranks; two of our guns were spiked, and the utmost confusion
prevailed in every direction; but by the firmness and bravery of the
21st regiment and its gallant officers, the line was preserved, and
the enemy again, and for the last time, recoiled from it in confusion
and dismay; leaving the line under General Ripley master of the field.
The darkness was now impenetrable, and although the field, on which
were strewed our dead and wounded, was ours, an enemy of superior force
was on its borders, and of the measures which his late discomfiture
might induce him to adopt we were necessarily ignorant. Under these
circumstances General Ripley condensed the remnant of our shattered
force and marched toward Chippewa. Such was the memorable battle of
Niagara; although the conquest was ours, one-third of our slender force
engaged in it were now wounded or dead. Some time after midnight the
army arrived at its encampment, when General Ripley waited on General
Brown, then wounded, in his tent. General Brown requested that General
Ripley should refresh the troops, of which the whole command now rested
with him, march them in the morning to the battle-field, and if the
enemy appeared there in force, to be governed entirely by circumstances.

At daybreak the army was arranged, and the march commenced, when they
found the enemy had been reinforced since the battle of the preceding
evening, and that it would be an act of madness to attack an enemy thus
increased, with two-thirds only of the force in the previous conflict.
The army consequently retrograded across the Chippewa, the bridge
of which they destroyed, and likewise everything that might aid the
enemy’s advance.

They reached Fort Erie on the 27th of July, and commenced a course of
labors that would now be deemed beyond the reach of accomplishment.
The redoubts, abattis, traverses and entrenchments were instantly
commenced, and the ability of an army in patience, vigor and hardihood,
was never more fully elicited; nor can any monument of military
exertion show a greater amount of labor accomplished in a shorter
period, than can the works of Fort Erie from the 27th of July until
the 3d of August. The impediments given to the advance of the enemy by
General Ripley, had retarded his approach until that day. By one or
two days of previous advance, he might have found the American army
unintrenched and exposed; he now found it in a situation to defy him.

He arrived and planted his main camp about two miles distant,
and in front of it a line of circumvallation extending around our
fortifications; it consisted of two lines of entrenchment supported by
block-houses; in front of these, and at favorable points, batteries,
from which an incessant and destructive fire was poured on our

On the 14th of August, about midnight, General Ripley perceived
indications of an attack, which he had been for some time anticipating;
accordingly, about one o’clock on the morning of the 15th, the firing
of the piquet confirmed General Ripley’s impressions.

Lieutenant Belknap, who commanded the piquet, perceiving the enemy’s
column approach through the darkness, fired and retreated to the works.
The assailants were allowed to approach near to the works, when the
fire from the 21st and 23d regiments, and the incessant blaze of the
battery, drove them back in confusion, without the enemy having made
the least impression.

The charge was again renewed on the abattis between the battery
and the lake, which was again and in the same manner frustrated. A
third and last attempt was made to pass the point of the abattis,
by wading into the work by the lake. Like the other attempts, this
also was defeated, and the part of the enemy which survived the
destruction to which it had been exposed, fell back in confusion from
the works. Throughout these several and varied attacks from a force so
overwhelming, the second brigade evinced its accustomed discipline,
and its officers the high and gallant spirit they held in common with
their leader. Reinforcements were detached to different points, changes
of position made, new shapes of the enemy’s attack on the right, a
part deemed the least vulnerable, were found more effectual. He had
succeeded in making a lodgement in the bastion, which was left to the
defence of artillery only, unsupported by infantry, as had been the
previous custom. From this, however, he was soon dislodged, and after
a dreadful repulse, all became as tranquil on the right as it had
previously become on the left. When morning appeared, the flower of
the British army lay dead or wounded before the American works. The
commanders of the three assailing columns shared the same fate, and of
the force which the last night thronged toward the fortification, the
miserable remains of the greater part never returned from it.

The only prisoners taken during the night, were made by a sally ordered
by General Ripley. His position was deemed the least of any part of the
force engaged, while he inflicted on the enemy the greatest. The enemy
now commenced with batteries in every direction. Hot shot, shells and
other destructive implements were showered in vast profusion; every
house, tent and hut were perforated, and many of our best soldiers
destroyed. This warfare was kept up at intervals, by daily skirmishes,
until the 17th of September, the day allotted for the sortie which
terminated the siege; when the besiegers yielded to the besieged, and a
force regular and irregular, of two thousand men, drove the enemy from
his entrenchments, beat and scattered a regular enemy of four thousand

Extract of an official letter to the secretary of war, after the
sortie of Fort Erie:--“On the morning of the 17th, General Miller was
directed to station his command in the ravine, which lies between Fort
Erie and the enemy’s batteries, by passing them by detachments through
the skirts of the wood; and the 21st infantry, under General Ripley,
was posted as a corps of reserve, between the new bastions of Fort
Erie, all under cover and out of the view of the enemy. About twenty
minutes before three, P. M., the left columns, under the command of
General Porter, which were destined to turn the enemy’s right, were
within a few rods of the British entrenchments. They were ordered to
advance and commence the action. Passing down the ravine, it was judged
from the report of musketry, that the action had commenced on our left;
orders were given to General Miller to seize the moment and pierce the
enemy’s entrenchment, between batteries No. 2 and 3, which orders were
promptly and ably executed. Within thirty minutes after the first gun
was fired, batteries No. 2 and 3, the enemy’s line of entrenchments,
and his two block-houses were in our possession. Soon after, battery
No. 1 was abandoned by the British. The guns in each were spiked by us,
or otherwise destroyed, and the magazine of No. 3 was blown up. A few
minutes before the explosion, the reserve, under General Ripley, was
ordered up; as he passed, at the head of his column, he was desired he
would have a care that not more of the troops were hazarded than the
occasion of the sortie required. General Ripley passed rapidly on.

“Soon after fears were entertained for the safety of General Miller,
and an order sent for the 21st to hasten to his support, towards
battery No. 1. Colonel Upham received the order and advanced to the aid
of General Miller. General Ripley had inclined to the left, and while
making some necessary inquiries was unfortunately wounded in the neck,
severely, but not dangerously. By this time the object of the sortie
was accomplished beyond the most sanguine expectations of the commander
and his generals. General Miller had consequently ordered the troops on
the right to fall back. Observing this movement, the staff of General
Brown was directed along the line, to call in the other corps. Within a
few minutes they retired from the ravine, and from thence to camp. Thus
one thousand regulars, and an equal portion of militia, in one hour
of close action, blasted the hopes of the enemy, destroyed the fruits
of fifty days’ labor, and diminished his effective force at least one
thousand men.”

After the battle, General Ripley was removed to the American side of
the river, and throughout a course of severe suffering for three months
his life was despaired of. At the commencement of his convalescence he
was removed by short journeys to Albany, where the best medical aid was
procured, yet it was nearly a year before he was sufficiently recovered
to attend to any military duties. The speedy return of peace caused a
reduction in the army, but General Ripley was retained with the brevet
and command of major-general. Congress testified their approbation
of his gallant services by a vote of thanks, and the presentation
of a gold medal, (_See_ Plate VI.;) and the states of New York,
Massachusetts, South Carolina and Georgia, and the country at large,
have by honorary tokens and expressions, testified their grateful
acknowledgments for his gallantry.

On the return of General Ripley’s health, he removed to his estate at
Baton Rouge, near New Orleans, from whence he was elected to Congress.
He died in 1834, in the fifty-second year of his age, respected by a
numerous circle of friends, who admired his bravery as a soldier, and
his virtues as a man.


OCCASION.--Battles of Chippewa, Niagara and Erie.

DEVICE.--Bust of General Ripley.

LEGEND.--Brigadier-General Eleazer W. Ripley.

REVERSE.--Victory holding up a tablet among the branches of a palm
tree, inscribed with “NIAGARA, CHIPPEWA, ERIE.” In her right hand,
which gracefully hangs by her side, are a trumpet and laurel wreath.

LEGEND.--Resolution of Congress, Nov. 3, 1814.

EXERGUE.--Battles of Chippewa, July 5th, 1814; Niagara, July 28th,
1814; Erie, Sept. 17th, 1814.


Peter B. Porter was born of very respectable parents, in Salisbury,
Connecticut, August 14th, 1773. His father intending him for the
profession of the law, entered him at Yale College, in his own state,
where he graduated with high honors to himself and great satisfaction
to his preceptors.

Having completed his law studies, he established himself in his native
town, from whence he was elected to Congress, where he remained as
chairman of the “Committee of Foreign Relations” till 1811. At that
period this country was preparing for a war with England, with which
she had long been threatened, and every buoyant spirit seemed anxious
to take up arms in his country’s cause; and no part of the community
engaged in it with greater ardor than the members of the bar.

During the same year he was appointed with Governor Morris, Stephen
Van Rensselaer, De Witt Clinton, William North, Simeon De Witt, Thomas
Eddy, Robert R. Livingston and Robert Fulton, the first commissioners
in relation to inland navigation, being the incipient step that led,
in the sequel, to the noble works of art and improvement, which
contributed so largely (whatever excesses may have been committed) to
the glory and prosperity of the state of New York. These labors were
suspended, however, by the war of 1812, and for these civic duties,
General Porter exchanged the privations and dangers of the frontier
campaigns. Residing then at Black Rock, he was in the midst of the most
eventful and stirring of the border scenes. He rallied the hastily
gathered volunteers, who repelled the first invasion of that place in
midsummer, 1813; and shared, at the head of his corps, with intrepidity
and skill, in those brilliant and memorable battles of the succeeding

In the official papers of General Brown to the secretary of war,
after the battle of Chippewa, he speaks of General Porter as
follows:--“General Scott having selected this plain with the eye of a
soldier, his right resting on the river, and a ravine in front, was
joined early in the morning of the 5th by General Porter, with a part
of the New York and Pennsylvania volunteers, and some of the warriors
of the Six Nations. At 4 o’clock, P. M., General Porter advanced
from the rear of our camp with the volunteers and Indians, (taking
the woods, in order to keep out of view of the enemy,) with a hope
of bringing his pickets and scouting parties between his (Porter’s)
line of march and our camp. As Porter moved, the parties advanced in
front of our camp, fell back gradually under the enemy’s fire, in
order, if possible, to draw him up to our line. Before 5 o’clock,
the advance of General Porter’s command met the light parties of the
enemy in the woods, upon our extreme left--the enemy were driven; and
Porter, advancing near to Chippewa, met their whole column in order of
battle.” He also observes:--“The conduct of General Porter has been
conspicuously gallant; every assistance in his power to afford, with
the description of force under his command, has been rendered.”

In the official details of the battle of Bridgewater, General Brown
also says:--“It was with great pleasure I saw the good order and
intrepidity of General Porter’s volunteers, from the moment of their
arrival; but, during the last charge of the enemy, those qualities were
conspicuous. Stimulated by their gallant leader, they precipitated
themselves upon the enemy’s line, and made all the prisoners which were
taken at this point of the action.”

In General Gaines’ detailed report of the battle of Fort Erie,
the August following, he says:--“General Porter’s brigade, of New
York and Pennsylvania volunteers, with our distinguished riflemen,
occupied the centre.” After describing the action, General Gaines
observes:--“Brigadier-General Porter, commanding the New York and
Pennsylvania volunteers, manifested a degree of vigilance and judgment
in his preparatory arrangements, as well as military skill and courage
in action, which proves him to be worthy the confidence of his
country, and the brave volunteers who fought under him.” During the
next session Congress passed the following resolution:--“Resolved,
that the President of the United States be requested to cause a
gold medal (_See_ Plate VI.) to be struck, with suitable emblems and
devices, and presented to Major-General Porter, in testimony of the
high sense entertained by Congress for his gallantry and good conduct
in the several conflicts of Chippewa, Niagara and Erie.” In 1816,
he was appointed Secretary of State, in place of Jacob Rutsen Van
Rensselaer, but he declined the appointment, having been elected
to Congress the previous year. Near the close of his congressional
term, he was appointed Commissioner, under the British treaty, to run
the boundary line between the United States and Canada. In 1817, he
was the antagonist candidate to De Witt Clinton, in the democratic
canvass held for the nomination of Governor, and at the election
received a few votes, cast by politicians in the city of New York, who
refused to acquiesce in the nomination of Clinton. In the political
controversies of his time General Porter was a prominent participator,
until his retirement from public life with Mr. Adams in 1829. Under
that administration, and for the last year of it, he discharged the
duties of Secretary of War. He was warmly attached to Mr. Clay, and
was related to him by the marriage of his second wife. A frontier
resident during the last forty years; possessed of large estates on
the border--he is identified with the history of western New York, and
with its gigantic progress in the great elements of social and physical

General Porter has been distinguished in our annals in civic and
martial life, and there are few among us to whom the meed of talents,
bravery and patriotism can be more faithfully awarded. His private life
was estimable, as his public career was brilliant. In his domestic
relations he was ingenuous, affectionate and kind. In his intercourse
with mankind his deportment drew around him a numerous circle of
friends. The active and useful life of this distinguished servant of
his country was closed at his residence at Niagara, March 20th, 1844,
in the seventy-first year of his age.


OCCASION.--Battles of Chippewa, Niagara and Erie.

DEVICE.--Bust of General P. B. Porter.

LEGEND.--Major-General P. B. Porter.

REVERSE.--Victory standing holding a palm branch and wreath in her
right hand; and three stands of colors, bearing the inscriptions,
“_Niagara, Erie, Chippewa_,” in her left. The Muse of History is
recording the above names.

LEGEND.--Resolution of Congress, Nov. 3d, 1814.

EXERGUE.--Battles of Chippewa, July 5th, 1814; Niagara, July 25th,
1814; Erie, Sept. 17th, 1814.

[Illustration: Plate 7.




_W. L. Ormsby, sc._]


Major-General Alexander Macomb, the son of a respectable fur merchant,
was born at Detroit, April 3d, 1782. His father removed to New York
when he was an infant, and at the age of eight years placed him
at school at Newark, New Jersey, under the charge of Dr. Ogden, a
gentleman of distinguished talents and high literary attainments. In
1798, a time of great excitement, as invasion by a French army was soon
expected, Macomb, although quite a youth, was elected into a corps
called the “New York Rangers;” Congress having passed a law receiving
volunteers for the defence of the country. In 1799, Macomb obtained
a cornetcy, and General North, then adjutant-general of the northern
army, who had watched for some time the soldier-like conduct of our
hero, received him into his staff as deputy adjutant-general. Macomb,
from his intelligence and attention to his profession, soon became the
favorite of the accomplished North, and the pet of his senior officers.
He was ambitious of distinction, without ostentation, and persevering
even to fatigue.

The thick and dark clouds which hung over the country had passed
away, the prospect of war had now vanished, the troops were generally
disbanded and many of the officers retired to their homes, but our
young officer begged to be retained, and was accordingly commissioned
as a second lieutenant of dragoons, and dispatched to Philadelphia
on the recruiting service; but this service being more form than
necessity, gave Lieutenant Macomb an opportunity to associate with
the best informed men, and access to the extensive libraries in that
city, advantages which he was anxious to improve. When he had raised
the number of recruits required, he was ordered to join General
Wilkinson on the western frontiers, to visit the Cherokee country,
to aid in making a treaty with that nation, a mission which lasted a
year. The corps to which Macomb belonged was soon after disbanded, and
a corps of engineers formed, to which he was afterwards attached as
first-lieutenant, and sent to West Point.

During his residence at West Point, Lieutenant Macomb compiled a
treatise upon martial law, and the practice of courts-martial, now the
standard work upon courts-martial, for the army of the United States.
In 1805, Macomb was sent to superintend the fortifications, which, by
an act of Congress, were ordered to be commenced on the frontiers, and
promoted to the rank of captain in the engineer corps. In 1808, he
was promoted to the rank of major, still acting as superintendent of
fortifications. At the breaking out of the war in 1812, he solicited
a command in an artillery corps, then about to be raised, which was
granted him, and a commission as colonel of the third regiment, dated
July 6th, 1812. The regiment was to consist of twenty companies of one
hundred and eighteen each. He assisted in raising the numbers required,
and in November of that year he marched to Sacket’s Harbor with his
troops, where he spent the winter, having command of the whole of
the lake frontier. In January, 1814, he was promoted to the rank of
brigadier-general, and appointed to a command on the east side of Lake
Champlain; from which time to the climax of his fame at the defence of
Plattsburgh, he was constantly on the alert, in the discharge of his
duties. During the summer of 1814, Sir George Prevost, governor-general
of Canada, had greatly augmented his forces, by detachments of picked
men from the army which had fought in Spain and Portugal, under the
Duke of Wellington, and which, of course, from their long and tried
military service, were among the best troops in the world; with these
it was intended to strike a decisive blow on our frontier, and bring
us to terms at once. In this, however, Sir George was mistaken, as the
following extract from Brigadier-General Macomb to the Secretary of War
will prove, dated Plattsburgh, September 15, 1814:--

    “The governor-general of the Canadas, Sir George Prevost,
    having collected all the disposable force of Lower Canada,
    with a view of conquering the country as far as Ticonderoga,
    entered the territory of the United States on the 1st of the
    month, and occupied the village of Champlain--there avowed his
    intentions, and issued orders and proclamations, tending to
    dissuade the people from their allegiance, and inviting them
    to furnish his army with provisions. He immediately began to
    impress the wagons and teams in the vicinity, and loaded them
    with his baggage and stores, indicating preparations for an
    attack on this place. My fine brigade was broken up to form a
    division ordered to the westward, which consequently left me in
    the command of a garrison of convalescents and the recruits of
    the new regiments--all in the greatest confusion, as well as
    the ordnance and stores, and the works in no state of defence.

    “To create an emulation and zeal among the officers and men,
    in completing the works, I divided them into detachments, and
    placed them near the several forts--declaring, in orders, that
    each detachment was the garrison of its own work, and bound to
    defend it to the last extremity. The enemy advanced cautiously,
    and by short marches, and our soldiers worked day and night; so
    that, by the time he made his appearance before the place, we
    were prepared to receive him. Finding, on examining the returns
    of the garrison, that our force did not exceed fifteen hundred
    men for duty, and well-informed that the enemy had as many
    thousand, I called on General Mooers, of the New York militia,
    and arranged with him plans for bringing forth the militia _en

    “The inhabitants of the village fled with their families
    and effects, except a few worthy citizens and some boys, who
    formed themselves into a party, received rifles, and were
    exceedingly useful. General Mooers arrived with seven hundred
    militia and advanced seven miles on the Beekmantown road, to
    watch the motions of the enemy, and to skirmish with him as
    he advanced--also to obstruct the roads with fallen trees,
    and to break up the bridges. On the lake road, at Dead-Creek
    Bridge, I posted two hundred men, under Captain Sproul, of
    the 13th regiment, with orders to abattis the woods, to place
    obstructions in the road, and to fortify himself; to this party
    I added two field-pieces. In advance of that position was
    Lieutenant-Colonel Appling, with one hundred and ten riflemen,
    watching the movements of the enemy and procuring intelligence.
    It was ascertained that before daylight, on the 6th, the
    enemy would advance in two columns, on the two roads before
    mentioned, dividing at Sampson’s, a little below Chazy village.
    The column on the Beekmantown road proceeded most rapidly; the
    militia skirmished with their advanced parties, and, except a
    few brave men, fell back most precipitately in the greatest
    disorder, notwithstanding the British troops did not design to
    fire on them, except by their flankers and advanced patroles.

    “Finding the enemy’s columns had penetrated within a mile of
    Plattsburgh, I dispatched my aid-de-camp, Lieutenant Root,
    to bring off the detachment at Dead-Creek, and to inform
    Lieutenant-Colonel Appling that I wished him to fall on the
    enemy’s right flank; the Colonel fortunately arrived just
    in time to save his retreat, and to fall in with the head
    of a column debouching from the woods; here he poured in a
    destructive fire from his riflemen at rest, and continued to
    annoy the column until he formed a junction with Major Wool.
    The field-pieces did considerable execution among the enemy’s
    columns. So undaunted, however, was the enemy, that he never
    deployed in his whole march, always pressing on in a column.
    Finding that every road around us was full of troops, crowding
    in on all sides, I ordered the field-pieces to retire across
    the bridge and form a battery for its protection, and to cover
    the retreat of the infantry, which was accordingly done, and
    the parties of Appling and Wool, as well as that of Sproul,
    retired alternately, keeping up a brisk fire until they got
    under cover of the works. The enemy’s light troops occupied the
    houses near the bridge, and kept up a constant firing from the
    windows and balconies, and annoyed us much. I ordered them to
    be driven out with hot shot, which soon fired the houses and
    obliged these sharp-shooters to retire. The whole day, until
    it was too late to see, the enemy’s light troops endeavored to
    drive our guards from the bridge, but they suffered dearly for
    their perseverance.

    “Our troops being now all on the south side of the Saranac,
    I directed the planks to be taken off the bridges, and piled
    up in form of breastworks, to cover our parties intended for
    disputing the passage, which afterwards enabled us to hold the
    bridges against very superior numbers. From the 7th to the
    11th, the enemy was employed in getting his battering train
    and erecting his batteries and approaches, and constantly
    skirmishing at the bridges and fords. By this time the militia
    of New York and volunteers from Vermont were pouring in from
    all quarters. I advised General Mooers to keep his force along
    the Saranac, to prevent the enemy crossing the river, and to
    send a strong body in his rear to harass him day and night, and
    keep him in continual alarm. The militia behaved with great
    spirit after the first day, and the volunteers from Vermont
    were exceedingly serviceable.

    “Our regular troops, notwithstanding the constant skirmishing,
    and repeated endeavors of the enemy to cross the river, kept
    at their work, day and night, strengthening their defences,
    and evinced a determination to hold out to the last extremity.
    It was reported that the enemy only awaited the arrival of
    his flotilla to make a general attack. About eight, on the
    morning of the 11th, as was expected, the flotilla appeared
    in sight, round Cumberland Head, and at nine, bore down and
    engaged our flotilla, at anchor in the bay off this town.
    At the same instant, the batteries were opened on us, and
    continued throwing bomb-shells, shrapnells, balls and congreve
    rockets until sunset, when the bombardment ceased; every
    battery of the enemy being silenced by the superiority of our
    fire. The naval engagement lasted two hours, in full view of
    both armies. Three efforts were made by the enemy to pass the
    river at the commencement of the cannonade and bombardment,
    with a view of assaulting the works, and had prepared for that
    purpose an immense number of scaling ladders; one attempt was
    made to cross at the village bridge; another at the upper
    bridge; and a third, at a ford, about three miles from the
    works. At the two first he was repulsed by the regulars; at the
    ford, by the brave volunteers and militia--where he suffered
    severely in killed, wounded and prisoners, a considerable
    body having passed the stream, but were either killed, taken,
    or driven back. The woods at this place were very favorable
    to the operations of our militia; a whole company of the
    76th regiment was here destroyed--the three lieutenants and
    twenty-seven men prisoners; the captain and the rest killed. I
    cannot forego the pleasure of here stating the gallant conduct
    of Captain McGlassin, of the 15th regiment, who was ordered
    to ford the river and attack a party constructing a battery
    on the right of the enemy’s line, within five hundred yards
    of Fort Brown--which he handsomely executed, at midnight,
    with fifty men; drove off the working party consisting of one
    hundred and fifty, and defeated a covering party of the same
    number, killing one officer and six men in the charge and
    wounding many. At dusk, the enemy withdrew his artillery from
    the batteries, and raised the siege; and at nine, under cover
    of the night, sent off all the heavy baggage he could find
    transport for, and also his artillery. At two the next morning,
    the whole army precipitately retreated, leaving the sick and
    wounded to our generosity; and the governor left a note with
    a surgeon, requesting the humane attention of the commanding

    “Vast quantities of provision were left behind and destroyed;
    also, an immense quantity of bomb-shells, cannon-balls,
    grape-shot, ammunition, flints, &c. &c.; intrenching tools
    of all sorts, also tents and marquees. A great quantity has
    been found in the ponds and creeks, and buried in the ground,
    and a vast quantity carried off by the inhabitants. Such was
    the precipitance of his retreat, that he arrived at Chazy,
    a distance of eight miles, before we had discovered his
    departure. The light troops, volunteers and militia, pursued
    immediately on learning his flight; and some of the mounted men
    made prisoners, five dragoons of the 19th, and several others
    of the rear guard. A continued fall of rain, and a violent
    storm, prevented further pursuit. Upwards of three hundred
    deserters have come in, and many are hourly arriving. The loss
    of the enemy in killed, wounded, prisoners and deserters,
    since his first appearance, cannot fall short of two thousand
    five hundred, including many officers, among whom is Colonel
    Wellington, of the Buffs. Killed and wounded on the American
    side; thirty-seven killed, sixty-six wounded--missing, twenty;
    making one hundred and twenty-three. The whole force under Sir
    George Prevost amounted to _fourteen thousand_. The conduct
    of the officers, non-commissioned officers and soldiers of my
    command, during this trying occasion, cannot be represented in
    too high terms.

                        “I have the honor, &c.

                                                    “ALEX. MACOMB.”

This victory was as brilliant as it was unexpected. The event had a
most happy effect on the negotiations then going on at Ghent, and
unquestionably hastened the treaty of peace. Testimonials of respect
poured in upon General Macomb from every quarter of the country.
Congress voted the thanks of the country and a gold medal, (_See_ Plate
VII.) The President promoted him to the rank of major-general, dating
his commission on the day of his victory.

At the conclusion of the war General Macomb was stationed at his
native town, Detroit, and appointed to the command of the northwestern
frontier. In 1821 he was called to Washington, to take the office of
chief of the engineer department; the duties of which he discharged to
the general satisfaction of the government and army, until the death
of General Brown, in 1835; he was then nominated to that station,
which nomination was confirmed by the senate, and he succeeded him as
commander-in-chief of the army. In this capacity he continued to reside
at the seat of government, where he died on the 25th of June, 1841,
aged fifty-nine years.


OCCASION.--Battle of Plattsburgh.

DEVICE.--Bust of General Macomb.

LEGEND.--Major-General Alexander Macomb.

REVERSE.--A battle on land, Plattsburgh in sight: troops crossing a
bridge, on the head of which the American standard is flying: vessels
engaged on the lake.

LEGEND.--Resolution of Congress, November 3, 1814.

EXERGUE.--Battle of Plattsburgh, September 11th, 1814.


Andrew Jackson was born on the 15th of March, 1767, at the Waxhaw
settlement, in South Carolina. His parents, who were natives of the
north of Ireland, emigrated to this country about two years previous
to the birth of their son. Having lost his father at an early age, he
was left to the care of a faithful and devoted mother, who was anxious
to give him such an education as her limited means would permit. For
this purpose she placed him at an academy, where he remained until his
studies were interrupted by the advance of the British troops into the
neighborhood, involving his native spot in a scene of commotion. At the
age of fourteen he abandoned his studies for the colonial camp; where,
in company with an elder brother, he joined the American army. The
troops to which they were attached withdrew to North Carolina, but soon
returned again to their own state. Before long they had the misfortune
of being made prisoners by the enemy, who treated them with great
barbarity, and inflicted injuries upon them from which the brother soon
after died.

Andrew only escaped with his life, by receiving on his hand the stroke
of the sword which was aimed with fury at his head, by an excited
British officer, for refusing to perform some menial service.

His mother survived the death of her son but a few weeks, thus leaving
Andrew sole heir to the small estate possessed by his late parents.
In 1784, he commenced the study of law in Salisbury, North Carolina;
was admitted to practice in 1786, and removed in 1788 to Nashville,
Tennessee, then a new settlement in the western district of North
Carolina. This district having been ceded to the United States, and
organized into a territory in 1790, he was appointed to the office
of United States attorney; and when the territory, in its turn in
1796, became the state of Tennessee, he was a leading member of the
convention to frame a constitution for it, and took a conspicuous part
in the proceedings of that body. Professional success attended him,
in consequence of the singular condition of the settlers, and being
the only practitioner, introduced him to a lucrative business. He
was soon after chosen a representative, and the next year a senator
in Congress; his seat in the senate he resigned at the end of the
first session; but was immediately appointed, by the legislature of
Tennessee, a judge of the supreme court of that state, an office from
which he also soon retired. At his farm on the Cumberland river, near
Nashville, he continued to reside till the breaking out of the war with
Great Britain in 1812. From this time until 1814, Andrew Jackson was
employed by government at the head of between two and three thousand
volunteers, as a major-general, against a hostile movement of the Creek
and Muscogee Indians, who had invaded the frontier settlements of
Alabama and Georgia, and inflicted on the inhabitants the usual horrors
of savage warfare. After a succession of bloody victories achieved
by him over these tribes, a treaty was concluded, and they agreed to
suspend their warfare. In 1814 he was appointed a major-general in the
United States service; and proceeded to take the command of the forces
intended for the defence of New Orleans, against the apprehended attack
of the enemy. On arriving there on the 1st of December, he took decided
measures, acting with the greatest promptness. Fearing the treachery
of some disaffected individuals, he at once proclaimed martial law,
superseding at once the civil authority by the introduction of a rigid
military police. Towards the enemy he acted with the most determined
energy. The British troops had no sooner effected a landing, than he
marched against them, and by assailing them in the night of the 22d of
December, gained great advantages, not only by proving to his followers
what their ability was able to perform, but also to communicate to the
invaders what they had to encounter.

This protracted contest was brought to a close by the memorable
battle of the 8th of January, 1815, which raised the reputation of
the American commander to the highest pitch among his countrymen, and
served as a satisfactory apology, with many, for the strong measures
adopted by him before the landing of the enemy, and immediately on his
retreat. Congress voted to General Jackson the thanks of that body and
a gold medal. (_See_ Plate VII.)

