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 169 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 169 of 189)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

ed almost to the Vauxhall (see page 788) at the comer of Warren and Greenwich Streets. On Greenwich, between Franklin and
Nordi Moore Streets, was the *' Air-ftimace" and " Brew-house." The former was fortified, and from it a line of intrenchments
extended northeast to the north part of the present St John's Park, overlooking Lispenard's Meadows. On the river bank, in
ftont of the "Brew-house," was a circular work called the Orenadier*§ Battery, with three twelve-pounders and two mortars
From it a line of brcas^works extended along the river to Hubert Street From that point close along the west side of Green-
wich Street was a line of breas^works, extending to Desbrosses Street Where Watt Street crosses Greenwich was another
snudl breas^work ; at the foot of King Street was another; and firom the foot of Clarksoa to Barrow was another. Upon the
high ground known until within a few years as Richmond Hill, there was quite an extensive line of fortifications, which com-
manded the river, and the Greenwich and Broadway roads. This line commenced near the Junction of Spring and M'Dougal
Streets, and, sweeping around near Houston and Hammersley, ended at Varick, near King Street On the west side of Broad-
way, near Houston Street was an eminence on v^ich works were erected ; and directly east of them, between Broadway and
the Bowery, were four small breast- works, a few rods apart East of the Bowery, at the intersection of Forsyth and Delancey

Digitized by



Wuhington*8 Conference with CongreM. Preparation for the Defenae of New York. Landing of Britiah Troopa.

close of May, « he left the troops in command of General Putnam, while he hastened

to Philadelphia to confer with Congress respect-
ing the general defense of the colonies. The wicked
bargain of Great Britain with the German princes for
their men was now known, and it was believed that
New York was the point where the mercenary vultures
would probably strike their first blow. To that point the
eyes of all America were now turned. Congress author-
ized a re-enforcement of thirteen thousand eight hundred
militia, to be drawn from New England, New York,* and
New Jersey, and provided for the establishment of a flying
camp of ten thousand men, to be formed of militia from
Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Maryland. The latter
were to rendezvous at Amboy, and the accomplished
General Mercer was appointed to the command. Gen-
eral Greene took post at Brooklyn, and superintended the WABHXNOTON'a HsAo-quAaTKBa.3
b June 7 P''®P*'^***°'* ^^ defenses there. On his return,** Washington went to the upper end of

the island, and personally aided in the surveys and the arrangement of the plan of Fort
Washington and its outworks.

General Howe, who went to Halifax from Boston, arrived at Sandy Hook on the twenty-

c 1776 "*"^^ °^ June.c with ships and transports bearing his recruited army, where he was

visited by Governor Tryon. On the eighth of July he landed nine thousand men upon

Staten Island,* and there awaited the arrival of his brother. Admiral Howe, with English

* John Morin Scott was appointed to the command of the New York troops, with the commission of a

' I was informed by the venerable Anna van Antwerp,* aboat a fortnight before her death, in the an-
tamn of 1851, that Washington made his head-quarters, on first entering the city, at the spacious house
(half of which is yet standing at 180 Pearl Street, opposite Cedar Street), delineated in the engraving.
The large window, with an arch, toward the right, indicates the center of the original building. It is of
brick, stuccoed, and roofed with tiles. There Washington remained until summoned to visit Congress at
Philadelphia, toward the last of May. On his return, he went to the Kennedy House, No. 1 Broadway,
where he remained until the evacuation in September.

' The main body of Howe^s troops landed near the present quarantine ground, and encamped upon the
Jills in the vicinity. The fleet had anchored off Vanderventer^s point (the telegraph station at the Nar-
rows), and three ships of war and some transports brought
the English troops within the Narrows, to the landing-place. —
(Howe's Ditpalch to Lord George Germaine.) Howe made his
head-quarters at the Rote and Crown Tavern^ upon the road
leading from Stapleton to Richmond, near New Dorp. The
house is near the forks of the Richmond and Amboy roads, and
overlooks the beautiful level country between it and the sea,
two miles distant. It is now (1852) the property of Mr.
Leonard Parkinson, of Old Town, Staten Island. The house
was built by a Huguenot, one of the first settlers upon that
part of the island.

When Howe landed, the great body of the people on the Ro«« and Crown.

island formed a corps of Loyalists, under Tryon, and some of them were in the battle near Brooklyn.

