Copyright
Benson John Lossing.

The pictorial field-book of the revolution ; or, illustrations, by pen and pencil, of the history, biography, scenery, relics, and traditions of the war for independence online

. (page 165 of 189)
Online LibraryBenson John LossingThe pictorial field-book of the revolution ; or, illustrations, by pen and pencil, of the history, biography, scenery, relics, and traditions of the war for independence → online text (page 165 of 189)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


of live oaks, draped with moss, to view the ruins of the magazines and officers' quarters,
among thick shrubbery and tangled vines near the banks of the river, about four miles above
the city. A little to the northwest of these ruins is an ancient burial-ground, on the verge
of a deep morass. The tall trees, pendent moss, silent ruins, and deep shadows of night fast
hovering over the scene, gave the place a tinge of romance, thrilling and sad. On our way
to this interesting spot we turned aside, about a mile and a half nearer the town, to view
a venerable and lordly magnolia, under whose spreading branches tradition avers Gen-
eral Lincoln held a council of officers during the siege in 1780. Incredible as it may ap-

him his aid, loved him as a child. He declared that he could discover no fault in him, nnless it was in-
trepidity, bordering on rashness. " Poor Laurens," wrote Greene, ** has fallen in a paltry little skirmish.
Yoa knew his temper, and I predicted his fate. The love of military glory made him seek it apon occa-
sions unworthy bis rank. The state will feel his loss." He was bqpried upon the plantation of Mrs. Stocky
in i^hose family he spent the evening previous to his death in cheerful conversation. A small inclosure,
without a stone, marks his grave.

^ Captain Wilmot, a brave young officer, who commanded a company detailed for the purpose of cov-
ering John^s Island, impatient of inaction, often crossed the river to harass British foraging parties on the
island. While engaged in one of these excursions, in company with Kosciuszko, he fell into an ambus«
cade and was killed. This occurred in September, 1782, and was, it is believed, the last life sacrificed in
battle.

' Preparatory to the evacuation, commissioners were appointed to make arrangements to prevent the
carrying away of slaves on the departure of the British. All was made satisfactory ; but the promises of
the enemy were shamefully violated. Moultrie says that more than eight hundred slaves, employed on
the works in the city, were sent to the West Indies and sold. It has been estimated that between the
years 1775 and 1783 the state of South Carolina was robbed of twenty-five thousand negroes, valued at
about twelve million five hundred thousand dollars.



Digitized by



Google



780 PICTORIAL FIELD-BOOK

Dttti iictkm of the " Coancfl Tne." Departon from CharlMtoo. WUmfaigton. Britiih Oocopation then.

pear, the o¥mer of the land, and of the house shaded hy the tree wherein he and his mother
were horn, had just felled it for fire-wood. Instead of being its destroyer, who, in like eir-
oomstanoes, would not have been its defender ? and when rude hands were laid upon it, would
not have exclaimed,

*^ Woodman, spare that tree I
Touch not a single bough !
In youth it sheltered me,

And ni protect it now.
'Twas my forefather's hand

That placed it near his cot ;
There, woodman, let it stand.
Thy ax shall harm it not 1 " — Morris.

I sketched the venerable house near by, the property of Col-
onel William Cummington during the Revolution, and mark-
ing the position of the stump of the magnolia, preserved for
Tia couwcn. Tmra. posterity a sketch of what tradition calls the Council Tree,

with its surroundings.

It was on the bright and balmy day of my departure that I visited Sullivan's Island, and
made the sketch printed on page 757. From thence I crossed over to HaddrelFs Point
(now Point Pleasant), and aAer passing an hour there, where so many of the brave patriots
of South Carolina suffered a long imprisonment, I returned by steam-boat to the city.
There are no remains of Revolutionary fortifications at Point Pleasant, and it is now famous
in the minds of the citizens of Charleston only as a delightful summer resort.

At three o'clock in the afternoon I lefl Charleston for home, in a steam-packet bound to
Wilmington, bearing with me many mementoes of the war for independence at the South,
and filled with pleasing recollections of a journey of several weeks among the inhabitants
of that sunny land where I had enjoyed the hospitality and kindness of true Republicans,
keenly alive to the reflected glory of their patriot fathers, and devotedly attached to the free
institutions of our common country, the fruits of a happy union.

The waters of the harbor were unruffled by a breeze, and I anticipated a delightful voyage
to the Cape Fear ; but as the city and fortifications receded, and we crossed the bar to the
broad bosom of the Atlantic, we found it heaving with long, silent undulations, the eflTects
of the subsiding anger of a storm. Sea-sickness came upon me, and I went supperless to
my berth, where I remained until we were fairly within the mouth of the Cape Fear, at
Smith's Island, on the following morning. The low wooded shores of Carolina approached
nearer and nearer, and at eight o'clock we landed at the ancient town of Wilmington, on
the eastern side of the Cape Fear.

