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Copyright, 1875, by

Copyright, 1888, by








His Early Life — "Whipped by his Father — Appointed Brigadier
General — Is Sick during the Battle of Long Island — Bravery at
Brandy wine, and Germantown, and Springfield — Appointed
over the Southern Army — Battle of Cowpens — His famous Re-
treat through the Carolinas — Battle of Guilford — Battle of Hob-
kirk's Hill — Turns fiercely on Cornwallis's Line of Posts — •
Storming of Ninety-six — Battle of Eutaw Springs — Distress and
Nakedness of his Army — Triumphant Entrance into Charles-
ton — Removes South — Death and Character, . . .7



Patriotism of South Carolina — Moultrie fights the Cherokees —
Commands the troops in Charleston — Battle of Fort Moultrie
— Made Brigadier General under Lincoln — Saves Charleston
by his Decision — Bravery at the Siege of Charleston — Is taken
Prisoner — Blowing up of a Magazine — His Character, . . 78



His early Life — Joins the Army as Volunteer — Transports Cannon
from Canada — Appointed over the Artillery — Fights bravely at
Trenton, Princeton, Brandywine, Germantown and Monmouth
— Appointed Secretary of War — His Death and Character, . 99



EI is Youth — Enters the Array — Appointed Major General — Nar-
rowly escapes Capture — Sent to "Vermont — Joins Gates at Sara-
toga — Is wounded — Appointed over the Southern Army — Battle
of Stono — Siege and Storming of Savannah — Siege of Charles-
ton — Its surrender — Siege of Yorktown — Is elected Member of
Congress — Gluells Shay's Rebellion — His Death and Character, 104




Kfirly made a Soldier — Serves in this country — Adopted into a
tribe of the Mohawks — Assails the Ministry of England — Made
Aide-de-camp of the King of Poland — Appointed Major General
in the Russian service — Travels in Italy — Returns to England,
and takes up warmly with the American Colonies — Comes to
America — His energy and activity — Appointed Major General
in the Army — Boldness at New York — Sent South — Disobeys
Washington's orders, and is taken Prisoner — Anecdote — Battle
of Monmouth, and Lee's Retreat — Insults "Washington, and is
Court-martial led — Review of the Proceedings — Is Suspended —
His strange mode of life in Virginia — Stinking Death — His
Character, ... 126



An Officer in the French War — Accompanies Montgomery to
Canada — Made Brigadier General — Attack on Forts Montgo-
mery and Clinton — Bravery and narrow escape of Clinton — Is
joined to Sullivan's Expedition — His Character, . . . 170



His Birth — Studies Law — Member of the first Congress — Ap-
pointed Brigadier General — Sent to Canada — Bravery at Tren-
ton and Princeton — Attack on Staten Island — Battle of Brandy-
wine — Expedition against Newport — Expedition against the
Indians — Picturesque appearance of his Army — ^eauty of the
Indian villages — Devastation in the track of the Army — Retires
from the service — Elected to Congress — Made Governor of New
Hampshire, &c. — His Character, , . . . 18C



Serves in the English Army — Appointed Colonel by Congress —
Sent to Canada — Battle of Princeton — Evacuation of Ticonde-
roga — Bravery of Francis and Warner — Review of St. Clair's
movements — Appointed Governor of the Northwestern Terri-
tory — Commands the Expedition against the Indians — The utter
Rout and Slaughter of his Army — His Character, . . 20



His Early Life — Heads a Forlorn Hope against the Cherokees —
Fires the last cannon in the Battle of Fort Moultrie — Bravery
at Savannah — Breaks his leg by leaping from a window in



Charleston — Is hunted from cover to cover — Left alone in the
Field — Joins Gates — Appointed over a Brigade — Its appearance
and that of Marion — His first Expedition — Fight at the Black
Mingo — Camp at Snow's Island — Pursued by Tarleton — By
Watson, and defeats him — His Camp destroyed by Doyle — Bat-
tle of King's Mountain — Joined by Lee — Takes Forts Watson
and Motte — Takes Georgetown — Defeats Frazier — Bravery at
Eutaw — Affair at Quimby Brid|:e — Takes his seat in the Legis-
lature — Retires to his farm — His Marriage — Noble conduct in
the Senate — His Character and Death, ... . 225



