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of officers, held at Crown Point June 10, Ethan Allen
and Seth Warner set out for Philadelphia bearing a
letter from Maj. Samuel Elmore of the Connecticut
forces, chairman of the council, addressed to the Presi-
dent of Congress, the advice of that body being desired
in regard to the peculiar position of the officers and men
at Ticonderoga. The records of the Continental Con-
gress show that on June 23 this letter was delivered to
Congress, and being informed that the bearers of the
letter. Colonel Allen and Capt. Seth Warner, were at


the door, and had something of importance to communi-
cate, it was ordered that they be called in. Only a little
more than a month had elapsed since Congress had been
surprised and somewhat shocked, probably, by news of
the capture of the important posts of Ticonderoga and
Crown Point by these leaders of the Green Mountain
Boys. It requires no stretch of the imagination to be-
lieve that Allen and Warner were the objects of a lively
curiosity; and to believe, further, that such information
as these men had to offer was communicated chiefly by
Ethan Allen.

After Allen and Warner had withdrawn, the letter
they had brought and the information they had given
were taken under consideration, and it was resolved,
"That it be recommended to the Convention of New
York, that they, consulting with General Schuyler,
employ in the army to be raised for the defense of
America, those called Green Mountain Boys, under such
officers as the said Green Mountain Boys shall choose."
It is hardly to be supposed that the members of the Con-
tinental Congress were ignorant of the controversy that
had existed between the Green Mountain Boys and the
colony of New York. If this supposition is correct,
then Allen and Warner must have made a very favor-
able impression upon Congress, or their recent military
exploit must have made a profound impression upon that
body, to call forth such a recommendation.

In transmitting to the New York provincial Congress
the resolution above mentioned, President John Han-
cock observed: "As the Congress are of opinion that
the employing the Green Mountain Boys in the Ameri-


can army would be advantageous to the common cause,
as well on account of their situation as of their disposi-
tion & alertness, they are desirous you should embody
them among the troops you should raise." It was in-
timated that they would serve only under officers of their
own choosing. While many New Yorkers could testify
to the alertness of the Green Mountain Boys, to ask that
they be embodied as a part of the militia required a
somewhat sudden readjustment of opinion on the part of
members of the provincial Congress.

Apparently Allen and Warner had no hesitation in
proceeding from Philadelphia to New York City, ignor-
ing entirely the act of outlawry passed the previous year.
The letter of President Hancock and the resolution of
the Continental Congress which accompanied it, were
read in the provincial Congress Saturday, July 1, and
it was "ordered that Col. McDougall, Mr. Scott and
Col. Clinton be a committee to meet and confer with
Messrs. Ethan Allen and Seth Warner, and report the
same with all convenient speed." Speedy action does
not appear to have been convenient, and it was the fourth
day of July, just a year before the Declaration of Inde-
pendence was adopted, that consideration of this letter
and resolution was resumed. At that time the some-
what ominous announcement was made that "Ethan
Allen was at the door and desired admittance." It was
moved by Isaac Sears, known as the most active Whig
in New York City, that Allen "be permitted to have an
audience of this board." After debating the question
the motion was carried, nine counties with eighteen votes
being recorded in the affirmative, and three counties.


casting nine votes, being recorded in the negative. The
counties opposing admission were New York, Albany
and Richmond, and their opposition is said to have been
due to the fact that many of their citizens held New
York titles to lands in the possession of the Green Moun-
tain Boys.

Allen and Warner being admitted, the former sub-
mitted a partial list of officers for a regiment of Green
Mountain Boys, consisting of seven companies. This
list was made up as follows: Field officers, Ethan
Allen, Seth Warner ; Captains, Remember Baker, Robert
Cochran, Michael Veal (Micah Vail), Peleg Sutherling
(Sunderland), Gideon Warren, Wait Hopkins, Heman
Allen; Adjutant, Levi Allen; Commissary, Elijah Bab-
cock; Doctor and Surveyor, Jonas Fay; First Lieu-
tenants, Ira Allen, John Grant, Ebenezer Allen, David
Ives, Jesse Sawyer.

This was a remarkable episode. Allen and Warner
were the most active leaders of the opposition to New
York authority in the New Hampshire Grants, and they
had succeeded thus far in nullifying the grants made
by New York Governors in the disputed territory. They
had forcibly ejected New York claimants, burned their
buildings, beaten their partisans with many stripes,
punished officials who tried to enforce the New York
authority, and at the very moment they were under sen-
tence of death imposed by the government of the prov-
ince. Notwithstanding these facts they had the audacity
to demand that the armed body which had been a terror
to New York officials be made a portion of the provincial
military service. A year previous to this date nothing


could have appeared more wildly improbable than a scene
like this.