I contemplated spending a day at Wilmington, but circumstances requiring me to hasten
homeward, I was there only during the hour while waiting for the starting of the rail-way
oars for the North. I had but little opportunity to view the town, where Republicanism
was most rife on the sea-board of North Carolina before and during the Revolution ; but by
the kindness of friends there, especially of Edward Kidder, Esq., I am enabled to give, tra-
ditionally and pictorially all that I could have possibly obtained by a protracted visit
Already I have noticed many stirring events here during the earlier years of the war ; it
now remains for me to notice only the British occupation.

When, toward the close of 1780, Corn-
wallis prepared to move from his encamp- / /TV >/ ^^

ment at Winnsborough, toward North
Carolina, he directed Colonel Balfour, at
Charleston, to dispatch a sufficient force
to take possession of Wilmington, that he
might have a sea-port for supplies, while ^

in that state. Major James H. Craig (who
was governor general of Canada in 1807) was sent with four hundred regulars to perform




Digitized by



Google



OF THE REVOLUTION. 78J

Crdg at WibnlngUm. Hii Flight Joorney Homeward. Anira] in New York.

that service. He took possession of the town without much resistance, toward the close of
January, 1781. He immediately fortified himself, using the Episcopal church, a strong hrick
edifice (of the front of which the engraving is a correct view), for a
citadel. Craig held undisturbed possession of Wilmington until the
arrival of Cornwallis, on the seventh of April, after his battle with
Greene, at Guilford. He remained in Wilmington, with his shattered
army,eighteen days, to recruit and to determine upon his future course.
^ His residence was on the comer of Market and Third Streets, now
(1 862) the dwelling of Doctor T. H. Wright. Apprised of Greene's
CRimoH. march toward Camden, and hoping to draw him away from Rawdon,

then encamped there, Cornwallis marched into Virginia, and joined the forces of Arnold and
Phillips at Petersburg. The subsequent movements of
the earl, until his surrender at Yorktown, have been de-
tailed in former chapters.

- Major Craig held possession of Wilmington until the
autumn of 1781, when, informed of the surrender of Corn-
wallis, and the approach of St. Clair on his way to join
Greene, he abandoned Wilmington and fied to Charleston.
This was the only post in North Carolina held by the

British, and with the flight of Craig all military operations i;oaNWAu.i8'« UxAv-vjAMrm.*
ceased within its borders.*

The rail- way from Wilmington to Weldon, on the Roanoke, a distance of one hundred
and sixty-two miles, passes through a level pine region, where little business is done, except
gathering of turpentine and the manufacture of tar. It was a dreary day's ride, for on
every side were interminable pine forests, dotted with swamps and traversed by numerous
streams, all running coastward. We crossed the Neuse at Goldsborough, eighty-fiv^ miles
north of Wilmington, and the Tar at Rocky Mount, forty miles further. At sunset We
passed Halifax,* near the falls of the Roanoke, and arrived at Weldon at dark. The morn-
ing was uncomfortably warm ; the evening was damp and chilly ; and when we arrived at
Richmond the next morning, two hundred and forty miles north of Wilmington, a cold rain
was falling, and every thing was incrusted with ice. I tarried a day at Richmond, another
at Washington City, and on the fourth of February^ I sat by my own fireside in the
city of New York, after an absence of about eleven weeks, and a journey of almost
three thousand miles. There my long and interesting tour ended, exoept an occasional
"journey of a day" to some hallowed spot in its vicinity. Gt>d, in his providence, dealt
kindly with me, in all that bng and devious travel, for I did not snflTer sickness for an hour,
and no accident befell me on the way.

^ This church was demolished in 1841, and upon its site a new Protestant Episcopal ohoroh now stands.

* This is from a pencil sketch, by Mr. Charles Burr, of Wilmington.