His Birth and Descent — Serves in the French and Indian War —
Appointed an Officer in the American Army — Bravery at Long
Island — Taken Prisoner — Bravery at Brandywine and Mon-
mouth — Commands at Albany — Exposes the Conway Cabal —
His Death and Character, 26'



His Birth and early Marriage — His interest in our Cause — Re-
solves to come to this Country — Forbidden by his Government
— Buys and fits out a Ship at his own expense — Cold reception by
Congress — Warm one by Washington — Bravery at Brandywine
-Affair at Gloucester Point — Given command of a Division —
Affair of Barren Hill — Bravery at Monmouth — Sent South to
Repel Arnold and Cornwallis — Coops the latter up at Yorktown
— Storming of the Redoubts — Returns to France — Chief Actor
in the French Revolution — Commands the National Guard —
Storming of Versailles by Women — Scene in the Champ de
Mars — Appointed Commander in the French Army — His
Flight — Made Prisoner by Austria — Noble Attempts to rescue
him — Liberated by Napoleon — Returns to private life — Visit
to this Country — His enthusiastic Reception — ?Iis triumphal
Progress — Returns to France — Helps to overthrow Charles X.
— His Death and Character, . . .... 271



Early serves in this Country — Comes over the second time with
Lafayette — Made Mnjor General — A secret Correspondent of
the French Government — Sent South — His Bravery and Death
at Camden — Eulogy of Washington — His Character, . .818





SONS, .321



Our Navy at the commencement of the Revolution — Birth and
early Life of Paul Jones — First Cruise in the Alfred — Com-
mands the Providence — Cruise in the Ranger — Bold Attack on
Whitehaven — Battle with the Drake — Prayer of Mr. Shirra —
Bloody Engagement with the Serapis — Wreck of the Ariel —
Enters the Russian Service — Crosses the Baltic in an open boat
— Adventures in the Black Sea — His Death and Character, . 32?i




A Wagoner in Braddock's Army — Receives five hundred lashes —
Made Ensign — Severely wounded by the Indians — Narrow Es-
cape — Becomes a Street Fighter — Joins the American Army —
His Military Career — Becomes a religious man — His Character
and Death — Character and Dress of his Riflemen, . . 36C



I. Major General Greene, 7

II. Major General Moultrie, . , , , 78

III. Major General Lincoln, 104

IV. Major General Lee, 126

V. Major General Sullivan, 180

VI. Brigadier General Marion, .... 225

VII. Major General Lafayette, 271

VIII. Paul Jones, ^26



His early Life — Whipped by his Father — appointed Brigadier-Genera
— Is Sick during the Battle of Long Island — Bravery at Brandy wine,
and Germantown, and Springfield — Appointed over the Southern
Army — Battle of Cowpens — His famous retreat through the Caro-
linas— Battle of Guilford— Battle of Hobkirk's Hill— Turns fiercely
on Cornwallis's Line of Posts — Storming of Ninety -six — Battle ot
Eutaw Springs — Distress and Nakedness of his Army — Triumphant
Entrance into Charleston — Removes South — Death and Character

It is pleasant to take up a character, the resplendent
qualities of whi?.h are not darkened by serious defects.
Arnold was adventurous and heroic, but he lacked
principle — Lee, brilliant and brave, but too ambitious,
while Greene possessed all their good qualities, with
none of their bad ones. Poor, and without patrons, he
began his career on the lowest steps of fame's ladder,
and by his energy and effort alone, reached the highest
— yet he never became dizzy by elevation, nor exhibited
any of those weak or wicked passions power and rank
so invariably develope.