In 1818 General Jackson conducted a war against the Seminole Indians,
and with a force of Georgia militia and volunteers from Tennessee, he
penetrated into Florida to the villages of the savages and fugitive
slaves who had joined them, setting fire to their habitations and
scattering devastation in all directions. In 1821, he was appointed
governor of Florida, that territory having been transferred by Spain to
the United States, but resigned the office at the end of one year and
returned to his farm near Nashville.

In 1822 the legislature of Tennessee nominated General Jackson as the
successor of Mr. Monroe, in the presidency of the United States; the
proposition was favorably received in many parts of the Union, but by
the provisions of the constitution the election devolved on the House
of Representatives, in Congress, voting by states, and Mr. Adams was
selected to be the president. General Jackson was at once nominated to
succeed Mr. Adams, and was elected president in 1828, and again in 1832
he was re-elected to that high office.

At the end of his second term, General Jackson retired to his farm
called the “Hermitage,” near Nashville, where he remained until his
death, which took place on the 8th of June, 1845, in the 78th year of
his age. Though enfeebled in body he retained his mental faculties
undiminished until the day of his death.


OCCASION.--Victory at New Orleans.

DEVICE.--Bust of General Jackson.

LEGEND.--Major-General Andrew Jackson.

REVERSE.--Victory seated and supporting a tablet before her with
her left hand, which also holds a laurel wreath; has commenced the
record of the glorious victory of the 8th of January, 1815, and headed
the tablet with the word Orleans, but is interrupted by a female
personifying peace, who holds an olive branch in her right hand, and
with her left points to the tablet, as if directing Victory to record
the peace between the United States and England. Victory is in the act
of turning round to listen to her instructress.

EXERGUE.--Battle of New Orleans, January 8th, 1815.

LEGEND.--Resolution of Congress, February 27th, 1815.


Isaac Shelby, a distinguished American revolutionary officer, was born
on the 11th of December, 1750, near the North Mountain, in Maryland,
where his father and grandfather settled after their emigration to
America from Wales. In that early settlement of the country, which
was much annoyed by wars with the Indians, Shelby obtained only
the elements of a plain English education; but born with a rugged
constitution, capable of bearing privations and fatigue, he became
accustomed to the early use of arms and pursuit of game. General Evan
Shelby, the father of the subject of this memoir, was born in Wales,
and arrived in this country when quite a small lad with his father, and
settled near Hagerstown, Maryland. He possessed a strong mind, with
great perseverance and unshaken courage, which, with his skill as a
hunter and woodsman, induced his appointment as captain of a company of
rangers, in the French and Indian war, which commenced in 1754. During
this year he made several successful expeditions into the Alleghany
mountains. He fought many severe battles with the unfortunate Braddock,
and was appointed a captain in the provincial army destined for the
reduction of Fort Du Quesne, now Pittsburgh. He planned and laid out
the old Pennsylvania road across the Alleghany mountains, and led the
advance of the army commanded by General Forbes, which took possession
of Fort Du Quesne in 1758. He was distinguished for his bravery at the
battle of Loyal Hanning, now Bedford, Pennsylvania. In 1772 he removed
to the western waters, and commanded a company in 1774, in the campaign
under Lewis and Lord Dunmore, against the Indians on the Scioto river.
Isaac Shelby was appointed a lieutenant in the company of his father,
and fought in the memorable battle of Kenhawa, and at the close of
that campaign was appointed by Lord Dunmore to be second in command of
a garrison, to be erected on the ground where this battle was fought.
This was considered to be the most severe battle ever fought with the
western Indians; the contest continued from sunrise to sunsetting,
and the ground along the banks of the Ohio, for nearly half a mile,
was scattered with bodies at the end of the conflict. The Indians,
under their celebrated chief, Cornstalk, abandoned the ground during
the darkness of the night. Lieutenant Isaac Shelby remained in this
garrison until 1775, when it was disbanded by Governor Dunmore, fearing
it might be held for the benefit of the rebel authorities; he then
removed to Kentucky, and engaged in the business of a land surveyor;
but after living for nearly twelve months in the cane-breaks, without
either bread or salt, his health began to decline and he returned to

Immediately on his return in 1776, the committee of safety in
Virginia, appointed him captain of a minute company--a species of
troops organized upon the first breaking out of the revolution, but not
called into service from the extreme frontier where he lived. In the
year 1777 he was appointed by Governor Henry a commissary of supplies
for an extensive body of militia, posted at different garrisons to
guard the frontier settlements, and for a treaty to be held at the
Long Island of Holston river with the Cherokee tribe of Indians.
These supplies could not be obtained nearer than Staunton, Virginia,
a distance of three hundred miles; but, by the most indefatigable
perseverance, one of the most prominent traits in his character,
he accomplished it to the satisfaction of his country. In 1778 he
was still engaged in the commissary department to provide supplies
for the continental army, and for a formidable expedition, by the
way of Pittsburgh, against the northwestern Indians. In 1779 he was
appointed by Governor Henry to furnish supplies for a campaign against
the Chicamanga Indians--a numerous banditti on the south side of the
Tennessee river, under the control of a daring Cherokee chief, called
Dragon Canoe, who, after his defeat at the Long Island of Holston, in
1776, had declared eternal war against the whites.

The frontiers from Georgia to Pennsylvania suffered from their
depredations, more than from all the other hostile tribes together.
Owing to the poverty of the treasury at this time, the government was
unable to advance the necessary funds, and the whole expense of the
supplies, including transportation, was sustained by his own individual
credit. In the spring of that year he was elected a member of the
Virginia legislature from Washington county, and in the fall of that
year, was commissioned by Governor Jefferson as a major in the escort
of guards to the commissioners for extending the boundary line between
that state and the state of North Carolina. By the extension of that
line Major Shelby became a resident of North Carolina, and Governor
Caswell immediately appointed him a colonel of the militia of the
new county of Sullivan, established in consequence of the additional
territory acquired by the running of that line. During the summer of
1780, whilst Colonel Shelby was in Kentucky, securing and laying out
those lands which he had five years previously improved for himself,
the intelligence of the surrender of Charleston and the loss of the
army, reached him.

He immediately returned home, determined to enter the service of his
country, to quit it no more but by death, or until her independence
should be secured. He was not willing to be a cool spectator of a
contest in which the dearest rights and interests of his country were
involved. On his arrival in Sullivan, he found a requisition from
General McDowell, requesting him to furnish all the aid in his power to
check the enemy, who had overrun the two southern states, and were on
the borders of North Carolina.

Colonel Shelby without delay called on the militia of his county
to volunteer their services for only a short time, on an occasion so
trying, and accordingly he collected three hundred mounted riflemen,
and marched across the Alleghany mountains. Having arrived at
McDowell’s camp, near the Cherokee ford of Broad river, Colonel Shelby
was detached with Lieutenant-Colonels Sevier and Clarke, with six
hundred men, to surprise a post of the enemy in front, on the waters of
the Pacolet river. This post was a strong fort surrounded by abattis,
built in the Cherokee war, and commanded by Captain Patrick Moore. The
Americans surrounded the post within musket-shot and gave the summons
to surrender; this was unheeded, but the second had the desired effect.
Captain Moore surrendered the garrison with one British sergeant-major,
ninety-three loyalists, and two hundred and fifty stand of arms, loaded
with ball and buckshot, and so arranged at the port-holes, that with
a very little sagacity, they might have repulsed double the number of
the American detachment. Shortly after this affair, Colonels Shelby
and Clarke were detached, with six hundred mounted men, to watch
the enemy and intercept, if possible, his foraging parties. Several
attempts were made by a party of about twenty-five hundred, composed of
British and tories, with a small squadron of British horse, commanded
by Major Ferguson, an officer of some enterprise, to surprise Colonel
Shelby, but the enemy was baffled. On the first of August, however,
the American commander had reached a place called Cedar Spring,
where the advance of Major Ferguson, amounting to about six or seven
hundred, came up, and a sharp conflict ensued for half an hour, when
Ferguson approached with his whole force. The Americans then retreated,
carrying off the field fifty prisoners, mostly British, including
two officers. The enemy followed in quick pursuit for nearly five
miles, in order to regain the prisoners; but the American commander,
by forming frequently on the most advantageous ground to give battle,
so retarded the pursuit, that the prisoners were placed beyond their
reach. The American loss was ten or twelve killed and wounded. Only a
few days after this conflict, intelligence was received from General
McDowell, that five or six hundred tories were encamped at Musgrove’s
Mill, on the south side of the Enoree, about forty miles distance, with
orders to Colonels Shelby, Clarke and Williams, of South Carolina,
with about seven hundred horsemen, to surprise and disperse them. The
American commanders took up their line of march from Smith’s Ford of
Broad river, on the evening of the 18th of August, continuing through
the woods until dark, and then pursuing a road, leaving Ferguson’s
camp about three miles to the left. After riding hard all night,
frequently on a gallop, and just at the dawn of day, and about half
a mile from the enemy’s camp, they met a strong patrol party, with
whom a short skirmish ensued, and several of them were killed. At
that juncture, a countryman living just at hand, came up and informed
Colonel Shelby, that the enemy had been reinforced the evening before
with six hundred regular troops from New York, under Colonel Innes,
destined to reinforce Ferguson’s army. This intelligence, which was
found to be correct, changed the movement of the troops, for, fatigued
and exhausted as they were, it was deemed improper to march on and
attack the enemy. They instantly determined to form a breastwork of
old logs and brush, and make the best defence in their power. Captain
Inman and a detachment of twenty-five men were sent out to meet the
enemy, and skirmish with them as soon as they crossed the Enoree river.
Captain Inman was ordered to fire upon them, and retreat according to
discretion. This stratagem drew the enemy out in disorder, supposing
the whole army was near. When they came within seventy yards, a most
destructive fire commenced from the American riflemen, concealed behind
the breastwork of logs. For an hour the American army kept possession
of the slender breastwork, during which Colonel Innes was wounded,
and all the British officers, except a subaltern, being previously
killed or wounded, and Captain Hawzey, a noted tory leader, being
shot down, the whole of the enemy’s line made a precipitate retreat,
closely pursued by the Americans, who beat them across the river. In
this pursuit Captain Inman was killed, bravely fighting hand to hand.
Colonel Shelby commanded the right wing, Colonel Clarke the left, and
Colonel Williams the centre. In M’Call’s History of Georgia, (the only
work in which this battle is related,) the British loss is stated to
be sixty-three killed and one hundred and sixty wounded and taken;
the American loss to be four killed and nine wounded. Amongst the
killed was Captain Inman, and amongst the wounded, Colonel Clarke
and Captain Clarke. The Americans mounted their horses, intending to
reach Ninety-six, a small British post, that night, but before they
had commenced their march, an express in great haste arrived from
General McDowell, apprising them of the defeat of the grand American
army under General Gates, near Camden, and advising them to be on the
alert, as the enemy would, no doubt, endeavor to improve their victory
by destroying all the small corps of the American army within their
reach. Colonel Shelby disposed of his British prisoners by distributing
them amongst the companies, so as to make one to every three men, who
carried them alternately, directly towards the mountains, and commenced
a rapid march all that day and night, and the next day until late in
the evening, without even halting to refresh. Harassing as this long
and rapid march must have been, it saved them, as they were pursued
until late in the afternoon of the second day after the action, by
a strong detachment from Ferguson’s army. Ferguson was so anxious
and determined to recapture the prisoners, and to check those daring
adventures of the mountaineers, that, in order to intercept their
march, he, with his main body, took post at a place called Gilbert
Town, whence he sent messages, by paroled prisoners, to the officers
west of the mountains, threatening the devastation of their country if
they did not cease their opposition to the British government.

This was the most critical period of the revolutionary war at the
south. It appeared doubtful whether a force sufficient could be raised
to prevent the entire devastation of that portion of the continent.
Cornwallis and the main army were posted at Charlottetown, in North
Carolina, and Ferguson, with three thousand at Gilbert Town; while
many of the best friends of the American government, despairing of the
eventual independence of America, sought protection under the British
standard. At this season of gloom, Colonel Shelby proposed to Colonels
Sevier and Campbell to raise a force from their several counties,
and to march hastily through the mountains, and attack and surprise
Ferguson in the night. Accordingly they collected about one thousand
strong, but when, on the 26th of September, they commenced their march,
it was discovered that three men had deserted to the enemy. This
disconcerted their first design, and induced them to turn to the left,
gain his front, instead of his rear, as was first intended, and act as
events might suggest. For days they traveled through mountains almost
inaccessible to horsemen, but soon entered the level country, where
they met Colonel Cleaveland with three hundred men, and with Colonels
Williams, Lacy and others, who had heard of Cleaveland’s advance. Three
hundred more were thus added to the force of the mountaineers. They
now considered themselves sufficiently strong to encounter Ferguson;
and by a council of officers it was agreed that Colonel Campbell,
of the Virginia regiment, should be appointed to the command. They
accordingly selected the best horses and rifles, and at the dawn of day
nine hundred and ten expert marksmen commenced their march. In their
council, also, they determined that as Ferguson was their object, they
would not be diverted from the main point by any collection of tories
in the vicinity of their march.

For the first thirty-six hours they traveled, they alighted from
their horses but once, and that only for one hour. They at last found
Ferguson securely encamped on King’s Mountain, which was about half a
mile long, and from which he declared but the evening before that “GOD
ALMIGHTY could not drive him.”

On approaching the mountain, the two centre columns displayed to the
right and left, formed a front, and commenced an attack; while the
right and left wings were marching to surround the enemy. In a few
minutes the action was general and severe. It continued furiously for
three-quarters of an hour, when the enemy, being driven from the east
to the west end of the mountain, surrendered at discretion. Ferguson
was killed, with three hundred and seventy-five of his officers and
men, and seven hundred and thirty taken prisoners. The Americans had
sixty killed and wounded; among the former was Colonel Williams.

This glorious victory took place at the most gloomy period of the
revolution, and may be styled the first link in the great chain of
events at the south, which established the independence of the United
States. It was achieved by raw, undisciplined riflemen, who had no
authority from the government under which they lived; who were without
pay, rations, ammunition, or even the expectation of reward, other than
that which resulted from the noble attempt to advance the independence
of their beloved country. The tories were completely dispirited, and
Cornwallis, who then lay within thirty miles of King’s Mountain, became
so alarmed that he ordered an immediate retreat to Winnesborough, sixty
or eighty miles distant, where he remained for three months, until
reinforced by General Leslie, with two thousand men from the Chesapeake.

The legislature of North Carolina passed a vote of thanks to Colonel
Shelby and his brother officers, and directed each to be presented with
an elegant sword, for his patriotic conduct in the attack and defeat of
the British on King’s Mountain, on the memorable 7th of October, 1780.
Colonel Shelby served the two following years under that distinguished
partisan officer, General Marion. In 1782, Colonel Shelby retired from
the army, and was appointed one of the commissioners to settle the
pre-emption claims upon the Cumberland river, and to lay off the lands
allotted to the officers and soldiers of the North Carolina line, south
of where Nashville now stands. In 1783, he returned to Boonsborough,
Kentucky, and married Susanna, second daughter of Captain Hart, one
of the first settlers of Kentucky, and one of the proprietors styled
Henderson & Co., by their purchase of the country from the Cherokees.
Colonel Shelby established himself on the first settlement and
pre-emption granted in Kentucky, for the purpose of cultivating the
soil; and it is a remarkable fact, that at the period of his death,
forty-three years after, he was the only individual in that state
residing upon his own settlement and pre-emption. In 1812 he was chosen
governor of the state in which he lived; and during the trying crisis
of 1813, at the request of the legislature, he organized a body of four
thousand volunteers, which he led in person, at the age of sixty-three,
under General Harrison, into Canada. His gallantry and patriotism at
that ever memorable victory on the Thames, were acknowledged by the
commanding general, and by President Madison, and in resolutions by the
legislature of Kentucky, which recognized “his plans and the execution
of them as splendid realities, which exact our gratitude and that of
his country, and justly entitle him to the applause of posterity.”
Congress also passed a vote of thanks, and awarded a gold medal (_see_
Plate VII.), as a testimony of its sense of his illustrious services.

In 1817, he was selected by President Monroe to fill the department
of war, but his advanced age induced him to decline the honor. In
February, 1820, he was seized with a paralytic affection, which
disabled his right arm and was the occasion of a lameness the remainder
of his life. His mind continued unimpaired until his death by apoplexy,
on the 18th of July, 1826, in the seventy-sixth year of his age. He
was fitted, by a vigorous constitution, to endure active and severe
bodily exercise, and the energetic symmetry of his person rendered his
deportment impressively dignified. His strong, natural sense was aided
by close observation of matters and things; and the valuable qualities
of method and perseverance imparted success to all his efforts.


OCCASION.--Battle of the Thames.

DEVICE.--Bust of General Shelby.

LEGEND.--Governor Isaac Shelby.

REVERSE.--A representation of the battle of the Thames, in Canada;
Governor Shelby charging the enemy with his mounted rangers.

LEGEND.--Battle of the Thames, October 5, 1813.

EXERGUE.--Resolution of Congress, April 4th, 1818.

[Illustration: Plate 8.




_W. L. Ormsby, sc._]


William Henry Harrison was born at the seat of his father, at Berkely,
on James river, twenty-five miles from Richmond, Virginia. His father,
Benjamin Harrison, was a descendant of the celebrated leader of that
name in the wars of Oliver Cromwell. He appears to have inherited
republicanism, for he acted a most conspicuous part in our own
revolutionary struggle. He represented Virginia in Congress, in the
years 1774, 1775 and 1776, and was chairman of the committee of the
whole house when the Declaration of Independence was read, and was one
of the signers of that act. In 1782 he succeeded Governor Nelson in the
executive chair of that state. William Henry Harrison, the subject of
this memoir, was educated at the college of Hampden Sydney, which he
left at the age of seventeen, to obey the wishes of his father in the
study of medicine, and for that purpose repaired to Philadelphia in
1791, that he might prosecute his studies with greater advantage.

He had hardly commenced the study of his new profession when the death
of his distinguished parent obliged him to return. After his return,
and during the time appropriated for the settlement of his father’s
estate, the preparations for a campaign against the Indians of the west
caused much excitement, and Harrison resolved to enter the service of
his government despite the most eloquent entreaties and persuasions
of his guardian and friends. Nothing could check his enthusiastic
ardor. He begged, he importuned, and Washington at last yielded to his
constant importunities, and presented him with an ensign’s commission.
With a heart beating with enthusiasm, he departed for Fort Washington,
now Cincinnati, where he arrived only in time to learn the unparalleled
massacre of St. Clair’s army, and the deaths of several distinguished
officers. The sight of the broken troops had no effect on the warlike
zeal of young Harrison. In the following year, General Wayne assumed
the command, and appointed Ensign Harrison as one of his aids.

The first time he had a chance to distinguish himself was in the
engagement of _Roche de Bouc_, in the official report of which, his
general did him the justice to name him especially.

After the departure of General Wayne for the Atlantic States, in 1795,
Harrison was left in command of Fort Washington. During the first year
of his garrison life, he married the daughter of Judge Symmes, the
proprietor of the Miami purchase. But the active mind of Harrison could
not be confined within the walls of a garrison; he therefore resigned
his commission, and obtained an appointment as secretary of the
northwestern territory. His able talents, exercised in that capacity,
soon made him popular, and in 1799 he was elected the first delegate in
Congress for that extensive region, now comprising the states of Ohio,
Indiana, Illinois, and the territory of Michigan. The first object of
his attention was a repeal of the obnoxious land bill, which ordained,
that not less than four thousand acres could be sold at once. He became
chairman of the committee on lands and framed a bill, which was carried
with very little opposition. This bill lowered the number of acres to
sections, half-sections, and quarter-sections, so as to enable the
industrious husbandman to commence his labors; also providing for the
payment of the lands in such a way as to meet the exigences of the most
frugal means.

To this grand and important act of William Henry Harrison, is imputed
the rapid settlement of the whole of that extensive region; and had he
only been permitted to live to see this noble act completed, he would
richly have merited the title of a benefactor to mankind. Shortly
after, Indiana was erected into a separate territory, and Mr. Adams
appointed Harrison the first governor.

In 1801, Governor Harrison entered upon the duties of his new office,
with powers never before conferred upon any other officer, either
civil or military, that of commissioner to treat with the Indians. In
this capacity he negotiated and concluded fifteen treaties, with their
title to upwards of seventy millions of acres of land. Although he
was surrounded by numerous tribes of warlike Indians, whose hostile
feelings were constantly inflamed by the intrigues of British agents
and traders, and often by the American hunters themselves, Harrison
kept down Indian invasion in the territory, only by conciliation
accompanied by firmness. His administration of justice was always
tempered with mildness. In this way he surmounted difficulties which
would have prostrated any ordinary capacity. The ability and success of
the administration of Governor Harrison are recorded in his voluminous
correspondence with Mr. Jefferson from 1802 till 1809.

During the year 1811, affairs approached a crisis which appeared
to render hostilities unavoidable; and Governor Harrison found it
necessary to apply to Colonel Boyd, of the 4th United States regiment,
then at Pittsburgh, who immediately joined him, with as large a
force of militia as time permitted him to collect, together with a
small but gallant band of volunteers from Kentucky, numbering about
seventy persons. With these he marched towards the prophet’s town, at
Tippecanoe. His object was to bring about a negotiation with Tecumseh
and his prophet brother, who for a long time had been harassing and
plundering the inhabitants of that part of the country. On the 6th
of November he arrived in sight of the Indian village, and commenced
his attempts at negotiation with these ruthless savages. Finding,
however, that all his attempts were fruitless, he resolved to encamp
for the night, the chiefs having promised to listen to him on the day
following. Governor Harrison was careful in selecting a spot for the
encampment, in case of a sudden attack, which he anticipated. His
anticipation proved too true; for on the morning of the 7th, before
daylight, the onset of these blood-thirsty savages was announced by
their hideous yells. The Indians fought with their usual desperation,
and for some time were victorious; but the extraordinary skill and
courage of the American officers changed the tide against them, and
they fled before their pursuers. Victory was propitious, but at the
expense of some of the most gallant spirits of the age.

Colonels Davis and Owen, of Kentucky, and Captain Spencer, of Indiana,
were among the slain. Governor Harrison received a bullet through his
stock, but without injury.

Governor Harrison still continued to negotiate with the Indians, until
the declaration of war against England, in 1812. He then received
a commission as a major-general in the army of the United States,
embracing a larger sphere of action. At that period the greatest
confusion prevailed. Money, arms, and men must be raised, but who would
assume the responsibility of procuring them?

All the talents and energies of our hero were called into action. He
organized his army, obtained money, arms, and ammunition, and on the
5th of October, 1813, he brought the British army, with their Indian
allies under Tecumseh, to action, near the river Thames. The decisive
victory achieved by militia over the disciplined troops of England, was
a matter of joy and exultation through the whole Union. This gallant
victory is attributed to the novel maneuver of General Harrison, that
of charging through the British lines with mounted infantry. For this
important action, Congress presented a vote of thanks and a gold medal.
(_See_ Plate VIII.)

General Harrison, having given the necessary aid to Niagara and the
western frontier, left his troops at Sacket’s Harbor under the command
of Colonel Smith, and repaired to Washington for the purpose of
resigning his commission, in consequence of a misunderstanding between
the Secretary of War and himself. The resignation was presented and
accepted by Secretary Armstrong, much to the regret of the President,
who was absent at the time; on his return he remarked, in a letter to
a friend, “that had he been in Washington, it should not have been
accepted.” General Harrison retired to his estate at North Bend,
in Ohio. Thence he was successively called to represent the people
of Ohio in the House of Representatives, and Senate of the United
States, by which he was appointed minister to Colombia, till recalled
by President Jackson. On his return to the United States, General
Harrison again enjoyed the pursuits of agriculture in the bosom of his
family at North Bend, until 1834, when he was appointed prothonotary
of the court of Hamilton county. This office he punctually attended in
person, until 1840, when he was triumphantly elected to the presidency
of the United States. He was inaugurated and entered upon the duties
of his office on the 4th of March, 1841, and died on the following
4th of April. In their official announcement of the death of General
Harrison, the members of his cabinet say, “that the people of the
United States, overwhelmed, like ourselves, by an event so unexpected
and so melancholy, will derive consolation from knowing that his
death was calm and resigned, as his life had been patriotic, useful,
and distinguished, and that the last utterance of his lips expressed
a fervent desire for the perpetuity of the constitution, and the
preservation of its true principles.”


OCCASION.--Battle of the Thames.

DEVICE.--Bust of General Harrison.

LEGEND.--Major General William H. Harrison.

REVERSE.--A female placing a wreath round two bayonets fixed on
muskets, and a color staff stacked, over a drum and a cannon, a bow and
a quiver; her right hand resting on a shield, bearing the stars and
stripes of the United States, and holding a halbert. From the point of
union of the stack, hangs a badge with the inscription, Fort Meigs,
Battle of the Thames.

LEGEND.--Resolution of Congress, April 4th, 1818.

EXERGUE.--Battle of the Thames, Oct. 5th, 1813.


George Croghan was born at Locust Grove, near the falls of Ohio, on
the 15th of November, 1791. His father, Major William Croghan, left
Ireland at an early period of life; was appointed an officer in our
revolutionary army, and discharged his duties to the satisfaction of
the commander-in-chief. His mother was the daughter of John Clark,
Esq., of Virginia, a gentleman of worth and respectability, who exerted
himself greatly, and contributed largely towards the support of our
just and glorious contest.

George Croghan received all the advantages of education which the
best grammar-schools in Kentucky could afford. In his seventeenth year
he entered the ancient college of William and Mary in Virginia. Both
at school and at college, he was remarked for an open manliness of
character, for elevation of sentiment, and for strength of intellect,
connected with a high and persevering ambition. In July, 1810, he
graduated at William and Mary College, and soon afterwards entered
the law school of that institution, where he remained until the
fall of 1811, when he volunteered his services as a private in the
campaign up the Wabash. A short time before the action of Tippecanoe,
he was appointed aid-de-camp to General Boyd, the second in command;
and, although from his situation, he was not enabled to evince that
activity which has since so much distinguished him, he exhibited a
soul undaunted in one of the most sanguinary conflicts of that time,
and accordingly received the thanks of the commanding general. In
consequence of his services on the Wabash expedition, he was appointed
a captain in the provincial army, directed to be raised and organized
in the spring of 1812. In August he marched with the detachment from
Kentucky, under General Winchester, destined to relieve General Hull
in Canada. During the movements of that gallant but unfortunate little
army, the caution, zeal and military capacity of Captain Croghan were

Upon visiting the various encampments of the army on its march along
the Miami of the Lake, both before and after the attack on Fort Wayne,
the ground occupied by Captain Croghan was easily designated by the
judicious fortifications erected for the night. On the movement of the
army towards the Rapids, he was entrusted with the command of Fort
Winchester, at the junction of the Anglaize and Miami rivers, where
he adopted his usual military arrangements. After the defeat at the
river Raisin, he joined General Harrison at the Rapids, previous to the
erection of Fort Meigs. General Harrison has often expressed the great
confidence he had in the judicious arrangements of Captain Croghan,
during the trying, brilliant and ever memorable siege of Fort Meigs.

In the sortie under the gallant Colonel, now General Miller, on the
5th of May, the storming of the British batteries was confided to
the companies led by Captains Croghan, Langhan and Bradford. These
batteries were defended by a regular force and a body of Indians,
either of them superior in number to the assailants. Here Captain
Croghan’s gallantry was again noticed in general orders. At a critical
period in the campaign of 1813, Captain Croghan was promoted to a
majority, and appointed to the command of Fort Sandusky, at Lower

On his conduct in the defence of that post, the official documents
of the time, and the applause of a grateful country, are the most
honorable commentary. The defence of the fort of Sandusky took place
on the 4th of August, 1813, and although the work of a few hours, and
of a small force, was an achievement brilliant in itself and important
in its consequences. However diminutive it may appear, when compared
with many of the military feats in the revolutionary war, it is justly
entitled to a distinguished place in the annals of our country. It
was among the first events of the last war that gave confidence
to our soldiers, and compelled the enemy to respect our arms. It
furnished, moreover, a memorable instance of what a few bold and
determined spirits can perform, when opposed even to more than fourfold
their number. It is not too much to add, that, under Providence,
it was highly instrumental in preserving from the tomahawk and the
scalping-knife, many of our defenceless frontier inhabitants.

The inclosure of Fort Sandusky, like that of most fortresses that are
suddenly erected in our new settlements, was composed of picket-work,
and surrounded by a ditch nine feet wide and six deep. The number of
its defenders, under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel, then Major
Croghan, amounted to about one hundred and sixty, most of them raw,
unexperienced troops. It contained but a single piece of mounted
ordnance, and that only a six pounder.

The assailing force consisted of nearly a thousand men, one-half of
them British regulars, commanded by General Proctor in person, and the
remainder savages, led on, as we believe, by the celebrated Tecumseh.
Their means of annoyance, besides small arms, were five six pounders,
and one howitzer of considerable calibre. The fort was regularly
summoned to surrender, under the usual plea of a wish to prevent the
effusion of blood. To give to this message the greater weight, the
force of the assailants was somewhat exaggerated, and it was added
that, should the works be carried by assault, it would be impossible to
restrain the savages from massacre. Undismayed by the odds that were
against him, and the unsoldierly threat, that, should the enemy be
successful, he would receive no quarter, Colonel Croghan unhesitatingly
returned the customary answer, that he would defend his post “to the
last extremity.”