' At Elizabeth, higher np on the Cape Fear, in Bladen county, quite a severe battle was fought in Jaly,
1781, between a few refugee Whigs, under Colonel Thomas Brown, and a body of Tories. The Whigs
forded the Cape Fear after dark, and before midnight were in deadly oonflict with the Tories. The sur-
prise was complete, and the victory quite easy. This bold act crushed Tory ascendency in that section
of the state. I received from the venerable Dr. De Rosset, of Wihnington, an interesting account of a
gallant affair on the part of the Americans at a place called ^* The Oaks," near Wilmington, in which he,
though a lad, participated. I regret the want of space that precludes the possibility of giving the narra-
tive here. Like many other sim^r details, the local historian must make the record. Dr. De Roeset it
a son, I believe, of the mayor of that name mentioned on page 568. I have also received (too late for in-
sertion), from the venerable A. M. Hooper, of Crawford, Alabama, an interesting sketch of the public life
of William Hill, an active patriot of Cape Fear, of whom Josiah Quinoy in his journal (1773), said "though
a crown officer, a man replete with sentiments of general liberty, and warmly attached to the cause of
American freedom."

* Here the Provincial Congress of North Carolina met on the fourth of April, 1776, and took precedence
of all similar assemblies in action favorable to independence. It was at Halifax that Cornwallis crossed
the Roanoke (see page 547), while on his march to Virginia, in May, 1781.



Digitized by



Google



782 PICTORIAL FIELD-BOOK

New York tnd Us AMocUtiont. Firit Settlement on Manhattan bland. Dutch West India Compaaj.



CHAPTER XXX.

' Hail, mighty city I High must be his fame

Who round thy bounds at sunrise now should wmlk ;^
Still wert thou lovely, whatsoe'r thy name,

New Amsterdam, New Orange, or New York ;
Whether in cradle sleep in sea-weed laid,

Or on thine island throne in queenly power arrayed."

Mas. SioouKifiY.

ISTORICAL associations of the deepest interest, colonial and revolution-
ary, cluster around the city of New York and its immediate vicinity.
Here was planted one of the earliest of the European settlements in the
New World ; and during the march of progress for more than a ^
century and a half, from the advent of the Half Moon^ before Man-
. hattan, until the departure of the last vestige of foreign dominion from its
shores, h the events of its history bear important relations to the gen- ^^
eral structure of our republic. Here, when the colonies lifted the
strong arm of resistance against an unnatural mother, the military power of the latter first
raised a permanent standard. Here was the central point of that power during almost the
entire period of the conflict which ensued ; and here it lingered longest when the conflict
was eftded. Here the last great act of the drama of the Revolution was performed, when
the first President of the United States was inaugurated, and the machinery of our Federal
government was put in motion. Liberty in America was bom at Plymouth, cradled in
Boston, and baptized in Philadelphia ; in New York it was inaugurated Pontifex Max*-
muSt and its Liturgy — ^the Constitution — accepted as the expression of the common senti-
ment of a free people.

Volumes have been written concerning the colonial history of New York ; I shall devote
only a few pages to the same theme, in addition to that which has already been given in
this work. We have glanced at colonial and revolutionary events north of the Hudson
Highlands ; let us now open the chronicles of the city and vicinity.

A few months af^er the return of Henry Hudson to Europe, with intelligence of his dis-
covery of the beautiful island of Manhattan* and the river bearing his name, some Dutch
traders sailed up the bay and planted their tents near the spot where now flourish the
stately trees of the Battery. Hudson, being in the employment of the Dutch East India
Company t the States General of Holland claimed political and territorial jurisdiction over
a vast extent of country more than that watered by the river discovered by Hudson. Ship
followed ship with adventurers from Holland, and as deep in the wilderness as Albany they
planted trading stations. A Dutch West India Company was formed,^ clothed
with all the elementary powers of government, and furnished with a charter giving
them territorial dominion over the shores of two continents, without the least regard to the

* While the Dutch possessed the city, after its recapture in 1 673, it was the duty of the mayor to walk
round the city every morning at sunrise, unlock all the gates, and then give the keys to the commander
of the fort. The walls or palisades extended from the East River, across Broadway to the comer of Grace
and Lumber Streets, along the line of the present Wall Street. From the most westerly point, they con-
tinued along the brow of the high bank of the Hudson to the fort, near the present Battery.

* According to Heckewelder, this Indian word signifies place of drunkennett^ a name given to the spot
fourscore years before, when Verrazani landed there, and at a council of the natives gave them strong
liquor and made them drunk. The place and the local tribe were afterward called Manhattan and Man-
hattans.



Digitized by



Google



OF THE REVOLUTION.



783



The Patroon Syitam.



OoTernment EsUbllahed.



Trade of Uie People.



OoTemor StnyveMOt.



existing settlements of the English, Spanish, and Portuguese. The history of this company
is instructive, hut we must forbear.