Nathaniel Greene was born in Warwick, Rhode
Island, May 27th, 1742, and hence was a young man
at the breaking out of the Revolution. His father was
a Quaker preacher; and young Nathaniel was early


instructed in the principles of peace and universal oro-
therhood To have seen him about on the farm, in his
drab suit and broad-brimmed hat, or sitting meek and
grave as a statue in one of those silent conventicles,
one vv^ould never have picked him out for a major-gen
eral in the American army. His father owned a forge,
and to this Nathaniel was finally promoted from the
farm, and worked at the anvil with the same vigor he
afterwards did in hammering out his own fortune. For
awhile his youthful energy and ambition expended it-
self in athletic sports, such as wrestling, leaping, throw-
ing the bar, and so forth, and in these none swung a
more vigorous or steadier arm than he. He was very
fond of dancing, which, of course, was looked upon by
his sect with abhorrence. To have the son of a Qua-
ker preacher the wildest in the frolic, and the merriest
in all the dance, was a public scandal not to be tole-
rated a moment, and the most peremptory commands
were laid on young Greene. The latter pretended tc^
obey ; but after his grave father was asleep he would
often drop from his chamber window, and steal away
to the scene of mirth. The suspicious parent, how-
ever, got wind of it in some way, and so, one night,
when there was to be a large ball in the neighborhood,
kept watch. Finding, late in the evening, that his
son had gone, the old gentleman locked the door of the
house, and, with a horsewhip in his hand, began to
pace backwards and forwards under the window from
which the culprit had escaped. The latter, returning
home before daylight, saw through the gloom the figure
of his father slowly moving to and fro, and he knew
'vhat to expect. To wait at a distance till morning


would lead to certain detection, and to enter the house
without being discovered was impossible, and so, after
holding a short council of war with himself over the
matter, he determined to advance boldly and take the
flogging prepared for him. But with that quick inven-
tion which afterwards served him so well on more
important occasions, he slipped some shingles under
his coat behind, to deaden the blows of the horsewhip,
which he knew his stern father would wield with no
baby hand. Having taken this wise precaution, he
walked boldly up and took the castigation. The shin-
gles, however, did their duty, much to the young cul-
prit's gratification.

But his strong mind could not long be satisfied with
..hese follies, and he soon became enamored of books,
and, whether in the field or at the forge, was ever
found with one by his side. He took up Euclid by
himself, and mastered its difiicult problems without as-
sistance. While his iron was heating, he would sit
down, and with his soiled hands turn over the pages of
the renowned geometer with delight. This and simi-
lar studies, gave to his mind a breadth and grasp which
he never could have obtained in his ordinary occupa-
tions. All the pocket-money he could raise was spent
in purchasing books, and he made toys or trinkets of
various kinds which he disposed of for the same object.
His craving mind, having once seized on books, it
seemed impossible to satisfy it ; and hence, at the age
of twenty, he laid the basis of a powerful character
Abstemious — eating but two meals a day, he devoted
all his leisure hours to the cultivation of his mind, and
the accumulation of knowledge, and before twenty


eight years old, had a library of two hundred and fifty
volumes. In 1770 he was elected member of the Gene-
ral Assembly of the colony, and entered at once with all
the ardor of his nature into the contest which had com-
menced between the colonies and the parent country.
He was soon convinced that the battle-field must de-
cide the question, and, casting aside all his Quaker pre-
judices, resolved to draw his sword for freedom. He
immediately plunged into the intricacies of military
science, and eagerly devoured every book relating to
the subject, on which he could lay his hands. Bold
and decided, he made no concealment of his determi-
nation : and the sect to which he belonged, unable, of
course, to overlook this violation of their rules, called
him to account. But neither persuasions nor threats
could change the young Quaker's purpose, and he was
cut off from the society. His drab coat and broad-
brimmed hat were now thrown to the winds ; and with
his musket on his shoulder, he entered, as a private,
one of the many independent companies then every-
where forming.

In the year 1774, he was married ; but not even the
attractions of his young bride could restrain him from
the scene of danger. The next year the battles of
Lexinjjton and Concord were fouc^ht, and the rattlina

O CD ^ i^

of arms was heard the length and breadth of the land,
as the entire nation rose to defend its hearth-stones.
Greene immediately started for Boston. In the organi-
zation of an army, which followed, Rhode Island voted
to raise a force of sixteen hundred men, and appointed
Greene major-general.