This conference being ended, the British regulars, led on by
Lieutenant-Colonel Short, an officer of high character and daring
courage, advanced to the assault in a solid column, under the discharge
of all their artillery. Notwithstanding a galling fire from the
small arms of the fort, the assailants approached with firmness and
gallantry, till, following the example of their intrepid leader, a
large portion of them had leapt into the ditch. At this moment, when
the enemy were completely within the toil he had prepared for them,
Major Croghan unmasked his piece of cannon, which had been hitherto
concealed, and poured among them a discharge of grape-shot which raked
the ditch with terrible carnage. In the number of those who fell under
this first and most destructive fire, was Lieutenant-Colonel Short.
Another discharge or two from this piece of ordnance carried confusion
into the British ranks, and forced them to retreat with the utmost
precipitation; nor had they sufficient hardihood to return the charge.
Panic-struck by this disaster of their allies, the savages also fled
in all directions, leaving our countrymen in undisturbed possession
of their well-defended fortress. The combined loss of the British and
Indians in this affair, was computed at somewhat upwards of a hundred
men; that of the Americans was one man killed and seven slightly

Such was the dismay created among the enemy by this signal and
unexpected chastisement, that they precipitately abandoned their
position, leaving behind them a large boat loaded with clothing and
military stores. In consequence of the gallantry of this achievement,
and the important effects of which it was productive, the brave
Croghan, as yet but a major, besides being honorably mentioned in
Congress, was promoted to the rank of lieutenant-colonel. An affair of
such brilliancy, achieved under such circumstances, could not fail to
endear him to his country, and to exalt his name in the ranks of honor.
Some years since Congress voted to Colonel Croghan a gold medal. (_See_
Plate VIII.)


OCCASION.--Defence of Fort Sandusky, 2d August, 1813.

DEVICE.--Bust of Colonel Croghan.

LEGEND.--Presented by Congress to Colonel George Croghan, 1835.

REVERSE.--The fort of Sandusky, with the enemy arrayed in front;
American flag flying on the tower; columns of smoke from the fort, &c.

LEGEND.--Pars magna fuit.

EXERGUE.--Sandusky, 2d August, 1813.


John Paul Jones was born on the 6th of July, 1747, at Arbigland, in the
parish of Kirkbean, Scotland.

The residence of his father was near the shores of the Solway, one
of the most beautiful and picturesque points of the Frith, where our
young hero passed his hours of pastime in launching his “tiny bark”
on the waters, and issuing to his supposed officers and crew his
naval commands. At the age of twelve years, having made known his
determination to lead a seafaring life, it was deemed proper to yield
to it by his reluctant parents. Accordingly, he was apprenticed to a
merchant at Whitehaven, on the opposite side of Solway Frith, in the
American trade.

He made his first voyage before he was thirteen, in the ship Friendship
of Whitehaven, bound for the Rappahannock. His elder brother, William,
had married and settled at Fredericksburg, in Virginia, where Jones
found a happy home during his stay in America.

Although his first visit was of but short duration, he appears to have
become greatly prepossessed in favor of America. These feelings he
fostered under circumstances which made them keen and enduring, being
so intimately connected with his first impressions of a naval life.
His master, finding his affairs embarrassed, was induced to cancel the
indentures of Jones, who now found himself at liberty to think and act
as he pleased; but his fixed determination was the sea. He fortunately
obtained the appointment of third mate of the ship King George, of
Whitehaven, a vessel engaged in the slave trade. After making one
voyage, he shipped as chief mate on board the brigantine Two Friends,
of Kingston, Jamaica, engaged in the same traffic.

We have reason to believe that, after his second voyage in this
brutalizing and unmanly traffic, he became disgusted and took a passage
from the West Indies to Scotland in the John, of Kirkcudbright.

The slave trade was then tolerated by Great Britain, and the
cruel and infamous manner in which its unfortunate victims were
treated, evidently exercised a strong influence upon the mind of
the inexperienced young seaman, and it probably tended, in after
life, to make him inconsiderate of justice as well as regardless of
the sufferings of others. Nevertheless, it is fair to infer, that
the exhibition of these horrors, at which his feelings revolted,
strengthened his love for that liberty for which he afterwards fought,
and for that land which knew how to vindicate the cause of liberty.
On the passage to Scotland, in the _John_, the master and mate both
died of the yellow fever, and Jones took the command of the vessel,
and brought her safely into port. For this service the owners placed
him on board the same vessel as master and super-cargo. He then made
two prosperous voyages to the West Indies, at the end of which, he
was honorably discharged on account of the dissolution of the firm
to which the vessel belonged. At this period the trade to the Isle
of Man was principally contraband, and offered great facilities for
making money. Our adventurous young hero, now in his twenty-third year,
active, ambitious and self-confident, ready to steer his way through
life as circumstances might serve, earnestly embarked in this trade,
which, by a large portion of society was held not to be criminal, but
simply illegal. After having been engaged in this trade for some time,
in 1773 he was called to Virginia at the death of his brother William,
who died without heirs. Jones took possession of the property, formally
abandoned the sea, and declared his intention of devoting himself to
agriculture. This intention he really commenced to carry into effect,
but the quiet domestic life of the planter soon became irksome; and
when the American Revolution broke out, his liberty-loving, and
chivalric soul could no longer bear the ignoble life of a farmer,
and he eagerly embraced the cause of the rebellious provinces. He
immediately offered his services to Congress; they were accepted, and
he received a commission in the navy as lieutenant.

No man appeared better qualified for the part he had to perform. Nature
had made him a hero, and circumstances had prepared him to command men,
as well as to give direction to the development of their energies; and
these qualifications united with a brave heart and chivalrous spirit,
rendered him able to vindicate the rights, which he knew so well how to

The American navy at this time consisted of the following vessels:

                        Guns.  Men.
    Alfred               30    300
    Columbus             28    300
    Andrew Doria         16    200
    Cabot                14    200
    Providence           12    150
    Hornet               10    120
    Wasp                  8    100
    Fly, dispatch vessel.

Jones, who had been appointed lieutenant of the flag ship, Alfred,
hoisted with his own hands the first American flag that ever waved
over the ocean. He does not give the date of this transaction, but his
commission dates 7th of December, 1775. The device was a pine tree,
with a rattlesnake coiled at its root in the act of striking. This
was the national insignia until 1777, when the present standard was
adopted. On the 17th of February, 1776, the first American squadron
sailed for the West Indies. During the passage they captured two
small vessels, and made preparations for the capture of the island
of New Providence, where a large quantity of stores and ammunition
was deposited. The enterprise succeeded, the island was captured, the
governor taken prisoner; also a hundred cannon and a large quantity of
stores and ammunition fell into their hands.

In October, 1776, when the grade of naval captains was established by
Congress, he received a full commission as one of the number.

Having now acquired the entire confidence of the marine committee of
Congress, he repaired to France to arrange some naval operations with
the American commissioners. His next voyage was to Whitehaven, in the
north of England, where, with a few men, he spiked all the cannon
of two of the forts, the sentinels being first secured in their own

This and similar rapacious attacks, he justified upon the principle
of retaliation for the destruction of private property by the British
troops in America. Off Carrickfergus, on the southern coast of
Scotland, he had an engagement with the British sloop of war Drake,
which, after a severe and close action of an hour, he captured and
carried in triumph into France. The day only before this action
occurred the atrocious act at St. Mary’s Isle. Thinking that the
capture of the Earl of Selkirk, who resided at Selkirk Abbey, St.
Mary’s Isle, might enable Congress to obtain more equal terms in the
exchange of prisoners, his object was to seize his lordship and detain
him as prisoner on board the Ranger, until Congress could demand a
suitable exchange. This, however, was defeated by the absence of his
lordship; and the excuse which Jones gave for entering the Abbey and
bringing away all the family plate, was, that his men, remembering
the scenes of devastation occasioned by the British in America,
disregarded all restraints of wholesome discipline, and acted at their
own discretion. Jones, in a communication from Brest to the countess,
informed her that he should gratify himself by purchasing the plate
and returning it uninjured, which he did, and received a formal
acknowledgment from the earl upon the subject. In August, 1779, Jones
first sailed in the Bon Homme Richard, with six other vessels, forming
a squadron under his command.

In September, 1779, he fell in with the Serapis, off Flamborough-head,
on the northeast coast of England, where that celebrated action took
place, in view of hundreds of inhabitants of the neighboring coast,
which has imparted so much renown to the name of Jones. The Serapis
was a new ship, of forty-four guns and a picked crew. It was a clear,
moonlight night, about seven o’olock, when the enemy first hailed
Jones, who answered with a whole broadside. The action, which lasted
several hours, raged with incessant fury, until the enemy’s bowsprit
coming over the poop of the Bon Homme Richard, by the mizzenmast,
Jones, with his own hand, seized the ropes from the enemy’s bowsprit,
and made them fast to his own ship. The Serapis swung round, so that
the ships lay square alongside of each other, the stern of the enemy
close to the bow of the Bon Homme Richard. In this desperate situation
the conflict lasted for some hours, each fighting with a vigor that
seemed to threaten mutual extermination. At length, about half past ten
o’clock, the enemy struck his colors and surrendered. Both ships were
much injured in the contest; the Bon Homme Richard sunk the day after
the battle. Her crew was transferred to the Serapis, and sailed for the

On his arrival in France, Jones was received with the most flattering
attention by the most distinguished persons in Paris. Louis the
Sixteenth presented him with the cross of military merit, and a
magnificent gold mounted sword, bearing this inscription: “Maris
Ludovicus 16 Remunerator Strenuo Vindici.” He returned to America in
the ship Ariel of twenty guns, after an absence of nearly three years.
Congress immediately adopted the following resolutions:--

“_Resolved_,--That the Congress entertain a high sense of the
distinguished bravery and military conduct of John Paul Jones, Esq.,
captain in the navy of the United States, and particularly in his
victory over the British frigate Serapis, on the coast of England,
which was attended with circumstances so brilliant as to excite general
applause and admiration.

“_Resolved_,--That _a gold medal_ (_see_ Plate VIII.) be struck
and presented to the Chevalier Paul Jones, in commemoration of the
valor and brilliant services of that officer; and that the Hon. Mr.
Jefferson, minister plenipotentiary of the United States at the court
of Versailles, have the same executed in France with proper devices.”

Late in the year of 1787 he returned to Europe in order to settle some
disputes relative to certain prizes which had been sent into Denmark;
which, after much trouble, he accomplished to the satisfaction of his
government. After a year of ill health, he died at Paris, on the 18th
of July, 1792, aged forty-five years. President Washington designated
him for the important mission to treat with the Dey of Algiers on the
ransom of American captives. His credentials reached Paris the day
after his death.


OCCASION.--Capture of the English frigate Serapis, Captain Pearson, by
the Bon Homme Richard, Captain John Paul Jones.

DEVICE.--Head of John Paul Jones.

LEGEND.--Joanni Paulo Jones classis prefecto comitia Americana.

REVERSE.--Two frigates engaged yard-arm and yard-arm; the English ship
severely battered in the sides. Another ship lying across the bow of
the British frigate.

LEGEND.--Hostium navibus captis aut frigatis.

EXERGUE.--Ad nam Scotiæ, 23d September, 1778.

[Illustration: Plate 9.




_W. L. Ormsby, sc._]


The subject of the following memoir, whose achievements shed a lustre
on the infant navy of his country, was the son of an eminent English
barrister of the state (then colony) of New York, and was born at
Long Island, on the 7th of February, 1755. Our hero, in consequence
of the death of his father, was placed under the guardianship of his
intimate friend, John Troup, Esq., of Jamaica, on Long Island. In a
short time, however, the kindling spark of that spirit, which has since
shone so conspicuously in his character, led him to the sea. At the
early age of twelve years, he embarked, on his trial voyage, in the
ship Pitt, Captain Joseph Holmes, bound to Bristol, England. In the
following year he was placed, at his own request, under the direction
of Captain James Chambers, a celebrated commander in the London trade.
During his apprenticeship, when the armament, in consequence of the
dispute respecting the Falkland Islands, took place, he was impressed
on board the Prudent, an English man-of-war of sixty-four guns; but was
afterwards released through the application of a person in authority.
While on board the Prudent, the Captain, pleased with his intelligence
and activity, endeavored to prevail on him to remain in the service,
and assured him that all his interest should be used for his promotion;
but notwithstanding the prospects thus opened to his youthful and
aspiring mind, he left the Prudent, and returned to his old ship. He
conceived that his engagements with his former commander would not
permit him with honor to indulge his wishes. In the early part of
1775, he commanded a vessel, and succeeded in bringing considerable
quantities of powder into the United Colonies. About the close of the
same year, when bound to St. Eustatius, he was seized off the Island
of St. Christopher by the British frigate Argo, and detained until the
general restraining bill came out, when his vessel and cargo, of which
he owned the half, were condemned. But what “ill wind” can wreck the
buoyant mind of the sailor? He made his way from St. Christopher’s
to St. Eustatius, and thence embarking in a small vessel, after a
short passage, arrived in Philadelphia. At this period the two first
private ships of war fitted out in the colonies, called the Congress
and Chance, were equipping for sea, and he entered on board the former
as lieutenant. They sailed in company early in the winter of 1776, and
proceeded off the Havana, where they captured several valuable Jamaica
ships, bound home through the Gulf of Florida. Of one of these he took
the command, and brought her safe into New Bedford. In June, 1777, in
company with Isaac Sears, Esq., he fitted out, at New York, a vessel
called the Independence. Of this he took the command, and passing
through the Sound, (Lord Howe having arrived with the British fleet at
Sandy Hook and blocked up that outlet,) he proceeded off the Azores,
where, besides making several other prizes, he fell in with a part
of the Windward Island convoy, and captured three large and valuable
ships. One of these was much superior to the Independence in both guns
and men. On his return, he fitted out the ship Mars, mounting upwards
of twenty guns, in which he sailed on a cruise in the English Channel.
Some of his prizes, which were numerous, he sent into Quiberon Bay.
The success of this cruise was, in a great measure, the cause of Lord
Stormont’s remonstrance to the French court, against the admission into
her ports of our armed vessels and the prizes which had been taken by

He commanded, and in part owned, during the rest of the war, several
of the most important armed vessels built in Philadelphia; and brought
in from France and the West India Islands, large cargoes of those
articles, which, during the Revolution, our army most greatly needed.
While carrying out to France Thomas Barclay, Esq., our consul-general
to that country, he had a very close and severe engagement with a
British ship-of-war of thirty-two guns, (double his own force,) which
he obliged to sheer off; and she was afterwards towed into New York by
one of the king’s ships, in a very dismantled condition. The ship under
his command was called the St. James, and mounted twenty guns, with a
crew of about one hundred men--not half the number on board his enemy.
From this voyage he returned with the most valuable cargo brought into
the United States during the war. It would be impossible, within the
limits of this memoir, to recount the various instances of activity
and zeal displayed by this gallant officer during our struggle for
independence; but in all his actions with British vessels of war, many
of which were of force greatly superior to his own, he was invariably

After the peace of 1783, at the commencement of our naval
establishment, he was one of the six captains selected by President
Washington. The frigate Constellation, of thirty-six guns, which he was
appointed to command, was built under his superintendence at Baltimore.
She was the first of the required armament that put to sea.

Appointed, with a squadron under his command, to the protection of
American commerce in the West Indies, Captain Truxtun had an arduous
duty to perform, at a time when our navy was scarcely yet organized;
but every difficulty yielded to the excellence of that discipline for
which he was ever celebrated. On this station, by his indefatigable
vigilance, the property of our merchants was protected in the most
effectual manner, and an enemy’s privateer could scarcely look out of
port without being captured.

At noon, on the 9th of February, 1799, the Island of Nevis bearing
W. S. W., five leagues distant, the Constellation being then alone,
a large ship was seen to the southward, upon which Captain Truxtun
immediately bore down. On his hoisting the American ensign, the strange
sail showed French colors and fired a gun to windward, (the signal of
an enemy.) At a quarter past three o’clock, P. M., the captain was
hailed by the French commander, and the Constellation, ranging along
side of the enemy’s frigate, who had declared herself to be such by
firing a gun to windward, poured in a close and extremely well-directed
broadside. This was instantly returned by her antagonist, who, after a
very warm engagement of an hour and a quarter, hauled down her colors,
and proved to be L’Insurgente, of forty guns and four hundred and
seventeen men; twenty-nine of whom were killed and forty-four wounded.
She was commanded by Captain Barreau, a distinguished officer, who
did not strike his colors until his ship was a perfect wreck. The
Constellation had only one man killed and two wounded.

A stronger instance of the strict and exemplary discipline preserved
on board the Constellation, cannot be given than this disparity of loss
in the two ships; and yet, during the whole time that Captain Truxtun
commanded, but one man was chastised for disorderly conduct. Scarce a
man in his crew had ever been in action before. The prize was taken
into Basseterre, St. Christopher’s, and after being refitted, added to
the American navy. This was the first opportunity that had offered to
an American frigate of engaging an enemy of superior force, and the
gallantry displayed by Captain Truxtun was highly applauded, not only
by his own countrymen, but by foreigners. He received congratulatory
addresses from all quarters, and the merchants of Lloyd’s Coffee-house,
London, sent him a present of plate, worth upwards of six hundred
guineas, with the action between the frigates elegantly engraved on it.
It is a relief to the horrors of war, to see those whom the collisions
of their countries have placed in hostile array, treat each other, when
the battle is over, with all the urbanity of accomplished cavaliers.
Captain Barreau, in a letter to Captain Truxtun, of which the following
is a translation, says, “I am sorry that our two nations are at war,
but since I unfortunately have been vanquished, I felicitate myself and
crew upon being prisoners to you. You have united all the qualities
which characterize a man of honor, courage, and humanity. Receive from
me the most sincere thanks, and be assured, I shall make it a duty to
publish to all my fellow-countrymen the generous conduct which you
have observed towards us.” The Constellation, in a short time, put to
sea again; and France saw the West Indies cleared of her bucaniers by
our infant navy on the station. While the different ships belonging
to it, were cruising separately, so as best to give protection to our
merchant vessels, Captain Truxtun, hearing that La Vengeance, a large
French national ship of fifty-four guns, with upwards of five hundred
men, including several general officers and troops on board, was lying
at Gaudaloupe, proceeded in January, 1800, off that port, determined,
if possible, notwithstanding the superiority of her force, to bring
her into action, should she put to sea. On the 1st of February, at
half-past seven, A. M., in the road of Basseterre, Gaudaloupe, bearing
E. five leagues distant, he discovered a sail in the S. E. standing to
the westward, which soon proved to be the long-sought La Vengeance.

The French commander, one would suppose, could have had no hesitation
in engaging an enemy so inferior in guns and men as the Constellation;
but this did not prove to be the case, for he crowded all sail to avoid
his foe, and it was not till after a most persevering chase for upwards
of twelve hours that the Constellation brought him to action.

The engagement began by a fire from the stern and quarter-deck guns of
the French ship, which was returned in a few minutes afterwards, by a
broadside from the Constellation, that had by this time got upon the
weather quarter of her antagonist, and a close and desperate action
commenced, which lasted from 8 P. M., until within a few minutes of 1
A. M., when the fire of La Vengeance was completely silenced. At this
moment, when the American commander considered himself sure of his
prize, and was endeavoring to secure his main-mast, which had been very
much injured, he had the misfortune to see it go by the board. A heavy
squall coming on at the same time, before the Constellation could be
completely cleared of the wreck, the French ship was enabled to effect
her escape. Indeed, so sudden was her disappearance in the squall,
that she was supposed by all on board the Constellation to have sunk.
Nevertheless, it appeared that five days after the action she got into
Curracoa, in almost a shattered condition, having had one hundred and
sixty men killed and wounded, and nearly all her masts and rigging shot

It had required all hands at the pumps for several days, to keep her
from foundering.

Her captain had the candor to acknowledge that he had twice struck his
colors, but owing to the darkness of the night, this was not perceived
on board the Constellation, and he, finding that her fire continued,
and concluding that it was the determination of his enemy to sink him,
renewed the combat from necessity. When her mast went overboard, he
took the advantage of the accident, and got off. In this engagement,
the Constellation had fourteen men killed and twenty-five wounded.

Among the former was Midshipman Jarvis, a young man of great promise,
who commanded in the main-top. When told by one of the old seamen
of the danger of the mast falling, and requested, with his men, to
come down, he replied that if it went, they must go with it. In a few
minutes after it went over, and but one of the topmen was saved. For
the signal gallantry displayed in this action, Congress passed the
following resolution.

    “_Resolved_, by the Senate and House of Representatives of
    the United States of America, in Congress assembled, That
    the President of the United States be requested to present
    to Captain Thomas Truxtun a gold medal (_see_ Plate IX.,)
    emblematical of the late action between the United States
    frigate Constellation, of thirty-eight guns, and the French
    ship-of-war La Vengeance, of fifty-four guns, in testimony
    of the high sense entertained by Congress of his gallantry
    and good conduct in the above engagement, wherein an example
    was exhibited by the captain, officers, sailors, and marines,
    honorable to the American name, and instructive to its rising

                                         THEODORE SEDGWICK,
                         _Speaker of the House of Representatives_.

                                         THOMAS JEFFERSON,
                             _Vice President of the United States_.

                                         JOHN ADAMS,
                                  _President of the United States_.

    _Approved, March 29th, 1800._

Captain Truxtun still continued to serve his country with all the
ardor of his temperament, and devoted all the energies of his character
to the promotion of her glory. In the beginning of 1802, he was ordered
to take the command of a squadron destined for the Mediterranean; he
immediately proceeded to Norfolk, where the frigate Chesapeake then
was, and made every preparation for the duty assigned to him.

It appears that it was customary in the navy for commanding officers
of squadrons, to have assigned to them during their command, an
officer who, being entrusted with the charge of the flag ship, could
relieve the commander-in-chief of this trust, and thereby enable him
to have more leisure to devote to the important duties of his station.
This additional officer was deemed necessary by Captain Truxtun, and
claimed by him of the secretary of the navy. A correspondence ensued,
the sequel of which was that Captain Truxtun wrote to the secretary,
informing him that “the task for the intended service would be too
severe without some aid, and if that aid could not be rendered, he must
beg leave to quit the service,” (meaning the intended service in the
Mediterranean.) In the conclusion of his letter, after recommending
some particular business to be attended to, he observes “if I do not
proceed on the expedition.”

Contrary to his intentions and to his just expectations, Robert
Smith, then secretary of the navy under the administration of Thomas
Jefferson, chose to construe this letter into a resignation of his
commission as a captain in the navy; and notwithstanding every
honorable effort that was then made to restore him to his just rights,
the administration of that day sacrificed at one blow the man who had
shed such lustre upon the infant navy of our country, but who had the
misfortune to belong to a different political school from those who
then wielded the destinies of America.

Thus at the early age of forty-seven years, in the prime of manhood,
at a period when his former life gave promise of much future
usefulness, after many years’ devotion to the navy in which he fondly
hoped to close his existence, was the subject of this memoir suddenly
cut short in that career in which he had won unfading laurels, both for
his country and himself.

He immediately retired to his farm, and like another Cincinnatus,
sought in the enjoyment of domestic happiness a solace to the injustice
he had met in public life. For many years he continued a citizen of
New Jersey, but towards the latter part of his life, he was induced
by the claims of his family, to resume his residence in Philadelphia,
where his fellow-citizens welcomed his return in the most grateful
manner, and as an appreciation of his services, spontaneously tendered
him the important office of high sheriff of the city and county of
Philadelphia, to which he was elected in the year 1816, by a very large
majority. Soon after the expiration of his term of office in 1819, his
health began to decline, until finally in May, 1822, he closed his
earthly pilgrimage.

Commodore Truxtun has left several children, but neither of his sons
now survives. The only grandchild bearing his name, is a midshipman
in the navy. The same service also numbers three other grandsons, one
of whom, Edward F. Beale, has recently proved, by his gallant conduct
under Commodore Stockton, that he inherits the blood of his illustrious


OCCASION.--Capture of the French frigate La Vengeance.

DEVICE.--Head of Captain Truxtun.

LEGEND.--Patriæ patris filio digno Thomæ Truxtun.

REVERSE.--Two ships of war, the French a two decker; both much
shattered; the rigging of both much cut up.

LEGEND.--The United States frigate Constellation, of thirty-eight
guns, pursues, attacks, and vanquishes the French ship La Vengeance, of
fifty-four guns, 1st of Feb. 1800.


The subject of this memoir was born in the ancient town of Falmouth,
now Portland, Maine, August 15th, 1761. He was the son of the Hon.
Jedediah Preble, a member of the council and senate, who died in 1783,
at the advanced age of seventy-seven.

Edward Preble exhibited from early childhood a firm and resolute
temper, and a love for adventurous and chivalrous feats. While quite
young he showed a predilection for a seafaring life, and although his
father was much opposed to his choice, he thought it unwise to thwart
him; and therefore placed him on board a ship bound for Europe, in
which he made his first voyage. In 1779 Preble became midshipman, in
the state ship Protector, of twenty-six guns, under the command of
Captain Williams.

The Protector, on her first cruise, had a sharp engagement with a
British frigate of thirty-six guns, on the coast of Newfoundland, and
so disabled her that she was obliged to strike. She blew up in a few
minutes afterwards.

The second cruise of the Protector was less fortunate; she was
captured by a British frigate and sloop-of-war. The principal officers
were taken to England, but young Preble, by the influence of his
father, obtained his release. Captain Little, who was second in command
in the Protector, and one of the prisoners taken to England, scaled the
walls of his prison at Plymouth, and escaping with one other person,
rowed in a wherry across the British Channel, and landed on the coast
of France; thence took passage for Boston; and took the command of the
sloop of war Winthrop, with Preble as his first lieutenant.

Captain Little had previously captured the tender of a brig, of
superior force to his own, lying in the Penobscot river, in Maine. From
the crew he gained sufficient information to determine him to take
her by surprise. Accordingly he ran along side in the night, having
dressed forty of his men in white frocks, to distinguish them from the
enemy. He was hailed by the brig, supposing him to be the tender, with
“You will run us aboard!” “Ay!” shouted Preble, “I am coming aboard!”
and he immediately jumped into the vessel with fourteen of his men.
The rapidity of the vessel was such, that it prevented the remainder
from following them. Little cried out to his lieutenant to know if
he would not have more men; “No!” he answered with great coolness,
(expecting to be overheard by the enemy,) “we have more than we want
already; we stand in each other’s way.” Those of the English crew on
deck immediately leaped overboard, while others did so from the cabin
windows, swimming for the shore, within pistol-shot. Preble then
proceeded to the cabin, where he found the officers either in bed or
just rising. He informed them they were his prisoners, that the brig
was in his possession, and any resistance would be fatal. Supposing
themselves captured by a superior force, they submitted, without any
effort to rescue the vessel. The captors conveyed their prize to
Boston. Our hero was only in his twentieth year, when this daring act
took place, which gave striking indications of the intrepidity and
courage which afterwards so greatly distinguished him.

Lieutenant Preble remained in the Winthrop the whole of the war. That
vessel is acknowledged to have rendered much service to our trade, by
destroying privateers infesting our eastern waters.

In 1798, and the ensuing year, government had decided on building
fifteen frigates and twelve other vessels of war. Preble was the first
lieutenant appointed, and in the winter of 1798 and 1799, he made
two cruises as commander of the brig Pickering. The next year, with
a captain’s commission, he commanded the frigate Essex of thirty-six
guns. In January, 1800, he was ordered to Batavia, in company with
the frigate Congress, as a convoy to our homeward bound ships. The
Congress was dismasted and obliged to return, while Preble took under
his own convoy fourteen sail of merchantmen, valued at several millions
of dollars. Soon afterwards he was appointed commander of the Adams,
for the Mediterranean; but his health declining, he was compelled to
withdraw from the profession until 1803. His government then made him
commodore of the squadron fitted out against the Algerine pirates on
the coast of Barbary. The brilliant career of this gallant officer,
in negotiating with so much ability, not only redound to his own
credit, but exalted the character of the American navy in the eyes
of all the world. His fleet consisted of the Constitution, of which
he was commander, also the frigate Philadelphia, and several smaller
vessels. The memorable bombardment of Tripoli is familiar to all
readers of history, having been so often recorded by able historians.
Congress voted the thanks of the nation, and an elegant gold medal,
(_See_ Plate IX.,) which were both presented by the President, with
the most emphatic expressions of esteem. On his leaving the squadron,
the officers presented a most affectionate and interesting address,
expressive of their devotion and attachment to him as their commander,
and of his worth as a citizen and Christian. In the latter part of the
year of 1806, Commodore Preble suffered severely from a debility of the
digestive organs. Indulging a hope of recovery, he bore his sufferings
with that fortitude which had marked his character through life, until
the 25th of August, 1807, when he breathed his last.


OCCASION.--The attack on Tripoli.

DEVICE.--Bust of Commodore Preble.

LEGEND.--Edwardo Preble, duci strenuo comitia Americana.

REVERSE.--The American fleet bombarding the town and forts of Tripoli.

LEGEND.--Vindici commercii Americani.

EXERGUE.--Ante Tripoli, 1804.