A new system was adopted in 1629. Patroons came,' and women and children were
brought to form the basis of a permanent colony. The new domain was called New Neth-
erlands, and the settlement on Manhattan, the germ of the present city of New York, was
named New Amsterdam. The chief trade of the people was in the skins of the bear, otter,
and raccoon ; and soon the New Englanders complained that Dutch trappers were seen even
as far eastward as Narraganset Bay. Tales of the beauty and fertility of the New World
were poured into the ears of the Dutch and Germans. Their neighbors, the Swedes, caught
the whisper, came over the sea, and seated themselves upon the banks of the Delaware.
Jealousy begat feuds, and feuds engendered conflicts, and Christian people spilled each others
blood in the sight of the heathen.

When government for the new colony was ordained, Peter Minuits was sent as director



• 162S.



general, &* and during his ad-
ministration, and that
of his successors. Van
Twiller and Kief^, the settle-
noents increased, yet trouble
with the Swedes and Indians
abounded.* The governors
were weak men, as states-
men, and possessed no mili-
tary talent. Not so the suc-
cessor of Kieft, Petrus Stuy-
vesant, a military command-
er of renown ; a man of dig-
nity, honest and
true. He concil-
iated the Indians ;*
made honorable
treaties respecting
boundaries with



bl655.




necticut, and by a prompt-
ly executed military expedi-
tion, b he crushed the
rising power of the
Swedes on the Delaware,*
and warned Lord Baltimore
not to attempt an extension
of his boundary line too far
northward. Yet, with all
his virtues, Stuyvesant was
an aristocrat. His education
and pursuit made him so ;
and wherever the feeble plant
of democracy,
which now began
to spring up in
New Amsterdam,
lifted its petals, he
planted the heel
3f arbitrary power



the people of Con-

upon it. Watered by Van der Donck, and a few Puritans who had strayed into the Dutch
domain, it flourished, nevertheless, and at length it bore fruit. Two deputies from each
village in New Netherlands, chosen by the people, met in council in New Am- cNoTcmber,
sterdamc, without the governor's permission. This first popular assembly ofiended '^^'
the chief magistrate, and for ^Ye years animosity was allowed to fester in the public mind,
while Stuyvesant opposed the manifest will of the people. They finally resisted taxes,
scorned his menaces, and even expressed a willingness to bear English rule for the sake of
enjoying English liberty.

^ See vol. i., p. 391. The chief patroont, or patrons^ -who first oame, were Killian van Rensselaer,
Samuel Godyn, Samuel Bloemart, and M iohael Paw. Godyn and Bloemart purchased lands on the Dela*
ware, Van Rensselaer at Albany, and Paw in New Jersey, from Hoboken to the Kills. Livingston, Phil-
lipse, Van Cortlaod, and others, oame afterward.

* This year a company of Walloons came from Holland and settled npon the land around the present
Navy Yard at Brooklyn. There, on the seventh of June, Sarah Rapelje, the first white child born in New
Netherlands, made her advent.

' Dishonest traders changed friendly Indians to deadly foes. Conflicts ensued, and, to cap the climax of
iniquity, Kieft caused scores of men, women, and children, who had asked his protection against the Mo-
hawks, to be murdered at midnight, on the banks of the Hudson, at Hoboken. This act awakened the
fierce ire of the tribes far in the wilderness, and caused the settlers vast and complicated trouble.

4 Because of his honorable treatment of the natives, and their attachment to him, the New Englanders
charged him with a design to exterminate the English by Indian instrumentality.

* See vol. i., page 386.



Digitized by



Google



784 PICTORIAL FIELD-BOOK

New Netherlands Mixed by the Eni^kh. Ditappointment of the People. Governor Stayretant New Jeraey.

A crisis approached. Charles the Second, without any pretense to title, gave the terri-
tory of New Netherlands to his brother James, duke of York.^ The duke sent
'an English squadron under Richard Nicolls to secure the gif^, and on the third
of September, 1664, the red cross of St. George floated in triumph over the fort, and the
name of New Amsterdam was changed to New York.^ It was an easy conquest, for the
people were not unwilling. Stuyvesant began to make concessions when it was too late,
and his real strength, the will of the people, had departed from him. Although they dis-
liked him as a ruler, they loved him as a man, and in his retirement upon his Bowerie
farm,* near the city, he passed the remainder of his days in quiet, honored and respected
by all.

