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Condition of Rhode Island in 1777. – Re-encampment of the British. – General Prescott. – His Character. – Bad Conduct of General Prescott. – Colonel Barton’s Plan for capturing him. – Biographical Sketch of Barton. – Expedition to capture Prescott. – Prescott’s Quarters. – A Sentinel deceived. – Names of Barton’s Men. – Entrance to Prescott’s Room. – Seizure of the General and his Aid-de-camp. – Barton rewarded by Congress. – Predatory Excursions. – French Fleet for America. – Count d’Estaing. – France and England. – Excitement in Parliament. – The King’s Speech. – Boldness of the Opposition. – The British and French Fleets. – Sandy Hook and Amboy Bay. – General Spencer’s Expedition against Rhode Island. – His Resignation. – French Fleet off Newport. – American Land Forces. – Destruction of British Vessels. – Landing of Americans on Rhode Island. – Naval Battle. – Great Storm. – State of the American Troops. – Refusal of the French to co-operate. – They sail for Boston. – Protests. – Retreat of the Americans to Butts’s Hill. – Battle of Quaker Hill. – Scene of the Engagement. – Loss of the Belligerents. – Evacuation of Rhode Island by the Americans. – Return of La Fayette from Boston. – Expedition against New Bedford. – Murmurings against the French. – Evacuation of Rhode Island by the British. – Severe Winter. – Sir Robert Pigot. – Return of La Fayette to France. – His Zeal and Success. – Washington appointed Lieutenant-general by the French King. – Good Tidings brought by La Fayette. – Their effect. – Arrival of the Allies. – Encampment at Newport. – British Blockade of Narraganset Bay. – Clinton’s Expedition. – Death of Ternay. – Washington in Newport. – Property destroyed in Newport. – Ride to Butts’s Hill. – Hospitality. – Fort on Butts’s Hill. – View of the Battle-ground. – North View from Butts’s Hill. – The Narraganset Country. – Massasoit and his Sons. – King Philip. – Jealousy of King Philip. – Treaties with the Whites. – Curtailment of his Domains. – His chief Captains. – John Eliot. – Enlightenment of the Indians. – Sassamon. – Rising of the New England Tribes. – Daniel Gookin. – Philip’s Appeal. – Condition of the Indians. – Commencement of Hostilities. – Canonchet. – Mather’s Magnalia. – Indian Method of Warfare. – Destruction of New England Villages. – Terrible Retaliation by the Whites. – Decimation of the Indians. – Strifes among them. – Philip a Fugitive. – His Death. – His Son. – Captain Church. – Sufferings of the Colonists. – A Happy Change. – Capture of the Pigot by Talbot. – Promotion of Talbot. – Departure from Newport. – Adieu to New England. – Halleck’s "Connecticut."


"The winds of March o’er Narraganset’s Bay

Move in their strength; the waves with foam are white;
O’er Seekonk’s tide the waving branches play;
The winds roar o’er resounding plain and height.
’Twixt sailing clouds, the sun’s inconstant ray
But glances on the scene, then fades from sight.
The frequent showers dash from the passing clouds;
The hills are peeping through their wintery shrouds."


Year after year the free dwellers upon Rhode Island had beheld a scene like that described by the poet, and more cruel wintery storms, piling their huge snow-drifts, had howled around their dwellings, but never in their history had the March winds and April floods appeared to them so cheerless and mournful as in the spring of 1777. They had cheerfully brooked all the sufferings attendant upon a new settlement, and gladly breasted the tempest on land or sea in pursuit of wealth or social enjoyment, while freedom was their daily companion and solace: but now the oppressor was in their midst; his iron heel was upon their necks; their wives and daughters were exposed to the low ribaldry, profanity, and insults of an ignorant and brutal soldiery; their peaceful dwellings were made noisy barracks; their beautiful shade-trees, pleasant groves, and broad forests were destroyed, and the huge right arm of general plunder was plying its strength incessantly. Enslaved and impoverished, the bright sun and warm south winds, harbingers of on-coming summer and the joyous season of flowers, brought no solace to them, but were rather a mockery. At home all was desolation; abroad all was doubt and gloom.

Early in May [1777.] the British troops left the houses of the inhabitants and returned to their camp. This was some relief, yet plunder and insolence were rife. General Clinton, with nearly half of the invading army, soon afterward left the island for New York, and the command of those who remained to hold possession devolved upon Major-general Prescott, infamous in the annals of that war as one of the meanest of petty tyrants when in power, and of dastards when in danger. He had been nurtured in the lap of aristocracy, and taught all its exclusive precepts. Possessing a narrow mind, utterly untutored by benevolence or charity; a judgment perverse in the extreme; a heart callous to the most touching appeals of sympathy, but tender when avarice half opened its lips to plead, he was a most unfit commander of a military guard over people like those of Rhode Island, who could appreciate courtesy, and who might be more easily conquered by kindness than by the bayonet. He was a tyrant at heart, and, having the opportunity, he exercised a tyrant’s doubtful prerogatives. 1

Incensed by the conduct of Prescott, the inhabitants devised several schemes to rid themselves of the oppressor. None promised success, and it was reserved for Lieutenant-colonel Barton, of Providence, 2 to conceive and execute one of the boldest and most hazardous enterprises undertaken during the war. It was accomplished on the night of the 10th of July, 1777. At that time General Prescott was quartered at the house of a Quaker named Overing, about five miles above Newport, on the west road leading to the ferry, at the north part of the island. Barton’s plan was to cross Narraganset Bay from the main, seize Prescott, and carry him to the American camp. It was a very hazardous undertaking, for at that time there were three British frigates, with their guard-boats, lying east of Prudence Island, and almost in front of Prescott’s quarters. With a few chosen men, Colonel Barton embarked in four whale-boats, with muffled oars, at Warwick Point, at nine o’clock in the evening, and passed unobserved over to Rhode Island, between the islands of Prudence and Patience. 3 They heard the cry, "All’s well!" from the guard-boats of the enemy, as they passed silently and unobserved, and landed in Coddington’s Cove, at the mouth of a small stream which passed by the quarters of Prescott. Barton divided his men into several squads, assigning to each its duty and station, and then, with the strictest order and profound silence, they advanced toward the house.


The main portion of the expedition passed about midway between a British guard-house and the encampment of a company of light horse, while the remainder was to make a circuitous route to approach Prescott’s quarters from the rear, and secure the doors. As Barton and his men approached the gate, a sentinel hailed them twice, and then demanded the countersign. "We have no countersign to give," Barton said, and quickly added, "Have you seen any deserters here to-night?" The sentinel was misled by this question, supposing them to be friends, and was not undeceived until his musket was seized, and himself bound and menaced with instant death if he made any noise. The doors had been secured by the division from the rear, and Barton entered the front passage boldly. Mr. Overton sat alone, reading, the rest of the family being in bed. Barton inquired for General Prescott’s room. Overton pointed upward, signifying that it was directly over the room in which they were standing. With four strong men, and Sisson, a powerful negro who accompanied them, Barton ascended the stairs and gently tried the door. It was locked; no time was to be lost in parleying; the negro drew back a couple of paces, and using his head for a battering-ram, burst open the door at the first effort. The general, supposing the intruders to be robbers, sprang from his bed, and seized his gold watch that was hanging upon the wall. Barton placed his hand gently upon the general’s shoulder, told him he was his prisoner, and that perfect silence was now his only safety. Prescott begged time to dress, but it being a hot July night, and time precious, Barton refused acquiescence, feeling that it would not be cruel to take him across the bay, where he could make his toilet with more care, at his leisure. So, throwing his cloak around him, and placing him between two armed men, the prisoner was hurried to the shore. In the mean time, Major Barrington, Prescott’s aid, hearing the noise in the general’s room, leaped from a window to escape, but was captured. He and the sentinel were stationed in the center of the party. At about midnight captors and prisoners landed at Warwick Point, where General Prescott first broke the silence by saying to Colonel Barton, "Sir, you have made a bold push to-night." "We have been fortunate," coolly replied Barton. Captain Elliot was there with a coach to convey the prisoners to Providence, where they arrived at sunrise [July 11, 1777.]. Prescott was kindly treated by General Spencer and other officers, and in the course of a few days was sent to the head-quarters of Washington, at Middlebrook on the Raritan. On his way the scene occurred in the Alden Tavern at Lebanon, mentioned on page 603. Prescott was exchanged for General Charles Lee 5 in April following, and soon afterward resumed his command of the British troops on Rhode Island [1778.]. This was the same Prescott who treated Colonel Ethan Allen so cruelly when that officer was taken prisoner near Montreal in the autumn of 1775.

On account of the bravery displayed and the importance of the service in this expedition, Congress, having a "just sense of the gallant behavior of Lieutenant-colonel Barton, and the brave officers and men of his party, who distinguished their valor and address in making prisoner of Major-general Prescott, of the British army, and Major William Barrington, his aid-de-camp," 6 voted Barton an elegant sword [July 25, 1777.]; and on the 24th of December following, he was promoted to the rank and pay of colonel in the Continental army. 7

General Sullivan was appointed to the command of the American troops in Rhode Island in the spring of 1778, at about the time when Prescott resumed his command of the enemy’s forces. The latter, incensed and mortified by his capture and imprisonment, determined to gratify his thirst for revenge. Under pretense of an anticipated attack upon the island, he sent a detachment of five hundred men up the bay on the 24th of May [1778.], to destroy the American boats and other property that fell in their way. At daylight the next morning they landed between Warren and Bristol, and proceeded in two divisions to execute their orders. One party, who proceeded to the Kickemuet River, destroyed seventy flat-bottomed boats and a state galley; the other burned the meeting-house and a number of dwellings at Warren, and plundered and abused the inhabitants in various ways. The females were robbed of their shoe-buckles, finger-rings, and other valuables, and live stock were driven away for the use of the British army. They then proceeded to Bristol, and fired the Episcopal church (mistaking it for a dissenters’ meeting-house), burned twenty-two dwellings, and carried off considerable plunder. A few days afterward, another marauding party of a hundred and fifty burned the mills at Tiverton, and attempted to set fire to and plunder the town, but a resolute band of twenty-five men kept them at bay, effectually disputing their passage across the bridge. Satisfied with this great display of prowess and vengeance, Prescott refrained from further hostile movements, until called upon to defend himself against the combined attacks of an American army and a French fleet.