Stroeto, waa a amall circular battery. On the weat side of Broadway, near Walker, was an irrcfolar work; and the Hoapital
(on Broadway, fronting Pearl Street), a strong atone building, was fortified. There was also a line of breast-works extending
along the East River from the present Dry Dock to Stuy vesant Square ; and at Horn's Hook, at the foot of Eighty-ninth Street,
was a work called Thmp$on*t BaUery, with nine guns. I was informed by the venerable Judge WoodhuU. of FranklinviUe,
Long Island (now ninety-eight years of age), that when the lines across the island, from the East River toward the Hudson, were
constructed, the merchants and other citizens were pressed into service.

It must be remembered that roost of the streets here mentioned were not then in existence. Chambers Street up Broadway.
Hester Street up the Bowery, and Catharine Street up the East River, were the extreme points to which streets were laid out
at the time of the Revolution. Now (1652) the streets and avenues are all opened to Fortieth Street, and some beyond ;and al-
most a solid mass of edifices cover the island from river to river below Thirty -second Street. Then the Hospital was quite in
the fields, and Greenwich was a country village.

* Mrs. Van Antwerp left the city with her pare>nts when the British took possession, and retired to Tappan, where she was
married. They returned to the city after the war, and her husband purchased the lot No. 38 Maiden Lane, where she redded
from tiiat time until her death, a period of ahnost seventy years. Her style of living was that of the Revolution, and all the

Digitized by



Ploi to destroy Waabiiigtoo. Declaration of Independence read to the Army. Deatruction of the King's Statnc.

regulars and Hessian hirelings. These arrived in the course of a few days, and on the
eleventh, Clinton and Parker, with their broken forces, joined them. Another debarkation
took place on the twelfth, and there, upon the wooded heights of Staten Island, above Sta-
pleton and Cliflon, and upon the English transports, almost thirty thousand men stood ready
to fall upon the Republicans.' Already the Declaration of Independence had gone abroad ;'
the statue of the king in New York had been pulled down,' and brave men, pledged to the
support of the Continental Congpress and its measures, were piling fortifications upon every
eligible point around the devoted city.

* A plot, originated by Tryon, to murder the American general officers on the arrival of the British, or
at best to capture Washington and deliver him to Sir William Howe, was discovered at this time. It was
arranged to blow up the magazine, secure the passes to the city, and at one blow deprive the Republicans
of their leaders, and by massacre or capture annihilate the *^ rebel army.'* Mayor Hicks was one of the
conspirators ; and from his secure place on board the Duchess of Gordon, Tryon sent money freely to bribe
Americans. Two of Washington's Guard were seduced, but the patriotism of a third was proof against
their temptations, and he exposed the plot. Hicks, Gilbert Forbes (a gunsmith on Broadway), and about
a dozen others, were immediately arrested, and sent prisoners to Connecticut. It was ascertained that
about five hundred persons were concerned in the conspiracy. Thomas Hickey, one of the Guard, "was
hanged on the twenty-seventh of June, 1776. This was the first military execution in New York. — See
Spark's Writingi of Washington, iii., 438; Force's American ArckivM, vi., 1064; /6., i. (second series),
117 ; Gaine's New York Mercury.

' Washington received the Declaration of Independence on the ninth of July, with instructions to have
it read to the army. He immediately issued an order for the several brigades, then in and near the city,
to be drawn up at six o'clock that evening, to hear it read by their several commanders or their aids. The
brigades were formed in hollow squares on their respective parades. The venerable Zachariah Greene
(commonly known as " Parson Greene," the father-in-law of Mr. Thompson, historian of Long Island), yet
(1852) living at Hempstead, at the age of ninety-three years, informed me that he belonged to the brigade,
then encamped on the " Common," where the City Hall now stands. The hollow square was formed at
about the spot where the Park Fountain now is. He says Washington was within the square, on horseback,
and that the Declaration was read in a clear voice by one of his aids. When it was concluded, three hearty
cheers were given. Holt's Journal for July 11, 1776, says, *'In pursuance of the Declaration of Inde*
pendence, a general jail delivery took place with respect to debtors." Ten days afterward, the people
assembled at the City Hall, at the head of Broad Street, to hear the Declaration read. They then took
the British arms from over the seat of justice in the court-room, also the arms wrought in stone m front
of the building, and the picture of the king in the council chamber, and destroyed them, by fire, in the street.
They also ordered the British arms in all the churches in the city to be destroyed. This order seems not
to have been obeyed. Those in Trinity chnreh were taken down and carried to New Brunswick by the Rev-
erend' Charles Inglis, at the close of the war, and now hang upon the waUs of a Protestant Episcopal
church in St. John's.