Nicolls, the conqueror, assumed the functions of governor.' He changed the form of
laws, but the despotic zpirit remained. The people were disappointed, and felt that they
had only changed one tyranny for another. Nicolls filled his pockets from the people's
purses, departed, and was succeeded by Francis Lovelace, who developed new schemes of
taxation, that the people should *' have liberty for no thought," as he expressed it, ** but
how to discharge them." The people did think of something else, and were on the verge
of open rebellion, when the clouds of national war overshadowed local difficulties. England
and Holland were at variance, and in July, 1673, a Dutch squadron sailed up the Bay of
New York, and, without firing a shot, took possession of the fort and town. The easy eon-

^ The fort was bailt of Holland brick, and wat finished in 1635. It stood on high ground on the site
of the row of brick houses southeast of the Bowling Green, and was capaoious enough to contain the gofr-
amor's house, a small church, and to aooommodate three hundred soldiers. It was called Fort Amster-
dam. On its surrender to the English, it was called Fort James ; during the Dutch occupation again,
in 1673, it was called Fort William Hendrick; then again Fort James; on the accession of WiJliam
and Mary, it was called Fort Orange ; and finally, it was named Fort Oeorge, when Anne, who married
Prince George of Denmark, asoended the English throne. It retained that name until it was demolished in
1790-91.

' Governor Stuyvesant retired from active life af^er the surrender to the English, and lived in quiet dig-
nity upon his " Bowerie" estate, a short distance from the city, during the remainder of his life.* Stuy-
vesant was a native of Holland, born in 1602, and was forty-five years of age when he came to role New
Netherlands. Soon after his arrival, he married Judith Bayard, daughter of a Huguenot, by whom be had
two sons. Afler the capture by the English, he went to Holland (1665) to report to his superiors, and this
was his last ocean voyage. With his little family he enjoyed the repose of agricultural pursflits, within
sight of the smoke of the city, which curled above the tree-tops along the " Bowerie Lane." Upon his
farm (on the site of the present Church of St. Mark's), he built a chapel, at his own expense, and d^icated
it to the worship of God according to the rituals of the Reformed Dutch Church. He lived eighteen yean
after the change in the government, and at his death was buried in his vault within the chapel. Over hit
remains was placed a shub (which may still be seen in the eastern wall of St. Mark's), with the following
inscription : ^* In this vault lies buried Pbtrus Stuyvesant, late captain general and commander-in-chief
of Amsterdam, in New Netherlands, now called New York, and the Dutch West India Islands. Died in
August, A.D. 1682, aged eighty years."

' The dismemberment of the New Netherlands speedily folk>wed the English Conquest. James sold to
Lord Berkeley and Sir George Carteret, the domains included within the present limits of New Jersey.
Many privileges were offered to settlers, and the new province flourished. Berkeley finally sold his moiety
to a party of Quakers, among whom was William Penn. The province was divided into East and West
Jersey. The latter was assigned to the Quakers. In 1682, the heirs of Carteret sold his share to Quakers,
among whom, again, was William Penn, and all the territory became an asylum for the persecuted. The
ownership of the Jerseys proved a bad speculation, and in 1702 the proprietors surrendered them to the
crown. They were united, and for a while were under the jurisdiction of the governor of New York, yet
having a distinct Legislative Assembly. New Jersey was separated from New York in 1738, and re-
mained a distinct province until she assumed the position of a sovereign state in 1776.

* Governor Stnyresant^i houae wu baOt of small yellow brick, imported fhnn HoUimd, and stood near
the present 8t Mark's church, between the Second and Third Avenues. I saw his well in 1851, in a vacant
lot between Eleventh and Twelfth Streets, nearly on a line with the rear of St Mark's. A fine brick build-
ing now (1852) covers the spot A pear-tree, imported from Holland in 1647, by Stuyvesant and planted
in his garden, yet flourishes on the comer of Thirteenth Street and Third Avenue, the only living relic
which preserves the memory of the renowned Dutch governor. I saw it in May, 1853, white with blos-
soms, a patriarch two hundred and five years of age, standing in the riiidst of strangers, crowned with
the hoary honors of age and cloaCered with w(»derfol associations. An iron railing protects it, and it may
survive a century longer. Pkab-texs.




Digitized by



Google



OF THE REVOLUTION. 785




L«Uler Chief Magistrate. Uia Peraecation and Death. Suppreasion of Piracy. Captain Kidd.

quest was the work of treason, yet, as the royal libertine on the throne of England doubt-
less shared in the bribe, the traitor went unpunished. New Jersey and the settlements on
the Delaware yielded, and for a short period (from July, 1 673, until November, 1 674) New
York was again New Netherlands.'

During the period of twenty-four years from the English Conquest, until the Revolution,
when James was driven from the throne, democratic ideas rapidly expanded, and



Online LibraryBenson John LossingThe pictorial field-book of the revolution ; or, illustrations, by pen and pencil, of the history, biography, scenery, relics, and traditions of the war for independence → online text (page 165 of 189)