I have noticed on pages 86 and 87, ante, the treaty of alliance and commerce concluded between the United States and France on the 6th of February, 1778. 8 Pursuant to the stipulations of that treaty, a French squadron for the American service was fitted out at Toulon, consisting of twelve ships of the line, and four frigates of superior size. Count d’Estaing 9, a brave and successful naval officer, was appointed to the command, and on the 13th of April [1778.] the fleet sailed for America. Silas Deane, one of the American commissioners, and M. Gerard, the first appointed French minister to the United States, came passengers in the Languedoc, D’Estaing’s flag-ship. Authentic information of the sailing of this expedition reached the British cabinet on the 4th of May [1778.]. Some of the ministers being out of town, a cabinet council was not held until the 6th, when it was determined speedily to dispatch a powerful squadron, then at Portsmouth, to America. On the 20th, Admirals Byron and Hyde Parker, with twenty-two ships of the line, weighed anchor. Doubtful of the destination of D’Estaing, and not knowing that Deane and Gerard were with him, ministers countermanded the order for sailing, and the squadron, overtaken by an express, returned to Plymouth, where it remained until the 5th of June, when it again sailed under the command of Admiral Byron alone. 10

The conduct of the French government, in thus openly giving aid, by treaty and arms, to the revolted colonies, aroused the ire, not only of ministers, but of the people of Great Britain, in whose bosoms the embers of ancient feuds were not wholly extinct. In Parliament, which was just on the eve of adjournment, ministers moved an appropriate address to the king. The opposition proposed an amendment requesting his majesty to dismiss the ministry! A furious debate arose, but the original address was carried by a majority of two hundred and sixty-three against one hundred and thirteen in the Commons, and an equally decided majority in the Upper House. Parliament soon afterward adjourned, and did not meet again until November, when the king, in his speech at the opening, directed the attention of the Legislature to the conduct of France. After speaking of the good faith of Great Britain, and the quiet then prevailing in Europe, he said, "In a time of profound peace, without pretense of provocation or color of complaint, the court of France hath not forborne to disturb the public tranquillity, in violation of the faith of treaties and the general rights of sovereigns; at first by the clandestine supply of arms and other aid to my revolted subjects in North America; afterward by avowing openly their support, and entering into formal engagements with the leaders of the rebellion; and at length by committing open hostilities and depredations on my faithful subjects, and by an actual invasion of my dominions in America and the West Indies." He alluded to the want of success in America, the means that had been put forth to suppress the rebellion, the complete failure of the commissioners to conclude a peace, and the evident preparations for hostilities which Spain was making. He closed his address by calling upon Parliament to put forth their utmost energies which the crisis demanded, assuring them that his cordial co-operation would always be extended, and informed them that he had called out the militia for the defense of the country. In fact, the king carefully avoided casting censure upon ministers for the late miscarriages in America, and, by implication, fixed the blame upon the commanders in that service. The address was warmly opposed in both houses, and in the Commons the king was accused of falsehood – uttering "a false, unjust, and illiberal slander on the commanders in the service of the crown; loading them with a censure which ought to fall on ministers alone." Yet ministers were still supported by pretty large majorities in both houses, while the war-spirit, renewed by the French alliance, was hourly increasing among the multitude without. 11

After a voyage of eighty-seven days, the French squadron arrived on the coast, and anchored at the entrance of Delaware Bay [July 8, 1778.]. Howe, with his fleet, had, fortunately for himself, left the Delaware a few days before, and was anchored off Sandy Hook, to co-operate with the British land forces under Clinton, then proceeding from Philadelphia to New York. 12 On learning this fact, Deane and Gerard proceeded immediately up the Delaware to Philadelphia, where Congress was then in session. 13 After communicating with that body, D’Estaing weighed anchor and sailed for Sandy Hook. Howe was within the Hook, in Raritan or Amboy Bay, 14 whither D’Estaing could not with safety attempt to follow him with his large vessels, on account of a sand-bar extending to Staten Island from Sandy Hook. 15 He anchored near the Jersey shore, not far from the mouth of the Shrewsbury River.

On the 22d of July, D’Estaing sailed with his squadron, at the urgent request of Washington, to co-operate with General Sullivan, then preparing to make an attempt to expel the enemy from Rhode Island. In consequence of the failure, on the part of General Spencer, to carry out the plan of an expedition against the British on Rhode Island in 1777, Congress ordered an inquiry into the cause. This expedition was arranged by General Spencer at considerable expense, and with fair promises of success. The Americans were stationed at Tiverton, near the present stone bridge, and had actually embarked in their boats to cross over to Rhode Island to surprise the enemy, when Spencer prudently countermanded the order. He had ascertained that the British commander was apprised of his intentions, and seeing no effort on the part of the enemy to oppose his landing, apprehended some stratagem that might be fatal. Such, indeed, was the fact. The British had determined to allow the Americans to land and march some distance upon the island, when they would cut off their retreat by destroying their boats, and thus make them captives. General Spencer, indignant at the censure implied in the proposed inquiry of Congress, resigned his commission, and General Sullivan was appointed in his place. 16


The letters upon the map indicate the position of the following named objects: A, head-quarters of Prescott when he was captured; C D, the two British lines across the island, the former extending from ’Tonomy Hill, H, and the latter crossing the slope near Rose Island, near Newport; E, the American lines between Quaker and Turkey Hills and Butts’s Hill, at the north end of the island; F, the position of the Americans, with their batteries, when preparing to attack the British lines and waiting for D’Estaing; G, Barker’s Hill, fortified by the British; H, ’Tonomy Hill; O, the west or Narraganset passage of the bay; P, the middle; and Q, the east or Seaconet passage. The Bristol Ferry, across which the Americans retreated, is named on the map. It was at the narrowest place, a line to the right of the word Butts. There were fortifications upon Gold, Rose, Goat, and Contour Islands, as well as upon Canonicut, ruins of which are still visible. The short double lines upon the map, immediately above the letter N in Newport, mark the site of the present Fort Adams, the Castle Hill of the Revolution, and opposite, upon a point of Canonicut, is the Dumplings Fort, or Fort Canonicut, now a picturesque ruin.

The French fleet appeared off the harbor of Newport on the 29th of July [1778.], and the next morning, to the great joy of the inhabitants, the vessels of the allies were anchored near Brenton’s Reef, where General Sullivan had a conference with the admiral, and a plan of operations was agreed upon. One of the ships ran up the channel west of Canonicut, and anchored at the north point of that island.

Washington had directed Sullivan to call upon Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Connecticut for five thousand militia. The call was made, and promptly responded to. The Massachusetts militia marched under John Hancock as general; 17 and so great was the enthusiasm engendered by the presence of the French squadron, that thousands of volunteers, gentlemen and others, from Boston, Salem, Newburyport, Portsmouth, &c., engaged in the service. 18 Two brigades of Continental infantry, under La Fayette, were sent from the main army; and the whole force, ten thousand strong, was arranged in two divisions, under the immediate command of Generals Greene 19 and La Fayette.

On the morning of the 5th of August, D’Estaing commenced operations. Two of his vessels approached to the attack of four British frigates (the Orpheus, Lark, Juno, and Cerberus) and some smaller vessels, lying near Prudence Island. Unable to fight successfully or to escape, the enemy set fire to all these vessels, and soon afterward sunk two others (the Flora and Falcon), to prevent their falling into the hands of D’Estaing. Unfortunately, the American troops were not quite prepared to co-operate with the French fleet. Although Sullivan had every thing in readiness at Providence, a delay in the arrival of troops prevented his departure for Rhode Island, and it was nearly a week before he was prepared to make a descent upon it. This delay was the occasion of great difficulty, and proved fatal to the enterprise.

On the 10th [August, 1778.], according to agreement, the whole American force, in two divisions, crossed from Tiverton in eighty-six flat-bottomed boats, 20 prepared under the direction of the energetic Major Talbot, and landed on the north end of the island, where it was to be joined by four thousand marines from the French squadron. The British had just been re-enforced, and were about six thousand strong, under the immediate command of Sir Robert Pigot. They abandoned their works on the north part of the island when the Americans landed, and retired within their strongly-intrenched lines about three miles above Newport. Perceiving this movement, Sullivan ordered the Americans to advance, without waiting for the landing of the French troops. They moved from the ferry, and in the afternoon encamped upon the high ground known as Quaker Hill, between ten and eleven miles north of Newport.

Within five days after D’Estaing left Sandy Hook, four British men-of-war had arrived singly at New York. With this re-enforcement Howe determined to proceed to the relief of his majesty’s army on Rhode Island. He appeared off Newport harbor with a fleet of twenty-five sail on the afternoon of the 9th [August, 1778.]; and the next morning, D’Estaing, instead of landing his marines according to agreement, spread his sails to a favorable breeze, and sailed out of the harbor, under a severe cannonade from the British batteries, to attack Admiral Howe. It was about eight o’clock in the morning [August 10, 1778.] when the French fleet went out into the open sea, and all that day the two naval commanders contended for the weather-gage. 21 This maneuvering prevented an engagement. The next morning the wind had increased to a gale, and a violent tempest, that raged for nearly forty-eight hours, 22 separated the belligerents. Two of the French ships were dismasted, and the count’s flag-ship lost her rudder and all her masts. In this condition she was borne down upon by a British frigate under full sail, from which she received a broadside, but with little damage. Another of the French disabled vessels was attacked in the same way, the assailants sheering off after firing a single broadside; but the junction of six sail of the French squadron on the 14th prevented other attacks on the crippled ships. On the 16th, the French seventy-four gun ship Cæsar and the British fifty gun ship Iris had a severe engagement for an hour and a half, in which both vessels were much injured. This ended the contest, and D’Estaing, with his disabled vessels, appeared off the harbor of Newport on the 20th.