' The statue of George the Third was equestrian, made of lead, and gilded. It was the workmanship
of Wilton, then a celebrated statuary of London, and was the first equestrian effigy of his majesty yet
erected. It was placed upon its pedestal, in the center of the Bowling Green, on the twenty-first of
August, 1770. On the same evening when the Declaration of Independence was read to the troops in
New York, a large concourse of people assembled, pulled down the statue, broke it in pieces, and sent it
to be made into bullets. Ebenezer Hazard, in a letter to Gates, referring to the destruction of the king's
statue, said, *' His troops will probably have melted majesty fired at them." Some of the soldiers appear
to have been engaged in the matter, for on the following morning Washington issued an order for them to
desist from such riotous acts in future.* The greater portion of the statue was sent to Litchfield, in Con-
necticut, and there converted into bullets by two daughters and a son of Governor Woloott, a Mrs. and
Miss Marvin, and a Mrs. Beach. According to an account current of the cartridges made from this statue,
found among the papers of Governor Woloott, it appears that it furnished materials for forty-two thousand

perto&sioni of her wealthj children coald not lore her from that simplicity and the home of her early year* of married Ufe.
She arose one morning, sat down by her table, leaned her head upon it, and expired like a waning ember, at the age of ninety-
five years. Almost all of the few who knew her half a centary ago, had forgotten her.

* In a coarse Tory drama, entitled " The Battle of Brooklyn ; a farce in two acts, as it was performed on Long Island on
Tuesday, the twenty-seventh day of Aagust, 1776, by the representatives of the Tyrants of America assembled, at Philadelphia,"
published by Rivington. the destruction of the statue is attributed to Washington. A servant girl of Lady Gates is made to say,
concerning the chie^ "And more, my lady, did he not order the king's statue to be pulled down, and the head cut off." Mr.
Greene described the statue to ro^ as of the natural size, both horse and man. The horse was poised upon his hinder legs.
The king had a crown upon his head ; bis right hand held the bridle-reins, the left rested upon tbe handle of a sword. The
artist omitted stirrups, and the soldiers often said, in allusion to the fact, '• the tyrant ought to ride a hard-trotting horse, with,
out stirrups." Stephens, in his TrmtU in Oreeu, &c. (U., 33). says, that in the house of a Russian major, at Chioff, he saw a pie-
tore representing the destruction of this statue. The major pledged him in the toast, " Success to Liberty throughout tbe

Digitized by



Eflbct of the Dedantioo. Howe'a Letter .to Waahington. Commiation of the Brothera. Preparationa for Batde.

On the arrival of General Howe at Sandy Hook, the Provincial Congress of New York
adjourned to White Plains, and there, on the ninth of July, they reassembled, approved of
the Declaration of Independence, and changed the title of the Assembly to Convention of
the Representatives of the State of New York. The Declaration, however, offended many
influential men, who, though warmly attached to their country, and yearning for a redress
of grievances, shuddered at the thought of separation from Great Britain. Some closed
their mouths in silence and folded their arms in inaction, while others, like Beverly Robin-
son, the Delancey's, and men of that character, actively espoused the cause of the king/
The patriot army in New York was surrounded by domestic enemies, more to be dreaded
than open adversaries, and this fact seemed favorable to the hopes of Howe, that the olive
branch would be accepted by the Americans when ofiered.' He soon perceived that much
of loyalty was the child of timidity, and when his proclamations were sent abroad, oflering
peace only on condition of submission, the missiles proved powerless. Although doubtless
desiring peace, he was obliged to draw the sword and sever the leashes of the blood-hounds
of war.