Allen and Warner having retired without losing their
heads, either literally or figuratively, it was voted that in
consequence of a recommendation of the Continental
Congress, "a body of troops not exceeding five hundred
men, officers included, be forthwith raised of those called
Green Mountain Boys." It was provided that they
should elect all their own officers but field officers and
that General Schuyler obtain from them the names of
the persons most agreeable to them for field officers.
These officers were to consist of a Lieutenant Colonel, a
Major, seven Captains and fourteen Lieutenants, and
these troops were to be considered an independent body.

A letter written to the New York provincial Congress
by Ethan Allen on July 20, assured that body that he
would '*use his influence to promote a reconciliation
between the government and its former discontented
subjects on the New Hampshire Grants."

Due notice having been given, "the committees of the
several townships on the west side of the range of Green
Mountains" met at Dorset on July 27, at the inn of
Cephas Kent, where important history was to be made
at a later date, in order to nominate field and other
officers for the regiment recommended by the Continental
Congress and authorized by the New York provincial
Congress. Nathan Clark of Bennington was elected
chairman, and John Fassett of the same town was
chosen clerk.

Proceeding to the choice of officers, Seth Warner was
chosen Lieutenant Colonel by a vote of forty-one to five


for Ethan Allen. Samuel Safford was the choice for
Major by a vote of twenty-eight to seventeen, and the re-
maining officers were selected ''by a great majority."
They were as follows: Captains, Weight (Wait) Hop-
kins, Oliver Potter, John Grant, William Fitch, Gideon
Brownson, Micah Vail, Heman Allen ; First Lieutenants,
John Fassett, Ebenezer Allen, Barnabas Barnum, David
Galusha, Jille Bleaksley (Blakeslee), Ira Allen, Gideon
Warren; Second Lieutenants, Johan (John) Noble,
James Claghorn, John Chipman, Philo Hard, Nathan
Smith, Jesse Sawyer, Joshua Stanton.

It was natural that Allen should feel disappointed and
humiliated at being defeated for the position of com-
manding officer of the Green Mountain Boys. He had
been their intrepid leader in defending their landed
possessions from the encroachments of the New York
claimants with sword and pen, and his exploit in captur-
ing Ticonderoga had made his name known beyond the
boundaries of the American colonies. His disappoint-
ment was expressed in a letter to Governor Trumbull
of Connecticut in the following words :

"Notwithstanding my zeal and success in my coun-
try's cause, the old farmers on the New Hampshire
Grants, who do not incline to go to war, have met in a
committee meeting, and in their nomination of officers
for the regiment of Green Mountain Boys who are
quickly to be raised, have wholly omitted me; but as the
commissions will come from the Continental Congress,
I hope they will remember me, as I desire to remain in
the service." He added in a postscript to the letter : "I
find myself in the favor of the officers of the army and


the young Green Mountain Boys. How the old men
came to reject me, I cannot conceive, inasmuch as I saved
them from the encroachments of New York."

That considerable feeling was aroused over the de-
feat of Allen is indicated by a letter written by General
Schuyler to the New York Congress on August 20, in
which he said: "Reports prevail that the controversy
between Allen and Warner is carried to such length that
few men will be raised." Jared Sparks asserted that a
quarrel arose between Allen and Warner, which caused
dissensions among the people and retarded the enlisting
of the regiment.

It is not easy, after the lapse of nearly a century and
a half, to determine the causes which led to the decisive
defeat of Ethan Allen. Vermonters of that early period,
a majority of whom had come from Connecticut, brought
with them from that colony a quality of caution and
conservatism, which is still a marked characteristic of
the people of the Green Mountain Commonwealth.
There was a quality of rashness in Allen that was to
show itself in his operations before many months had
passed, with which his associates no doubt were familiar,
which may account for the choice of the quieter and
more prudent Warner as the leader of the Green Moun-
tain Boys. This may be said by way of explanation
without minimizing in any degree the value of the serv-
ices which Ethan Allen rendered to Vermont.

New York did not propose to leave the choice of
officers for the Green Mountain Boys entirely to their
own selection, and the provincial Congress authorized
General Schuyler to appoint field officers, a Lieutenant


Colonel and a Major for this new regiment. Schuyler
having declined to perform this task, the provincial Con-
gress, on September 1, 1778, proceeded, by a vote of
fifteen to six, to elect the men nominated at Cephas
Kent's Inn at Dorset — Seth Warner as Lieutenant
Colonel and Samuel Safiford as Major. Five votes were
cast against Warner and four votes against Safford.