The Americans, greatly disappointed and chagrined by the abandonment of them by their allies, nevertheless continued their preparations for attack with vigor. They had suffered much from the gale and the rain. On the night of the 12th, not a tent or marquee could be kept standing. Several soldiers perished, many horses died, and all the powder delivered to the troops was ruined by the rain. The troops were in a deplorable state when the storm ceased on the 14th [August, 1778.], yet their courage and ardor were not abated. On the 15th, in expectation of the speedy return of the French squadron, as promised by the admiral, they marched forward in three divisions, took post within two miles of the enemy’s lines, commenced the erection of batteries, and soon afterward opened a fire of balls and bombs upon the British works. 23 On the night of the reappearance of D’Estaing, Generals Greene and La Fayette proceeded to visit him on board his vessel, to consult upon measures proper to be pursued. They urged the count to return with his fleet into Newport harbor; for the British garrison, disappointed and dispirited on account of not receiving provision and ammunition from Howe, would doubtless surrender without resistance. D’Estaing was disposed to comply, but his officers insisted upon his adherence to the instructions of his government to put into Boston harbor for repairs in the event of injuries being sustained by his vessels. Such injuries had been sustained in the late gale and partial engagement, and, overruled by his officers, he refused compliance, sailed for Boston, and left the Americans to take care of themselves. 24 Greene and La Fayette returned on the night of the 21st with a report of the resolution of the French admiral, and the next day Generals Sullivan and Hancock sent letters of remonstrance to him. A protest against the count’s taking the fleet to Boston, signed by all the general officers except La Fayette, was sent to him, declaring such a measure derogatory to the honor of France, contrary to the intentions of its monarch, destructive to the welfare of the United States, and highly injurious to the alliance formed between the two nations. 25 D’Estaing affected to be offended at this protest, and returned a spirited answer, just as he weighed anchor for Boston, which drew from Sullivan a sarcastic reflection, in general orders, the following morning. 26 From Boston the count wrote an explanatory and vindicatory letter to Congress, in which he complained of the protest and of Sullivan’s ungenerous innuendoes. The whole matter was finally amicably adjusted.

Disgusted at what they deemed the perfidy of the French commander, and despairing of success, between two and three thousand of the American volunteers left for home on the 24th and 25th. The American force was thus reduced to about the number of that of the enemy. Under these circumstances, an assault upon the British lines was deemed hazardous, and a retreat prudent. La Fayette was dispatched to Boston, to solicit the return of D’Estaing to Newport, but he could only get a promise from that officer to march his troops by land to aid the Americans in the siege, if requested. It was too late for such a movement.


From a print in the Gentlemen’s Magazine, 1778.

On the night of the 28th [August, 1778.], the Americans commenced a retreat with great order and secrecy, and arrived at the high grounds at the north end of the island, with all their artillery and stores, at three the next morning. Their retreat having been discovered by the enemy, a pursuit was undertaken. The Americans had fortified an eminence called Butts’s Hill, about twelve miles from Newport. Here they made a stand. and at daylight called a council of war. General Greene proposed to march back and meet the enemy on the west road, then approaching in detachments, and consisting only of the Hessian chasseurs and two Anspach regiments under Lossberg. On the east road was General Smith, with two regiments and two flank companies. To the former were opposed the light troops of Lieutenant-colonel Laurens, and to the latter those of Colonel Henry B. Livingston. Greene’s advice was overruled, and the enemy were allowed to collect in force upon the two eminences called respectively Quaker and Turkey Hill. 27 A large detachment of the enemy marched very near to the American left, but were repulsed by Glover, and driven back to Quaker Hill. About nine o’clock the British opened a severe cannonade upon the Americans from the two hills, which was returned from Butts’s Hill with spirit. Skirmishes continued between advanced parties until near ten, when two British sloops of war and other armed vessels, having gained the right flank of the Americans, began a fire upon that point simultaneously with a furious attack there by the land forces of the enemy. This attempt to gain the rear of the Americans, and cut off a retreat, brought on an almost general action, in which from twelve to fifteen hundred of the patriots were at one time engaged. The enemy’s line was finally broken, after a severe engagement, in attempts to take the redoubt on the American right, and they were driven back in great confusion to Turkey Hill, leaving many of their dead and wounded in the low grounds between the contending armies, where the hottest of the battle occurred. This was between two and three o’clock in the afternoon of a very sultry day, and a number on both sides perished from the effects of the heat and fatigue. A cannonade was kept up by both parties until sunset, when the battle ceased. The skirmishing and more general action continued seven hours without intermission, and the most indomitable courage was evinced by both parties. The Americans had thirty killed, one hundred and thirty-two wounded, and forty four missing. The British lost, in killed and wounded, two hundred and ten, and twelve missing.

So nearly matched were the belligerents, that both willingly rested in their respective camps during the night, and the next morning each seemed reluctant to renew the battle. Sullivan had good cause to refrain from another engagement, for at break of day a messenger arrived from Providence, informing him that Howe had again sailed for Newport, was seen off Block Island the day before, and probably, before night, would be in Newport harbor. 28 Under these circumstances, Sullivan thought it prudent to evacuate Rhode Island, a measure concurred in by his officers. There were difficulties in the way, for the first indications of a retreat on the part of the Americans would bring the repulsed enemy upon them in full force. The sentinels of the two armies were only four hundred yards apart, and the greatest caution was necessary to prevent information of Sullivan’s design from reaching Sir Robert Pigot. Fortunately, Butts’s Hill concealed all movements in the rear of the American camp. During the day, a number of tents were brought forward by the Americans and pitched in sight of the enemy, and the whole army were employed in fortifying the camp. This was intended to deceive the British, and was successful. At the same time, and, indeed, during the engagement of the previous day, the heavy baggage and stores were falling back and crossing Bristol ferry to the main. At dark the tents were struck, fires were lighted in front at various points, the light troops, with the baggage, marched down to the ferry, and before midnight the whole American army had crossed in flat-bottomed boats to the main, in good order, and without the loss of a man. During the retreat, La Fayette arrived from Boston, whither, as we have seen, he had been sent to persuade D’Estaing to proceed with his squadron to Newport again. He was greatly mortified at being absent during the engagement. 29 Anticipating that a battle would take place, he traveled from Rhode Island to Boston, nearly seventy miles, in a little more than seven hours, and returned in six and a half. 30 Although denied the laurels which he might have won in battle, he participated in the honors of a successful retreat.

The evacuation of Rhode Island was a mortifying circumstance to General Sullivan, for Newport had been almost within his grasp, and nothing could have saved the British army from capitulation had D’Estaing co-operated. Policy, at that time, dictated the course of Congress in withholding the voice of censure, but the people unhesitatingly charged the failure of the expedition upon the bad conduct of the French. The retreat was approved of by Congress, in a resolution adopted on the 9th of September [1778.]. It was not unanimously agreed to, and an unsuccessful attempt was made to reconsider it. With this event closed the Eastern campaign, neither party in the contest having gained any thing. 31


The British held possession of Rhode Island until the autumn of 1779, when Sir Henry Clinton, desirous of making a further demonstration at the South, and apprehending an attack upon New York from the combined forces of the American and French, supposed to have been concerted between Washington and D’Estaing, dispatched a number of transports to bring off the troops from Newport to strengthen his position at head-quarters. They embarked on the 25th of October, leaving Rhode Island in possession of the Americans, after an occupation of three years by the enemy. During their stay, they had desolated the island. Only a single tree of the ancient forest is left, a majestic sycamore, standing near the bank of the Seaconet channel, on the eastern side of the island. When they left, they burned the barracks at Fort Adams and the light-house upon Beavertail Point. They also carried away with them the town records. These were greatly injured by being submerged in the vessel that bore them, which was sunk at Hell Gate. They were recovered and sent back to Newport, but were of little service afterward. This event produced some embarrassment in respect to property, but they were as nothing compared to the sufferings of the impoverished inhabitants when they returned to their mutilated dwellings and desolated farms. The winter of 1779-80 was a terrible one for the people of Rhode Island. 33

It is proper to remark, that after Sir Robert Pigot superseded Prescott in command of the British forces in Rhode Island, the people were greatly relieved of the annoyances they had been subject to under the rule of the latter. Private property was respected, plunder ceased, the people were treated with respect, and, when the evacuation took place, no violence marked the departure of the enemy. General Gates was then at Providence with a small force, and kept a vigilant eye upon the movements of the British, 34 anticipating predatory excursions along the coast; but General Pigot was no marauder, and scorned to do, even under command, what Tryon, Wallace, and Grey seemed to take great delight in.

Early in the summer of 1779 the Marquis de La Fayette obtained leave of absence for one year, and returned to France. But this absence was not a season of idleness among his old associates, or of forgetfulness of the Americans on the part of La Fayette. On the contrary, the chief design of his visit to his native country was to enlist the sympathies of his people and government more warmly in the cause of the Americans, and to procure for them more substantial aid than they had hitherto received. After passing a few days with his beautiful and much loved wife, he addressed a long letter to the Count de Vergennes, one of the French ministers, on the subject of furnishing an army, well-appointed in every particular, to fight in America. In making such a request, a soul less ardent and hopeful than the youthful general’s would not have perceived the least probability of success. He was acting without instructions from the American Congress, or even its sanction or the full approval of Washington. It seemed but too recently that French and American troops were battling in opposition in the Western World, to hope that they would freely commingle, though Britons were still the foes of the French. La Fayette, however, understood French character better than Washington and Congress did, and he knew that success would attend the measure. "He had that interior conviction which no argument or authority could subdue, that the proposed expedition was practicable and expedient, and he succeeded in imparting his enthusiasm to the ministers." 35 He was only twenty-two years old, and held a subordinate rank in the army of his king; he, therefore, had no expectation of being commander of any force that might be sent; his efforts were disinterested. 36 Nothing could divert him from his object, and, with a joyful heart, he returned to America the following spring [May 1780.], bearing to the patriots the glad tidings that a French squadron, with an army of more than four thousand men, admirably officered and equipped, and conveying money for the United States Treasury, was about to sail for our shores. The marquis also brought a commission from Louis XVI. for Washington, appointing him lieutenant general of the armies of France, and vice-admiral of its fleets. This was a wise measure, and operated, as intended, to prevent difficulties that might arise respecting official etiquette. It was stipulated that the French should be considered as auxiliaries, and always cede the post of honor to the Americans. Lieutenant-general the Count de Rochambeau, the commander of the French expedition, was to place himself under the American commander-in-chief, and on all occasions the authority of Washington was to be respected as supreme. This arrangement secured the best understanding between the two armies while the allies remained in America. 37

Great was the joy of the American Congress produced by the tidings brought by La Fayette, and assurance possessed the minds of that assembly that the next campaign would secure peace and independence to the States. Although policy forbade giving publicity to the fact that aid from abroad was near at hand, sufficient information leaked out to diffuse among the people pleasant hopes for the future. The return of La Fayette was hailed with delight. Congress, by resolution, [May 15, 1780.] testified their satisfaction at his return, and accepted with pleasure a tender of the further services of so gallant and meritorious an officer. 38 Three days afterward [May 19.] Congress resolved that bills be immediately drawn on Dr. Franklin for twenty-five thousand dollars, and on Mr. Jay for the same amount, payable at sixty days’ sight; and that the money be applied solely to the bringing of the army into the field, and forwarding them supplies in such a manner as the exigency and nature of the service shall require. Also, that the States of Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts Bay, and New Hampshire, be most earnestly called upon to pay into the Continental treasury, within thirty days, ten millions of dollars. It was also resolved that the Legislatures, from New Hampshire to Virginia, be requested to invest their executive authority, or some other persons, with such powers as would enable them, on the application of the committee at the head-quarters of the army, to draw forth the resources of the state. 39 The Carolinas and Georgia were exempt from the requisition, because they were then bearing the heavy burden of an active campaign within their own limits. Congress thus began to prepare for the most energetic co-operation with the allies when they should arrive.