Isaac Hull was born at Derby, in the state of Connecticut, about
ten miles distant from New Haven, in 1775. Choosing the sea for his
profession, he entered, soon after leaving school, on board a merchant
vessel, where he was employed during the interval which occurred
between the peace of 1783 and the breaking out of hostilities anew
in 1798, when it became the policy of the United States to form a
permanent marine. He was immediately appointed a lieutenant, without
passing through the subordinate grades; an irregularity of necessary
occurrence, owing to the absence of any class of men educated in
ships of war from which to make promotion. In May, 1800, he was first
lieutenant of the frigate Constitution, under Commodore Talbot, and cut
out a French letter of marque from one of the islands of St. Domingo
with a small sloop. This gallant act took place at noon-day, without
the loss of a single man. In 1804 he commanded the brig Argus, and
particularly distinguished himself at the storming of Tripoli and the
reduction of Derne. In 1812, he commanded the Constitution, and by his
energy and skill as a seaman, he escaped from a British squadron under
Commander Broke. That escape is faithfully described by Mr. Cooper in
his Naval History, from which the following remarks are quoted. “Thus
terminated a chase that has become historical in the American navy, for
its length, closeness and activity. On the part of the English there
were manifested much perseverance and seamanship, a ready imitation,
and a strong desire to get along side of their enemy. But the glory
of the affair was carried off by the officers and people of the

“Throughout all the trying circumstances of this arduous struggle,
this noble frigate, which had so lately been the sneers of the English
critics, maintained the high character of a man of war. Even when
pressed upon the hardest, nothing was hurried, confused, or slovenly,
but the utmost steadiness, order, and discipline reigned in the ship.
A cool, discreet, and gallant commander was nobly sustained by his
officers, and there cannot be a doubt that had the enemy succeeded in
getting any one of the frigates fairly under the fire of the American
ship, that she would have been very roughly treated. The escape itself
is not so much a matter of admiration, as the manner in which it was
effected. A little water was pumped, it is true; and perhaps this was
necessary, in order to put a vessel fresh from port on a level, in
light winds and calms, with ships that had been cruising some time;
but not an anchor was cut away, not a boat stove, not a gun lost. The
steady and man-of-war-like style in which the Constitution took in all
her boats as occasions offered; the order and rapidity with which she
hedged, and the vigilant seamanship with which she was braced up and
eased off, extorted admiration from the more liberal of her pursuers.
In this affair, the ship, no less than those who worked her, gained a
high reputation, if not with the world generally, at least with those
who, perhaps, as seldom err in their nautical criticism as any people
living.” Not long after this affair, Captain Hull met the British
frigate Guerriere, and, to the surprise of the whole world, conquered
her. That fight was of more importance to America than all the
subsequent victories, because it demonstrated that the notion of the
British navy being invincible on the seas was incorrect. Commodore Hull
was the man that showed that an American frigate was equal to a frigate
of any other nation. The following is Mr. Cooper’s description of that
most important and eventful action:--

“The Constitution next stood to the southward, and on the 19th,
at two P. M., in lat. 41 deg. 41 min., long. 55 deg. 48 min., a
sail was made from the mast head, bearing E. S. E., and to leeward,
though the distance prevented her character from being discovered.
The Constitution immediately made sail in chase, and at three, the
stranger was ascertained to be a ship on the starboard tack, under
easy canvas, and close hauled. Half an hour later, she was distinctly
made out to be a frigate, and no doubt was entertained of her being
an enemy. The Constitution kept running free until she was within a
league of the frigate to leeward, when she began to shorten sail. By
this time the enemy had lain his main topsail aback, in waiting for the
Constitution to come down, with everything ready to engage. Perceiving
that the Englishman sought a combat, Captain Hull made his own
preparations with greater deliberation. The Constitution consequently
furled her top-gallant sails, and stowed all her lightstay sails
and fling jib. Soon after, she took a second reef in the top-sails,
hauled up the courses, sent down royal yards cleared for action, and
beat to quarters. At five, the chase hoisted three English ensigns,
and immediately after she opened her fire, at long gun shot, wearing
several times to rake and prevent being raked. The Constitution
occasionally yawed as she approached, to avoid being raked, and she
fired a few guns as they bore, but her object was not to commence the
action seriously until quite close. At six o’clock, the enemy bore
up and ran off under his three top-sails and jib, with the wind on
his quarter. As this was an indication of a readiness to receive his
antagonist, in a fair yard-arm fight, the Constitution immediately
set her main-top-gallant sail and foresail to get along side. At a
little past six, the bow of the American frigate began to double on the
quarter of the English ship, when she opened with her forward guns,
drawing slowly ahead with her greater way, both vessels keeping up a
close and heavy fire, as their guns bore.

“In about ten minutes, or just as the ships were fairly side by side,
the mizzen-mast of the Englishman was shot away, when the American
passed slowly ahead, keeping up a tremendous fire, and luffed short
round on her bows, to prevent being raked. In executing this manœuvre,
the ship shot into the wind, got sternway, and fell foul of her
antagonist. While in this situation, the cabin of the Constitution
took fire from the close explosion of the forward guns of the enemy,
who obtained a small, but momentary advantage from his position. The
good conduct of Mr. Hoffman, who commanded in the cabin, soon repaired
this accident, and a gun of the enemy’s that had threatened further
injury, was disabled. As the vessels touched, both parties prepared
to board. The English turned all hands up from below, and mustered
forward, with that object, while Mr. Morris the first lieutenant,
with his own hands, endeavored to lash the ships together. Mr. Alwyn,
the master, and Mr. Bush, the lieutenant of marines, were upon the
taffrail of the Constitution to be ready to spring. Both sides now
suffered by the closeness of the musketry; the English much the most,
however. Mr. Morris was shot through the body, the bullet fortunately
missing his vitals. Mr. Alwyn was wounded in the shoulder, and Mr. Bush
fell dead by a bullet through the head. It being found impossible for
either party to board, in the face of such a fire, and with the heavy
sea that was on, the sails were filled, and just as the Constitution
shot ahead, the fore-mast of the enemy fell carrying down with it
his main-mast, and leaving him wallowing in the trough of the sea, a
helpless wreck. The Constitution now hauled aboard her tacks, ran off a
short distance, secured her masts, and rove new rigging. At 7, she wore
round, and taking a favorable position for raking, a jack that had been
kept flying on the stump of the mizzen-mast of the enemy was lowered.
Mr. George Campbell Read, the third lieutenant, was sent on board the
prize, and the boat soon returned with the report that the captured
vessel was the Guerriere, thirty-eight guns, Captain Dacres, one of the
ships that had so lately chased the Constitution, off New York. The
Constitution kept wearing to remain near her prize, and at two A. M.,
a strange sail was seen closing, when she cleared for action, but at
three the stranger stood off.

“At daylight the officer in charge hailed to say that the Guerriere
had four feet water in her hold, and that there was danger of her
sinking. On receiving this information, Captain Hull sent all the boats
to remove the prisoners. Fortunately the weather was moderate, and by
noon this duty was nearly ended. At three P. M., the prize crew was
recalled, having set the wreck on fire, and in a quarter of an hour she
blew up. Finding himself filled with wounded prisoners, Captain Hull
now returned to Boston, where he arrived on the 30th of the same month.
It is not easy, at this distant day, to convey any idea of the full
force of the moral impression created in this country, by this victory
of one frigate over another.

“So deep had been the effect produced on the public mind by the
constant accounts of the successes of the English over their enemies at
sea, that the opinions already mentioned of their invincibility on that
element generally prevailed; and it had been publicly predicted that,
before the contest had continued six months, British sloops of war
would lie alongside of American frigates with comparative impunity.

“Perhaps the only portion of even the American population that expected
different results, was that which composed the little body of officers
on whom the trial would fall, and they looked forward to the struggle
with a manly resolution, rather than with a very confident hope.

“But the termination of the combat just related, far exceeded the
expectations of even the most sanguine. After making all proper
allowance for the difference of force, which certainly existed in favor
of the Constitution, as well as for the excuses that the defeated party
freely offered to the world, men on both sides of the Atlantic, who
were competent to form intelligent opinions on such subjects, saw the
promise of many future successes in this.

“The style in which the Constitution had been handled, the deliberate
and yet earnest manner in which she had been carried into battle;
the extraordinary execution that had been made in so short a time by
her fire; the readiness and gallantry with which she had cleared for
the action, so soon after destroying one British frigate, in which
was manifested a disposition to meet another, united to produce a
deep conviction of self-reliance, coolness, and skill, that was of
infinitely more weight than the transient feeling which might result
from any accidental triumph. In this combat the Constitution suffered
a good deal in her rigging and sails, but very little in her hull. Her
loss was seven killed and seven wounded. As soon as she had rove new
rigging, applied the necessary stoppers, and bent a few sails, as has
been seen, she was ready to engage another frigate.” Since that time
Captain Hull has commanded in the Pacific and Mediterranean, and at
shore stations in the United States. He enjoyed the rank of captain
in the United States naval service for thirty-seven years. “No act of
Commodore Hull’s life can be quoted as a drawback upon the immense debt
of gratitude due him by his fellow-citizens. He did not, in the midst
of the continued praise that followed him, yield to a single suggestion
of wrong, nor presume, for a moment, upon the hold which he had on the
affections of the nation. Every day of his life seemed to be spent as
if he felt that day had its special duty, which, if unperformed, would
leave incomplete his honors, and perhaps, tarnish the laurels he had
already acquired. Hence, day by day, he earned new titles to public
affection; and as a man, a patriot, and an officer, he grew in the
esteem of his fellow men. And the last day of his life saw his laurels
as fresh as when they were first woven into a chaplet for his brow.”
He died at his residence in Philadelphia, 13th of February, 1843, in
the sixty-eighth year of his age. By a resolution of Congress, it was
unanimously agreed to present to Captain Isaac Hull, commander of the
frigate Constitution, the thanks of that body and a gold medal (_see_
Plate IX.), for the capture of the British frigate Guerriere, 19th of
August, 1812.


OCCASION.--Capture of the Guerriere.

DEVICE.--Bust of Captain Hull.

LEGEND.--Isaacus Hull peritos arte superate, July, 1812, Ang.
certamine fortes.

REVERSE.--The battle between the Constitution and Guerriere is
represented in that particular and interesting stage, when the
boarders from the Guerriere were repulsed, and a raking fire from the
Constitution had cut away the main and foremasts of the Guerriere,
which are falling, leaving the American ship little injured.

LEGEND.--Horæ momento victoria.

EXERGUE.--Inter Const. nav. Amer. et Guer. Angl.

[Illustration: Plate 10.




_W. L. Ormsby, sc._]


Jacob Jones was the son of an independent and respectable farmer,
near the village of Smyrna, in the county of Kent, in the state of
Delaware, and was born in the year 1770. His mother, who was an
amiable and interesting woman, died when Jacob was two years old.
Some time afterwards his father married a second time to a Miss Holt,
granddaughter of the Hon. Ryves Holt, formerly Chief Justice of the
Supreme Court of Delaware, or, as it was then denominated, “the lower
counties on Delaware.” Shortly after this second marriage his father
died, when this, his only child, was scarcely four years of age. It was
the happiness of our hero to be left under the care of a step-mother
who possessed all the kind feelings of a natural parent. The affection
which this excellent woman had borne towards the father, was, on his
death, transferred to his child. By her he was nurtured from infancy to
manhood, with a truly maternal care and tenderness. At an early age he
was placed at school, where his proficiency exceeded her most anxious
expectations. He was soon transferred to a grammar school at Lewes,
in Sussex county, where he read the classics with much assiduity, and
became well acquainted with the Latin and Greek languages. At the age
of eighteen he left school and commenced the study of medicine at
Dover, in the county of Kent, where he remained four years, after which
he attended the usual courses of medical lectures of the University
of Pennsylvania, and returned to Dover to commence the practice of
his profession. He did not, however, continue long in the practice.
Discouraged by the scanty employment that is commonly the lot of the
young physician, and impatient of an inactive life, he determined to
abandon it for a more lucrative occupation. Governor Clayton, who was
a personal friend of his father, conferred upon him the clerkship of
the Supreme Court of the State of Delaware, for the county of Kent.
In this situation he remained some time, but the sedentary nature
of its duties caused it to become irksome to him, and possessing a
spirit of enterprise, and not content with the tranquil ease of common
life, he resolved upon a measure as indicative of the force of his
character, as it was decisive of his future fortunes. This was to
enter the navy of the United States. Jones, it appears, had weighed
all the inconveniences and sacrifices incident to his determination,
and had made up his mind to encounter and surmount them all. The
only consolation to his friends was the reflection, that if courage,
activity and hardihood could ensure naval success, Jacob Jones was
peculiarly fitted for the life he had adopted; and it is probable they
felt some degree of admiration for that decision of character which, in
the pursuit of what he conceived a laudable object, could enable him to
make such large sacrifices of personal pride and convenience. Through
the exertions of his friends, he obtained a midshipman’s warrant and
joined the frigate United States, Commodore Barry, from whom he derived
great instruction in the theory and practice of his profession, blended
with the utmost kindness and civility. He was a midshipman on board of
the United States, when she bore to France Chief Justice Ellsworth and
General Davie, as envoys extraordinary to the French Republic. He was
next transferred to the Ganges, where he remained till the breaking
out of the war with Tripoli, when he was stationed on board of the
frigate Philadelphia, under the command of the gallant Bainbridge. The
disaster which befel that ship and her crew before Tripoli, forms a
solemn page in our naval history; atoned for, however, by the brilliant
achievements to which it gave rise.

Twenty months of severe captivity among a barbarous people, and
in a noxious climate, neither broke the spirit nor impaired the
constitution of our hero. Blest by nature with vigorous health and an
invincible resolution, when relieved from bondage by the bravery of
his countrymen, he returned home full of life and ardor. He was soon
after promoted to a lieutenancy, which grade he merited before his
confinement in Tripoli, but older warrant officers had stood in the way
of his preferment.

After being employed for some length of time on the Orleans station,
he was appointed to the command of the brig Argus, stationed for the
protection of our commerce on the southern maritime frontier. In this
situation he acted with vigilance and fidelity, and conformed to his
instructions, to the public interest and the entire satisfaction of his
government. In 1811, Captain Jones was transferred to the command of
the sloop of war Wasp, mounting eighteen twenty-four pound carronades,
and was dispatched, in the spring of 1812, with communications to the
courts of St. Cloud and St. James. During this voyage, war was declared
by the United States against Great Britain.

On his return, Captain Jones refitted his ship with all possible
dispatch, and repaired to sea on a cruise, in which he met with no
other luck than the capture of an inconsiderable prize. He again put to
sea on the 13th of October, and on the 18th of the same month, after
a long and heavy gale, he fell in with a number of strongly armed
merchantmen, under convoy of his Britannic majesty’s sloop of war The
Frolic, Captain Whinyates.

As this engagement has been one of the most decidedly honorable to
the American flag, from the superior force of the enemy, we vouch for
the following account of it to be scrupulously correct:--“There was a
heavy swell in the sea, and the weather was boisterous. The top-gallant
yards of the Wasp were taken down, her top-sails were close reefed,
and she was prepared for action. About eleven o’clock A. M., the
Frolic showed Spanish colors, and the Wasp immediately displayed the
American ensign and pendant. At thirty-two minutes past eleven, the
Wasp came down to windward on her larboard side, within about sixty
yards and hailed. The enemy hauled down the Spanish colors, hoisted
the British ensign, and opened a fire of cannon and musketry. This the
Wasp instantly returned, and coming nearer to the enemy, the action
became close and without intermission. In four or five minutes the
main-topmast of the Wasp was shot away, and falling down with the
main-top sail yard across the larboard fore and fore-topsail braces,
rendered her head-yards unmanageable during the rest of the action. In
two or three minutes more her gaft and mizzen top-gallant sail were
shot away. Still she continued a close and constant fire. The sea was
so rough that the muzzles of the Wasp’s guns were frequently in the
water. The Americans, therefore, fired as the ship’s side was going
down, so that their shot went either on the enemy’s deck or below it,
while the English fired as the vessel rose, and thus her balls chiefly
touched the rigging, or were thrown away. The Wasp now shot ahead of
the Frolic, raked her, and then resumed her position on her larboard
bow. Her fire was now obviously attended with such success, and that of
the Frolic so slackened that Captain Jones did not wish to board her,
lest the roughness of the sea might endanger both vessels; but in the
course of a few minutes more every brace of the Wasp was shot away,
and her rigging so much torn to pieces that he was afraid that his
masts, being unsupported, would go by the board and the Frolic be able
to escape. He thought, therefore, the best chance of securing her was
to board and decide the contest at once. With this view he wore ship,
and running down upon the enemy, the vessels struck each other, the
Wasp’s side rubbing along the Frolic’s bow so that her jib-boom came
in between the main and mizzen rigging of the Wasp, directly over the
heads of Captain Jones and the first lieutenant, Mr. Biddle, who were
at that moment standing together near the capstan. The Frolic lay so
fair for raking, that they decided not to board until they had given
a closing broadside. Whilst they were loading for this, so near were
the two vessels, that the rammers of the Wasp were pushed against the
Frolic’s sides, and two of her guns went through the bow-ports of the
Frolic, and swept the whole length of her deck. At this moment, Jack
Lang,[A] a seaman of the Wasp, a gallant fellow, who had been once
impressed by a British man-of-war, jumped on a gun with his cutlass,
and was springing on board the Frolic. Captain Jones, wishing to fire
again before boarding, called him down, but his impetuosity could not
be restrained, and he was already on the bowsprit of the Frolic; when,
seeing the ardor and enthusiasm of the Wasp’s crew, Lieutenant Biddle
mounted on the hammock-cloth to board.

    [A] John Lang was a native of New Brunswick, in New Jersey.
    This seaman is a proof that conspicuous bravery is confined to
    no rank in the naval service.

“At this signal, the crew followed, but Lieutenant Biddle’s feet
got entangled in the rigging of the enemy’s bowsprit, and Midshipman
Baker, in his ardor to get on board, laying hold of his coat, he fell
back on the Wasp’s deck. He sprang up, and as the next swell of the
sea brought the Frolic nearer, he got on her bowsprit where Lang and
another seaman were already. He passed them on the forecastle, and was
surprised at not seeing a single man alive on the Frolic’s deck, except
the seaman at the wheel and three officers. The deck was slippery with
blood and strewed with the bodies of the dead. As he went forward,
the Captain of the Frolic, with two other officers, who were standing
on the quarter-deck, threw down their swords, with an inclination of
their bodies, denoting that they had surrendered. At this moment the
colors were still flying; Lieutenant Biddle, therefore, jumped into the
rigging himself and hauled down the British ensign, and possession was
taken of the Frolic in forty-three minutes after the first fire. She
was in a shocking condition; the birth-deck, particularly, was crowded
with dead, wounded and dying; there being but a small portion of the
Frolic’s crew who had escaped.

“Captain Jones instantly sent on board his surgeon’s mate, and all the
blankets of the Frolic were brought from her slop room for the comfort
of the wounded. To increase this confusion, both the Frolic’s masts
soon fell, covering the dead and everything on deck, and she lay a
complete wreck.

“It now appeared that the Frolic mounted sixteen thirty-two pound
carronades, four twelve pounders on the maindeck, and two twelve pound

“She was, therefore, superior to the Wasp, by exactly four twelve
pounders. The number of men on board, as stated by the officers of the
Frolic, was one hundred and ten; the number of seamen on board the
Wasp, was one hundred and two; but it could not be ascertained, whether
in this one hundred and ten, were included the marines and officers,
for the Wasp had besides her one hundred and two men, officers and
marines, making the whole crew about one hundred and thirty-five. What
is, however, decisive, as to their comparative force is, that the
officers of the Frolic acknowledged that they had as many men as they
knew what to do with, and in fact the Wasp could have spared fifteen
men. There was, therefore, on the most favorable view, at least an
equality of men, and an inequality of guns. The disparity of loss was
much greater. The exact number of killed and wounded on board the
Frolic, could not be precisely determined, but from the observation
of our officers, and the declarations of those of the Frolic, the
number could not have been less than about thirty killed, including two
officers, and of the wounded between forty and fifty, the captain and
second lieutenant being of the number. The Wasp had five men killed
and five slightly wounded. All hands were now employed in clearing the
deck, burying the dead, and taking care of the wounded, when Captain
Jones sent orders to Lieutenant Biddle to proceed to Charleston, or
any southern port of the United States; and, as there was a suspicious
sail to windward, the Wasp would continue her cruise. The ships then
parted. The suspicious sail was now coming down very fast. At first it
was supposed that she was one of the convoy, who had fled during the
engagement, and who now came for the purpose of attacking the prize.
The guns of the Frolic were therefore loaded, and the ship cleared for
action; but the enemy, as she advanced, proved to be a seventy-four,
the Poictiers, Captain Beresford. She fired a shot over the Frolic,
passed her, overtook the Wasp, the disabled state of whose rigging
prevented her from escaping; and then returned to the Frolic, who
could, of course, make no resistance. The Wasp and Frolic were both
carried into Bermuda.”

On the return of Captain Jones to the United States, he was everywhere
received with the utmost demonstrations of gratitude and admiration.
Brilliant fêtes were given him in the cities through which he passed.
The legislature of his native state appointed a committee to wait
on him with their thanks, and to express the “pride and pleasure”
they felt in recognizing him as a native of their state; in the same
resolution they voted him an elegant piece of plate, embellished with
appropriate designs.

The Congress of the United States appropriated twenty-five thousand
dollars, as a compensation to Captain Jones and his crew for the loss
they sustained by the recapture of the Frolic. They also ordered a gold
medal (_see_ Plate X.) to be presented to the Captain, and a silver
one to each of his officers. Various other marks of honor have been
paid by the legislatures and citizens of different states, but the
most substantial testimony of approbation which he received, was the
appointment to the command of the frigate Macedonian, captured from the

Since the peace with England, Captain Jones has been alternately
employed on foreign or home stations; he has now retired to his farm in
his native state, to enjoy the evening of his days in tranquillity and
peace. May they be as serene and happy as those of his early years were
patriotic and brave!


OCCASION.--Capture of the British sloop of war Frolic.

DEVICE.--Bust of Captain Jones.

LEGEND.--Jacobus Jones, virtus in ardua tendit.

REVERSE.--Two ships closely engaged, the bowsprit of the Wasp between
the mast of the Frolic; men engaged on the bow of the Wasp while in the
act of boarding the Frolic; the main-topmast of the Wasp shot away.

LEGEND.--Victoriam hosti Majori celerrime rapuit.

EXERGUE.--Inter Wasp nav. Ameri. et Frolic nav. Ang. die 18th Oct.


The subject of the following brief sketch was born in Worcester county,
Maryland, on the 5th of January, 1779. He was the son of Stephen
Decatur, a naval officer from the first establishment of the American
navy, until the difficulties with the French terminated, when he
retired to Philadelphia. He died, in 1808, honored and respected by
all who knew him. His son, Stephen Decatur, Jun., entered the navy in
1798 as a midshipman in the frigate United States, then commanded by
Commodore Barry.

In 1801, he was promoted and sailed as lieutenant on board the Essex,
in Commodore Dale’s squadron, to the Mediterranean.

At Malta, he had an unfortunate rencontre with a British officer,
which caused his suspension, and he returned home. He demanded an
investigation, which ended in his appointment to the command of the
Argus, destined to form part of Commodore Preble’s squadron then lying
before Tripoli.

On his joining the squadron he was transferred to the command of the
Enterprise, and shortly after, captured a Tripolitan ketch, within
sight of the tower, which he afterwards named the Intrepid. A short
time before the arrival of our hero, the frigate Philadelphia, which
had run aground on the Barbary coast, had fallen into the hands of the
Tripolitans. His jealous ardor excited him to form some project by
which she could be recaptured or destroyed.

Having obtained the consent of his commodore, with seventy volunteers
on board the ketch Intrepid, accompanied by the United States brig
Syren, Lieutenant Stewart, he arrived about eight o’clock in the
evening. The Philadelphia, lying within half gun-shot of the Bashaw’s
castle, and of the principal battery, made the adventure extremely
hazardous. About eleven o’clock, he approached within two hundred
yards, when he was hailed, and ordered to anchor. He directed a Maltese
pilot to answer that the anchor had been lost in a gale of wind. His
object was not suspected till he was almost along side of the frigate,
when the Turks were thrown into the utmost confusion.

Before they were aware of the character of their visitors, Decatur
had sprung on board, followed by Midshipman Charles Morris: these
officers were nearly a minute on the deck before their companions
joined them. Fortunately the surprise was so great that before the
Turks could recover themselves, a sufficient number had assembled equal
to their adversaries; about twenty Turks were killed; the rest jumped
overboard or fled below. After setting fire to the ship in several
places, Decatur and crew returned to the ketch. A favorable breeze
sprung up soon and carried them beyond the reach of the enemy’s guns,
which had opened a fire upon them from the batteries and castles, and
two corsairs. In this daring exploit, not one man was killed, and only
four wounded. For this gallant achievement, he was immediately promoted
to the rank of post captain. Commodore Preble had determined to make
an attack on Tripoli; and having obtained the loan of some gun-boats
and bombards from the King of Naples, gave the command of one division
of them to Captain Decatur. The signal to prepare for action was made
from the Commodore’s ship, the Constitution, on the morning of the 3d
of August, and at nine o’clock the squadron began to bombard the town
and the vessels in the harbor. Decatur advanced his gun-boats in a line
to attack the Tripolitan gun-boats, which were moored along within
musket-shot of the batteries. Disregarding the heavy fire from the
batteries now pouring upon them, he, with twenty-seven men, boarded
one of the enemy’s gun-boats which contained forty-seven men, and in
ten minutes its deck was cleared, and the boat made a prize. At this
moment he was informed that his brother, Lieutenant James Decatur,
who commanded another boat, had captured a gun-boat of the enemy, but
had been treacherously shot by her commander, who had pushed off,
and was then steering towards the harbor. Decatur instantly pursued
him, entering the enemy’s line with his single boat, and, overtaking
the foe, boarded her with eleven men, being all the Americans he had
left. He singled out the Turkish commander, who was armed with an
espontoon or spear; in attempting to strike off the head of which
with his sword, the treacherous steel gave way and was broken at the
hilt, and he received a severe wound in the right arm and breast; upon
which he seized the spear and closed with him. In the struggle both
fell. Decatur, being uppermost, caught the arm of the Turk with his
left hand, and with his right, seized a pistol which he had in his
pocket, cocked it, fired through his pocket and killed him. During
this struggle, a Tripolitan aimed a blow at the head of Decatur with
a sabre; an American seaman, although so severely wounded as to lose
the use of both hands, rushed forward and received the blow on his
own head, by which his skull was fractured. The generous-hearted
sailor survived, and his devotion to his commander was rewarded by his

Captain Decatur secured both his prizes, and received from Commodore
Preble the highest commendation for his bravery, who, on retiring from
the squadron, gave him the command of the Constitution.

On his return to America, he superintended the building of gun-boats,
until he was ordered to supersede Commodore Barron in the command of
the Chesapeake frigate. He was afterwards removed to the frigate United
States. On the 25th of October, 1812, he fell in with his Britannic
majesty’s ship Macedonian, one of the finest frigates in the British
navy, which he captured after an action of an hour and a half. His loss
was four killed and seven wounded; that of the Macedonian thirty-six
killed and sixty-eight wounded. When the commander of the Macedonian
came on board of the United States and presented his sword, Decatur,
with a chivalrous and delicate courtesy, declined taking it, observing
that he could not think of taking the sword of an officer who had
defended his ship so gallantly, but he should be happy to take him
by the hand. The Macedonian was taken into the harbor of New York,
where she was repaired and equipped as an American frigate; and the
name of her gallant victor was hailed with enthusiastic admiration
throughout the country. Congress presented to him a vote of thanks and
a splendid gold medal, (_see_ Plate X.,) while several of the state
legislatures and cities testified their high sense of his services
by votes of thanks and valuable presents. In 1813 Commodore Decatur
was ordered to sea with the United States, the Macedonian and the
Hornet, but being compelled to run into the mouth of the Thames in
Connecticut, by a British squadron, he lay off New London for several
months; this becoming irksome, he sent a challenge to the commander of
the blockading squadron, offering to meet two British ships, with the
United States and the Macedonian; but this invitation Sir Thomas M.
Hardy politely declined.

In 1815 he was appointed to the command of the frigate President,
and in attempting to get to sea, came in contact with the Endymon,
Tenedos and Pomona frigates, by which he was captured and carried into
Bermuda. After the peace with England, Commodore Decatur was dispatched
to the Mediterranean, to chastise the Algerines, who, instigated as
was supposed by the British, had captured some of our merchantmen
and enslaved their crews. He soon captured an Algerine frigate of
forty-nine guns, after a short action (in which the celebrated Rais
Hammida was killed), and a brig of twenty-two guns. He arrived before
Algiers on the 22d of June, 1815, and the next day compelled the proud
regency to a treaty most honorable to our country. He demanded that no
tribute was ever to be required of the United States; that all enslaved
Americans were to be released without ransom, and that no American was
ever to be held again as a slave. The relinquishment of the tribute
was a point most difficult to adjust. The Dey contended that it might
be used as a precedent by other nations; “even a little powder,” said
he, “might prove satisfactory.” “If,” replied our hero, “you insist
upon receiving powder as tribute, you must expect to receive balls
with it.” The next day the treaty was negotiated, with immunities and
privileges never before granted by a Barbary state to a Christian
nation. Commodore Decatur thence proceeded to Tunis and Tripoli,
where, by similar diplomatism, he obtained the necessary redress, and
returned home in the autumn of the same year. He was appointed one of
the board of commissioners, and resided at Kalarama, near Washington.
In October, 1819, a correspondence commenced between Commodore Barron,
former commander of the Chesapeake, and Commodore Decatur, in relation
to harsh expressions said to have been used by the latter towards the
former. Commodore Decatur denied having, at any time, made use of
such expressions, but admitted at the same time, that he had not been
particular to conceal his opinions, which were not very favorable to
Commodore Barron. This controversy, which lasted some months, could not
be assuaged by the interference of friends, but a challenge sent and
accepted, named the day that was to send its victim bleeding to his
grave. On the 20th of March, 1820, they repaired to Bladensburg. At the
first fire both were wounded, Decatur mortally, Barron dangerously.