The New York Congress adopted a resolution request-
ing Commissary Peter T. Curtenius to purchase coarse
green cloth in order to provide a coat for each member
of the regiment of Green Mountain Boys, red cloth for
facings, and to procure two hundred and twenty-five
coats of a large size. He was also ordered to purchase
material for two hundred and twenty-five tents for the
same regiment. The provincial Congress, on Septem-
ber 1, notified General Schuyler that it could see no
method for supplying the Green Mountain Boys with
arms or blankets. On August 23, Warner had visited
General Schuyler at Albany to consult with him regard-
ing clothing and blankets for his regiment, and as its
members could not take the field without some money
for the purchase of blankets, Schuyler advanced five
hundred pounds to Warner to be deducted from the regi-
mental pay. In a letter to the provincial Congress re-
lating his action in this matter General Schuyler
observed in regard to his determination not to appoint
field officers for the Green Mountain Boys: "The
peculiar situation of these people and the controversy
they have had with this colony, or with gentlemen in it,
renders that matter too delicate for me to determine."


On May 16, 1775, less than a week after the capture
of Ticonderoga by the Green Mountain Boys, and less
than a month after the battle of Lexington, the organ-
ization of a military force was begun in what is now the
eastern portion of Vermont, with the recruiting of a
company of minute men by Thomas Johnson, one of
the pioneer settlers of Newbury. The company as first
organized numbered forty-six, most of them being New-
bury men, although a few were enlisted from Barnet.

A letter dated at Westminster, June 9, 1775, signed
by William Williams, Benjamin Wait and Joab Hoising-
ton, and addressed to Hon. P. V. B. Livingston, presi-
dent of the New York provincial Congress, offered their
services in defence of the province and America. In
this letter they asked that Major Williams should be
appointed Colonel, Major Wait, Lieutenant Colonel, and
Captain Hoisington, Major, of a regiment of "good,
active, enterprising soldiers," which it was hoped might
be raised in Cumberland county.

Evidence of the apprehension of danger in the Con-
necticut valley is reflected in a letter written by Jacob
Bayley of Newbury, June 29, 1775, to inform the New
York provincial Congress that he could not occupy the
seat in that body to which he had been elected, saying:
"Considering our distance, and the danger we might be
in of a visit from Canada, thought best that I do not
yet attend until we were prepared to meet with an enemy
at home. I am taking what pains I can to be prepared
with arms and ammunition, but as yet to little purpose;
am still apprehensive of danger from Canada, and can-
not be absent."


The Northfield, Mass., Committee of Correspondence,
writing to the Massachusetts Committee of Safety at
Cambridge, called attention to the fact that there were
two small cannon, four-pounders, belonging to the
colony, which has been left at Fort Dummer, and one
"double fortified" cannon, also a four-pounder, at the
same place, belonging to New Hampshire. It was sug-
gested that if these cannon were not needed on the east-
ern frontiers that they be conveyed to the army in Massa-

Col. Timothy Bedel of New Hampshire, with three
companies of rangers, left Haverhill on September 7 to
join General Schuyler. Several Newbury men enlisted
in the regiment. At the same time part of a company
marched under command of Captain Vail of the Green
Mountain Boys, this force having been raised by Lieu-
tenants Allen and Scolley. Col. Israel Morey, writing
the New Hampshire Committee of Safety from Orford,
said: ''Lieutenant Allen of the Green Mountain Boys
brought express orders for Colonel Bedel to march im-
mediately. I think he has acted himself much to his
honor in pushing the companies forward. Mr. Allen
has enlisted a company of about forty-five men nigh

One of the strong men of the upper Connecticut valley
was Jacob Bayley of Newbury, a natural leader of men,
who had served with honor in the French and Indian
War. A letter written by him to the New York Con-
gress, under date of October 20, gives a little picture of
the sentiment of Gloucester county. A packet had been
sent to him, evidently containing for signature, blank





Facsimile of letter in which Ethan Allen announced the capture of
Ticonderoga. The original is owned by L. E. Woodhouse of Bur-
lington, Vt.


forms of the Articles of Association adopted at New
York shortly after the battle of Lexington, these articles
expressing loyalty to the American cause. In his reply
Bayley said : "Long before we heard of a Congress at
New York, we all to a man signed an Association, agree-
able to the Continental one." In this letter he explains
that militia regulations are being carried out according
to the plans of the Continental Congress, and alludes to
local regulations made "at the command of the president
of our little Congress, assisted by the chairman of each
district committee."