The French fleet, under the command of Admiral de Ternay, sailed from Brest early in April, and appeared off the coast of Virginia on the 4th of July. 40 On the evening of the 10th it entered Newport harbor, on which occasion the town was brilliantly illuminated, and every demonstration of joy was made by the inhabitants. General Heath, then in command on Rhode Island, was present to receive Rochambeau and his troops on landing, and to put them in possession of the batteries upon the island. On the 24th, the General Assembly, then in session, presented complimentary addresses to Rochambeau and Ternay; and General Washington, having heard of their arrival, recommended, in general orders at his camp in the Hudson Highlands, to the officers of the American army, to wear cockades of black and white – the ground being of the first color, and the relief of the second – as a compliment to, and a symbol of friendship and affection for their allies. 41 The American cockade, at that time, was black; the French white.

As soon as intelligence was received of the arrival of the allies, La Fayette set out for Newport, under instructions from Washington, to concert measures with Rochambeau for future operations. The French troops were pleasantly encamped southeast of Newport, but they were not suffered to remain quiet. When intelligence of the sailing of Ternay from Brest reached the British cabinet, they dispatched Admiral Graves, with six ships of the line, to re-enforce Admiral Arbuthnot, the successor of Byron, then commanding the squadron on the American coast. Graves arrived at New York three days after Ternay entered Newport harbor [July 13, 1780.]. The English fleet, now stronger than the French, proceeded immediately to attempt a blockade of the latter in Narraganset Bay. On the 19th, four British ships, the advance sail of the fleet rendezvousing at Block Island, appeared off Newport. The next morning, as soon as the wind would permit, three French frigates went in pursuit of them, but, falling in with nine or ten ships of the enemy that were approaching, made sail for the harbor, under full chase.

Intelligence was received that General Clinton, lately returned to New York from the South, was preparing to proceed in person, with a large part of his army, to attack Rhode Island. Menaced by sea and land, General Heath called earnestly upon Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Connecticut for troops, and his requisition was promptly complied with, so promptly, that, before any enemy appeared, the allied forces felt quite competent to oppose the largest army that Clinton could possibly bring into the field. Sir Henry actually sailed from New York with eight thousand troops, but proceeded no further than Huntington Bay, in Long Island Sound. Informed there of the fortified position of the French at Newport, the rapid gathering of the militia, and the approach of Washington toward New York city, Clinton abandoned the expedition and returned to his head-quarters.

While these events were taking place on our coast, the French and English fleets were striving for the mastery in the West Indies. The former was commanded by Admiral de Guichen, the latter by Admiral Rodney. It was the understanding when Ternay and Rochambeau left France, that they were to be joined at Rhode Island by the squadron of De Guichen. Events unforeseen prevented this junction. The arrival of Rodney at St. Lucie, and subsequent maneuvers and encounters, detained De Guichen in the West Indies until July; and five days before Ternay arrived at Newport, De Guichen left St. Domingo for Europe, his ships having suffered greatly in the engagements, and the land troops which they carried having been terribly diminished by sickness. The failure of this co-operation, the great number of invalids among the French troops at Newport, and the expectation of an attack there, or an attempt to blockade the squadron, made it inexpedient to break up the encampment on Rhode Island and attempt any operations at a distance. It was concluded to pass the winter there. Lauzun and his legion, as we have seen, were cantoned at Lebanon, in Connecticut. Three thousand five hundred militia were kept under arms at Newport, to assist in guarding the French squadron, and the allies became a burden, rather than an aid, to the Americans. The conference between Washington and Rochambeau, and the final departure of the French troops in 1781, to form a junction with the American army on the Hudson, have been noticed on page 436.

The Chevalier de Ternay died at Newport soon after the arrival of the fleet, and was buried with distinguished honors in Trinity Church-yard, where a slab was afterward erected to his memory. Admiral de Barras succeeded him in command early in the following spring [March 1781.], about which time Washington arrived at Newport, and held a conference with Rochambeau. The town was illuminated on the occasion of his visit, and from that time until the departure of the allies, quiet prevailed on Rhode Island. Active military operations ceased there, and, until the close of the war, the people were undisturbed, except by occasional menaces from English vessels in pursuit of American privateers, of which a large number hailed from Narraganset Bay, or made its waters their place of refuge when in danger upon the coast. 42 Newport suffered terribly during the war. Its population of eleven thousand in 1774, was reduced to about six thousand in 1782; and, according to an estimate of a committee of the General Assembly, appointed for the purpose, the value of private property destroyed was six hundred and twenty-four thousand dollars, silver money.

The sun has gone down behind Conannicut and the hills of the Narraganset country; the broad sails of the wind-mills are still; the voices of the milkers come up from the neighboring farm-yard, and twilight is spreading its mysterious veil over the bay, the islands, and the ocean. Let us descend from our observatory on the hill of Miantonomoh and return to the city, and in the morning visit the places hallowed by events just viewed in the speculum of history.

The morning of the 23d [October, 1848.] was cold and blustering; the ground was hard frozen, ice covered the surface of the pools, and the north wind was as keen as the breath of December. I started early in a light rockaway for the battle-ground at the north end of the island, making a brief call on the way (or, rather, out of the way) upon Mr. Nathaniel Greene, a grandson of the eminent general of the Revolution who bore that name. He resides about three miles above Newport, and kindly furnished me with explicit directions respecting the localities I was about to visit. About a mile north of his estate I came to the head-quarters of Prescott, printed on page 644 {original text has "76".}, which I sketched in haste, for my fingers were too soon benumbed with cold to hold the pencil expertly. Twelve miles from Newport I came to the residence of Mr. Anthony, which is, I believe, the "Brindley House" in the picture on page 651 {original text has "83".}. An introductory line from his brother, David Anthony, Esq., was a key to his generous hospitality; and after accompanying me to the top of Butts’s Hill, and pointing out the places of interest included in the view from its summit, he kindly invited me to dine with him when my sketching should be finished, an invitation heartily accepted, for a ride of twelve miles in the cold morning air was a whetstone to my usually good appetite.


The remains of the old fort on Butts’s Hill, the embankments and fossé, with traces of the hastily-constructed ravelins, are well preserved. Even the ruts made by the carriage-wheels of the cannons, at the embrasures (for the ordnance was composed of field-pieces), were visible. The banks, in some places, are twenty feet high, measuring from the bottom of the fossé. Fortunately for the antiquary, the works were constructed chiefly upon a rocky ledge, and the plow can win no treasure there; the banks were earth, and afford no quarry for wall builders, and so the elements alone have lowered the ramparts and filled the ditches. Southward from this eminence, I had a fine view of Quaker and Turkey Hills – indeed, of the whole battle-ground. Sitting upon the exterior slope of the southern parapet, and sheltered from the wind by a clump of bushes and the remains of one of the bastions, I sketched the above view, which includes all the essential portions of the field of conflict. The eminence in the center, on which stands a wind-mill, is Quaker Hill; that on the right is Turkey Hill, on the northern slope of which is seen the west road. In the hollow at the foot of these hills the hottest of the battle was waged. On the left is seen the little village of Newton, beyond which is the Eastern or Seaconet Channel, stretching away to the ocean, and bounded on the left by the cultivated slopes of Little Compton. The undulations in the foreground are the embankments of the fort.


Northward the view is more extensive, and in some respects more interesting. The houses near the center of the picture mark the site of the old Bristol ferry, over which the Americans, under Sullivan, retreated to the main land. A little to the left, lying upon the east shore of the Narraganset, was Bristol; beyond was a glimpse of Warren; and in the far distance, directly over the steam-boat seen in the picture, the church spires of Providence were visible. On the right the high promontory of Mount Hope loomed up; and turning eastward, beyond the limits of the sketch, stood Tiverton and its old stone bridge, already mentioned. I could find no sheltered nook in making the sketch; upon the bleak summit of the hill I plied the pencil, until I could hold it no longer; but the drawing was finished.

From this eminence the vision takes in some of the most interesting portions of the Narraganset country and of the domains of Massasoit, the fast friend of the English. There were old Pocasset and Pokanoket, and, more conspicuous and interesting than all, was Mount Hope, the royal seat of King Philip, the last of the Wampanoags. It is too cold to turn the leaves of the chronicle here; let us wrap our cloaks around us, and, while gazing upon the beautiful land over which that great sachem held sway, read the records upon the tablets of memory, brief but interesting, concerning "King Philip’s War."

" ’Tis good to muse on nations pass’d away

Forever from the land we call our own;
Nations as proud and mighty in their day,
Who deem’d that everlasting was their throne.
An age went by, and they no more were known!
Sublimer sadness will the mind control,
Listening time’s deep and melancholy moan;
And meaner griefs will less disturb the soul;
And human pride falls low at human grandeur’s goal."


We have observed how Massasoit, the sagamore of the Wampanoags, whose dominions extended from Narraganset Bay to that of Massachusetts, presenting the hand of friendship and protection to the white settlers, remained faithful while he lived. His residence was near Warren, on the east side of the Narraganset; and so greatly was his friendship prized by the PILGRIM FATHERS, that Winslow and others made a long journey to visit him when dangerously ill [March 1623.]. Recovering, he entered into a solemn league of friendship with the whites, and faithfully observed it until his death, which occurred thirty-two years afterward [1655.]. Alexander, his eldest son, succeeded him, and gave promise of equal attachment to the whites; but his rule was short; he died two years after the death of his father, and his brother 44 Pometacom or Metacomet, better known as King Philip, became the head of his nation. He was a bold, powerful-minded warrior, and already his keen perception gave him uneasiness respecting the fate of his race. Year after year the progress of settlement had curtailed the broad domains of the Wampanoags, until now they possessed little more than the narrow tongues of land at Pocanoket and Pocasset, now Bristol and Tiverton; yet Philip renewed the treaties made with Massasoit [1662.], and kept them faithfully a dozen years; but spreading settlements, reducing his domains acre by acre, breaking up his hunting-grounds, diminishing the abundance of his fisheries, and menacing his nation with the fate of the landless, stirred up his savage patriotism, and made him resolve to sever the ties that bound him, with fatal alliance, to his enemies. His residence was at Mount Hope; and there, in the solitude of the primeval forest, he called his warriors around him, and planned, with consummate skill, an alliance of all the New England tribes against the European intruders. 45

For years the pious Eliot 46 had been preaching the gospel among the New England tribes; no pains were spared to teach them to read and write; and in a short time a larger proportion of the Massachusetts Indians could do so than, recently, of the inhabitants of Russia. 47 Churches were gathered among the natives; and when Philip lifted the hatchet, there were four hundred "praying Indians," as the converts were called, who were firmly attached to the whites; yet Christianity hardly spread beyond the Indians on Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, and Nantucket, and the seven feeble villages around Boston. Philip, like Red Jacket of our days, opposed meddling with the religion of his fathers, and, two years before the war, boldly and openly, at the head of seven hundred warriors, boasted of his own and their attachment to the ancient belief.