Commodore Decatur died the same evening. In the enjoyment of his
country’s highest regard and confidence, he added his before unsullied
name to the list of victims who died slaves to “an affair of honor.”
His remains were temporarily deposited in the family vault of Colonel
Bomford, at Kalarama, where they remained until 1846, when they were
re-interred with appropriate ceremonies in the churchyard of St.
Peter’s, in Philadelphia, and rest by the side of those of his father
and family.

The lid of the coffin was removed when it was brought out of the
vault at Washington, in the hope that the noble features of the dead
hero were still perfect, but the friends who so anxiously sought this
gratification, had to undergo a sad disappointment. Every lineament of
the fine face was gone--nothing remained save the skeleton and a few
remnants of the clothes.

The original coffin is now enclosed in a new one of black walnut,
a silver shield on the top of which bears the following touching
inscription:--“Here lie the remains of Commodore Stephen Decatur,
of the United States Navy, who departed this life in the city of
Washington, on the twentieth day of March, 1820, aged forty-two years.
His public services are recorded in the annals of his country--his
private virtues in the hearts of his friends--and above all, in her
heart who was for fourteen years the happy partner of his life, and
the delighted witness of his exalted worth; and who can with truth
inscribe upon this humble tablet, that he possessed every virtue of
which the human character is susceptible, and each carried to its
highest perfection. Columbia mourn! For time, which soothes the grief
of individuals, will only render you more sensible of the irreparable
loss you have sustained.”


OCCASION.--Capture of the British frigate Macedonian.

DEVICE.--A bust of Captain Decatur.

LEGEND.--Stephanus Decatur Navarchus pugnis pluribus victor.

REVERSE.--Two ships engaged; the topmasts of one shot away, the other
with a few shot only in her sails.

LEGEND.--Occidit signum hostile sidera surgunt.

EXERGUE.--Inter sta. uni. nav. Amer. et Macedo. nav. Ang. die 25th
Octobris, 1812.


William Bainbridge, of the American navy, was born at Princeton,
New Jersey, on the 7th of May, 1774. He was the son of Dr. Absalom
Bainbridge, a respectable physician of that town. His education was
limited to the usual branches of an English school, with a pretty good
knowledge of the French language.

His first setting out in life was in a counting-house in New York.
Thence he removed to Philadelphia, and was for some time employed as
clerk in a mercantile house in that city. Some of his biographers
say he was sent in some capacity to sea, by the house in which he
was employed; others, that, tired of a mercantile life, he wished to
try the sea. Be that as it may, he sailed as mate of the ship Hope,
on a voyage to Holland, during which voyage he saved the life of his
captain, who was seized by a mutinous crew with the intention of
throwing him overboard. On his return home, he was offered the command
of a merchant vessel in the Dutch trade which he accepted, being
then but nineteen years of age. In this and other trading vessels he
remained until 1798, when he entered the naval service of the United
States as lieutenant. His first cruise in the American service, was to
the West Indies, in command of the schooner Retaliation, of fourteen
guns, which unfortunately was captured by two French frigates and
carried into Guadaloupe; after remaining there a short time, he, with
his vessel, was permitted to return to the United States. In 1799,
he again sailed to the West Indies in the brig Norfolk, eighteen
guns, with the commission of master commandant. During this cruise
he was more fortunate, for he captured several merchant vessels, and
a privateer, destroyed a number of barges, and compelled another
privateer of sixteen guns to run ashore. He also gave protection to our
merchants trading in those seas. In 1800, Bainbridge was promoted to
the rank of captain, and sailed in the frigate George Washington, with
presents to the Dey of Algiers. On his arrival there, he was anxiously
solicited to convey an ambassador with presents from the Dey to the
Grand Seignior, at Constantinople. To this he reluctantly consented,
and the sight of an American frigate struck the wondering Turks with
astonishment. They were unable to comprehend where this country, called
the New World, was situated, but being pleased with a visit from such a
stranger, they gave Captain Bainbridge a most cordial welcome, treating
him with the greatest respect. The Algerine ambassador was, on the
contrary, repelled with indignity by the pacha, his presents refused,
and he not permitted to land, on account of the depredations on the
commerce of nations in amity with the Porte, committed by the Dey.

Captain Bainbridge, accompanied by Dr. Clarke, the celebrated
traveler, and many other persons of distinction, proceeded to the
Black Sea in his long boat, where he had the honor of displaying
“the star-spangled banner” for the first time. On his return to
Constantinople, he gave a splendid entertainment on board his
frigate, and beheld, among his distinguished guests, natives of the
four quarters of the globe mingled together at the same table. This
visit to Constantinople opened the way to subsequent negotiations and
friendly intercourse, besides leaving a favorable impression of the
American character. On the return of Bainbridge to Algiers, he found
that war had been declared against France, and that the French consul
and citizens had been ordered to leave forthwith. To save them from
captivity he received them all on board his ship, and landed them at
Alicant, on his return to Philadelphia, where he arrived in April,
1801. In the following June, he was ordered again to the Mediterranean,
to protect our commerce against the Tripolitans. After remaining there
a year, he returned in 1802; and in July, 1803, sailed to join the
squadron under Commodore Preble.

This voyage he sailed in the frigate Philadelphia, which had been built
by the merchants of that city, and by them presented to the government.

An able historian has described the loss of this beautiful ship in the
following lines: “While Commodore Preble was engaged in negotiation,
Captain Bainbridge proceeded to blockade Tripoli with the Philadelphia
and Vixen. Being informed that a Tripolitan cruiser had escaped from
the port, the Vixen was ordered to cruise off Cape Bon, in quest
of her. After her departure, the Philadelphia was driven from her
cruising ground by strong westerly gales; but the wind coming round to
the eastward, she was returning to her station, when a strange ship
was discovered in shore, and running for the harbor of Tripoli. The
Philadelphia gave chase, and when about four knots, she ran upon a
reef of rocks which were unknown to our navigators in that sea. This
unfortunate event occurred on the morning of the 31st of October. Every
exertion was made to float the ship by throwing overboard the guns and
anchors, starting the water, and cutting away the fore-mast, but to
no purpose. The gun boats came out of the harbor and fired upon her,
but so long as she kept an upright position, they were kept off by
the few guns which could be brought to bear upon them. At length she
turned upon her side, and could no longer be defended; the magazine
was drowned, every article of value was thrown overboard, the ship
skuttled, the pumps choked, and all this being accomplished, the colors
were struck at five o’clock in the afternoon. The officers and crew
were plundered of everything valuable on their persons, before they
reached the shore, but were afterwards kindly treated by the pacha,
until Decatur burnt the Philadelphia, after which they were closely
confined in the castle, through fear of their escape. On a treaty being
concluded, by which the pacha was to receive sixty thousand dollars,
they were liberated.” From this period till the declaration of war
in 1812, Captain Bainbridge was occasionally employed in the public
service, either in the navy yards or at sea.

At the commencement of the war, Captain Bainbridge was appointed to
the command of the Constellation frigate; he was thence transferred
to the Constitution, on the arrival of that ship at Boston, after the
capture of the Guerriere. His destination was a cruise to the West
Indies in company with the sloop-of-war Hornet, Captain Lawrence.
Having parted with the Hornet on the coast of Brazil, he fell in with
the Java, a British frigate of forty-nine guns, commanded by Captain
Lambert, with a crew of more than four hundred men, and upwards of
one hundred officers and men, intended for ships on the East India
station, together with a lieutenant-general and suite of the British
army. The ships were separated from each other about half a mile, when
the action commenced, but they gradually approached each other until
the jib boom of the Java came in contact with the mizzen rigging of
the Constitution. The contest, which lasted nearly two hours, only
terminated when the last spar of the Java had gone by the board.

After the British frigate had struck, the Constitution wore and reefed
top-sails. One of the only two remaining boats out of eight, was then
hoisted out, and Lieutenant Parker, of the Constitution, was sent
to take possession of the frigate. She proved to be his Britannic
majesty’s frigate Java, rating thirty-eight, but carrying forty-nine
guns. She was manned by upwards of four hundred men, and was commanded
by Captain Lambert, a very distinguished naval officer, who was
mortally wounded. The Constitution had nine men killed, and twenty-five
wounded. The Java had sixty killed and one hundred and one wounded.
But, by a letter written on board the Constitution, by one of the
officers of the Java, and accidentally found, it is evident her loss
must have been much greater. He states it to have been sixty killed,
and one hundred and seventy wounded.

The Java had her own full complement of men, and upwards of one hundred
supernumeraries, for British ships in the East Indies. Her force,
in number of men, at the commencement of the action, was probably
much greater than the officers of the Constitution were enabled to
ascertain. Her officers were extremely cautious about concealing the
number of her crew. By her quarter-bill she had one man more stationed
at each gun than the Constitution.

The Java was an important ship. She was fitted out in the most
complete manner to carry Lieutenant-General Hyslop and staff to
Bombay, of which place he had been appointed governor, and several
naval officers for different vessels in the East Indies. She had
dispatches for St. Helena, the Cape of Good Hope, and for every British
settlement in the India and Chinese seas. She had copper on board for
a seventy-four, and for two brigs, building at Bombay, and a number of
other valuable articles.

The great distance from the United States, and the disabled state of
the Java, forebade the idea of attempting to bring her to the United
States. No alternative was therefore left, but to burn her, which
was done, after the prisoners and their property were removed to the
Constitution. They were all landed at St. Salvador and parolled.

The commander of the Java, Captain Lambert, died soon after he was put
on shore. Commodore Bainbridge was received by his countrymen, on his
return to the United States, with every demonstration of joy and esteem
that his gallant exploit merited.

The Congress of the United States voted fifty thousand dollars, and
their thanks to Commodore Bainbridge, his officers, and crew. They
likewise ordered a gold medal (_see_ Plate X.,) to be presented to him,
and silver ones to each of his officers, in token of their esteem.
The citizens of Philadelphia presented him with an elegant piece of
plate, and the common council of New York voted to him the freedom of
their city, in a gold box; and ordered that his portrait be obtained,
and placed in the gallery of portraits belonging to the city. The
Constitution now became an object of national pride, and having seen so
much service, with so little injury, during her numerous encounters,
that she acquired the popular _sobriquet_ of “Old Ironsides.” At
the conclusion of the war, Commodore Bainbridge went again to the
Mediterranean, in command of the Columbus, seventy-four, which was
the last of his services at sea. He commanded for several years, at
the different naval stations, till his health became infirm, when he
retired to Philadelphia, and breathed his last on the 27th of July,


OCCASION.--Capture of the British frigate Java.

DEVICE.--A bust of Captain Bainbridge.

LEGEND.--Gulielmus Bainbridge patria victisque laudatus.

REVERSE.--A ship with three stumps only of her masts standing; the
American ship with but a few shot holes in her sails.


EXERGUE.--Inter Const. nav. Ameri. et Java nav. Angl. 29th December,

[Illustration: Plate 11.




_W. L. Ormsby, sc._]


The hero of the following memoir was born in Newport, Rhode Island,
August, 1785. His father, who also was in the service of the United
States, anxious that his son should lead a seafaring life, obtained for
him a commission as midshipman on board of the sloop-of-war General
Greene, in 1798, at a time when our commercial difficulties with France
caused much excitement. Perry soon after joined the squadron for the

He served during the Tripolitan war, and though debarred, by his
extreme youth, from an opportunity of distinguishing himself, he
acquired by his conduct the regard and esteem of his superior officers
and the affection of his associates. Being at all times willing to be
instructed, and most anxious to excel, he became very early in life
an accomplished officer and navigator. In 1810 he was commissioned as
lieutenant commandant in the schooner Revenge, attached to the squadron
of Commodore Rogers, on Long Island Sound, to prevent infractions of
the embargo laws. During his command of this vessel, a circumstance
occurred which first tried the character of our young hero, though in
the end it proved of advantage to him. The Revenge was wrecked in a
fog near Stonington, but by the intrepidity of Perry, the crew, guns,
and much other property were saved. He immediately demanded a court
of inquiry into his conduct, which acquitted him of all blame, and
reported, that the preservation of so much property was owing solely to
his coolness and energy. The Secretary of the Navy wrote a letter to
Lieutenant Perry, complimenting his admirable conduct under such trying

In 1812 he was advanced to be master-commandant; and in 1813 he was
appointed to the command of the squadron on Lake Erie. Early in August
of that year, he crossed the bar with his squadron, and was soon on
the deep waters of the lake. The enemy, who were nearly all the time
in sight, did not molest him, although they were strictly watching his
movements. More than once he cruised in sight of the enemy while at
anchor, and offered battle; but the challenge was not accepted. On the
10th of September, at sunrise, the American squadron discovered the
enemy making towards them. Perry’s force was two twenty-gun brigs and
several smaller vessels, carrying in all fifty-four guns, and manned
with six hundred men. The British force was superior both in guns and
men. About eleven o’clock, A. M., the British were formed in a line
for battle, but the wind veering round, Perry bore down upon them as
he chose. The commander of the Lawrence led, from whose mast-head were
displayed the last words of the gallant Captain Lawrence, who fell
in the action between the Chesapeake and Shannon, “Don’t give up the
ship!” An able historian thus relates the conduct of our hero during
this most exciting battle:--“At a few minutes before twelve o’clock the
British commenced their fire, and some damage was done to the Lawrence
before Perry could make his guns to bear upon the enemy; at length he
opened his battery and stood the force of the enemy’s fire for two
hours. The other part of his fleet not coming to his assistance, and
the Lawrence becoming unmanageable, her decks strewed with dead and her
guns dismounted, Perry conceived a most bold and daring design, which
he put in execution. Giving the command of the Lawrence to Lieutenant
Yarnall, he, with his flag under his arm, jumped into his boat, and
amidst a shower of shot from the enemy, made his way to the Niagara,
the second ship of his squadron. He went off from the Lawrence standing
up in his boat supporting his flag, until his seamen seized him with
affectionate violence and pulled him down to a seat. His flag was soon
seen flying from the mast-head of the Niagara, and in this moment of
extreme peril our hero was as calm as he was adventurous. He soon
brought his ship in a position to break the line of the enemy, giving
two of their ships a raking fire with his starboard guns, pouring a
broadside into a schooner from his larboard tier, and brought his ship
alongside the British commodore. The effect of his terrific fire soon
silenced the enemy’s battery; when bringing up the small American
vessels, the contest was decided, having lasted nearly three hours.
The enemy was not entirely subdued, but all his vessels were taken and
brought to the American side of the lake. Commodore Barclay, commander
of the British squadron, was a man of no ordinary fame; he had gained
laurels at the battle of Trafalgar and other memorable battles by
sea, where Englishmen had bled and won the victory; but this day his
experience did not avail him--he was forced to yield. The loss was
great on both sides, but much more severe on the British. They had
two hundred killed and wounded, the Americans about one hundred and

Commodore Barclay lost his remaining hand in the fight; the other had
been shot off in some previous battle. This victory has given Perry a
permanent place in the history of his country, and his merit is greatly
enhanced by the reflection, that, whilst no victory was ever more
decidedly the result of the skill and valor of the commander, this was
the first action of the kind he had ever seen.

In testimony of his merit, Commodore Perry received the thanks of
Congress and a medal, (_see_ Plate XI.,) and the like marks of honor
from the senate of Pennsylvania. At the conclusion of the war Commodore
Perry was appointed to the command of the Java, a frigate of the first
class, and dispatched with Commodore Decatur to the Mediterranean, to
chastise the Dey of Algiers, who, during the war with Great Britain,
had plundered our commerce, and taken several of our small vessels.
Perry shortly after returned to the United States, and the Java was
laid up at Newport, in the middle of winter. The following anecdote
is related of him:--“Information was hastily brought to him that a
merchant vessel was on a reef, about five or six miles from that place,
and that the crew were still on the wreck, at the mercy of the winds
and waves. He manned his barge and said to his rowers, ‘Come, my boys,
we are going to the relief of shipwrecked seamen, pull away.’ They
returned him a look of fearless determination, which seemed to say,
where you go, we will go. The vessel had gone to pieces, but eleven
men were on her quarter-deck, which had separated from the hull of
the vessel, and was floating as a raft on the billows. This act may
not be thought to belong to the class of heroic deeds by some, who
are attracted only by the blaze of military glory; but the great mass
of his countrymen declared that he was as deserving of the civic as
of the naval crown.” In 1819 Commodore Perry received the command of
a squadron destined for the West India station, for the capture of
pirates who swarmed on those seas. This was a most important command,
and required the utmost vigilance and energy; but he was not long to
enjoy such an honorable post, for the yellow fever was raging in the
squadron, and of this disease he died on the 23d of August, 1820, in
the thirty-fifth year of his age.

The remains of Commodore Perry were brought to his native country and
interred at Newport, where a handsome monument has been erected by an
appropriation from the legislature of Rhode Island. Every tribute of
national grief was paid to his memory in the United States. Congress
made a liberal provision for his family, including his mother, who
was leaning on him for support. Commodore Perry married early in
life the accomplished daughter of Doctor Mason, of Newport, who
made him a devoted and affectionate wife. He was a man of splendid
talents, blended with a kind and tender heart; of superior tact in his
profession, and every way fitted for the position Providence intended
him to fill.


OCCASION.--Victory on Lake Erie.

DEVICE.--A bust of Commodore Perry.

LEGEND.--Oliverus H. Perry, princeps stagno Eriensi classim totam

REVERSE.--A fleet closely engaged.

LEGEND.--Viam invenit virtus aut facit.

EXERGUE.--Inter class. Ameri. et Brit. Die 10th Sept. 1813.


Jesse Duncan Elliott was born in Maryland, on the 14th of July, 1780.
His father, Robert Elliott, was unfortunately killed by the Indians in
the year 1794, near the Muskingum river, while transacting business
for the army of the United States. The following resolution was passed
by Congress on this melancholy event. “Be it enacted,” &c., “that the
sum of two thousand dollars be allowed to the widow of Robert Elliott,
who was killed by a party of hostile Indians while he was conducting
the necessary supplies for the army commanded by Major-General Wayne,
in the year 1794,” &c. &c. Until the year 1804, Jesse Elliott was
engaged in prosecuting his studies at Carlisle, Pennsylvania, when he
was appointed a midshipman in the navy, and ordered on board the United
States frigate Essex. The United States being then engaged in a war
with the Barbary powers, the above-mentioned frigate was ordered to
cruise in the Mediterranean.

The little force that Congress was enabled to detach for that
service--their limited means of annoyance--the treachery and ferocity
of their barbarous antagonists, created a deep responsibility in the
officers, and conspired to introduce a system of masculine intrepidity,
severity of discipline, and promptitude of obedience, of which, even to
the present hour, we reap the benefits. The treachery of our opponents
taught our men to be ever on the alert, and their cruelty made them
bold and resolute, even to rashness. Knowing how much was expected, and
how scanty were their means, they supplied every deficiency by skill
and courage. Contempt of danger was so rigidly enforced, that when one
of our subordinate officers showed symptoms of fear in an engagement,
and was tried by a court martial, the commodore assigned for his
acquittal, a reason no less curious than just: viz., that the bare
supposition that one coward existed on board of the American fleet was,
of itself, a greater injury than the condemnation of this man could
possibly be a benefit, _as it would establish the fact_. The British
squadron in the Mediterranean minutely watched the movements of our
little fleet for the purpose of sarcasm and jest. Their sarcasms were,
however, soon converted into expressions of warm admiration. Amidst
such a band of brave and kindred spirits, our young midshipman learned
to smile at danger, while he grew familiar with it, and felt his ideas
expanded and enlarged. Returning to the United States, in July, 1807,
he obtained a lieutenancy on board the frigate Chesapeake, where he
remained until June, 1810, when he was appointed acting lieutenant on
board the schooner Enterprize, to cruise on the coast, and to enforce
the embargo laws. In this service he remained till 1810, when he was
appointed to carry dispatches to our minister at the court of Great
Britain. For a short time after his return, he served in the John
Adams, from which he was transferred to the Argus, as first lieutenant.
On the 5th of April, 1812, he married the daughter of William Vaughan,
Esquire, of Norfolk, Virginia. He had no sooner entered that happy
state, than he was obliged to relinquish the sweets of domestic life
for the hardier scenes of battle. War was declared against England, and
he, with all speed, repaired to New York, to rejoin the vessel from
which he had been furloughed, and to his mortification, found that she
had already sailed. Commodore Chauncey, being on the eve of departing
on a secret and novel expedition, to which he cordially assented,
had applied to the proper department to receive his instructions.
Lieutenant Elliott was immediately appointed to the command on Lake
Erie, and received orders to repair thither, with all possible
dispatch, purchase what private vessels he could, build two ships of
twenty guns, and as early as possible have his fleet in readiness to
meet that of the enemy. Lieutenant Elliott, aware of the importance of
the command of the lakes in our war against Canada, and the difficulty
and delay which would attend the building of the vessels, to say
nothing of the expense, had purchased some vessels, but was much
embarrassed with the difficulty in getting up the Niagara, and into the
lake. After revolving in his mind all these obstacles, he formed the
resolution of boarding and capturing two British brigs-of-war, called
the Detroit and Caledonia, lying under the protection of the batteries
of Fort Erie.

He accordingly embarked in two boats, with fifty men in each, and put
off from the mouth of Buffalo creek, and at one o’clock in the morning
came along side of the enemy.

He boarded, and captured the two vessels, and secured all the prisoners
in ten minutes. Unfortunately the wind was not strong enough to
enable him to make head against the rapid current in the lake. He was
compelled to anchor opposite the enemy’s forts, within four hundred and
fifty yards of their batteries, exposed to a heavy and incessant fire
of round, grape and canister shot, from a number of pieces of heavy
ordnance, and their flying artillery.

The Caledonia was, however, beyond the reach of the enemy’s guns,
under one of the batteries at Black Rock. Lieutenant Elliott ordered
all the guns of the Detroit to be mounted on one side, whence he
kept up a constant fire against the enemy’s batteries as long as his
ammunition lasted. He determined then to drop down the river out of
reach of their cannon, and make a stand against the flying artillery.
At this instant, he discovered, for the first time, that his pilot had
deserted him. He, however, cut the cable, and falling astern, made
good his way to Square Island. He sent the boarding boat ashore with
the prisoners, himself and four others only remaining in the Detroit,
directing the officer to return for him, and what property they might
be able to save from the brig.

The officer was unable to return on account of the rapidity of the
current. At length, discovering a skiff under the stern, he made for
the shore in her with the remaining part of the crew.

During all this time, an incessant fire was kept up from both sides of
the river, on the brig.

She received twelve shots of large dimensions in her bends, her sails
were reduced to ribbons, and her rigging cut to pieces. Finding all
attempts to carry off the Detroit were unavailing, he dismantled her
of all her ordnance and stores, and set her on fire. The Caledonia was
found to be a vessel belonging to the Northwest Company, loaded with
peltry. Lieutenant Elliott’s party consisted of one hundred men. He was
fortunate enough to capture one hundred and thirty prisoners with their
officers, and to release from captivity forty of his own countrymen,
belonging to the fourth United States regiment. Lieutenant Elliott,
on boarding, opposed three of the enemy with no other weapon than his
cutlass. During the hottest of the fire from the batteries, a cannon
shot passed through, and striking a large silver wedge deposited in a
trunk belonging to one of the officers, bent it double. This wedge is
still preserved as a curiosity. As a proof of the gallantry displayed
in this exploit, Congress presented to Lieutenant Elliott a splendid
sword, with suitable emblems and devices, in testimony of the just
sense entertained by that body, of his gallantry and brave conduct in
boarding, and capturing the British brigs Detroit and Caledonia, while
anchored under the protection of Fort Erie.

Shortly after this brilliant exploit, Lieutenant Elliott joined
Commodore Chauncey at Sacket’s Harbor, and proceeded with six
schooners, in quest of the enemy’s fleet. The next day he fell in
with the Royal George, and followed her into Kingston channel, where
he engaged her and the batteries for an hour and three-quarters, and
determined to board her in the night, but from adverse winds, the
pilot refused to take charge of the vessels; and the commodore was
reluctantly compelled to forego his determination. Lieutenant Elliott,
shortly after, was promoted over thirty lieutenants to the rank of
master-commandant, and having the command of the Madison in Commodore
Chauncey’s fleet, in the preparation for the attack on York, Upper
Canada, he discovered that the ships could not be brought into action
from the shoalness of the water. He asked, and obtained the commodore’s
permission to lead the small vessels employed in covering the troops
while they were landing and attacking the batteries. The troops under
General Dearborne, amounting to seventeen hundred men, were embarked
on board Commodore Chauncey’s fleet, and arrived at York, while the
squadron taking a position to the westward and southward of the fort,
covered the debarkation of the troops. The riflemen landed under a
heavy fire, and seven hundred regulars, with one hundred Indians,
marched to oppose the landing of the American army. General Pike, with
seven hundred men, having effected a landing, routed the enemy, and
pushed direct for the principal batteries. At this time the enemy blew
up his magazine, and during the confusion precipitately retreated.
Thirty-eight of our men were killed by this explosion, amongst whom
we have to lament the gallant Pike, and two hundred and thirty were
wounded. The town surrendered by capitulation, and Captain Elliott was
appointed by Commodore Chauncey to see that the articles were carried
into execution on the part of the navy.

In the beginning of August, 1813, Captain Elliott was directed to
proceed to Lake Erie and take the command of the Niagara, under the
orders of Commodore Perry. The battle of Lake Erie, which resulted in
the capture of the entire fleet of the enemy, was fought on the 10th
of September following. Of the conduct of Captain Elliott on this
occasion, it will suffice to state here, that Commodore Perry, in his
official account of the battle, dated September 13th, said, “Of Captain
Elliott, already so well known to the government, it would be almost
superfluous to speak. In this action he evinced his characteristic
bravery and judgment, and since the close of the action has given me
the most able and essential assistance.”

Let the highest authority known to our laws speak for themselves, on
this occasion. Congress passed the following resolution:--“Resolved,
That the President of the United States be requested to cause gold
medals to be struck, emblematic of the action between the two
squadrons, and to be presented to Captain Perry and to Captain Jesse
Elliott, in such manner most agreeable to them,” &c. (_See_ Plate XI.)

In October following, Commodore Perry left the lake service, and
Captain Elliott succeeded him in the command of the naval forces
on Lake Erie. On this station he did not remain long, but at his
own request, he obtained the command of the sloop-of-war Ontario.
Peace with Great Britain being proclaimed, Captain Elliott, in the
Ontario, joined the squadron which sailed in the spring of 1815 to
the Mediterranean to exact reparation from the Barbary powers for
injuries to our commerce. This service being performed, he returned
to his own country and remained with his own family until 1817. From
that time until 1824 he was employed as one of the commissioners to
examine the coast of the United States. From 1825 to 1827, with a
promotion to captain in the navy, he commanded the United States ship
Cyane, cruising on the coasts of Brazil and Buenos Ayres, to protect
our commerce in that quarter. Captain Elliott’s next appointment in
1829, was to the command of the squadron on the West India station,
consisting, besides the Peacock, of five sloops-of-war and two
schooners. On this station he remained three years. In 1833 he was
appointed to the charge of the navy yard at Charlestown, Massachusetts.
In 1835 he sailed for the Mediterranean to take command of the
squadron there; and during the several years spent in that service,
he visited some of the most interesting parts of the world, of Italy,
Greece, Constantinople, Palestine, Egypt, &c. &c., at the same time
making collections of such objects of curiosity as would add to the
interest of our institutions. After several years’ absence from the
United States, he returned, and in November, 1844, was appointed to
the command of the Philadelphia navy yard. His health soon after began
to decline, and he died on the 10th of December, 1845. Commodore
Elliott was a strict disciplinarian, yet his personal friends can
bear unequivocal testimony to the amiability of his deportment in his
intercourse through life. The excellence of his private character was
never called in question. His correspondence at different times with
the functionaries of foreign governments, was highly creditable to
him. He possessed much useful knowledge, the result as well of his own
observation as of his reading.


To Captain Jesse Duncan Elliott, of Baltimore, second in command, for
gallantry in the action on Lake Erie. Decreed January 6th, 1814.

OCCASION.--Victory on Lake Erie.

DEVICE.--Bust of Captain Elliott.

LEGEND.--Jesse D. Elliott, nil actum reputans si quid supresset agendum.

REVERSE.--A fleet engaged.

LEGEND.--Viam invenit virtus aut facit.

EXERGUE.--Inter class Ameri. et Brit. Die 10th Sept., 1813.


William Burrows was born at Kenderton, near Philadelphia, on the 6th
of October, 1785. His father was wealthy, and not wishing to confine
the genius of his son to any particular pursuit, apprehending that his
wealth was amply sufficient to the support of his son in the style and
character of a gentleman, he was accordingly left principally to his
own guidance, dallying with books as he would with toys, regarding them
rather as matters of amusement than as objects of serious concern.