After the battle of Bunker Hill, he joined the army


at Cambridge. Congress, in appointing the officers o\
tlie continental army, was compelled in some cases to
change the rank held by the provincial commanders ;
and Greene, under the new arrangement, sunk to
brigadier-general. He immediately entered upon a
course of discipline, the effect of which was soon ap-
parent in the troops under his command. This habit
formed at the outset, was of great use to him ever

He seems, also, to have studied more deeply than
mcny others the character of the quarrel between the
two countries, and his strong mind to have forecast the
necessity of a more decisive step than the mere redress
of grievances ; for, from his camp at Prospect Hill, he
writes to a member of Congress, saying, " Permit me
to recommend, from the sincerity of a heart at all times
ready to bleed in my country's cause, a declaration of
independence, and call upon the worlds and the great
God who governs it, to witness the necessity , propriety,
and rectitude thereof.''^

He early won the confidence and esteem of Wash-
ington, and the latter sent him in the spring to occupy
Long Island with his brigade. He entered on his
work with ardor — examined the ground, established
his posts, and made all the preparations in his power,
to give the enemy a warm reception. But at this crit-
ical iuncture, he was seized with a billious fever,
which laid him on his back, and for a while seriously
threatenea his life. It was thus Putnam became placed
o\ er his troops, who, from his ignorance of the ground,
auv^ unpreparedness every way, suffered that c^efeat,
whch, hut for the promptness and energy, generalship


and skill of Washington, would have proved fatal to the
whole army. One can imagine what a brave man like
Greene must have felt, in being compelled to lie idle in
such an important crisis. Just as his career was open-
ing, and after all the labor and drudgery had been gone
through, to be thrown aside as a useless thing, was a
most bitter disappointment. Besides, the fate of his
brave troops, of which he had become so fond and
so proud, might rest on the manner in which they
were led into action. Fiom his sick bed he heard the
thunder of the first cannon, as it shook the house in
which he lay helpless, and half-rising from his feverish
couch, he exclaimed, " Gracious God, to he confined at
such a time /" His brave heart was wrung with such
sorrow as only heroes know, and as the uproar of the
combat increased, his agitation became intense. Ex-
plosion after explosion shook his bed, and his eager in-
quiries as to the fate of the battle, could brook no de-
lay. At last, when told that his favorite regiment — ■
that of Swallwood — had been terribly handled and cut
to pieces, he could contain himself no longer, but burst
into an agony of tears.

In the meantime, he had been promoted to the rank
of major-general. As soon as he could sit his horse,
he took the field, and was present at the battle of Har-
laem Heights. The capture of the garrison of Fort
Washington, was owing chiefly to Greene's want of
judgment, who insisted on holding it against the enemy.
He always contended, however, that his views in the
case were correct, and that had the troops proved
sufliciently brave, the fort could not have been takea
He was beside Washington in his memorable retreat


through the Jerseys, and in the brilHant movement UDon
Trenton, commanded the division which the latter ac-
companied in person. In that fearful night and fearful
passage, he exhibited the coolness and stern resohjtion
which afterwards so characterized him. He was with
him also in the march on Princeton, and led his battal-
ions to the charge with incredible fury. In these des-
perate encounters, the young Quaker had taken severe
lessons in the art of war, while the heroism and per-
sonal exposure of the commander-in-chief had shown
him how a general should behave in the moment of
peril. He gazed in admiration on him, as he rode
amid the guns through the gloom and storm towards
Trenton, and saw, with unbounded delight, that tall
form spur into the deadly vollies at Princeton. His
heart fastened at once on his glorious leader, and amid
all the dangers and conspiracies that afterwards shook
so terribly the integrity of many of the officers, his
love and faithfulness never faltered.