A "praying Indian" named John Sassamon, who had been educated at Cambridge, and employed as a teacher, had fled to Philip on account of some misdemeanor, and became a sort of secretary to the sachem. Being persuaded to return to the whites, he accused Philip of meditated treason. For this he was waylaid by the savages, and slain. Three of Philip’s men, suspected of the murder, were tried by a jury of half English and half Indians, convicted, and hanged. The evidence on which they were convicted was slender, and the Wampanoags were greatly irritated. Philip was cautious; his warriors were impetuous. Overruled by their importunities, and goaded by a remembrance of the wrongs and humiliations he had suffered from the English, 48 he trampled solemn treaties beneath his feet, and lighted the flame of war. Messengers were sent to other tribes, to arouse them to co-operation, and, with all the power of Indian eloquence, Metacomet exhorted his followers to curse the white men, and swear eternal hostility to the pale faces.

"Away! Away! I will not hear

Of aught but death or vengeance now;
By the eternal skies I swear
My knee shall never learn to bow!
I will not hear a word of peace,
Nor clasp in friendly grasp a hand
Link’d to the pale-brow’d stranger race,
That work the ruin of our land.

"Before their coming, we had ranged
Our forests and our uplands free;
Still let us keep unsold, unchanged,
The heritage of Liberty.
As free as roll the chainless streams,
Still let us roam our ancient woods;
As free as break the morning beams,
That light our mountain solitudes.

"Touch not the hand they stretch to you;
The falsely-proffer’d cup put by;
Will you believe a coward true?
Or taste the poison’d draught, to die?
Their friendship is a lurking snare;
Their honor but an idle breath;
Their smile the smile that traitors wear;
Their love is hate, their life is death.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
"And till your last white foe shall kneel,
And in his coward pangs expire –
Sleep – but to dream of brand and steel;
Wake – but to deal in blood and fire."

Although fierce and determined when once aroused, no doubt Philip was hurried into this war against his best judgment and feelings, for his sagacity must have forewarned him of failure. The English were well armed and provisioned; the Indians had few guns, and their subsistence was precarious. "Phrensy prompted their rising. It was but the storm in which the ancient inhabitants of the land were to vanish away. They rose without hope, and therefore they fought without mercy. For them as a nation there was no to-morrow." 49

Bancroft has given a condensed, yet perspicuous and brilliant narrative of this war. "The minds of the English," he says, "were appalled by the horrors of the impending conflict, and superstition indulged in its wild inventions. At the time of the eclipse of the moon, you might have seen the figure of an Indian scalp imprinted on the center of its disk. The perfect form of an Indian bow appeared in the sky. The sighing of the wind was like the whistling of bullets. Some distinctly heard invisible troops of horses gallop through the air, while others formed the prophecy of calamities in the howling of the wolves. 50

"At the very beginning of danger, the colonists exerted their wonted energy. Volunteers from Massachusetts joined the troops from Plymouth, and, within a week from the commencement of hostilities, the insulated Pokanokets were driven from Mount Hope, and in less than a month Philip was a fugitive among the Nipmucks, the interior tribes of Massachusetts, The little army of the colonists then entered the territory of the Narragansets, and from the reluctant tribe extorted a treaty of neutrality, with a promise to give up every hostile Indian. Victory seemed promptly assured; but it was only the commencement of horrors. Canonchet, the chief sachem of the Narragansets, was the son of Miantonomoh; and could he forget his father’s wrongs? And would the tribes of New England permit the nation that had first given a welcome to the English to perish unavenged? Desolation extended along the whole frontier. Banished from his patrimony, where the Pilgrims found a friend, and from his cabin, which had sheltered the exiles, Philip and his warriors spread through the country, arousing their brethren to a warfare of extermination.

"The war, on the part of the Indians, was one of ambush and surprise. They never once met the English in open field; but always, even if eight-fold in number, fled timorously before infantry. But they were secret as beasts of prey, skillful marksmen, and in part provided with fire-arms, fleet of foot, conversant with all the paths of the forest, patient of fatigue, mad with passion for rapine, vengeance, and destruction, retreating into swamps for their fastnesses, or hiding in the green-wood thickets, where the leaves muffled the eyes of the pursuers. By the rapidity of their descent, they seemed omnipotent among the scattered villages, which they ravaged like a passing storm; and for a full year they kept all New England in a state of terror and excitement. The exploring party was waylaid and cut off, and the mangled carcasses and disjointed limbs of the dead were hung upon the trees to terrify pursuers. The laborer in the field, the reapers as they went forth to harvest, men as they went to mill, the shepherd’s boy among the sheep, were shot down by skulking foes, whose approach was invisible. Who can tell the heavy hours of woman? The mother, if left alone in the house, feared the tomahawk for herself and children; on the sudden attack, the husband would fly with one child, the wife with another, and perhaps only one escape; the village cavalcade, making its way to meeting on Sunday, in files on horseback, the farmer holding the bridle in one hand and a child in the other, his wife seated on a pillion behind him, it may be with a child in her lap, as was the fashion of those days, could not proceed safely; but, at the moment when least expected, bullets would whiz among them, discharged with fatal aim from an ambuscade by the wayside. The red men hung upon the skirts of the English villages ‘like the lightning on the edge of the clouds.’

"What need of repeating the same tale of horrors? Brookfield was set on fire [August 12.], and rescued only to be abandoned. Deerfield was burned [September 11.]. Hadley, surprised during a time of religious service, 51 was saved only by the daring of Goffe, the regicide, now bowed with years, a heavenly messenger of rescue, who darted from his hiding-place, rallied the disheartened, and, having achieved a safe defense, sank away in his retirement, to be no more seen. The plains of Northfield were wet with the blood of Beers [September 23.] and twenty of his valiant associates. Lathrop’s company of young men, the very flower of Essex, culled out of the towns of that county, were butchered [September 28.]; hardly a white man escaped; and the little stream whose channel became red with their life currents, is called Bloody Brook to this day."

The Narragansets played false to the white men, and in winter sheltered the foe that wasted their settlements. It was resolved to treat them as enemies, and through the deep snows of December, a thousand men, levied by the united colonies, marched to the great fort of the tribe. 52 Its feeble palisades quickly yielded, and fire and sword soon "swept away the humble glories of the Narragansets. Their winter stores, their wigwams, and all the little comforts of savage life, were destroyed; and more, their old men, their women, their babes, perished by hundreds in the fire." 53 It was a terrible blow for the Indians. Cold, hunger, and disease followed, and were the powerful allies of the English in the decimation of the tribe. Yet Canonchet did not despair, and he fought gallantly, until, being taken prisoner by the English. he was put to death.

In the spring [1676.], the spirit of revenge and retaliation began its work. Weymouth, Groton, Medfield, Lancaster, and Marlborough, in Massachusetts, were laid in ashes, Warwick and Providence, in Rhode Island, were burned; and every where the isolated dwellings of adventurous settlers were laid waste. But as the season advanced, and more remote tribes came not to re-enforce them, the Indians, wasted and dispirited, abandoned all hopes of success. Strifes arose among them. The Connecticut Indians charged their misfortunes upon Philip, and so did the Narragansets. The cords of alliance were severed. Some surrendered to avoid starvation; other tribes wandered off and joined those of Canada; while Captain Church, the most famous of the English partisan warriors, went out to hunt and destroy the fugitives. 54 During the year, between two and three thousand Indians were killed or submitted. Philip was chased from one hiding-place to another; and although he had vainly sought the aid of the Mohawks, and knew that hope was at an end, his proud spirit would not listen to words of peace; he cleft the head of a warrior who ventured to propose it. At length, after an absence of a year, he resolved, as it were, to meet his destiny. He returned to the beautiful land where his forefathers slept [August, 1676.], the cradle of his infancy, and the nestling-place of his tribe. Once he escaped narrowly, leaving his wife and only son prisoners. This bereavement crushed him. "My heart breaks," cried the chieftain, in the agony of his grief; "now I am ready to die." His own followers now began to plot against him, to make better terms for themselves. In a few days he was shot by a faithless Indian, and Captain Church cut off his head with his own sword. The captive orphan was transported to an island of the ocean. So perished the princes of the Pokanokets. Sad to them had been their acquaintance with civilization. The first ship that came on their coast kidnapped men of their kindred; and now the harmless boy, who had been cherished as an only child and the future sachem of their tribes – the last of the family of Massasoit – was sold into bondage, to toil as a slave under the suns of Bermuda. 55 Of the once prosperous Narragansets of old, the chief tribe of New England, hardly one hundred remained. The sword, famine, fire, and sickness had swept them from the earth. "During the whole war the Mohegans remained faithful to the English, and not a drop of blood was shed on the happy soil of Connecticut. So much the greater was the loss in the adjacent colonies. Twelve or thirteen towns were destroyed. The disbursements and losses equaled in value half a million of dollars – an enormous sum for the few of that day. More than six hundred men, chiefly young men, the flower of the country, of whom any mother might have been proud, perished in the field. As many as six hundred houses were burned. Of the able-bodied men in the colony, one in twenty had fallen; and one family in twenty had been burned out. The loss of lives and property was, in proportion to numbers, as distressing as in the Revolutionary war. There was scarce a family from which Death had not selected a victim." 56 Thus ended the first general Indian war in New England. Righteousness, sitting upon the throne of judgment, has long since decided the question of equity; and we, viewing the scene at a distance, can not fail to discern the true verdict against the avaricious white man.

Those dark days of distress and crime are passed away forever. The splendors of an October sun, which then shed a radiance over the forests and the waters, beautiful as now, no longer light up the ambuscade of the red men, or the hiding-places of the pale-faces lurking for blood. From the bald eminence on which I stand, the land of Philip and Canonchet, of Witamo and Miantonomoh, and the broad waters where they sported in peace, are spread out to the eye beautiful as the "Happy Valley," and upon the whole domain rest the beneficent influences of love, harmony, righteousness, and peace. Let us, then, endeavor to forget the gloomy past, and leave upon memory only the bright vision of the present.