On the twelfth of July, the Rose and Phoenix ships of war, with their decks guarded by
sand-bags, sailed up the bay, and passing the American batteries without serious injury, pro-
ceeded up the Hudson to Haverstraw Bay, for the double purpose of keeping open a com-
munication with Carleton, who was endeavoring to make his way southward by Lake
Champlain,' and for furnishing arms to the Tories of West Chester. The vigilant Whigs
would not allow their boats to land, and there they remained inactive for three weeks. In
the mean while, the belligerent forces were preparing for the inevitable battle. Hulks of
vessels were sunk in the channel between Governor's Island' and the Battery, and chevaitx
de frise were formed there under the direction of General Putnam, to prevent the passage
of the British vessels up the East River. A large body of troops were concentrated at
Brooklyn, under General Greene ; Sullivan and his little army hastened from the North ;
two battalions from Pennsylvania and Maryland, under Smallwood, arrived, and the New
York and New England militia flocked to the city by hundreds. On the first of August
the American army in and around New York numbered about twenty-seven thousand men,

^ General Howe, and his brother, the admiral, were appointed by Parliament commissioners to treat for
peace with the Americans. They were authorized to extend a free pardon to all who should return to
their allegiance ; to declare penitent towns or colonies exempt from the penalties of non-intercourse ; and
to offer rewards to those who should render meritorious services in restoring tranquillity. Howe sent proc-
lamations to this effect ashore at Amboy, addressed to the colonial governors, and designed for general cir-
culation among the people. The General Congress denounced it as a scheme to " amuse and disarm the
people,*' and exhorted them to perceive ^^that the valor alone of their country was to save its liberties." —
Journal^ ii., 260. At about the same time, Colonel Paterson, the British adjutant general, went to New
York with a flag, bearing a letter from General Howe, addressed to " George Washington, Esq." This
was so addressed because the Briton was unwilling to acknowledge the official character of the *' rebel
chief It was a silly movement ; Washington penetrated the design, and refused any communication, unless
addressed to Gtneral Washington. Paterson urged Washington not to be punctilious, pleading the neces-
sity of waving all ceremony, for Howe came to cause the sheathing of swords, if possible. Washington
was inflexible, and said, in reference to the commissioners, that they seemed empowered only to grant
pardons ; that those who had committed no fault needed no pardon, and that the Americans were only de-
fending their rights as British subjects. Paterson returned, and Howe made no ^rther attempts to cor-
respond with ** George Washington, Esq.'' Congress, by resolution, expressed its approval of the coarse
of the commander-in-chief in this matter.

' The chief plan of the campaign of 1776 was for Howe to attack New York and ascend the Hudson,
while Carleton should come from Canada and form a junction. This would effectually cut off the Eastern
States from the rest of the confederacy. Clinton, in the mean while, was to make war in the Southern
States, aqd the American forces being thus divided, might be easily conquered. Their designs miscarried.
Clinton was repulsed at Charleston, Carleton was kept at bay, and Howe did not pass the Highlands.

' The original name of this island was Nutten. The rents of the land being a perquisite of the colonial
governors, it was called Governor's Island. It was held as such perquisite* until the close of Governor
Clinton's administration. General Johnson, of Brooklyn, informed me that Clinton rented it to Dr. Price,
who built a house of entertainment there, and laid out a race-course. Owing to the difficulty of taking
race-horses to the island, it was abandoned alter two or three years, and the course at Harlem was estab-

Digitized by



Diipositlon of American Detacbmentf. Kip's Bay. Tlie Kip Family.

bat at least one fourth of them were unfitted by sickness for actiye duty. Bilious fever
prostrated Greene about the middle of August, and Sullivan was placed in command at
Brooklyn. A small detachment was ordered to Governor's Island ; another was posted at
Paulus' Hook, where Jersey City now stands, and General George Clinton, with a body of
New York militia, was ordered to ^est Chester county to oppose the landing of the British
on the shores of the Sound, or, in the event of their landing, to prevent their taking possession
of the strong post at King's Bridge. Parson's brigade took post at Kip's Bay,^ on the East
River, to watch British vessels if they should enter those waters. Such was the position of
the two armies immediately antecedent to the battle near Brooklyn, at the close of Au-
gust, 1776.

^ The family mansion of the Kips, a strong hoase built of briok im-
ported from Holland, remained near the corner of Second Avenue and
Thirty-fourth Street, until July, 1850, when it was taken down. A -
pear-tree near, planted in 1700, bore fruit the present season. The .
house was built in 1641 by Samuel Kip, who was secretary of the "
council of New Netherlands, and at the time of its destruction was prob- :
ably the oldest edifice in the State of New York. The sketch here -j
given is from a painting in possession of the Reverend W. Ingraham ^
Kip, D.D., of Albany, and gives its appearance at the time of the Rev- ^
olntion. The Kip family are among the oldest in this state.