Knowing how essential to the character of a gentleman it was to become
familiar with the living languages, his father warmly exhorted him to
turn his attention to them; in this he but partially succeeded. To
the French language he betrayed an insurmountable reluctance. In the
acquisition of German, Burrows was more successful, and at the age of
thirteen years he could converse in that language with great fluency.
This may be considered as the broad outline of his early years, as far
as regards those pursuits which often have an important bearing in the
formation of the future character of the man. In a boy so amiable, so
retiring and reserved, little did his parents dream that the flame of
ambition had ignited that bosom, and was burning strong and intense.
This passion, which he had guarded with such scrupulous and jealous
care, was discovered by his father by an incident which afforded an
outlet to those passions which had so long occupied his musing and
solitary hours. He was receiving instructions in drawing, but none
seemed to arrest the attention of Burrows but the delineation of a ship
of war. With astonishment and regret his father discovered the cause
of his contemplations in retirement, and that indifference which he
discovered to his allotted studies and pursuits. He labored to give
his ambition another turn, but so deeply rooted was his passion for
ocean chivalry, that his efforts were unavailing; he, therefore, found
it best to lend his aid towards the gratification of a passion he was
incapable of repressing, and accordingly seconded his application to
the Secretary of the Navy for an appointment, and Burrows was appointed
a midshipman in November, 1799. He now devoted his hours to the study
of navigation, but the requisite proficiency could not be made in so
short a time, for in January, 1800, he received orders to repair on
board the sloop-of-war Portsmouth, Captain McNeil, bound to France.

The Portsmouth did not return to the United States for nearly a year.
Burrows now became sensible of the necessity of becoming better
acquainted with his preparatory studies, and obtained a furlough
for the purpose of applying himself to the science of navigation
with renewed ardor. From 1800 to 1803, he served on board different
ships of war, in cruises, some of a longer and some of a shorter
date, unimportant as far as regards the glory of the navy. This was,
notwithstanding, a necessary school, which prepared him for more
important services.

In the year 1803 he was transferred to the frigate Constitution,
bound to the Mediterranean, commanded by Commodore Preble. This
officer, famous for his sagacity in the discernment of character,
soon discovered in our young midshipman, under a cold and repelling
exterior, a character of noble and intrepid daring, waiting only a
proper season to burst forth in all its resplendence. Under these
impressions, Burrows was appointed an acting lieutenant, in which
character he served during the war with Tripoli. In 1807, Lieutenant
Burrows returned from the Mediterranean, and in the following year he
was attached to the Philadelphia station, and employed in the bay and
river Delaware, as commander of gun-boat No. 119. It became then his
duty to enforce a rigid observance of the embargo law. In a service
at once so delicate and invidious, he exhibited traits of character
by which he was enabled to make a painful duty an amusement. The
inhabitants found, while the laws of the Union were enforced, that this
was done from higher and more honorable motives than personal hostility
towards them. His moments of relaxation from duty were sedulously
devoted to the acquisition of their confidence and good-will, and
to render the obligations imposed upon him, by duty, less painful,
irritating and severe. Alternately preventing the least infractions of
the law, and then becoming, at their tables, a hospitable guest, he
was enabled to conciliate the esteem, while he rigidly enforced the
duties of his office. In 1809 he joined the President under Captain
Bainbridge. From this ship he was transferred to the sloop-of-war
Hornet, as first lieutenant, under Captain Hunt. In a dangerous and
heavy gale, his brother officers have reported that, by his superior
skill and intrepidity as an officer, the ship and the crew were both
preserved from what they deemed inevitable destruction. In 1812 he
found his circumstances were embarrassed, and that it was indispensable
to extricate himself in the best possible way. He accordingly
applied for a furlough, which was granted, and he went on board the
merchant-ship, Thomas Penrose, from Philadelphia, bound to Canton,
under the command of Captain Ansley. On the return passage the ship was
captured and carried into Barbadoes; Lieutenant Burrows arrived in the
United States in June, 1813.

Soon after his return, Lieutenant Burrows took the command of the
United States sloop-of-war Enterprise, and left the harbor of
Portsmouth, New Hampshire, on the 5th of September. On the following
day he fell in with his Britannic majesty’s brig Boxer, mounting
sixteen eighteen pound carronades and two long nine pounders. The Boxer
fired a shot as a challenge, hoisted English colors, and immediately
bore down upon the Enterprise. The American vessel was now employed
in tacking and making preparations for action. Having obtained the
weather-gage, she manœuvred for some time to try her sailing, and to
ascertain the force of her antagonist. At length she shortened sail,
hoisted three ensigns, and fired three shot in answer to the challenge.
The action now grew warm; the Boxer bore within half-pistol shot of the
Enterprise, and, giving three cheers, fired her starboard broadside.
She was answered by three cheers and a larboard broadside from the
Enterprise, and the action became general.

The Enterprise, having the advantage of the wind, ranged ahead of
her enemy, rounded to on the larboard tack, and commenced a raking
broadside. The enemy’s main-topsail and topsail yards came down, and
the Enterprise, taking a position on the starboard bow of the Boxer,
and opening a raking fire, compelled the enemy to cry for quarter.
Their colors were nailed to the mast and could not be hauled down.
This action lasted for forty-five minutes, during which time the Boxer
received much damage in sails, rigging, spars and hull. The Enterprise
had but one eighteen pound shot in her hull, one in her main-mast, and
one in her fore-mast. Her sails were much cut with grape shot, and a
great number of grape were lodged in her side. The Boxer had twenty
eighteen pound shot in her hull, most of them at the water’s edge, with
several stands of eighteen pound grape in her side. Lieutenant M’Call
states our loss to have been four killed, and ten wounded.

The number killed on board the Boxer is uncertain. The same officer
states, from the best information which he was able to procure, that
there were, of the enemy, between twenty and twenty-five killed, and
fourteen wounded.

At the very first fire, Lieutenant Burrows was mortally wounded by a
musket ball. He refused, notwithstanding, to be carried below, and
during the whole of the action his life’s blood was streaming on the
deck. With his dying lips he requested that the flag might never be
struck. When the sword of his gallant enemy was presented to him, he
clasped his hands together, and exclaimed, “I am satisfied! I die
contented!” He was then carried below, and expired shortly after. The
bodies of Captain Blyth of the Boxer, and of Lieutenant Burrows, were
conveyed to Portland and interred at the same time with all the honors
due to their rank and character. Having paid the debt which they owed
to their respective countries, they now slumber side by side, awaiting
the day of the resurrection together. The following resolution was
unanimously passed by both houses of Congress.

“_Resolved_, by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United
States of America, in Congress assembled:

“That the President of the United States be requested to present
to the nearest male relative of Lieutenant Burrows, of the brig
Enterprise, a _gold medal_, (_see_ Plate XI.,) with suitable emblems
and devices, in testimony of the high sense entertained by Congress,
of the gallantry and good conduct of the officers and crew, in the
conflict with the British sloop Boxer, on the 4th of September, 1813.”

It is rare to find a character more distinctly defined than that of
Lieutenant Burrows. He could accommodate himself to the circumstances
in which he was placed, and suspend the exercise of a darling passion,
when the season would not admit of its indulgence. His heroism
maintained a long and obstinate contest with the king of terrors, and
he was only cold and insensible to the charms of glory, when he was
invested with the coldness and insensibility of death. It is much to
be lamented that no likeness of this distinguished young officer now
exists. The mind, in cases like the present, labors to supply the
defect, and to form for itself a sort of sensible image, for we never
read of high and illustrious actions without associating them with a


The following record must be read by every American, with pride and
pleasure, at such an instance of liberality and honorable munificence
to the memory of the brave.

A gentleman from New York, _Matthew L. Davis, Esquire_, while passing
through Portland, some time since on a tour eastward, had accidentally
taken a walk into the burying-ground. His attention was attracted
to the neglected grave of the late Captain Burrows. The only guide
to the spot, where is deposited one who had so much heroic merit,
and who deserved so much of his country, was the tombstone of his
deceased competitor, Captain Blyth, of the Boxer, which had been but
recently erected by the surviving officers of that ship. The thought
was instant. Mr. Davis immediately gave orders for an elegant marble
monument to be erected over the grave of Burrows, without the sparing
of labor or expense.

It was done! and its style of execution does credit to the ingenious
artist, and the inscription is highly creditable to the taste,
judgment, and modesty of the generous donor, and worthy the hero whom
it is designed to commemorate.


    I saw the green turf resting cold
      On Burrows’ hallow’d grave;
    No stone the inquiring patriot told
      Where slept the good and brave.
    Heaven’s rain and dew conspired to blot
    The traces of the holy spot.

    No flow’rets deck’d the little mound,
      That moulder’d on his breast,
    Nor rural maidens, gathering round,
      His tomb with garlands drest;
    But sporting children thoughtless trod
    On valor’s consecrated sod.

    I mourn’d, who for his country bleeds
      Should be forgot so soon,
    That fairest fame and brightest deeds
      Should want a common boon.
    But oh! the rich have hearts of steel,
    And what can Penury more than feel?

    At length “a passing stranger” came
      Whose hand its bounties shed;
    He bade the sparkling marble claim
      A tribute for the dead:
    And, sweetly blending, hence shall flow
    The tears of gratitude and woe!


OCCASION.--Capture of the British sloop-of-war Boxer.

DEVICE.--An urn, with the inscription, W. Burrows, on the pedestal;
military emblems tastefully arranged on each side; one is a coronal
wreath hanging from a trident.

LEGEND.--Victoriam tibi claram patriæ mæstam.

REVERSE.--Two brigs engaged. The Boxer on the larboard side of the
Enterprise. Main-topmast of the Boxer shot away.

LEGEND.--Vivere sat vincere.

EXERGUE.--Inter Enterprise nav. Ameri. et Boxer nav. Brit. 4th of
September, 1813.

[Illustration: Plate 12.




_W. L. Ormsby, sc._]


Edward Rutledge M’Call was born at Charleston, South Carolina, August
5th, 1790.

Having lost his father at an early age, he was placed under the care
of a guardian who superintended his education, and upon learning
the determination of his young charge to lead a seafaring life,
he directed his studies accordingly. At the age of fifteen years,
Edward R. M’Call received a midshipman’s warrant, and was ordered to
join the sloop-of-war Hornet, Captain John H. Dent. In 1811, he was
ordered to join the Enterprise, Captain Blakeley, with the promotion
of a lieutenancy on board that ship, where he remained till after the
conflict with the Boxer, in which conflict Burrows, who had only a few
days previous taken the command, was killed. The following letter from
Lieutenant Edward R. M’Call to Commodore Hull, commanding naval officer
on the eastern station, gives some account of the action.

        _United States Brig Enterprise, Portland, Sept. 7th, 1813_,

    “SIR:--In consequence of the unfortunate death of
    Lieutenant-Commandant William Burrows, late commander of this
    vessel, it devolves on me to acquaint you with the result of
    our cruise. After sailing from Portsmouth on the 1st instant,
    we steered to the eastward, and on the morning of the 3d, off
    Wood Island, discovered a schooner which we chased into this
    harbor, where we anchored. On the morning of the 4th, weighed
    anchor and swept out, and continued our course to the eastward.
    Having received information of several privateers being off
    Manhagan, we stood for that place, and on the following
    morning, in the bay near Penguin-Point, discovered a brig
    getting under way, which appeared to be a vessel of war, and to
    which we immediately gave chase. She fired several guns, and
    stood for us, having four ensigns hoisted. After reconnoitering
    and discovering her force, and the nation to which she
    belonged, we hauled upon a wind, to stand out of the bay, and
    at three o’clock, shortened sail, tacked, and run down, with an
    intention to bring her to a close action.

    “At twenty minutes past three, P. M., when within half pistol
    shot, the firing commenced from both sides, and after being
    warmly kept up, and with some manœuvring, the enemy hailed
    and said they had surrendered, about four P. M.--their colors
    being nailed to the masts, could not be hauled down. She proved
    to be his British-Majesty’s brig Boxer, of fourteen guns,
    Samuel Blythe, Esquire, commander, who fell in the early part
    of the engagement, having received a cannon shot through the
    body; and, I am sorry to add, that Lieutenant Burrows, who had
    gallantly led us to action, fell also, about the same time, by
    a musket ball, which terminated his existence in eight hours.
    The Enterprise suffered much, in spars and rigging; and the
    Boxer both in spars, rigging, and hull, having many shots
    between wind and water.

    “It would be doing injustice to the merit of Mr. Tillinghast,
    second lieutenant, were I not to mention the able assistance I
    received from him, during the remainder of the engagement, by
    his strict attention to his own division and other departments;
    and the officers and crew, generally. I am happy to add, their
    cool and determined conduct have my warmest approbation. As
    no muster-roll, that can be fully relied on, has come into my
    possession, I cannot exactly state the number killed on board
    the Boxer, but from information received from the officers
    of that vessel, it appears that there were between twenty
    and twenty-five killed, and fourteen wounded. On board the
    Enterprise there was one killed and fifteen wounded, two since
    dead-sixty-six prisoners.

                        “I have the honor, &c.

                                 “EDWARD R. M’CALL, _Sen. Officer_.

    “ISAAC HULL, ESQ., _Commanding on the Eastern Station_.”

After the action with the Boxer, Lieutenant M’Call was transferred from
the Enterprise to the sloop-of-war Ontario, Captain Robert T. Spence,
and subsequently to the Java, Commodore Perry, preparing for a cruise
in the Mediterranean, on which cruise he remained till 1817. On his
return home, Lieutenant M’Call was ordered to Charleston to take the
command of the sloop-of-war Peacock, also preparing to cruise in the
Mediterranean. On his return, in 1831, he obtained leave of absence,
and since that time has been waiting orders, till his country is
disposed to employ again his admirable capacities for service.

By a resolution of Congress, January 6th, 1814, which states the
gallantry and good conduct displayed by Lieutenant Edward R. M’Call, as
second in command of the Enterprise, in the conflict with the Boxer, a
gold medal (_see_ Plate XII.) was ordered to be struck and presented to
him with the thanks of that body.


OCCASION.--Capture of the British sloop-of-war Boxer.

DEVICE.--A bust of Lieutenant M’Call.

LEGEND.--Edward M’Call, navis Enterprise præfectus.

EXERGUE.--Sic itur ad astra.

REVERSE, and the _inscription_ on the _exergue_, the same as those of
the medal of Lieutenant Burrows.


James Lawrence was the youngest son of John Lawrence, Esq., of
Burlington, New Jersey, and was born on the 1st of October, 1781.
Having lost his mother a few weeks after his birth, his two eldest
sisters, by their most tender attention, endeavored to supply her
place. His affection for his sisters was in a measure filial, as
well as fraternal, being bound to them by the double ties of blood
and education. Their assiduities were directed to the cultivation of
his feelings and his principles, and they were only relieved from
responsibility when they gave him to society, liberal, humane and
virtuous. At the age of twelve years he exhibited a passion for the
sea, but his father was anxious that he should be educated for the
law, a profession in which he was himself considerably distinguished;
and in consequence of his limited means, his son James received his
education at a grammar-school in his native town. At the age of
fourteen he removed to Woodbury, and commenced a course of law studies
with his brother John Lawrence, who was at that time a lawyer of some
distinction there. Soon after his removal his father died. James was
now wholly an orphan, and long and severe were his sufferings at the
loss of so good a parent, but in time they wore away, and he made an
urgent appeal to his brother in favor of the path to which his genius
had directed him.

The faithful and affectionate brother had discovered that the pursuits
of law were loathsome to his pupil, and that sedentary habits suited
not a frame formed for activity, nor study a mind that gloried in
action, nor the land a heart whose only delight was the broad ocean. It
was, therefore, thought best, on the whole, to surrender him at once
to the prerogative of his nature. At his own request he returned to
Burlington, and commenced the study of navigation. He remained there
only sufficiently long to attain the elements of the theory of that
science; but it was all he required. His mind, once receiving a proper
direction, could go forward at leisure, of its own motion; a guide was
wanting only to show the path and to mark out the course; it was for
Lawrence alone to arrive at the goal. It was not long before he was
pronounced a most finished seaman, and this character could not have
been acquired otherwise than by devoting himself exclusively to the
acquisition of nautical science, including combination of practice with

In the seventeenth year of his age--in the bloom of youth and the
pride of his strength--full of hope, he applied for a station in the
navy. Such was the correctness of his character, the promise of his
life, and the interest felt for him, that many of the oldest and most
respectable citizens of the state came forward with alacrity, in aid
of his application. The mail that carried it returned with a warrant
for midshipman Lawrence; and he entered his country’s service on the
5th of September, 1798. His first voyage was to the West Indies, in
the ship Ganges, Captain Tingey. Nothing of consequence occurred to
our young officer for the two first years of his seafaring life, until
his promotion to a lieutenancy on board the Adams, Captain Robinson,
where he remained until March, 1801. In the war with Tripoli, Lawrence
was a commissioned lieutenant and attached to the Enterprise as first
officer. In the bombardment of Tripoli, he acted a very conspicuous
part, which was acknowledged by Decatur in his official reports. After
his return from the Mediterranean, he was some time at New York,
attached to the navy yard in that city. While there the attention of
the naval gentlemen of that place was attracted by some “queries” in
the “Public Advertiser,” the object of which was to call Commodore
Rogers to account for not having used the gun-boats in a particular
manner on a recent occasion. One query alluded to the inferior
officers, and particularly the commanders of gun-boats. “Why,” asks
the writer, “are the commanders of these gun-boats suffered to be
swaggering through our streets, while they should be whetting their
sabres?” So much insolence incensed the whole corps; and Lawrence,
being the senior officer then on that station, in behalf of them,
addressed the following note to the printer.

           “_To Mr. Frank, Editor of the Public Advertiser._

    “Your queries in the Public Advertiser of Monday, were of a
    nature to excite indignation in the coldest bosom, and procure
    for you the chastisement which a scoundrel deserves. In answer
    to your ‘Queries,’ which immediately relate to the navy, if
    you wish to be informed why Commodore Rodgers did not employ
    the _apparent force_ with which government has invested him, I
    would refer you to the constituted authorities. On this subject
    they _alone_ can gratify your curiosity. In regard to the
    commanders of gun-boats, whom you term _swaggerers_, I assure
    you their ‘sabres’ are sufficiently keen to cut off your ears,
    and will inevitably be employed in that service, if any future
    remarks, injurious to their reputation, should be inserted in
    your paper.

                                “JAMES LAWRENCE, _Lieut. U. S. N._,
                                      “_In behalf of the officers_.

    “_Navy Yard, N. York, 6th Sept., 1807._”

The editor, having too much respect for his ears, let the matter rest.
Lawrence was next appointed first lieutenant to the Constitution, where
he remained until he was promoted to the rank of master and commander,
and directed to take command, in succession, of the Vixen, Wasp, Argus
and Hornet; was twice sent with dispatches to Europe--once to London
and once to Paris.

In 1808 he married a Miss Montandevert, of New York. At the declaration
of war in 1812, he sailed in command of the Hornet, in the squadron
commanded by Commodore Rodgers, consisting of the United States,
Congress and Argus, and after a cruise not distinguished by any signal
success, returned to Boston on the 31st of August in the same year.

Captain Lawrence went to sea again in October, 1812, as commander of
the Hornet under Commodore Bainbridge, who commanded for this cruise
in the Constitution. Their destination was the East Indies, but near
Brazil Captain Lawrence captured the English brig Resolution with ten
guns and twenty-five thousand dollars, but being a dull sailer, after
securing the crew and the money he burnt her. Captain Lawrence then
sailed towards Demerara, and in passing round the Corobano bank he
espied a sail on his weather-quarter and about to approach him. It was
the Peacock, Captain William Peake, with English colors.

The Hornet was immediately cleared for action, and kept close to
the wind to get the weather-gage of the enemy; shortly they exchanged
broadsides at half pistol-shot distance. Finding the enemy in the act
of wearing, Captain Lawrence bore up, and gave him a well directed and
tremendous fire, and in less than fifteen minutes from the commencement
of the action, the signal of distress had taken the place of the
British flag. In an instant a lieutenant boarded her and found her cut
to pieces, her captain killed, many of her crew killed or wounded, her
mizzen-mast by the board, six feet water in the hold, and the vessel
fast sinking. The two ships were immediately brought to anchor, the
Hornet’s boats dispatched to bring off the wounded, the guns thrown
overboard, the shot holes that could be got at plugged, every thing
done, by pumping and bailing, to keep her afloat; yet she went down
before all her wounded seamen could be removed. The Hornet had one man
killed and lost three brave fellows while attempting to rescue the
vanquished from a watery grave; four of her seamen were taken from the
tops just before the Peacock had entirely disappeared. Captain Lawrence
now determined to sail for New York; no sooner had he arrived there,
than the officers of the Peacock honorably made public their grateful
feelings for the kindness of Captain Lawrence and the officers under
him. They said, “_we ceased to consider ourselves prisoners_.” The crew
most heartily vied with their captain in generosity as well as bravery.
The sailors of the Peacock were left destitute of a change of apparel,
so suddenly had their vessel sunk. The crew of the Hornet most kindly
contributed to their wants. Such conduct is worthy heroic sailors!
these brave hearts from opposite extremities of the ocean, mingling
together on the same deck, beat with but one common pulsation. On the
meeting of the next Congress, this battle was thus officially noticed
by the President of the nation:--

“In continuance of the brilliant achievements of our infant navy, a
signal triumph has been gained by Captain Lawrence and his companions,
in the Hornet sloop-of-war, which destroyed a British sloop-of-war
with a celerity so unexampled, and with a slaughter of the enemy
so disproportionate to the loss in the Hornet, as to claim for the
conqueror the highest praise.”

Captain Lawrence, after remaining in New York a short time, received
orders to repair to Boston and take command of the Chesapeake, to sail
on the 1st day of June. On his arrival there, he was informed that a
British ship had been cruising around in sight of the harbor for the
last three days. He accordingly, on the 1st, proceeded in chase of her,
and was informed by pilots they believed it to be the British frigate
Shannon. About four o’clock, P. M., she came in sight; he accordingly
directed his course towards her; at half past four, P. M., she hove
to, with her head to the southward and eastward; at five, P. M., she
took in the royal and top-gallant sails, and at about fifteen minutes
before six the action commenced within pistol-shot distance. The first
broadside killed, among others, the sailing master, and wounded Captain
Lawrence; in about twelve minutes afterwards, the Chesapeake fell on
board of the Shannon, and immediately thereupon, an armed chest, on the
quarter-deck of the Chesapeake, was blown up by a hand grenade from the
enemy, and every officer, on whom the charge of the ship could devolve,
was either killed or wounded previous to the capture. Captain Lawrence,
who, bleeding, had still kept the deck, supporting himself against the
companion-way, in the act of giving orders, was levelled by a second
ball; he was carried below, making a particular request that the ship
should not be surrendered. The surgeon hurried to his captain in the
cockpit, to relieve the most excruciating pains from his wounds both in
the body and the leg. But, “No--serve those who came before me, first;
I can wait my turn,” said the noble-hearted sailor--greater even below
than above deck. The wounds of Captain Lawrence confined him to his bed
until the moment of his death; he lingered in much pain and suffering
until the 5th of June, when, in the thirty-second year of his age, he
expired. He died young; he gave himself to glory and his country; not
to dwell upon public recollection mangled and mutilated, but leaving
in the fond eye of faithful memory the whole image of a perfect hero,
unimpaired by age or by accident, in all the freshness of youth and
the fair fullness of his admired proportions. Funeral solemnities were
rendered to Captain Lawrence and his Lieutenant, Ludlow, at Halifax.
“By strangers honored and by strangers mourned.” His enemies were his
mourners, or rather the enemies of his country, for personal enemies he
had none. The tears of Britons evinced how much more gratefully they
would have shown homage to his person than every respectful attention
to his remains. That flag, from which he had parted but with life, was
restored to him in death. “His signal once, but now his winding sheet.”
In the month of August following the remains of Lawrence and Ludlow
were removed from Halifax and arrived at Salem on the 18th, where a
public funeral service and eulogy were pronounced by the Hon. Judge
Story, and from thence, at the request of the relatives, were removed
to New York; there the city council took charge of the funeral in a
manner worthy the munificence which they had promptly manifested on
every naval occasion. They gave the two children of Captain Lawrence
one thousand dollars each, to be vested in the sinking-fund of the
corporation, and paid, with the interest, to the daughter at eighteen,
and to the son at twenty-one years of age.

His remains were interred in St. Paul’s burying-ground, in that city,
where a suitable monument is erected. Captain Lawrence was amiable in
private as he had made himself admirable in his professional life.
The domestic were in the same circle with the ocean virtues, each
heightening the charm of the others. As a Christian, his proof of
faith in our Heavenly Father was love to every brother upon earth. His
country wears the laurel to his honor, the cypress for his loss.

A monument has been erected in Trinity churchyard, New York, of which
the following is a description:--

The design is simple and affectingly appropriate. It is a broken column
of white marble, of the pure Doric, the cap broken off and resting
on the base. The inscription is, we think, singularly beautiful, and
does great honor to the author. It presents a fine contrast to the
unfeeling and inflated bombast which so often disgraces this species
of composition, exhibiting a rare specimen of that sweet yet dignified
simplicity which so well accords with the records and the emblems
of perishing mortality. The introduction of the dying words of this
gallant officer, is in the highest degree affecting.

                             In Memory of
                        Captain James Lawrence,
                      of the United States Navy,
                               who fell
      on the first day of June, 1813, in the 32d year of his age,
      in the action between the frigates Chesapeake and Shannon.
            He distinguished himself on various occasions;
                but particularly when he commanded the
                         sloop-of-war Hornet,
                       by capturing and sinking
             His Britannic Majesty’s sloop-of-war Peacock,
                after a desperate action of 14 minutes.
                        His bravery in action,
              was only equaled by his modesty in triumph
                      and his magnanimity to the
                            In private life
                    he was a gentleman of the most
                   generous and endearing qualities;
               and so acknowledged was his public worth,
                that the whole nation mourned his loss;
             and the enemy contended with his countrymen,
                  who most should honor his remains.

                            ON THE REVERSE.

                               The Hero,
                   whose remains are here deposited,
                       with his expiring breath,
                expressed his devotion to his country.
                      Neither the fury of battle;
                    the anguish of a mortal wound;
                 nor the horrors of approaching Death,
                   could subdue his gallant spirit.
                         His dying words were,
                       “DON’T GIVE UP THE SHIP.”

Description of the gold medal presented by Congress to the nearest male
relative of Captain James Lawrence.

OCCASION.--Capture of the British sloop-of-war Peacock.

DEVICE.--Bust of Captain Lawrence.

LEGEND.--Jac. Lawrence. Dolce et decorum est pro patria mori.

REVERSE.--A vessel in the act of sinking, mizzen-mast shot away; a boat
rowing towards her from the American ship.

LEGEND.--Mansuetud. Maj. quam Victoria.

EXERGUE.--Inter Hornet nav. Ameri. et Peacock nav. Ang. die 24th
February, 1813.


For the biography and exploits of this brave officer, we are indebted
to that valuable work entitled “The Portrait Gallery.”

“Thomas Macdonough was born in the county of Newcastle, in the state of
Delaware, in December, 1783. His father was a physician, but inspired
with a love of liberty, he entered the army of the revolution as a
major; he did not, however, remain long in the service, but returned to
private life and his professional pursuits, until the close of the war,
when he was made a judge; in which office he remained until his death,
which happened in 1795. He left three sons. His eldest son, James, was
a midshipman with Commodore Truxton when he took the Insurgent.

“In that battle he was so severely wounded, that his leg was obliged to
be amputated. He soon afterwards left the navy with the reputation of a
brave officer. In 1798, the subject of this memoir obtained a warrant
as a midshipman, and commenced his career as a naval officer.

“Those who were acquainted with his early life, spoke of Midshipman
Macdonough as a young officer of great promise; but he had no
opportunity of being made known to the public until the country had
the misfortune to lose the frigate Philadelphia. When the gallant
Decatur proposed to burn her, as she lay in possession of the enemy,
he selected Macdonough as one of the young officers to accompany him
on that hazardous expedition; and he reaped an early harvest of honor
in that daring exploit, with his leader and others. The Mediterranean
has been the birth-place of more naval reputations than all the waters
of the world beside, and it was there, too, that our infant navy
displayed some of those acts of valor and good conduct which were of
importance in themselves, and were hailed as presages of future glory
for our country. When Macdonough was first lieutenant of the Syren,
under command of Captain Smith, a circumstance occurred in the harbor
of Gibraltar sufficiently indicative of the firmness and decision of
his character. An American merchant brig came to anchor near the United
States vessel. Macdonough, in the absence of Captain Smith, who had
gone on shore, saw a boat from a British frigate board the brig, and
take from her a man. He instantly manned and armed his gig and pursued
the British boat, which he overtook, just as it reached the frigate,
and without ceremony took the impressed man into his own boat. The
frigate’s boat was twice the force of his own; but the act was so bold
as to astound the lieutenant who commanded the press-gang, and no
resistance was offered.

When the affair was made known to the British captain he came on
board the Syren in a great rage, and inquired how he dared to take a
man from his boat. Macdonough replied that the man was an American
seaman, and was under the protection of the flag of the United States,
and that it was his duty to protect him. The captain, with a volley of
oaths, swore he would bring his frigate along side the Syren and sink
her. ‘This you may do,’ said Macdonough, ‘but while she swims the man
you will not have.’ The English captain told Macdonough that he was a
young hairbrained fellow, and would repent of his rashness. ‘Supposing
sir,’ said he, ‘I had been in that boat, would you have dared to have
committed such an act?’ ‘I should have made the attempt, sir, at all
hazards,’ was the reply. ‘What, sir!’ said the English captain, ‘would
you venture to interfere if I were to impress men from that brig?’ ‘You
have only to try it, sir!’ was the pithy answer. The English officer
returned to his ship, manned his boat, and made his way towards the
brig. Macdonough did the same, but there the affair ended,--the English
boat took a circuitous route and returned to the ship.