The vision was bright indeed, but it was the sheen of the glacier. The unclouded sun and the uncurbed north wind wrestled for the mastery. The latter was the victor, and, until I was warmed at the table of Mr. Anthony, I could not fully comprehend the charms which I had beheld while half frozen among the mounds of the old fortress on the hill.

I returned to Newport by the way of Vaucluse, on the eastern road, where I sketched the great sycamore pictured on page 653, which is standing upon the bank of the Seaconnet or Eastern Channel. Near the mouth of this passage, a little below Vaucluse, occurred one of those events, characterized by skill and personal bravery, which make up a large portion of the history of our war for independence. In order to close up this channel, when the French fleet appeared off Newport, the British converted a strong vessel of two hundred tuns into a galley, and named it Pigot, in honor of the commander on Rhode Island. Its upper deck was removed, and on its lower deck were placed twelve eight-pounders, which belonged to the Flora, that was sunk in Newport harbor, and also ten swivels. Thus armed, she was a formidable floating battery. Major Silas Talbot, whose exploits had already won the expressed approbation of Congress, proposed an expedition to capture or destroy this vessel, for it effectually broke up the local trade of that section. General Sullivan regarded his scheme as impracticable, but finally consented to give Talbot permission to make the attempt. A draft of men for the purpose was allowed, and with sixty resolute patriots, Talbot sailed from Providence in a coasting sloop called the Hawk, which he had fitted out for the purpose. Armed with only three three-pounders, besides the small arms of his men, he sailed by the British forts at Bristol Ferry, and anchored within a few miles of the Pigot. Procuring a horse on shore, he rode down the east bank and reconnoitered. The galley presented a formidable appearance, yet the major was not daunted. At nine o’clock in the evening, favored with a fair wind, and accompanied by Lieutenant Helm, of Rhode Island, and a small re-enforcement, Talbot hoisted the anchor of the Hawk, and with a kedge-anchor lashed to the jib-boom to tear the nettings of the Pigot, he bore down upon that vessel. It was a very dark night in October [1778.]. Under bare poles he drifted past Fogland Ferry fort without being discovered, when he hoisted sail and ran partly under the stern of the galley. The sentinels hailed him, but, returning no answer, a volley of musketry was discharged at the Hawk without effect. The anchor tore the nettings and grappled the fore-shrouds of the Pigot, enabling the assailants to make a free passage to her deck. With loud shouts, the Americans poured from the Hawk, and drove every man of the Pigot into the hold, except the commander, who fought desperately alone, with no other mail than shirt and drawers, until he perceived that resistance was useless. The Pigot was surrendered, with the officers and crew. Her cables were coiled over the hatchways, to secure the prisoners below, and, weighing anchor, Talbot, with his prize, entered the harbor of Stonington the next day. This bold adventure was greatly applauded, and, on the 14th of November following, Congress complimented Talbot and his men, and presented him with a commission of lieutenant colonel in the army of the United States. 57 He was afterward transferred to the navy, in which service we shall meet him again.


I reached Newport at four o’clock, and at sunset was on board the Empire State, a noble Sound steam-boat (which was partially destroyed by fire a few weeks afterward), bound for New York. We passed old Fort Canonicut and Fort Adams, and out of the harbor at twilight; and at dark, leaving the Beaver-tail light behind, we were breasting the moon-lit waves of the ocean toward Point Judith. I now bade a final adieu to New England, to visit other scenes hallowed by the struggle of our fathers for liberty. Often since has the recollection of my visit there come up in memory like a pleasant dream; and never can I forget the universal kindness which I received during my brief tarry among the people of the East.

"They love their land because it is their own,

And scorn to give aught other reason why;
Would shake hands with a king upon his throne,
And think it kindness to his majesty;
A stubborn race, fearing and flattering none.
Such are they nurtured, such they live and die,
All, but a few apostates, who are meddling
With merchandise, pounds, shillings, pence, and peddling;

"Or, wandering through the Southern countries, teaching
The A B C from WEBSTER’S spelling-book;
Gallant and godly, making love and preaching,
And gaining, by what they call ‘hook and crook,’
And what the moralists call overreaching,
A decent living. The Virginians look
Upon them with as favorable eyes
As GABRIEL on the Devil in Paradise.

"But these are but their outcasts. View them near,
At home, where all their worth and pride are placed;
And there their hospitable fires burn clear,
And there the lowliest farm-house hearth is graced
With manly hearts; in piety sincere;
Faithful in love, in honor stern and chaste,
In friendship warm and true, in danger brave,
Beloved in life, and sainted in the grave."



1 Mr. Ross, in his Historical Discourse, mentions several circumstances illustrative of Prescott’s tyranny. His habit while walking the streets, if he saw any of the inhabitants conversing together, was to shake his cane at them, and say, "Disperse, ye rebels!" He was also in the habit, when he met citizens in the streets, of commanding them to take off their hats, and unless the order was instantly complied with, it was enforced by a rap of his cane. One evening, as he was passing out of town to his country quarters, he overtook a Quaker, who did not doff his hat. The general, who was on horseback, dashed up to him, pressed him against a stone wall, knocked off his hat, and then put him under guard. Prescott caused many citizens of Newport to be imprisoned, some of them for months, without any assigned reason. Among others thus deprived of liberty, was William Tripp, a very respectable citizen. He had a large and interesting family, but the tyrant would not allow him to hold any communication with them, either written or verbal. The first intelligence he received from them was by a letter, baked in a loaf of bread, which was sent to him by his wife. In this way a correspondence was kept up during his confinement of many months. During his incarceration, his wife sought an audience with the general to intercede for the liberty of her husband, or to obtain a personal interview with him. She applied to a Captain Savage, through whom alone an interview with the general could be obtained. She was directed to call the following day, when the savage by name and nature, echoing his master’s words, roughly denied her petition for an interview with the general, and with fiendish exultation informed her, as he shut the door violently in her face, that he expected her husband would be hung as a rebel in less than a week!

I was informed that when Prescott took possession of his town quarters, he had a fine sidewalk made for his accommodation some distance along Pelham and up Spring Street, for which purpose he took the door-steps belonging to other dwellings. The morning after the evacuation, the owners of the steps hastened to Prescott’s quarters, each to claim his door-stone. It was an exciting scene, for sometimes two or three persons, not positive in their identification, claimed the same stone. Prescott’s fine promenade soon disappeared, and like Miss Davidson’s

"Forty old bachelors, some younger, some older,
Each carrying a maiden home on his shoulder,"

the worthy citizens of Newport bore off their long-abased door-steps.

2 William Barton was a native of Providence, Rhode Island. He was appointed to the rank of lieutenant colonel in the militia of his state, and held that position when he planned and executed the expedition for the abduction of General Prescott. For that service Congress honored him by the presentation of a sword, and also by a grant of land in Vermont. By the transfer of some of this land he became entangled in the toils of the law, and was imprisoned for debt in Vermont for many years, until the visit of La Fayette to this country in 1825. That illustrious man, hearing of the incarceration of Colonel Barton and its cause, liquidated the claim against him, and restored his fellow-soldier to liberty. It was a noble act, and significantly rebuked the Shylock who held the patriot in bondage, and clamored for "the pound of flesh." This circumstance drew from Whittier his glorious poem, The Prisoner for Debt, in which he exclaims,

What has the gray-hair’d prisoner done?

Has murder stain’d his hands with gore?
Not so; his crime’s a fouler one:
God made the old man poor.
For this he shares a felon’s cell,
The fittest earthly type of hell!
For this, the boon for which he pour’d
His young blood on the invader’s sword,
And counted light the fearful cost –
His blood-gain’d liberty is lost.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Down with the law that binds him thus!
Unworthy freemen, let it find
No refuge from the withering curse
Of God and human kind!
Open the prisoner’s living tomb,
And usher from its brooding gloom
The victims of your savage code
To the free sun and air of God!
No longer dare, as crime, to brand
The chastening of the Almighty’s hand!"

Colonel Barton was wounded in the action at Bristol Ferry in 1778, and was disabled from further service during the war. He died at Providence in 1831, aged eighty-four years. The portrait here given is from a painting of him executed soon after the close of the Revolution, and now in possession of his son, John B. Barton, Esq., of Providence, who kindly allowed me to make a copy.

3 Mr. Barton, by request, furnished me with the following list of the names of those who accompanied his father on the perilous expedition:

OFFICERS. – Andrew Stanton, Eleazer Adams, Samuel Potter, John Wilcox.

NON-COMMISSIONED OFFICERS – Joshua Babcock and Samuel Phillips.

PRIVATES. – Benjamin Pren, James Potter, Henry Fisher, James Parker, Joseph Guild, Nathan Smith, Isaac Brown, Billington Crumb, James Haines, Samuel Apis, Alderman Crank, Oliver Simmons, Jack Sherman, Joel Briggs, Clark Packard, Samuel Cory, James Weaver, Clark Crandall, Sampson George, Joseph Ralph, Jedediah Grenale, Richard Hare, Darius Wale, Joseph Denis, William Bruff, Charles Hassett, Thomas Wilcox, Pardon Cory, Jeremiah Thomas, John Hunt, Thomas Austin, Daniel Page (a Narraganset Indian), Jack Sisson * (black), and ----- Howe, or Whiting, boat-steerer.

* In Allen’s American Biography, the name of the black man is written Prince, and he says that he died at Plymouth in 1821, aged seventy-eight years. The name given by Mr. Barton must be correct, for he has the original paper of his father.

4 This house is on the east side of the west road, about a mile from the bay. The view is from the road where the small stream crosses, after leaving the pond seen in the picture. It is a beautiful summer residence, the grounds around it being finely shaded by willows, elms, and sycamores. The present occupant kindly showed me the room in which Prescott was lying at the time of his capture. It is on the second floor, at the southwest corner of the house, or on the right as seen in the engraving. It is a well-built frame house, and was probably then the most spacious mansion on the island out of Newport.

5 General Lee had been captured at Baskingridge, in New Jersey, in December, 1776, while passing from the Hudson to join Washington on the Delaware.