When the army went into winter-quarters at Mor-
ristown, he was dispatched to Congress to push that
dilatory body to an immediate re-organization of the
forces. He afterwards was sent to examine the passes
of the Highlands ; but spring found him again at his
post. At the battle of Brandywine — the finale to the
manceuvres that had been performed all summer, he
exhibited that decision, and power over his soldiers,
which rendered him such a dreaded antagonist. At
the commencement of the action he had been stationed
far in the rear, as a reserve, to co-operate with any
])ortion of the army which needed him most. But
when the flight commenced, he hastened up, and


marcliiniGj his men four miles in forty-nine minuter
met the terrified disordered army. Untouched by
the panic and terror aroiind them, his brave troops
wheeled sternly in front of the pursuing, shoutinof
enemy. As the throng of fugitives came pouring on
them, the ranks would open and let them pass, then
close again, as the turbulent stream rolled away over
the field. Thus opening and shutting his steady ranks,
and slow y retreating, Greene at length cleared him-
self of the shattered army, and reaching a narrow de-
file, made a bold stand. Encouraging his little band,
bv voice and o^esture, he held it to the shock for three-
quarters of an hour. His firm front and steady vollies
repelled every eflfort — and at length, as darkness shut in
the scene, the enemy withdrew, and he hastened up to
the main army. The conduct of his troops on this oc-
casion, in thus withstanding the panic around them, and
steadily holding in check the entire British force, was
worthy the veteran armies of Europe.

In the battle of Germantown, which followed, he
commanded the left wing, and did all that could be
done to save the battle. In the retreat the gunners
forsook their pieces, and he, after trying in vain to rally
them, made them take hold of hands, and thus drag the
artillery oflf. During this year he was appointed quar-
termaster-general, and his energy and industry soon
wrought a wonderful change in this hitherto neglected
department of the army. The next winter his home
was a log hut at Valley Forge. At the battle of
Monmouth, which opened the summer campaign, he
commanded the right w ng, and brought his troops
uobly into action. His heavy gims sent disorder


through the advancing lines, and gave double }>owef
to Wa}-ne*s charge on the centre. In July he was
sent to Rhode Island to cc -operate with Lafayette and
Sullivan in the projected descent on Newport, and
covered that skilful retreat whioh saved the army.

In the discharge of his duties as quartermaster- gen-
eral, he had exhibited not only his energy and skill, but
also the noblest moral qualities, in bearing up against
suspicion and hate and slander, and generously sinking
his own feelings and reputation in the general good.
But at length Congress made his department so odious
to the people that he determined to resign. Washing-
ton, however, persuaded him to remain until he could
present a plan to the government which, if accepted,
would put his department on a proper footing. The
plan, instead of being adopted, was mutilated and sent
back, and Greene resigned. The letter conveying his
resignation was, both in its manner and spirit, a stern
and severe condemnation of the con-duct of Congress ;
and that body, swayed by passion and faction more
than by judgment and patriotism, instantly proposed to
dismiss him from the service altogether. A fierce dis-
cussion ensued, and the friends of Greene could scarcely
check the torrent of wrath that was about to roll on his
head. Washington heard of it, and wrote letters of ear-
nest entreaty and solemn warning, telling those factious
members to beware how they touched one so necessary
to the country, and so beloved by the soldiers. Better
counsels finally prevailed, and Greene's resignation was
received without any reference to his rank in the line.

During the year 1780 occurred his heroic defence
at Springfield, New Jersey. Washington, fearing the


enemy was about to make a demonstration on West
Point, moved towards the Hudson, leaving Creene,
with only thirteen hundred men at Springfield. Here
the latter received intelligence that Sir Henry Clin-
ton, with five thousand British troops, had landed at
Elizabethtown, and was marchinof airainst him. With
his little band drawn up on the western bank of the
Rahway, he coolly waited their approach. His first
position was by the bridges, and his second on the
heights in the rear. Soon the advancing columns
emerged into view, and as they came within range,
opened their artillery, and a fierce cannonade was
kept up for two hours. Finding all attempts to dis-
lodge our troops with the artillery fruitless, the infan-

Online LibraryJoel Tyler HeadleyWashington and his generals (Volume 2) → online text (page 1 of 26)