“There was such a calmness in the conduct of Lieutenant Macdonough,
such a solemnity in his language, such a politeness in his manner,
that the British officer saw that he had to deal with no ordinary man,
and that it was not prudent to put him on his metal. In that garden of
the world, the shores of the Mediterranean, where nations have grown
up and decayed, and others have taken their places; where everything
is marked with age, luxury, crime, and temptation, and where many a
fine young officer has made shipwreck of his morals and his health,
Macdonough exhibited the Spartan firmness with the Christian virtues.
His bravery was never for one moment doubted, but he was so reserved,
temperate, and circumspect, that the envious sometimes strove to bring
him to their level, and often were snares set for him, but he was never
caught. His character was fair and bright as the surface of a mirror,
before it was brought to reflect any ray of glory upon himself and his

“There is generally a good share of sagacity in the common sailor; he
sees through a character much clearer than we generally suppose. Before
Macdonough had been promoted to a lieutenancy, he had the heart of
every sailor who knew him. There are few so ignorant that they cannot
distinguish moral worth, when connected with professional ability, and
none so bad as not to approve of it. It has often been stated, and
never questioned, that while in Syracuse, he was one night attacked by
three assassins, with daggers.

“He drew his sword, and wounded two of them so severely as to fear
nothing further from them; the other fled, but he pursued him to the
roof of a building, and climbing it after the assassin, would have
caught him, if he had not thrown himself from it with the loss of his
life. At the declaration of war with England, in 1812, our navy was
put into requisition, and every officer panted for distinction. The
elder officers were mostly sent on the ocean; some of the high spirited
juniors to the lakes. Among the latter, Lieutenant Macdonough was
ordered to Lake Champlain, an important station; for through this lake
a communication could most readily be had with the most powerful part
of the Canadas.

“The main armies of the British were always near Montreal and Quebec,
but for the first two years of the war, both sides were busy in another
direction, particularly on the Lakes Ontario and Erie. The contending
powers watched each other’s movements and kept nearly _pari passu_
in the augmentation of their naval forces; the English always in the
advance, having in many respects greater facilities; if not in ship
building, certainly in procuring munitions of war, sails, rigging, &c.

“Towards the close of the summer of 1814, the warlike preparations on
Lake Champlain, and its vicinity, seemed to portend some powerful shock.

“Large bodies of troops, the veterans of Wellington’s army, to the
amount of sixteen thousand, had arrived in Canada, and were preparing
to strike a severe blow on the frontiers, one that would be felt to
the very vitals of the nation. Izard received orders to assist Brown,
and Macomb was left with a handful of men to defend Plattsburgh. The
fleet under Macdonough was put in readiness for an attack. He had only
four ships, the Saratoga, twenty-six guns; the Eagle, twenty guns; the
Ticonderoga, seventeen guns; the Preble, seven guns; and ten galleys,
carrying sixteen guns, making in all eighty-six guns.

“The British force was larger; four ships and thirteen galleys, in all
ninety-five guns; their complement of men was also much larger.

“That the American fleet was commanded by a young officer who ranked
only as lieutenant, and the British by an old experienced officer, gave
Sir George Prevost no doubt of the issue of his naval operations. On
the land, too, with his veterans from Waterloo, he was quite certain
of a signal victory. On the afternoon of the 10th of September, it was
evident that the assault on the lake and on the land was to be made the
next day; and Macdonough deemed it best to await the attack at anchor.
At eight o’clock on the morning of the 11th, the British fleet was seen
approaching, and in another hour the battle had commenced.

“The most accurate description of it must be from his own pen. ‘At
nine,’ says Macdonough, ‘the enemy anchored in a line ahead, at about
three hundred yards distant from my line; his ship opposed to the
Saratoga; his brig to the Eagle, Captain Robert Henley; his galleys,
thirteen in number, to the schooner, sloop, and a division of our
galleys; one of his sloops assisting their ship and brig; the other
assisting their galleys; our remaining galleys were with the Saratoga
and Eagle.

“‘In this situation, the whole force on both sides became engaged, the
Saratoga suffering much from the heavy fire of the Confiance. I could
perceive at the same time, however, that our fire was very destructive
to her. The Ticonderoga, Lieutenant Commandant Cassin, gallantly
sustained her full share of the action. At half past ten, the Eagle not
being able to bring her guns to bear, cut her cable and anchored in a
more eligible position, between my ship and the Ticonderoga, where she
very much annoyed the enemy, but unfortunately leaving me much exposed
to a galling fire from the enemy’s brig.

“‘Our guns on the starboard side being nearly all dismounted, or
unmanageable, a stern anchor was let go, the lower cable cut, and the
ship winded with a fresh broadside on the enemy’s ship, which soon
after surrendered. Our broadside was then sprung to bear on the brig,
which surrendered about fifteen minutes afterwards. The sloop which was
opposed to the Eagle, had struck some time before, and drifted down
the line. The sloop that was with their galleys had also struck. Three
of their galleys sunk, the others pulled off. Our galleys were about
obeying with alacrity the signal to follow them, when all the vessels
were reported to me to be in a sinking condition.

“‘It then became necessary to annul the signal to the galleys, and
order their men to the pumps. I could only look at the enemy’s galleys
going off in a shattered condition, for there was not a mast in either
squadron that could stand to make sail on. The lower rigging being
nearly shot away, hung down as though it had just been placed over the
mast heads.

“‘The Saratoga had fifty-five round shot in her hull; the British ship
Confiance, one hundred and five. The enemy’s shot passed principally
just over our heads, as there were not twenty whole hammocks in the
nettings, at the close of the action, which lasted without intermission
two hours and twenty minutes.

“‘The absence and sickness of Lieutenant Raymond Perry, left me
without the assistance of that excellent officer. Much ought fairly to
be attributed to him for his great care and attention in disciplining
the ship’s crew, as her first lieutenant. His place was filled by a
gallant young officer, Lieutenant Peter Gamble, who, I regret to inform
you, was killed early in the action.’

“The Saratoga was twice on fire during the action, by hot shot from the
Confiance; but the flames were promptly extinguished. At the same time
the land forces were engaged, both armies looking on the sea fight as
in a measure the turning point with them.

“The loss of the Americans was fifty-two killed, and fifty-eight
wounded; that of the British, eighty-four killed and one hundred and
ten wounded. The prisoners taken far exceeded the whole number of
Americans in the action. This victory was hailed by the whole nation
with great joy. The state of New York, in justice and gratitude, gave
the gallant captain a thousand acres of land, of no small value, and
the state of Vermont made a grant of two hundred acres, within a short
distance of the battle ground. The city of New York gave Macdonough
a valuable lot of land, and the city of Albany did the same. Festive
honors were offered him in all places where he chanced to pass through,
which were generally declined.

“Congress presented a vote of thanks and a gold medal, (See Plate XII.)
From the close of the war to the time of his decease, he shared the
honors of the home and foreign service with his compeers.

“He was an excellent member of courts martial, for he brought to those
tribunals a candid mind, ever ready to find matters that made in favor
of the accused as well as against him. For several years before his
death he made his home in Middletown, Connecticut, where he had married
a Miss Shaler, a lady of a highly respectable family of that place. He
died of consumption, on the 10th of November, 1825. His wife had paid
the debt of nature only a few months before.”

The great charms of his character were the refinement of his taste,
the purity of his principles, and the sincerity of his religion. These
gave a perfume to his name which the partial page of history seldom can
retain for departed warriors, however brilliant their deeds.


OCCASION.--Victory on Lake Champlain.

DEVICE.--A bust of Captain Macdonough.

LEGEND.--Tho. Macdonough stagno Champlain class. Reg. Britan. superavit.

REVERSE.--Fleet engaged; many boats on the lake; Plattsburgh in sight.

LEGEND.--Uno latere percusso alterum impavide vertit.

EXERGUE.--Inter class. Ameri. et Brit. die 11th Sept. 1814.

[Illustration: Plate 13.




_W. L. Ormsby. sc._]


Robert Henley was born in James’ City county, in the state of
Virginia, on the 5th day of January, 1783. He was educated at William
and Mary College, in that state, and intended for the profession of
the law; but his mind seeming bent on a seafaring life, his parents
reluctantly permitted him to apply to his relative, General Washington,
for a midshipman’s warrant, which, at his particular desire, was
obtained, and he entered the navy in 1799. Although but sixteen years
of age when he entered the service of the United States, he possessed a
good mind and showed great firmness and decision of character; he had
laboriously applied himself to reading and study, more particularly in
preparation for the naval service, which it was his determination to
follow, although at that time his wishes were unknown to his friends.
His first cruise was with Commodore Truxtun, in the Constellation, and
he was present at her encounter with the French ship “La Vengeance.”

Not a year had elapsed before our young sailor had an opportunity of
knowing by experience the toils and hardships of a seafaring life.
On the first of February, 1800, the desperate conflict between the
Constellation and La Vengeance took place, and during the struggle,
which lasted from eight in the evening until nearly one in the morning,
the bravery of Midshipman Henley was unflinching; although nearly
exhausted by fatigue he never for one moment deserted his post, and
after the conflict was over, was one of the first who was complimented
by his commander for his bravery, who observed while pointing to him,
“That stripling is destined to be a brave officer.”

On his return to the United States he obtained leave of absence and
returned to Williamsburgh, where he attended a course of lectures on
navigation and naval science. This seemed to infuse him with new life
and vigor, and his buoyant pride was soon gratified by an appointment
to the command of a gun-boat at Norfolk and promotion to a lieutenancy.
After remaining some years in this and similar situations, he received
the command of the brig Eagle on Lake Champlain, and was second in
command to Commodore McDonough in that decisive battle; who, in his
official letter, speaks of the gallantry of our hero, as follows:--“To
Captain Robert Henley, of the brig Eagle, much is to be ascribed; his
courage was conspicuous, and I most earnestly recommend him as worthy
of the highest trust and confidence.”

For his gallant conduct throughout this engagement, Congress voted to
Captain Robert Henley a gold medal (_see_ Plate XIII.,) and the thanks
of both houses. After the battle of Lake Champlain, Captain Henley
resided for some time in Norfolk, Virginia, in order to overlook some
matters connected with the naval station at that place, until 1827,
when he was called to the command of the Hornet, and ordered to cruise
in the West Indies. On his return to the United States he was stationed
in North Carolina, where he remained some years; from thence he was
ordered to Charleston, South Carolina, where he died in command in
the year 1829. He married in early life but left no family. Captain
Henley was a man of fine and commanding appearance, of a sanguine and
ardent temperament, combined with great decision of character: although
generous and brave, he was easily appeased; he was magnanimous,
hospitable, and possessed a warmth of heart that made him the idol of
his crews; he was full of chivalry, and a devoted lover of his country;
whose interest seemed to govern every action of his life.


OCCASION.--Victory on Lake Champlain.

DEVICE.--Bust of Captain Henley.

LEGEND.--Rob. Henley, Eagle præfect. Palma virtu. per æternit. Floribit.

REVERSE.--A fleet engaged before a town enveloped in smoke. Several
boats on the lake filled with sailors rowing.

LEGEND.--Uno latere percusso alterum impavide vertit.

EXERGUE.--Inter class. Ameri. et Brit. die 11th Sept. 1814.


Stephen Cassin, the son of Commodore John Cassin of the United States
Navy, was born in Philadelphia, the 16th of February, 1783.

He entered the navy as midshipman in 1800, then in his seventeenth
year. His first cruise in 1801, was in the frigate Philadelphia,
Commodore Stephen Decatur, the father of the late and gallant Decatur,
whose bravery in the Tripolitan war and also in the war of 1812, forms
a conspicuous part in the naval history of America. After a cruise of
nearly two years, during which nothing of consequence occurred, the
command of the Philadelphia was transferred to Captain Samuel Barron,
and after a short cruise with him, Midshipman Cassin was transferred
to the schooner Nautilus of sixteen guns, ordered to form part of the
squadron preparing to sail for the Mediterranean, under the command
of Commodore Preble, for the purpose of protecting effectually the
commerce and seamen of the United States against the Tripolitan
cruisers on the Atlantic ocean, the Mediterranean and adjoining seas.

This squadron, consisting of seven sail, viz: the Constitution,
forty-four guns; Philadelphia, forty-four, already on the station;
Argus, eighteen; Siren, sixteen; Nautilus, sixteen; Vixen, sixteen;
Enterprise, fourteen. This squadron sailed on the 13th of August, 1803,
and reached Gibraltar the 13th of September. On the 17th, they arrived
in Tangier bay, when the negotiations commenced which terminated so
prosperously and which have already been given in the life of Commodore
Preble. After two years’ service as midshipman in the Nautilus,
greatest part of the time being spent in cruises in the Mediterranean,
Stephen Cassin was promoted to a lieutenancy on board the John Adams,
Captain Shaw.

Not long after his promotion, Lieutenant Cassin returned to the United
States, and sailed as captain of a merchant ship to the Pacific,
where he was captured by the Spaniards and detained for nearly two
years. Soon after his second return to the United States, he joined
the Chesapeake, Commodore Hull. In this ship, he made several cruises
under this brave commander. In the interval between the Tripolitan war
and that which commenced in 1812, no occasion occurred to our naval
officers by which they signalized themselves; we therefore pass over
that period till we find Lieutenant Cassin promoted to the command
of the Ticonderoga, eighteen guns, and ordered forthwith to join the
squadron commanded by Macdonough on Lake Champlain.

Among the young officers of the navy who were ordered on the lake
service, and destined to become illustrious in our naval annals was the
hero of these memoirs.

Commodore Macdonough, in his official account of the battle on Lake
Champlain, says, “The Ticonderoga, Lieutenant Commandant Stephen
Cassin, gallantly sustained her full share of the action.” In this
sharp conflict, the British force was superior in numbers; being the
frigate Confiance, thirty-nine guns; the Linnet, sixteen guns; the
Finch, eleven guns; and thirteen galleys, carrying eighteen guns; in
all, ninety-five guns, nine more than were in the American fleet;
their complement of men was much greater. The calmness of this lake
permitted heavy armaments in comparatively light vessels, and of this
circumstance the British availed themselves to the utmost, giving their
commander a ship equal in force to the President or the Constitution,
with which he--being a veteran officer--made sure of capturing the
young American officer, ranking only as lieutenant, who was his
opponent in a flag-ship of twenty-six guns. But it is here seen,
that “the race is not always to the _swift_, nor the battle to the
_strong_.” Naval discipline, skill, coolness, and courage, were put in
requisition in this battle, united with daring intrepidity in coming
down head upon the line of an enemy of superior force. As a description
of this battle has been given in the memoir of the gallant Commander
Macdonough, it is unnecessary to repeat it here. Lieutenant Cassin was
promoted to the rank of post-captain, and received from Congress a gold
medal, an engraving of which is given in Plate XIII., in commemoration
of the victory. At the close of the war, Captain Cassin commanded
the Newport, Rhode Island Station, and since had command, for five
years, of the Washington Navy yard. Captain Cassin’s residence, when
not in service, has always been in the vicinity of Washington, where
his well-known character for courage and ability, and his amiable and
gentlemanly deportment have drawn around him a large circle of friends.
Notwithstanding the difficulties and disappointments attending a young
officer in his first naval career, and his oppressing captivity in
Spain for two years, yet his undaunted spirit led him forward, in spite
of every untoward event in the path of glory, and crowned his exertions
with success.


OCCASION.--Victory on Lake Champlain.

DEVICE.--Bust of Lieutenant Stephen Cassin.

LEGEND.--Step. Cassin Ticonderoga præfect. quæ regio in terris nos. non
plena lab.

REVERSE.--A fleet engaged before a town enveloped in smoke. Several
boats on the lake filled with sailors rowing.

LEGEND.--Uno latere percusso alterum impavide vertit.

EXERGUE.--Inter class. Ameri. et Brit. die 11th Sept, 1814.


Lewis Warrington is the descendant of an old and respectable family in
Williamsburgh, near Norfolk, in Virginia, where he was born on the 3d
day of November, 1782. He finished the higher branches of his education
at William and Mary College in that state. The habits of study which
he acquired at that excellent institution, and the associations which
he formed, have never forsaken him, but have continued to mark his
character and augment his information, at intervals of leisure, amidst
the toils and tumults, the hardships and privations of a naval life.
In consequence of an unusually retentive memory, added to a strong
attachment to books, his mind is amply enriched with general knowledge.
Shortly after the completion of his studies at Williamsburgh, he
received an appointment in the navy as midshipman, and entered the
service in January, 1800. His first cruise was on board the Chesapeake,
commanded by Captain Samuel Barron, to the West Indies. In 1801 he was
removed to the frigate President, Captain Dale, on a cruise to the
Mediterranean, but returned the following year. During the same year he
returned again to the Mediterranean, as master’s mate in the frigate
New York, under the command of Captain James Barron.

At Gibraltar he was transferred to the frigate Chesapeake, then
on her return to the United States. In 1803 he again sailed in the
schooner Vixen, Captain John Smith, to join the American squadron in
the Mediterranean, where, actively participating in their exertions
and dangers, he was justly entitled to share the glory attendant on
the achievements of that band of heroes. Late in the year 1804 he was
promoted to the rank of acting lieutenant, and on the termination
of hostilities with the Tripolitans, was transferred, with Captain
Smith, to the brig Syren, and in the succeeding year to the schooner
Enterprise, Captain Porter, and returned to the United States in
1807. From that period until 1809 he was variously employed, always
intent on his own improvement in the science of his profession. In
March of that year he was appointed first lieutenant on board the brig
Syren, Captain Charles Gordon, and ordered to sail to France with
dispatches. In September, 1811, he was appointed first lieutenant in
the brig Essex, under Captain Smith, who not long after was appointed
to the command of the frigate Congress, and requested as a favor that
Lieutenant Warrington might be permitted to accompany him. The request
was complied with, and Warrington remained with his friend, Captain
Smith, until March, 1813, when he was transferred as first lieutenant
to the frigate United States, under the command of Commodore Decatur.
In July of the same year, at the particular request of Decatur, he
was promoted to the rank of master-commandant, and in the following
month was appointed to the command of the sloop-of-war Peacock, the
vessel in which his fortune conducted him to victory and to glory. The
following is an extract of an official letter from Captain Warrington
to the Secretary of the Navy, dated U. S. sloop Peacock, at sea, 29th
April, 1814. He says, “We have this morning captured, after an action
of forty-two minutes, his majesty’s brig Epervier, rating and mounting
eighteen thirty-two pound carronades, with one hundred and twenty-eight
men, of whom eight were killed and thirteen wounded. Among the latter
is her first lieutenant, who has lost an arm and received a severe
splinter wound on the hip. Not a man in the Peacock was killed, and
only two wounded; neither dangerously so. The fate of the Epervier
would have been determined in much less time, but for the circumstance
of our foreyard being totally disabled by two round shot in the
starboard quarter, from her first broadside, which entirely deprived
us of the use of our fore and fore-top sails, and compelled us to keep
the ship large throughout the remainder of the action. This, with a
few topmast and top-gallant backstays cut away, a few shot through
our sails, is the only injury the Peacock has sustained. Not a round
shot touched our hull; our masts and spars are as sound as ever. When
the enemy struck he had five feet water in his hold, his main-topmast
was over the side, his main-boom shot away, his fore-mast cut nearly
in two, and tottering; his fore-rigging and stays shot away, his
bowsprit badly wounded and forty-five shot holes in his hull, twenty
of which were within a foot of his water-line. By great exertion we
got her in sailing order just as the dark came on. In fifteen minutes
after the enemy struck, the Peacock was ready for another action, in
every respect but her foreyard, which was sent down, fished, and had
the foresail set again in forty-five minutes; such was the spirit and
activity of our gallant crew. The Epervier had under her convoy an
English brig, a Russian and a Spanish ship, which all hauled their
wind and stood to the E. N. E. I had determined upon pursuing the
former, but found that it would not answer to leave our prize in her
then crippled state, and the more particularly so, as we found she
had one hundred and twenty thousand dollars in specie, which we soon
transferred to the Peacock.

“I have the honor, &c.


It is a fact, then, which no candid seaman will venture to deny, that,
taking into consideration the nature of the action, one hundred and
twenty-eight men--the complement of the Epervier when the conflict
commenced--were capable of defending her, and annoying their enemy with
as much effect as one hundred and forty-eight could have done--the
complement in full of the crew of the Peacock. The gallant Warrington,
therefore, achieved his victory with triumphant facility; not because
he had thirty men and _one_ fighting gun more than his enemy, but
because he was himself superior to the British captain in skill, and
his officers and crew superior to their opponents in firmness and

Congress ordered a gold medal (_see_ Plate XIII.) to be struck and
presented to “Captain Lewis Warrington, of Virginia, commander of the
sloop-of-war Peacock, for the capture of the British brig L’Epervier,
Captain Wales, April 29th, 1814.”


OCCASION.--Capture of the British brig L’Epervier.

DEVICE.--Bust of Captain Warrington.

LEGEND.--Ludovicus Warrington dux navalis Amer.

REVERSE.--Two ships engaged; the topmast of one shot off.

LEGEND.--Pro patria paratus aut vincere aut mori.

EXERGUE.--Inter Peacock nav. Ameri. et Epervier nav. Ang. die 29th
March, 1814.

[Illustration: Plate 14.




_W. L. Ormsby, sc._]


Johnston Blakeley was born at the village of Seaford, in the county of
Down, Ireland, in the month of October, 1781. At the age of two years,
his father, John Blakeley, emigrated to this country, and soon after
his arrival settled in Charleston, South Carolina. Not meeting with the
encouragement he expected, he removed, with his family, to Wilmington,
North Carolina, in hopes of improving his business. Soon after his
establishment at this place, Mr. Blakeley was deprived of his wife, and
all his children, except his son Johnston.

Ascribing these successive and painful losses to the unhealthy
climate, which was considered peculiarly unfavorable to children, he
was induced to send his only surviving son to New York, with a view to
the preservation of his health, and to afford him an opportunity of
acquiring an education. In the year 1790, Johnston was sent to that
city and confided to the care of Mr. Hoope, a respectable merchant and
very old friend of his father. After attentively pursuing his studies
in New York, for five years, he returned to Wilmington, in order to
complete his education at the university of Chapel Hill, in that state.
Before Johnston had been one year in this institution he had the
misfortune to lose his father, and was now without a single relative
in this country, to whom he could look for advice, or protection, or
assistance, which made it necessary for him to choose a guardian. In
this choice, he was singularly fortunate in the selection of Mr. Jones,
an eminent lawyer of Wilmington, who most tenderly and generously
supplied the place of a father.

With occasional intermissions, he remained at college till the year
1799, when by some misfortune, he was deprived of the support derived
from his father, and compelled to relinquish his studies at the
university, as well as his intention of practising the law.

Having long had a predilection for a naval life, which, however, he had
from his affection to his only parent, and with a self-denial worthy of
imitation, concealed from him, he solicited, and through the friendly
exertions of Mr. Jones, obtained a midshipman’s warrant, in the year
1800. Mr. Jones, in the interim, being anxious that his young ward
should fulfil the wishes of his deceased parent, kindly offered to
receive him as a member of his family, and afford him every facility
in his power to complete his legal studies. Johnston, unwilling to
accumulate obligations he might never be able to repay, and stimulated
by a clear perception of the line of life he believed nature had marked
out for him, declined this generous offer.

In every subsequent situation, he retained and demonstrated the most
grateful recollection of the friendship of Mr. Jones, and to the end of
his life acknowledged him as his benefactor.

The gentleman who kindly furnished materials for this biography
writes thus: “As anything which illustrates the character of so much
departed worth, especially when the qualities of the heart are so well
calculated to excite our admiration, cannot but be interesting, I have
furnished a few extracts from the letters of Captain Blakeley, written
to me at various periods. Having been deprived of his father at an age
when the desire of knowing something of his family was beginning to be
felt, it was not in his power to gratify his inquiries on that subject
in a satisfactory manner, until May, 1811, when I had the pleasure
of opening a correspondence with him.” In his first letter, dated on
board the United States brig Enterprise, May 9th, 1811, he manifested
his anxiety to obtain the wished for information, relative to his
connections, in the following manner.

“It would afford me great satisfaction to hear from you all the
information you possess respecting my relations.

“This trouble your goodness will excuse, when I inform you, that for
fourteen years I have not beheld one being to whom I was bound by any
tie of consanguinity.”

In another letter, written soon after, he observes--

“The affection manifested by ---- is truly grateful to my heart.
Indeed, I begin already to feel for her a filial regard, and the more
so, as it was my lot to lose my mother before I was sensible of a
mother’s tenderness.”

In reply to a letter, in which the solicitude for his professional
reputation was cordially expressed by the lady alluded to, he
remarks--“Should I be fortunate enough to acquire any fame, my good old
friend will make me debtor for more than half. With her prayers for
my success can I doubt it? I hope the last Blakeley who exists, will
lay down his life ere he tarnish the reputation of those who have gone
before him. My blessed father’s memory is very dear to me, and I trust
his son will never cast a reproach on it.” In another, he observes,
“It is true, that in the war in which we are engaged, we have to
contend under great disadvantages, but this should stimulate to greater
exertions, and we have already seen that our enemy is not invincible.”
In a letter, dated on board the Enterprise, the 29th of April, 1813,
he observes--“Independent of personal feeling, I rejoice at the good
fortune of the navy, believing it to be that description of force best
adapted to the defence of this country. I confess the success of our
sailors has been much greater than I had any reason to expect, taking
into view the many difficulties they had to encounter. The charm which
once seemed to have encircled the British navy, and rendered its very
name formidable, appears to be fast dispelling.”

In a letter, dated Newburyport, 20th of January, 1814, he remarks--“I
shall ever view as one of the most unfortunate events of my life
having quitted the Enterprise at the moment I did. Had I remained in
her a fortnight longer, my name might have been classed with those
who stand so high. I cannot but consider it a mortifying circumstance
that I left her but a few days before she fell in with the only enemy
on this station with which she could have creditably contended. I
confess I felt heartily glad when I received my order to take command
of the Wasp, conceiving that there was no hope of doing anything in
the Enterprise. But when I heard of the contest of the latter ship,
and witnessed the great delay in the equipment of the former, I had
no cause to congratulate myself. The Peacock has ere this spread her
plumage to the winds, and the Frolic will soon take her revels on the
ocean, but the Wasp will, I fear, remain for some time a dull, harmless
drone in the waters of her own country. Why this is, I am not permitted
to inquire!” These extracts will strike the reader as being strongly
indicative of an amiable and heroic character. There is something
touching in his gratitude to the good old lady who had manifested an
interest in his successes. There is something noble in his reference
to the memory of his father, as a motive stimulating him in the path
of honor; and there is something heroic, we think, in the unaffected
manner in which he expresses his regret at having left the Enterprise.

It is unnecessary to remark here, that it was in the action between
that vessel and the Boxer, that Burrows conquered, and lost his life.

Yet Blakeley regretted he had not been in his place, either because he
considered the sacrifice of life as a cheap price for the purchase of
glory, or had forgotten, in his love of fame, that such a price had
been paid. But he was determined before long to acquire at least equal
reputation, and to perish equally with the regrets of his country.
After various services, Blakeley was appointed, in 1813, to the Wasp,
with the rank of master commandant.

In this vessel he fell in with his Britannic majesty’s ship Reindeer,
mounting sixteen twenty-four pound carronades, two long nine pounders,
and a shifting twelve pound carronade; and having a complement of one
hundred and eighteen men. An action commenced, and, in nineteen minutes
ended in the capture of the Reindeer. The loss of the Americans was
twenty-one killed and wounded; that of the enemy sixty-seven. The
Reindeer was cut to pieces in such a manner as to render it impossible
to save her, and she was accordingly set on fire. After this the Wasp
put into L’Orient; from which port she sailed on the 27th of August,
and four days afterwards, falling in with ten sail of merchantmen,
under a convoy of a ship of the line, she succeeded in cutting off one
of the vessels. On the evening of the first of September, 1814, she
fell in with four sail, two on each bow, but at considerable distances
from each other. The first was the British brig-of-war Avon, which
struck after a severe action; but Captain Blakeley could not take
possession, as another enemy was fast approaching. This enemy, it
seems, however, was called off to the assistance of the Avon, which
was now sinking. The enemy reported that they had sunk the Wasp by
the first broadside; but she was afterwards spoken by a vessel off
the Western Isles. After this we hear of her no more; and though her
fate is certain, the circumstances attending it are beyond the reach
of discovery. The most general impression is that she was lost by one
of those casualties incident to the great deep, which have destroyed
so many gallant vessels in a manner no one knows how; for there are
so many uncertainties connected with the unfathomable deep, that even
imagination is bewildered in tracing the fate of those who are only
known to have perished, because they are never more heard of or seen.

Another impression is, that the Wasp, very shortly after being spoken
off the Western Isles, had a severe engagement with a British frigate,
which put into Lisbon in a shattered condition; and reported having
had an action, in the night, with a vessel which they believed to have
sunk. But whatever may have been the fate of the generous Blakeley,
this much is certain, that he will, to use his own expression, “be
classed among those names that stand so high.”

The lustre of his exploits, not less than the interest excited by
those who remembered how, in his very boyhood, he was left, as he says,
without a single being around him with whom he could claim kindred
blood,--how, by his merit, he obtained friends, and conferred honor on
that country which was not only his parent, but which has become the
parent of his only child; and how, last of all, he perished, is known
only to One who rules the sea, and commands the troubled waves to “be
still;”--has all given to his character, his history, his achievements
and his fate, a romantic interest, marking the name of Blakeley for
lasting and affectionate remembrance.