Ruloff de Kype (anglicized to Kip after the English took possession
of New Netherlands) was the first of the name found in history. He Kip's House.

was a native of Bretagne, and was a warm partisan of the Guises in the civil wars between Protestants and
Papists in the sixteenth century. On the defeat of his party, he fled to the Low Countries. He afterward
joined the army of the Duke of Anjou, and fell in battle near Jarnao. He was buried in a church there,
where an altar-tomb was erected to his memory bearing his coat of arms.* His son Rolofi* became a Prot-
estant, and settled in Amsterdam. His grandson, Henry, (born in 1576) became an active member of the
"Company of Foreign Countries," which was organized in 1588 for the purpose of exploring a northeast
passage to the Indies. In 1635 he came to America with his family, but soon returned to Holland. His
sons remained, bought large tracts of land, and were active in public afiairs. One of them (Henry) was
a member of the first popular Assembly in New Netherlands (see page 783), and married a daughter of
De Sille, the attorney general. His brother Jacob bought the land at Kip^s Bay, and a third son, Isaac,
owned the property which is now the City Hall Park. Nassau Street was called Kip Street. In 1686
one of the family purchased the tract where the village of Rhinebeck, Dutchess county, now stands. It
was called " the manor of Kipsburg." A part of this was sold to Henry Beekman, by whose grand-daugh-
ter, the mother of Chancellor Livingston, it passed into the Livingston family. At the opening of the Rev-
olution, the Kip family were divided in politics ; some held royal commissions, others were stanch Whigs.
The proprietors of the Kip's Bay property were strong Whigs, but one of them, Samuel, was induced by
Colonel Delancey to take the loyal side. He raised a company of cavalry, principally from his own ten-
ants, joined Delancey, and was active in West Chester county, where, in a skirmish in 1781, he was se-
verely wounded. He lived several years after the war, and suffered great loss of property by confiscation.

For several years after the British took possession of York Island, Kip's house was used as head-quarters
by officers. There Colonel Williams, of the 80th regiment, was quartered in 1780, and on the day when
Andre left the city to meet Arnold, Williams gave a dinner to Sir Henry Clinton and his staff*. Andre was
there and shared in the socialities of the hour. It was his last dinner in New York. Such ii well authen-
ticated tradition. — See Holgate's American Genealogiei^ page 109.

* The defTke wm a ihield. On one aide, ocoup3ring a moiety, waa a croea. The other moiety waa quartered by a atrip of
gold: above wore two griffina, and below an open maUed band. There were two cretta, a game-cock, and a demi-griffln hold-
ing a crosa : the legend, " Veatigia aolla retrornuo."

Digitized by



Landing of the Britiih. General De Heistcr.


*' In the year seventy-six came the two noble brothers,
With an army and fleet fit to conquer a world ;
And Cornwallis, and Rawdon, and Tarleton, and others —
And marder and rapine on our country were hurPd/'

Yankee Curonologt.

'' There the old-fashioned colonel galloped through the white infernal

Powder cloud ;
And his broad sword was swinging, and his brazen throat was ringing

Trumpet loud :
There the blue bullets flew,
And the trooper jackets redden at the touch of the leaden

Rifle breath ;
And rounder, rounder, rounder, roared the iron six-pounder,

Hurling Death !"

Knickerbocker Magazine^

N Thursday morning, the twenty-second of August, 1776, the British troops
under General William Howe landed upon Long Island, in the vicinity of
New Utrecht. Four thousand men crossed the ferry from Staten Island,
at the Quarantine Ground, to Denyse's strong stone house, where Fort Ham-
^ ilton now stands, and landed under cover of the guns of the Rainbow, an-
I chored where Fort La Fayette looms up in the center of the Narrows. Some
riflemen, under Colonel Edward Hand, posted on the hill above, retired
toward Flatbush. An hour afterward, British and Hessian troops poured

over the sides of the English ships and transports, and in long rows of boats, directed by

Commodore Hotham, five thousand more soldiers landed upon Long Island, in the bow of

Gravesend Bay (at a place known as Bath,

in front of New Utrecht), under cover of the

guns of the PJuznix, Rose^^ and Qreyhound.

The chief commanders of the English were

Sir Henry Clinton, Earls Cornwallis and

Percy, and Generals Grant and Sir Will

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 169 of 189)