6 Journals of Congress, iii., 241.

7 Ibid., 459.

8 The French envoy, De Noailles (uncle of La Fayette’s wife), delivered a rescript to Lord Weymouth on the 17th of March, in which he informed the British court of the treaty. While in it he professed in the name of the government a desire to maintain amicable relations with Great Britain, and declared that the "court of London" would find in his communication "new proofs of his majesty’s [Louis XVI.] constant and sincere disposition for peace," he plainly warned it that his sovereign, "being determined to protect effectually the lawful commerce of his subjects, and to maintain the dignity of his flag, had, in consequence, taken effectual measures, in concert with the Thirteen United and Independent States of America." This note greatly incensed the British ministry, for they considered it more than half ironical in language, and intentionally insulting in spirit. Orders were issued for the seizure of all French vessels in English ports A similar order was issued by the French government. War thus actually commenced between the two nations, though not formally declared.

9 Charles Henry Count d’Estaing was a native of Auvergne, in France. He was under the famous Count Lally, governor general of the French possessions in the East Indies, in 1756. He was taken prisoner by the English, but escaped by breaking his parole. He was commander at the taking of Grenada after his services in America. He became a member of the Assembly of Notables in the French Revolution, and, being suspected of unfriendliness to the Terrorists, was guillotined on the 29th of April, 1793.

10 Admiral Byron carried with him to Earl Howe, the naval commander on the American coast, a permit for that officer to return to England, pursuant to his own urgent request. Byron became his successor in the chief command.

11 Lossing’s "1776," p. 274.

12 It was during this progress of the British army toward New York that the Americans, under the immediate command of Washington, pursued and overtook them near Monmouth court-house, in New Jersey, where a severe battle occurred on the 28th of June, 1778.

13 Congress had sat at York, in Pennsylvania, from the time of the entrance of the British into Philadelphia in the autumn of 1777, until the 30th of June, 1778, after the evacuation of that city by the enemy under Clinton.

14 Howe’s fleet consisted of only six 64 gun ships, three of 50, and two of 40, with some frigates and sloops. Several of D’Estaing’s ships were of great bulk and weight of metal, one carrying 90, another 80, and six 74 guns each. Had D’Estaing arrived a little sooner, and caught Howe’s fleet in the Delaware, he might easily have captured or destroyed it; and doubtless the land forces of the enemy would have shared the fate of those under Burgoyne at Saratoga.

15 Sandy Hook, in form and extent, has been greatly changed since the time in question. According to a map, in my possession, of the State of New York, published under the direction of Governor Tryon, in 1779, Sandy Hook was a low point, extending northward from the Highlands of Neversink or Navesink. The sandy bar on which the Ocean House, at the mouth of the Neversink River, now stands, forming a sound many miles in extent, was not then in existence; and it was not until the sea made a breach across the neck of Sandy Hook in 1778, that there was a passage within it along the base of the Highlands from the Raritan or Amboy Bay. Now the water is from thirty to forty feet in depth in the main ship channel, immediately above the east beacon on Sandy Hook, quite sufficient to allow ships as heavy as D’Estaing’s to enter.

16 Joseph Spencer was born at East Haddam, in Connecticut, in 1714. He was a major in the colonial army in 1756, and was one of the first eight brigadiers appointed by the Continental Congress in 1775. He was appointed a major general in August, 1776, and in 1777 was in command of the American forces on Rhode Island. After his resignation he was elected a delegate to Congress from his native state. He died at East Haddam in January, 1789, aged seventy-five years.

17 Hildreth, iii., 252.

18 Gordon, ii., 369.

19 General Greene was then the quarter-master general of the Continental army. His prudence, military skill, and the fact that he was a Rhode Islander, induced Washington to dispatch him to that field of operations at that time.

20 These boats were capable of bearing one hundred men each. They were fitted out with great dispatch, and Talbot, who directed the operations, became so wearied by over-exertions, that he slept soundly, for a long time, under one of them, while the hammers of the caulkers, who were at work by candle-light, were rattling over his head. – Tuckerman’s Life of Talbot, p. 47.

21 A ship is said to have the weather-gage when she is at the windward of another vessel. In naval engagements, obtaining the weather-gage is an important desideratum for the contending squadrons.

22 This storm is still spoken of by the older inhabitants of Newport as "the great storm," accounts of which they had received from their parents. So violent was the wind, that the spray was brought by it from the ocean, and incrusted the windows in the town with salt.

23 General Sullivan quartered about five miles from Newport, at what is now called the Gibb’s Farm. La Fayette quartered on the east side of the island, at what was then called the Boiler Garden Farm; and Greene had his quarters in Middletown, on the farm now owned by Colonel Richard K. Randolph. – Ross’s Historical Discourse, page 53.

24 It is asserted that D’Estaing was disliked by his officers, not on account of personal considerations, but from the fact that he had been a land officer, and they considered it an affront that he was placed over them. They therefore cast every impediment in his way, where opportunities were presented in which he might gain personal distinction. In the case in question, all his officers insisted upon his proceeding to Boston, and entered into a formal protest against his remaining at Newport.

25 This protest was signed by John Sullivan, Nathaniel Greene, John Hancock, J. Glover, Ezekiel Cornell, William Whipple, John Tyler, Solomon Lovell, and John Fitzconnel.

26 "The general can not help," said Sullivan, in his orders, "lamenting the sudden and unexpected departure of the French fleet, as he finds it has a tendency to discourage some who placed great dependence upon the assistance of it, though he can by no means suppose the army or any part of it endangered by this movement." Sullivan was doubtless correct in his opinion, intimated in the last clause, that the French alliance was of little advantage to the Americans, as will be hereafter seen. This same Admiral d’Estaing subsequently abandoned the Americans at the South, at a most critical juncture, under pretense that he must seek safe winter quarters, although it was then only in the month of October! The English and Americans were both duped by "his most Christian majesty" of France; and, as I have elsewhere said, a balance-sheet of favors connected with the alliance will show not the least preponderance of service in favor of the French, unless the result of the more vigorous action of the Americans, caused by the hopes of success from that alliance, shall be taken into the account.

27 The three eminences, Butts’s, Quaker, and Turkey Hill, are seen in the picture, the former on the left, its slopes covered with the American tents, Quaker Hill in the center, and Turkey Hill on the right. The house in the fore-ground, on the right, belonged to a Mr. Brindley, now near the site of the residence of Mr. Anthony.

28 The fleet of Lord Howe had on board Sir Henry Clinton, with four thousand troops destined for Rhode Island; but on approaching Newport, and hearing of the retreat of Sullivan (for the fleet did not arrive until the 31st, the day after) and the sailing of the disabled French squadron to Boston, Howe changed his course, and sailed for the latter port, where he arrived on the 1st of September. Perceiving no chance of success in attacking D’Estaing, Howe prudently withdrew, after throwing the town of Boston into the greatest consternation, and, with the disappointed Sir Henry Clinton, sailed for New York. On the way, Clinton ordered his marauding officer, General Grey, to land with the troops at New Bedford, on the west side of the Acushnet River, and proceed to destroy the shipping in the harbor. They landed upon Clark’s Neck, at the mouth of the river, and between six o’clock in the evening on the 5th of September and twelve the next day, destroyed about seventy sail of vessels, many of them prizes taken by American privateers, and several small craft; burned the magazine, wharves, stores, warehouses, vessels on the stocks, all the buildings at M‘Pherson’s wharf, the principal part of the houses at the head of the river, and the mills and houses at Fairhaven, opposite. The amount of property destroyed was estimated at $323,266. Grey and his troops then embarked, and proceeded to Martha’s Vineyard, where they destroyed several vessels, and made a requisition for the militia arms, the public money, three hundred oxen, and ten thousand sheep. The defenseless inhabitants were obliged to comply with the requisition, and the marauders returned to New York with a plentiful supply of provisions for the British army.

29 La Fayette had advised a retreat from Newport six days before. On the 24th he gave his opinion in writing, as follows: "I do not approve of continuing the siege. The time of the militia is out, and they will not longer sacrifice their private interests to the common cause. A retreat is the wisest step." Writing to Washington after the retreat, he expressed his mortification, and said, "That there has been an action fought where I could have been, and was not, will seem as extraordinary to you as it seems to myself." He arrived while the army was retreating, and brought off the rear guard and pickets in the best manner. His feelings were soothed by the resolutions of Congress, adopted on the 19th of September, thanking General Sullivan and those under his command for their conduct in the action and retreat, and specially requesting the president to inform the marquis of their due sense of his personal sacrifice in going to Boston, and his gallantry in conducting the pickets and out-sentries in the evacuation. – Journals of Congress, iv., 378.

30 Gordon, ii., 376.

31 Washington, in a letter to Brigadier-general Nelson of Virginia, written on the 20th of August, says: "It is not a little pleasing nor less wonderful to contemplate that, after two years’ maneuvering, and undergoing the strangest vicissitudes that perhaps ever attended any one contest since the creation, both armies are brought back to the very point they set out from, and that the offending party in the beginning is now reduced to the use of the spade and pickaxes for defense. The hand of Providence has been so conspicuous in all this, that he must be worse than an infidel that lacks faith, and more wicked, that has not gratitude enough to acknowledge his obligations." – Sparks’s Life and Writings of Washington, vi., 36.

32 This tree stands, solitary and peerless, within a few, rods of the water. It is upon the land of Mr. Thomas R. Hazzard, and between his fine mansion and the river. It is thirty-two feet in circumference within twelve inches of the ground. It is yet vigorous, though storms have riven some of its topmost branches. When I made the sketch it was leafless, the autumn winds having defoliated it.

33 This was the severest winter ever experienced in America. Narraganset Bay was frozen over; and the reader will remember the fact already mentioned, that the Bay of New York was so firmly bridged that troops and heavy field-pieces crossed from the city to Staten Island. The British having destroyed the trees on Rhode Island, fuel was very scarce. It was sold in Newport for twenty dollars a cord. Food, also, was very scarce; corn sold at four silver dollars a bushel, and potatoes at two dollars. A tax of ten thousand dollars was levied for the relief of the poor, and Tiverton and neighboring towns contributed generously to their aid. – Ross’s Historical Discourse, p. 59.

34 During the occupation of the island by the British, after the retreat of Sullivan, Gates was in constant receipt of intelligence respecting the movements of the enemy, by means of secret letters and a sort of telegraphic communication. Lieutenant Seth Chapin employed a woman, residing in Newport, to write down every thing of importance, and conceal the letter in a hole in a certain rock. By setting up poles, as if to dry clothes, and by other signals agreed upon, the lieutenant was informed of the presence of a letter in the secret post-office, and of perfect safety in coming to receive it. He would then row across from the opposite shore of Little Compton, get the packet, and send it off to Gates. After the evacuation, the lieutenant end his aids received one thousand five hundred dollars, Continental money, for their services, the whole amount being worth then only about seventy dollars in specie.