Notwithstanding his professional duties, which were scarcely
interrupted from the time of his obtaining a warrant, his literary and
scientific acquirements were very respectable; and among his brother
officers he was always considered a man of uncommon intellect, as well
as great courage and professional skill.

In December, 1813, he married Jane, the daughter of Mr. Hoope, of New
York, the old and respected friend of his father; by whom he has left
an only daughter, who received one of the most noble and substantial
tributes of national gratitude which has occurred in the history of
this country.

On the 27th of December, 1816, the legislature of North Carolina,
after prescribing the destination of the sword they had voted to
Captain Blakeley, “Resolved unanimously, that Captain Blakeley’s child
be educated at the expense of this state; and that Mrs. Blakeley be
requested to draw on the treasurer of this state, from time to time,
for such sums of money as shall be required for the education of
the said child.” This, we repeat, is substantial gratitude. It is
classical, too, and reminds us of those noble eras in the history of
some of the illustrious states of Greece, when the offspring of those
who had fallen for their country, became the children of that country
whose cause had made them fatherless. It is in this way that our states
may acquire a parental character, that will endear them still more to
the hearts of the citizens; that will inspire fathers to die in defence
of their country, and be held up as an example to the world.

It is in this way, too, that the different members of the Union
may nobly indulge their local feelings, and display their honest
homebred affections. Let them exemplify their desire to appropriate to
themselves the fame of their distinguished citizens, by their peculiar
care in honoring their memory and cherishing their helpless orphans. A
gold medal (_see_ Plate XIV.) was, by a vote of Congress, presented to
Captain Blakeley, for the capture of the British sloop-of-war Reindeer,
Captain Manners, June 28th, 1814.


OCCASION.--Capture of the Reindeer.

DEVICE.--Bust of Captain Blakeley.

LEGEND.--Johnston Blakeley reip. fed. Amer. nav. Wasp, dux.

REVERSE.--Two ships engaged.

LEGEND.--Eheu! Bis victor. Patria tua te luget plauditq.

EXERGUE.--Inter Wasp nav. Ameri. et Reindeer nav. Ang. 28th June, 1814.


Charles Stewart was born in Philadelphia, on the 22d of July,
1776. Both his parents were natives of Ireland. His father came to
America at an early age, and followed the business of a mariner in
the merchants’ service. Charles was the youngest of eight children,
and before he was quite two years of age had the misfortune to lose
his father; his mother was now left in the midst of the Revolution
with four children to provide for, and with but limited means, but
being a woman of great energy and perseverance, she performed the
arduous task with the care and affection of a devoted parent. At the
age of thirteen, Charles, having a strong propensity for a seafaring
life, commenced that profession in the merchant service, in which he
gradually rose, through the several grades, from a cabin boy to the
commander of a merchant vessel, and was often entrusted with the sale
and purchase of whole cargoes. In the early part of the year 1798, when
there was a strong probability of a war with France, he was induced
to offer his services to his country. They were accepted; and on the
13th of March, 1798, he was appointed a lieutenant in the navy of the
United States, under the command of Commodore Barry. In this ship he
remained until 1800, when he was promoted to the command of the United
States schooner Experiment, of twelve guns, to cruise on the West India
station. On the 1st of September, in the same year, he fell in with the
French schooner _Deux Amis_, (Two Friends,) of eight guns, which the
Experiment engaged and captured without any loss, after an action of
ten minutes. The following patriotic act will ever be remembered by his
country. “Being short of water, he proceeded to Prince Rupert’s Bay,
in St. Domingo, and while there, his Britannic majesty’s ship Alert,
Captain Nash, accompanied by his majesty’s ship Siam, Captain Matson,
arrived and anchored; soon after Lieutenant Stewart received a letter
from a citizen of the United States, named Amos Seeley, stating that
he had been impressed on board the British ship Siam, and claiming
an interference for his release. Although Lieutenant Stewart’s power
was inadequate to enforce his demand for the surrender of Seeley, the
two ships mounting twenty guns each, his patriotic heart could not
withstand the appeal of his countryman, and, prompted by that chivalry
and patriotism which were destined to blaze out in after life so
gloriously, he resolved on opening a correspondence with the British
captain for the release of Seeley. A polite note was addressed by
Lieutenant Stewart to the senior officer, conveying the request that
Amos Seeley might be transferred from his majesty’s ship Siam to the
schooner under his command, that he might be restored to his family
and his home. The British captain demurred, but in answer requested
a personal interview, wherein he remarked to Lieutenant Stewart,
that the war in which his majesty was engaged was arduous; that the
difficulty of obtaining men for his numerous fleets and ships of war
was great, and that he should encounter great hazard of being censured
by his government should he lessen his force by yielding up his men;
urging, moreover, that the example would be injurious to the service.
Lieutenant Stewart replied, in substance, that the British officers had
too long trampled on the rights and liberties of his countrymen, and
it was high time they had learned to respect the rights and persons
of an independent nation; that whatever power his majesty claimed
over his own subjects, he had no right to exercise it over a people
who had forced him to acknowledge their independence; that to resume
this power was to belie his own solemn act, and practise a deception
on the world. It was stated in answer, that Seeley was impressed in
England as an Englishman; to which Lieutenant Stewart replied:--“Then
prove him so and I have done; but if you cannot, I am prepared to prove
him a citizen of the United States.” Seeley was at once transferred
to the schooner. Shortly after, while cruising under the lee of the
Island of Bermuda, the Experiment discovered two vessels, one a brig of
war, the other a three-masted schooner, both standing for her under a
press of sail, and displaying English colors. The Experiment hove to,
and the British signal of the day was made, which not being answered
by the strange vessels by the time they were within gun-shot, that
signal was hauled down, and the Experiment stood away with all sail
set. A chase was now commenced which lasted two hours, when, finding
they were outsailed by the Experiment, they relinquished the pursuit,
and bore away under easy sail, firing a gun to windward and hoisting
French colors. Lieutenant Stewart now manœuvred his schooner so as to
bring her in the enemy’s wake, to windward, when a chase was made on
his part. At eight o’clock at night the Experiment closed with the
three-masted schooner, which was the sternmost of the hostile vessels;
and having taken a position on her larboard quarter, opened a fire upon
her from the great guns and small arms, which in about five minutes
compelled her to strike. She was immediately taken possession of, and
proved to be the French schooner-of-war Diana, of fourteen guns and
sixty-five men, commanded by M. Perandeau, Lieutenant de Vaisseau. The
detention occasioned by removing the prisoners, enabled the brig-of-war
to escape. She mounted, as was afterwards learned, eighteen guns, and
had a crew of one hundred and twenty men. The Experiment proceeded to
St. Christopher’s with her prize. During this important cruise, the
Experiment recaptured several American vessels, sometimes as many as
two or three in a day, and thus rescued American property to an immense

Accounts now arrived of peace having been made with the French
republic; the Experiment was thereupon sent from Martinique to the
Island of St. Thomas, and from thence to Curacoa, to look for the
United States brig Pickering and frigate Insurgent, but nothing could
be heard of those vessels at that place; they had both foundered in
the equinoxial gale, with a store-ship under their care, and all hands
perished. On leaving Curacoa, the Experiment proceeded to Norfolk,
Virginia, to be put out of commission.

On her passage thither, she discovered a vessel in distress, near
the Island of Saona, at the east end of Hispaniola; and had the
good fortune to rescue from the jaws of death, about sixty persons
who were on board of her. They consisted chiefly of families of the
most respectable inhabitants of St. Domingo, flying from the siege
of that city by the blacks. The persons thus saved from destruction
had remained two days without any nourishment, on a small part of
the quarter-deck of their vessel, which had struck upon a rock that
went through her bottom and fixed her to the reef; the greatest part
of her being under water. They were placed in safety on board of the
Experiment, with their plate and other valuables, which the sailors
had recovered by diving into the hold of the wreck, notwithstanding
the roughness of the sea. They were soon restored in safety to their
friends in St. Domingo.

They, and the inhabitants of that city in general, expressed to
the officers and crew of the Experiment their most grateful thanks,
showed them every possible civility and attention, and furnished
them with fruits and all kinds of stock which the island afforded in
such profusion, that much of the supply was obliged to be returned.
Soon after Lieutenant Stewart’s return to the United States, he was
appointed to the command of, and to superintend the equipment of
the brig Siren for the Mediterranean service; so much activity was
employed in fitting her out that she was completely coppered in ten
hours. After convoying some merchant-vessels, and conveying the naval
consular presents to Algiers, she proceeded to Syracuse, in Sicily, the
port appointed for the general rendezvous of the squadron. Here they
heard of the capture of the frigate Philadelphia by the Tripolitans;
and Lieutenant Stewart hastened with the brig Siren to aid the
gallant Decatur in his victorious efforts against these savages; the
particulars of which are given in the memoirs of those to which they
belong; a victory which caused the pope to exclaim, “the Americans have
done more for Christendom in one battle, than all Europe in a century.”
On the 17th of May, 1804, Lieutenant Stewart was promoted to the rank
of master and commander; and on the 22d of April, 1806, he was promoted
to the rank of captain in the navy. The years of 1806 and 1807 he was
employed in superintending the construction of gun-boats at New York,
and was afterwards engaged in prosecuting mercantile enterprises to the
East Indies, the Mediterranean and Adriatic. In 1812, on the prospect
of a war with Great Britain, he was appointed to the command of the
frigate Constellation; but as that ship required so much repairs, there
was little hope of getting her to sea before the beginning of 1813.
Captain Stewart, on the declaration of war, proceeded to Washington,
and projected an expedition for the Argus and Hornet. The President and
Secretary of the Navy approved of it and appointed Captain Stewart to
undertake its direction. On his return to New York, he found that those
vessels had sailed with the squadron under the command of Commodore
Rodgers; the project of course was abandoned. He, therefore resumed
the command of the Constellation, and on the 4th of February, 1813,
was anchored in Hampton Roads. Having learned that the enemy were off
the Chesapeake in great force, and presuming that they would soon
be informed of her situation, Captain Stewart sent to Hampton, at
midnight, for a Norfolk pilot, in order to be prepared for a retreat
if it should become necessary. At seven o’clock the next morning, the
enemy appeared with two ships of the line, three frigates, a brig and
a schooner. No time was now to be lost. Captain Stewart got up his
anchor, and there being no wind, and the ebb tide making, commenced
kedging his ship towards Norfolk. He succeeded in getting her partly
over the flats at Sewell’s Point, when the tide had fallen so much that
she took the ground. By this time the enemy were within three miles,
when they were obliged to anchor. Captain Stewart, apprehensive that
they would kedge up one of their line-of-battle ships, pressed all the
craft he could lay hold of, unloaded his frigate of every thing that
could be removed, and made preparations for burning her, in the last
extremity. He sent to Norfolk for the gun-boats to assist him, but such
was their condition that none of them could be sent to him.

As the enemy lay quiet for the want of wind, until the flood-tide
made, Captain Stewart continued lightening the ship. At the first
quarter she floated. He then sent off the boats with a pilot to station
them on the different shoals with lights; and with these precautions
he was enabled to get the ship up to Norfolk in the night, through
a difficult channel. Her safe retreat diffused universal joy among
the inhabitants of that city, to whose protection she afterwards
greatly contributed. A division of gun-boats was put in condition for
service, and manned from her crew. By this means the communication
with James’ river and Hampton was kept open, and every facility
afforded to the transportation of the troops to their different
stations. Captain Stewart seeing that there was hardly a possibility
of getting the Constellation to sea, applied for and obtained in
June, 1813, the command of the frigate Constitution, then vacant by
the appointment of Commodore Bainbridge to the superintendence of the
navy yard at Boston. On the 30th of December, in the same year, the
Constitution proceeded to sea from Boston harbor, although it was
then blockaded by seven ships-of-war. During this cruise she captured
the British schooner-of-war Picton, of sixteen guns, together with
a letter-of-marque ship under her convoy; the brig Catharine and
schooner Phœnix, and chased a British frigate, supposed to be the La
Pique, in the Mona passage. On the 4th of April, 1814, she returned
to Boston Bay, and was chased into Marblehead by two of the enemy’s
heavy frigates, La Nymphe and Junon. In December, 1814, she proceeded
on her second cruise under the command of Captain Stewart; and on
the 24th of the same month, she captured and destroyed the brig Lord
Nelson. She cruised off Cape Finisterre, the rock of Lisbon, and the
Madeiras, without meeting with anything except a merchant ship from
the river Platte; but on the 20th of February, 1815, at two o’clock
in the afternoon, two ships were discovered to leeward. Chase was
given immediately to one of those vessels, which was several miles to
windward of the other, for the purpose of cutting her off from her
consort, but without effect; for at sunset they formed a junction and
prepared to receive the Constitution.

She soon got alongside of them, and commenced the action, which was
kept up with considerable vivacity on the part of the enemy, for about
forty minutes, when the headmost ship bore away, and the sternmost
struck her flag. The latter, which proved to be his Britannic Majesty’s
ship Cyane, rated at twenty and mounting thirty-four guns, was taken
possession of, and her consort was pursued without delay. She too, the
Levant of twenty-one guns, was compelled to surrender, after exchanging
broadsides. In these actions, the Constitution had three men killed
and thirteen wounded. The British ships having in all thirty-five
killed and forty-two wounded. Captain Stewart proceeded with these
prizes to the Island of St. Jago, one of the Cape de Verd islands,
with a view to divest his ship of the numerous prisoners, consisting
of officers, seamen, and marines of both ships of the enemy, amounting
to nearly four hundred. While making arrangements for dispatching them
at Port Praya, for Barbadoes, the British squadron, consisting of the
ships-of-war the Acasta, of fifty guns, the Newcastle of sixty-four
guns, and the Leander of sixty-four guns, under the command of Sir
George Collier, reached his position under the cover of a thick fog.
Notwithstanding their near approach, Captain Stewart determined to
retreat, and immediately the Constitution and her prizes cut their
cables and crowded sail to escape. He was fortunate in being able, by
his skillful management and manœuvres, to save from their grasp his
favorite frigate Constitution, and the Cyane. The Levant was captured
by the squadron and sent to Barbadoes.

After this escape, he proceeded with the Constitution to Maranam, in
the Brazils, and landed the prisoners, refreshed his crews, refitted
his vessel, and returned to Boston, where he and his officers were
received with the usual courtesies by their fellow citizens. On his way
through New York, the common council honored Captain Stewart with the
_freedom of the city_ in a gold box, and extended towards him and his
officers the courteous hospitalities of that great city, by a public
dinner. The legislature of Pennsylvania voted him their thanks, and
directed a gold-hilted sword to be presented to him.

On the meeting of Congress, the assembled representatives of the nation
passed a vote of thanks to Captain Stewart, his officers, and crew; and
resolved that a suitable gold medal (_See_ Plate XIV.) commemorative of
that brilliant event, the capture of the two British ships-of-war, the
Cyane and Levant, by the Constitution, should be presented to Captain
Stewart, in testimony of the sense they entertained of his gallantry
and that of his officers, seamen, and marines, under his command on
that occasion. The war with Great Britain having terminated, the
Constitution was put out of commission, and laid up in ordinary.

In 1816, Captain Stewart took command of the Franklin ship of the
line, of seventy-four guns, and in 1817, she was fitted out at
Philadelphia as a flag ship and directed to sail for England, to convey
the Hon. Richard Rush as minister to the court of Great Britain, after
which the Franklin proceeded to the Mediterranean, and Captain Stewart
took command of the forces of the United States in that sea. Since our
country has been at peace, he has been alternately employed either in
command of squadrons abroad, or in superintending the navy at home.
Such is the brief outline of the life of this gallant officer, one of
Pennsylvania’s cherished sons, who has contributed his services and his
counsels for half a century, for the protection of our commerce and for
the glory of the navy.

Long may he live to serve his country and wear the laurels which
victory and fame have enwreathed for his brow.


OCCASION.--Capture of the Cyane and Levant.

DEVICE.--A bust of Captain Stewart.

LEGEND.--Carolus Stewart navis Ameri. Constitution dux.

REVERSE.--Two ships closely engaged; a third at a little distance.

LEGEND.--Una victoriam eripiut ratibus binis.

EXERGUE.--Inter Constitu. nav. Ameri. et Levant et Cyane nav. Ang. die
20th Feb. 1815.


James Biddle, the subject of this memoir, is the son of the late
Charles Biddle, Esquire, of Philadelphia, and was born in that city
on the 18th of February, 1783. He was educated in the University of
Pennsylvania, where he acquired a taste for literature, which, in the
intervals of professional duty, has been most assiduously cultivated.

In the year 1800, the American navy offered the most flattering
prospects to the aspiring youth of our country. Its fame acquired by
the war with France was rapidly increasing. The brilliant success of
Captain Truxtun, in his victory with the French frigates Insurgente and
Vengeance, gave additional eclat to the navy.

To this distinguished commander, Mr. Biddle entrusted the care of his
two sons, James and Edward, who, on obtaining midshipmen’s warrants,
were attached to the frigate President, fitting for the West Indies.
The cessation of hostilities with France brought the frigate again to
the United States after a much shorter cruise than was intended, but
which was rendered memorable by the melancholy death of Mr. Edward
Biddle, who died at sea of a fever after an illness of a few days.
Early in 1802, James Biddle sailed to the Mediterranean, in the frigate
Constellation, Captain Murray, to protect American commerce against
Tripolitan cruisers. This gave our young officer valuable opportunities
of renewing his acquaintance with classic writers, and remains of
antiquity, obtained by him during his studies at the University, and
which were to him an additional fund of instruction and gratification.
The Constellation returned home in 1803, and Mr. Biddle was transferred
to the frigate Philadelphia, Captain Bainbridge, and returned again to
the Mediterranean, where this unfortunate ship struck upon a rock, and
was lost.

When all efforts to get the Philadelphia afloat were found to be
unavailing, Lieutenant Porter and Midshipman Biddle were dispatched to
the commander to inform him of the accident. As they approached the
Tripolitan gun-boats, they were fired upon and ordered to surrender.
Porter and Biddle were prepared to deliver up their swords, but this
ceremony was dispensed with by the savage Tripolitans; twenty of whom,
of the most ferocious appearance, armed with sabres, pistols, and
muskets, jumped into the boat, and at once commenced their work of
insult and plunder. Two of them snatched Biddle’s sword, pulled off his
coat, and began to fight for it, when, to decide their dispute, they
returned it to him.

His cravat was violently torn from his neck, his waistcoat and shirt
torn open, in search for valuables that might be concealed about his
person. They searched all his pockets, and took all his papers and
money, except twenty dollars in gold, which he had slipped into his
boot and thereby secured. The officers and crew were then carried on
shore, conducted amidst the shouts and acclamations of a barbarous
rabble to the palace gates, and ushered into the presence of the
bashaw, who, seated in state, received them in the audience chamber;
and after asking a variety of questions about the American squadron,
they were conducted to the place assigned for safe keeping.

There is no subject which the imagination can present to us more
full of horror than that of slavery among the barbarians of Africa.
In this situation, ignorant of the fate of their companions, and
doubtful of their own, they continued nineteen months in close and
rigorous confinement, in want of pure air, exercise, and employment,
with occasional threats by the bashaw of his vengeance; circumstances
calculated to impair the health and break the spirits of the strongest
and most resolute. Yet happily they preserved their health and their
spirits unbroken.

They considered it a point of honor to be firm and cheerful, to
disregard the threats of the barbarians, and to sustain by an
unconquerable fortitude the character of their country. In consequence
of the peace with Tripoli, in the month of September, 1805, they
were liberated, and Captain Bainbridge and Midshipman Biddle, who
had not separated since the loss of the frigate, returned together
to Philadelphia. Upon the release of Mr. Biddle, he was promoted
to a lieutenancy, and after remaining at home but a few weeks, he
was ordered to the command of one of the gun-boats, then lying at
Charleston, South Carolina, but finding this service both inactive
and irksome, he obtained an appointment as second lieutenant in the
frigate President, under the command of his friend Captain Bainbridge.
In this, and other similar situations, he had opportunities to display
a character of firmness and decision, jealous of personal honor, and
aspiring to deeds of enterprise and of fame. In 1811 he sailed as
bearer of dispatches from our government to the American minister in
France, and remained in Paris nearly four months, during which he was
presented to the Emperor Napoleon, and attended all the parties given
at the Tuileries.

Lieutenant Biddle had but recently returned from France, when the
war was declared between the United States and Great Britain. He at
once availed himself of the first chance of service, and accordingly
volunteered his services to Commodore Rodgers, who had command of
the frigate President, but unfortunately the number of officers was
complete before he made application. But his disappointment was soon
relieved by the arrival of the sloop-of-war Wasp, Captain Jones, with
dispatches from France; this vessel had not her full complement of
officers, and Lieutenant Biddle immediately procured an order to join
her as first lieutenant.

The Wasp went to sea on the 13th of October, 1812, and on the 18th
fell in with six sail of the line of British merchant vessels under
convoy of the Frolic sloop-of-war. An attack was made, and a heavy fire
of cannon and musketry opened upon them, which was quickly returned
by the Wasp without interruption. Amidst this severe contest the two
vessels struck each other with a tremendous crash, the jib-boom of
the Frolic coming between the main and mizzen rigging of the Wasp,
directly over the heads of Captain Jones and Lieutenant Biddle; this
position gave the Wasp an opportunity of sweeping the deck of the
Frolic, which was done by two guns of the Wasp. Lieutenant Biddle
jumped on the bowsprit and boarded her, and to his surprise found that
the only persons on deck were the commander and two other officers, and
a seaman at the wheel. Upon seeing Lieutenant Biddle, these officers
threw down their swords and surrendered, and, as their colors were
still flying, he hauled them down himself, and took possession of the
Frolic in forty-three minutes after the first fire. Soon after the
action Biddle was ordered by Captain Jones to make his way with the
prize to a southern port of the United States, but he had not proceeded
far when a large ship hove in sight, to windward, which proved to be
the Poictiers, a British seventy-four, and as the Frolic was totally
dismasted, and the Wasp so disabled in her rigging and sails as to
be incapable of escaping immediately, both vessels were taken by the
Poictiers. Captain Jones and his officers were carried to Bermuda,
and after a short detention there, were released upon their parole,
and returned to the United States. The very efficient part borne by
Lieutenant Biddle in this memorable action, is related in the following
extract from the official letter of Captain Jones. “Lieutenant Biddle’s
active conduct contributed much to our success, by the exact attention
paid to every department during the engagement, and the animating
example he afforded the crew by his intrepidity.”

The legislature of Pennsylvania voted Lieutenant Biddle a sword, and a
testimonial still more grateful to his feelings was offered to him by
a number of highly respectable gentlemen of Philadelphia, in a letter
addressed to him, of which the following is an extract:--“Whilst your
country confers upon you those distinguished marks of approbation which
are ever due to merit and valor, a number of the personal friends and
companions of your youth are desirous of attesting to you their esteem,
and of perpetuating the remembrance of your private worth. With this
view they have directed us, as their committee, to present to you in
their name, a silver urn, bearing upon it an appropriate inscription,
and a representation of the action between the Wasp and the Frolic, in
which you so conspicuously assisted to exalt the naval character of our

Shortly after, Lieutenant Biddle was promoted to the rank of
master-commandant, and received command of the Hornet sloop-of-war.
This ship, after cruising for some time in the vicinity of New York and
New London, was attached to the command of Commodore Decatur, destined
for a cruise to the East Indies.

On the third day after the sailing of this squadron, the Hornet
separated in chase of a vessel which proved to be a Portuguese brig,
and then proceeded singly towards the Island of Tristan d’Acunha, which
was the first place of rendezvous for the squadron. On the passage she
chased and boarded every vessel that came in sight. On the morning
of the 23d of March, 1815, when about to anchor off the north end of
that island, a sail was descried to the southward and eastward. The
Hornet made sail immediately, and hove to for her to come down. When
she had come down and shortened sail, she took in her steering sails
in a very clumsy manner, purposely to deceive the Hornet, and came
down stem on as near as possible, lest the Hornet should perceive her
broadside and run. “At forty minutes past one, P. M.,” says Captain
Biddle’s official letter, “being nearly within musket-shot distance,
she hauled her wind on the starboard tack, hoisted English colors and
fired a gun. We immediately luffed to, hoisted our ensign, and gave
the enemy a broadside. The action being thus commenced, a quick and
well-directed fire was kept up from this ship, the enemy gradually
drifting nearer to us, when at fifty-five minutes past one he bore up
apparently to run us on board. Expecting he would certainly board us, I
ordered every officer and man to the quarter-deck, to be ready to repel
the boarders if an attempt was made. The enemy’s bowsprit came between
our main and mizzen rigging on our starboard side, affording him an
opportunity to board us, if such was his design; but no attempt was
made. There was a considerable swell, and as the sea lifted us ahead,
the enemy’s bowsprit carried away our mizzen shrouds, stern-davits and
spanker-boom, and he hung upon our larboard quarter. At this moment an
officer, who was afterwards recognized to be Mr. McDonald, the first
lieutenant and the then commanding officer, called out that they had
surrendered. I directed the marines and musketry men to cease firing,
and while on the tafferel, asking if they had surrendered, I received a
wound in the neck. The enemy again called out that he had surrendered.
It was with difficulty I could restrain my crew from firing into him
again, as they persisted he had fired into us after having surrendered.
From the firing of the first gun to the last time the enemy cried out
he had surrendered, was exactly twenty-two minutes by the watch. She
proved to be his Britannic majesty’s brig Penguin, mounting sixteen
thirty-two pound carronades, two long twelves, a twelve pound carronade
on the top-gallant forecastle, with swivels on the capstan and in
the tops. She had a spare port forward so as to fight both her long
guns of a side. The enemy acknowledge a complement of one hundred and
thirty-two men, twelve of them supernumerary marines, from the Medway
seventy-four. They acknowledge also a loss of fourteen killed and
twenty-eight wounded; but Mr. Mayo, who was in charge of the prize,
assures me that the number of killed was certainly greater.” Among
the killed of the Penguin, was Captain Dickinson, her commander, who
is represented to have been a deserving and favorite officer. The
Hornet had but one man killed and eleven wounded. Among the wounded
were Captain Biddle severely, and McConner, the first lieutenant,
dangerously. It is always gratifying to notice the attachment of our
brave tars to their commanders. Captain Biddle had his face much
disfigured by being struck twice with splinters, and, when he received
the wound in the neck, from which the blood flowed profusely, some of
the crew insisted upon his retiring below for the purpose of having
it dressed, two of whom seized him in their arms for that purpose, so
that he could scarcely extricate himself from them; but finding he was
determined to remain on the deck, one of them stript off his shirt,
tore it into strips, and almost by force tied it tightly about Captain
Biddle’s neck to prevent his bleeding. Captain Biddle would not have
his own wound dressed until after all his men had theirs dressed.

Captain Biddle received his wound in the neck after the enemy had
surrendered. He was standing upon the tafferel, and had ordered the
musketry not to fire, when one of his officers called out to him that
there was a man taking aim at him. Captain Biddle’s back being towards
the officer, he did not hear this, but two of the marines perceiving
the fellow taking aim at their commander, fired at him, and he fell
dead the instant after he had discharged his piece. He was not more
than ten or twelve yards from Captain Biddle when he shot him; the
ball struck the chin directly in front with much force, and passing
along the neck, tearing the flesh, went off behind through his cravat,
waistcoat and coat collar. The Penguin being so completely riddled,
her fore-mast and bowsprit gone, and her main-mast so crippled as
to be incapable of being secured, she was accordingly scuttled and
destroyed. Shortly after, peace with Great Britain was restored, and
Captain Biddle returned to New York, much indisposed and debilitated
by his wound. During his absence he had been promoted to the rank of
post-captain. On his return, a public dinner was given to him by the
citizens of New York, and a service of plate presented to him by the
citizens of Philadelphia. It has been the distinguishing character of
this gentleman, to exert in the public service an unwearied activity
and an ardent enterprise, which surmounted every obstacle and commanded
the events of his life. He was a party to two of the most decisive
actions of the war, in which his persevering spirit led him forward
in spite of every untoward event in the path of glory, and crowned
his exertions with success. The capture of the Frolic by the Wasp,
not only broke the charm of British naval superiority, but showed a
decided superiority in favor of America. The capture of the Penguin
was not less decisive; and if, at the commencement of the war, the
British navy was surprised, from habits of security and contempt for
their enemies, they had, before the victory of the Hornet, learned
their error and corrected their conduct. In this instance, even the
enemy was utterly unable to frame an apology for his defeat, since he
had come out prepared, and with unusual means to pursue and capture an
American ship-of-war. Congress voted a gold medal (_see_ Plate XIV.)
and the thanks of that body to Captain James Biddle, commander of the
sloop-of-war Hornet, for the capture of the brig Penguin, Captain
Dickinson, in twenty-two minutes, March 23, 1815.


OCCASION.--Capture of the brig Penguin.

DEVICE.--Bust of Captain Biddle.

LEGEND.--The Congress of the U. S. to Capt. James Biddle for his
gallantry, good conduct and services.

REVERSE.--Two vessels engaged: the Peak of Tristan d’Acunha in sight.

LEGEND.--Capture of the British brig Penguin by the U. S. ship Hornet.

EXERGUE.--Off Tristan d’Acunha, March 23d, 1815.


*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Memoirs of the Generals, Commodores and other Commanders, who distinguished themselves in the American army and navy during the wars of the Revolution and 1812, and who were presented with medals by Congress for their gallant services" ***

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