35 Everett’s Eulogy on La Fayette.

36 At the request of Count de Vergennes, La Fayette drew up a statement containing a detailed plan of the proposed expedition. It is a paper of great interest, and exhibits genius of the highest order, of which a general of threescore might be proud. The number and disposition of the troops, the character of the officers proper to accompany them, the appointments of the fleet and army, the time of embarkation, proper place for landing, and the probable service to which the fleet and army would be called, were all laid out with a minuteness and clearness of detail which seemed to indicate almost an intuitive knowledge of the future. The whole expedition was arranged in accordance with the plan of the marquis.

37 This arrangement was conceived by La Fayette, and he made it a fundamental point. Not content with soliciting troops for America, La Fayette requested large supplies of clothing, guns, and ammunition for the Republican army. They were promised, but only a part were sent. Such was the importunity of La Fayette, and such the disinterested enthusiasm with which he represented the wants and claims of his Republican friends, that the old Count Maurepas, who was then prime minister, said one day in the Council, "It is fortunate for the king that La Fayette does not take it into his head to strip Versailles of its furniture, to send to his dear Americans, as his majesty would be unable to refuse it." La Fayette purchased, on his own account, a large quantity of swords and other military equipages, which he brought with him and presented to the officers of the light infantry whom he commanded during the campaign. – See Appendix to vol. vii. of Sparks’s Life and Writings of Washington, where will be found interesting documents relating to this expedition.

38 Journals of Congress, vi., 49. While in France, La Fayette was presented with an elegant sword, prepared there under the directions of Franklin, by order of Congress. Franklin sent it to the marquis from Passy, by his grandson. An account of this sword, and drawings will be found on page 119, vol. ii.

39 Journals of Congress, vi., 50, 51.

40 The fleet consisted of two ships of eighty guns each, one of seventy-four, four of sixty-four, two frigates of forty, a cutter of twenty, a hospital-ship, pierced for sixty-four, a bomb-ship, and thirty-two transports. The land forces consisted of four regiments, a battalion of artillery, and the legion of the Duke de Lauzun, amounting in all to about six thousand men.

41 Thacher, p. 200. Gordon, iii., 65.

42 It is believed that Newport furnished more seamen for the naval service of the United States during the Revolution than any other port on the continent, except Boston. At least one thousand men were shipped for service in the navy from that port, one half of whom fell into the hands of the enemy and died in prison-ships. The naval commanders in the war who belonged to Rhode Island were John Grimes, Benjamin Pierce, Joseph Gardiner, William Dennis, James Godfred, Remembrance Simmons, Thomas Stacy, Oliver Read, Captain Bently, Samuel Jeffers, John Coggeshall, William Finch, Captain Jaques, James Phillips, Ezekiel Burroughs, John Murphy, Isaac Frabor, William Ladd, Joseph Sheffield, and Captain Gazzee. These either sailed from Newport previous to its possession by the enemy, or subsequently from other ports of New England. – Ross, page 62. Silas Talbot, also, belonged to Rhode Island.

43 I copied this and the annexed marks of Philip’s chief captains, from an original mortgage given by the sachem, to Constant Southworth, on land four miles square, lying south of Taunton. The mortgage is dated October 1, 1672. It was drawn up by Thomas Leonard, and is signed by himself, Constant Southworth, and Hugh Cole. It was acknowledged before, and signed by, John Alden. * This interesting document is in the possession of that intelligent antiquary, S. G. Drake, Esq., of Boston, to whose kindness I am indebted for these signatures.

No. 1 is the sign of MUNASHUM, alias NIMROD; No. 2, of WONCKOMPAWHAN; No. 3, of Captain ANNAWAN, the "next man to Philip," or his chief warrior.

* Alden was a passenger in the May Flower, and one of the immortal FORTY-ONE who signed the instrument of civil government, given on pages 437 and 438, vol. i, of this work, where also is the signature of Southworth.

44 Bancroft and Hildreth say nephew. Earlier historians disagree. Prince and Trumbull say he was grandson to Massasoit, and Hutchinson and Belknap call him his son. Governor Prince, it is said, named Alexander and Philip after the great Macedonians, in compliment to Massasoit, indicating his idea of their character as warriors. They were doubtless sons of Massasoit.

45 The number of Indians in New England at that time has been variously estimated. Dr. Trumbull, in his History of the United States (i., 36), supposes that there were thirty-six thousand in all, one third of whom were warriors. Hutchinson (i., 406) estimates the fighting men of the Narragansets alone at two thousand. Hinckley says the number of Indians in Plymouth county in 1685, ten years after Philip’s war, was four thousand. Church, in his History of King Philip’s War, published in Boston in 1716, estimated the number of Indian warriors in New England, in the commencement of that war, at ten thousand. Bancroft (ii., 94) says there were probably fifty thousand whites and hardly twenty-five thousand Indians in New England, west of the Piscataqua; while east of that stream, in Maine, were about four thousand whites and more than that number of red men.

46 John Eliot, usually called the Apostle of the Indians, was minister of Roxbury, Massachusetts. He was born in Essex county, England, in 1604, and came to America in 1631. Educated thoroughly at Cambridge University, he soon obtained great influence among the settlers. Touched by the ignorance of the Indians respecting spiritual things, his heart yearned to do them good, and for many years he labored assiduously among them, with great success. He founded, at Natick, the first Indian church in America, in 1660. The next year he published the New Testament in the Indian language, and in a few years the whole Bible and other books. He died May 20th, 1690, aged about eighty-six. The venerable apostle was buried in the Ministers’ Tomb, * in the first burying-ground at Roxbury, which is situated on the east side of the great avenue across the Neck to Boston. The residence of Eliot was opposite the house of Governor Thomas Dudley, on the other side of the brook. Dudley’s mansion was taken down in 1775, and a redoubt was erected upon the spot. The site is now occupied by the Universalist church. Reverend Dr. Putnam, of Roxbury, is the fifth pastoral successor of the apostle in the first church. The remains of his predecessors all lie in the Ministers’ Tomb. The commissioners of the Forest Hills Cemetery have designated the heights on its western border as the Eliot Hills, and there the citizens of Roxbury are about to erect a beautiful monument to the memory of the apostle.

DANIEL GOOKIN, whose signature is given above, was the friend of, and a zealous co-worker with, Mr. Eliot. He came to Virginia, from England, in 1621. He went to Massachusetts with his family in 1644, and settled in Cambridge. He was soon called to fill civil and military offices, and in 1652 was appointed superintendent of the Indians. This office he held until his death, in 1687, at the age of seventy-five years. Gookin wrote an historical account of the New England Indians, and was the firm friend of the red man through life. His remains are in the old burying-ground at Cambridge. Lieutenant Gookin of our Revolutionary army was his lineal descendant.

* In 1724-5, a citizen of Roxbury, named William Bowen, was made prisoner by the Turks. The people of his town raised a sum of money sufficient for his ransom. Before it could be applied they received intelligence of his death, The money was then appropriated to the building of a tomb for the ministers of the church.

47 Bancroft, ii., 94.

48 In 1671, Philip was suspected of secret plottings against the English, and, notwithstanding his asseverations to the contrary, was ordered to give up his fire-arms to the whites. This was a fortunate occurrence for the English; for, had the Indians possessed those arms in the war that ensued, their defeat would have been doubtful.

49 Bancroft, ii., 101.

50 Cotton Mather, in his Magnalia, ii., 486, says, "Yea, and now we speak of things ominous, we may add, some time before this [the execution of three Indians for the murder of Sassamon], in a clear, still, sunshiny morning, there were divers persons in Malden who heard in the air, on the southeast of them, a great gun go off, and presently thereupon the report of small guns, like musket shot, very thick discharging, as if there had been a battle. This was at a time when there was nothing visible done in any part of the Colony to occasion such noises; but that which most of all astonished them was the flying of bullets, which came singing over their heads [beetles? See page 574, vol. i.], and seemed very near to them; after which the sound of drums, passing along westward, was very audible; and on the same day, in Plymouth colony, in several places, invisible troops of horse were heard riding to and fro." No credence is to be attached to this book of Mather’s.

51 See page 420, of this vol.

52 The fort was situated upon an island containing four or five acres, imbosomed in a swamp. The island was encompassed by high and strong palisades, with abatis outside, and there three thousand of the Narragansets were collected to pass the winter. This swamp is a short distance southwest of Kingston village, in the township of Kingston, Washington county, Rhode Island. The Stonington and Providence rail-way passes along the northern verge of the swamp.

53 Bancroft, ii., 105.

54 Benjamin Church was born at Duxbury, in 1639. He was the first white settler at Seaconnet, or Little Compton. He was the most active and noted combatant of the Indians during King Philip’s war, and when Philip was slain, Church cut off his head with his own hands. The sword with which he performed the act is in the cabinet of the Massachusetts Historical Society (see page 562, ante). In 1689, Church was commissioned by President Hinckley, of Plymouth, and the governors of Maine and Massachusetts, commander-in-chief of a force sent against the Eastern Indians. He continued making expeditions against them until 1704. In his old age he was corpulent. A fall from his horse was the cause of his death, which occurred at Little Compton, January 17, 1718, at the age of seventy-seven years. Under his direction his son prepared a history of the Indian wars, which was published in 1716.

55 The disposal of this child was a subject of much deliberation. Several of the elders were urgent to put him to death. It was finally resolved to be merciful, and send him to Bermuda, to be sold into slavery. Such was the fate of many Indians, a fate to them worse than death. During the war the government of Plymouth gave thirty shillings for every head of an Indian killed in battle, and Philip’s brought the same price. Their living bodies brought a high price in Bermuda, and probably more living Indian heads went thither than dead ones to the market at Plymouth. Witamo, the squaw sachem of Pocasset, shared in the disasters of Philip. She was drowned while crossing a river in her flight. Her body was recovered, and the head cut off and stuck upon a pole at Taunton, amid the jeers of the whites and the tears of the captive Indians. The body of Philip was beheaded and quartered, according to the sentence of the English law against traitors. One of his hands was given to the Indian who had shot him, and on the day appointed for a public thanksgiving, his head was carried in triumph into Plymouth. What a mockery of Christianity! Men, guilty of gross injustice to a race that had befriended them, lifting their hands toward heaven reeking with the blood of those they had injured, and singing Te Deum Laudamus, or praising God for his providential care! No Providence for the poor Indian, because he had neither cunning, skill, nor gunpowder!

56 Bancroft, ii., 108, 109.

57 See Tuckerman’s Life of Talbot; Journals of Congress, iv., 471.



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