A document found in the proprietors' records of New-
bury, in Jacob Bayley's handwriting, states that many of
the people in the Connecticut valley "being destitute of a
regular command," desired that he should take the com-
mand as a Brigadier General. In accordance with this
desire he called upon the regimental commanders upon
each side of the Connecticut River as far as the Massa-
chusetts line for a return of their several companies.
He recommended that each company have an alarm post,
and that each man equip himself with snowshoes. In
his opinion if an attack should be made by the enemy it
would be made at Otter Creek and Coos, and he advised
the troops "to look well to the passages into the upper
part of Windsor and Hartford." Wells, in his "His-
tory of Newbury," fixes the date of this document about
the end of 1775.

In November, 1775, Maj. Robert Rogers, a noted
leader in the French and Indian War, visited Newbury,
in the absence of General Bayley, and professing friend-
ship for the American cause, gained considerable in for-


mation. It was learned, however, that he had visited
several prominent Tories, and that he held a command
in the British army. General Bayley, returning unex-
pectedly, attempted to secure the arrest of Rogers, but
the latter escaped, it is said, in the disguise of an Indian.

The Committee of Safety of Cumberland county, at
a meeting held October 18, 1775, elected as delegates to
the New York provincial Congress, Maj. William Wil-
liams and Dr. Paul Spooner, and at the same time the
committee recommended military officers as follows:
Col. James Rogers to be Brigadier for the Cumberland,
Gloucester and Charlotte brigade.

Upper Regiment — Capt. Joseph Marsh, First Colonel ;
Capt. John Barrett, Second Colonel; Lieut. Hilkiah
Grout, First Major; Capt. Joel Matthews, Second
Major; Timothy Spencer, Adjutant; Amos Robinson,

Lower Regiment — Maj. William Williams, First
Colonel; Maj. Jonathan Hunt, Second Colonel; Lieut.
John Norton, First Major ; Oliver Lovell, Second Major ;
Arad Hunt, Adjutant; Samuel Fletcher, Quartermaster.

Regiment of Minute Men — Capt. Joab Hoisington,
First Colonel; Seth Smith, Second Colonel; Joseph
Tyler, First Major; Joel Marsh, Second Major; Timothy
Phelps, Adjutant ; Elisha Hawley, Quartermaster.

Dr. Paul Spooner presented this list to the New York
authorities when he took his seat as a member in the
provincial Congress, December 20, 1775. Early in
December protests against some of the proposed officers
were made in Putney, Westminster and Fulham (Dum-


merston), on the ground that they were unfriendly to
the cause of American liberty.

Samuel Stevens wrote the New York Congress on
December 18, requesting that no commissions be issued
to militia officers until the public mind was clearer. In
his letter he asserted that two conventions had been held,
one in September, and another about three weeks pre-
vious to the date of his letter, and each convention had
nominated field officers, adding the observation: "If
they are all commissioned, about one-third of the men in
the county will be officers."

The New York Committee of Safety, on January 4,
1776, considered the list of field officers recommended
for Cumberland county, also petitions against certain
officers of the Lower Regiment, and ordered that com-
missions be made out for the Upper Regiment and the
Regiment of Minute Men, as recommended in the list
previously given.

It was ordered that a field meeting be held by the
county committee to nominate officers after "full and
sufficient notice" had been given. Dr. Paul Spooner
was granted leave of absence January 10, 1776, "to en-
deavor to restore unanimity and harmony" in Cumber-
land county, and the treasurer of the Provincial Con-
gress was directed to advance him twenty pounds on the
credit of the county for the expenses of the trip.

A letter from Benjamin Carpenter, chairman of the
Cumberland county committee, dated at Westminster,
February 1, 1776, in describing the results of a "pretty
full meeting" of the Committee of Safety of the county,
said : "We hope the dissensions and animosities which


have heretofore been so prevalent in the county will, in
a great measure, subside." The nominations for field
officers for the Lower Regiment were as follows : First
Colonel, William Williams; Second Colonel, Benjamin
Carpenter; First Major, Oliver Lovell; Second Major,
Abijah Lovejoy ; Adjutant, Samuel Minor, Jr. ; Quarter-
master, Samuel Fletcher. These nominations were con-
firmed by the Provincial Congress, February 24. This
regiment consisted of companies from Brattleboro, Ful-
ham, Guilford, Halifax, Putney and Westminster.

The Committee of Safety of Cumberland and Glouces-
ter counties appointed a committee of three from their
numbers to nominate a Brigadier General and a Brigade
Major, and at a meeting held at Windsor, May 22, 1776,
Col. Joseph Marsh acting as chairman, Jacob Bayley
was nominated for Brigadier General and Simon Stevens
for Brigade Major.

At a meeting of the Cumberland County Committee
of Safety, convened at the court house at Westminster,
June 11, 1776, twenty towns were represented by thirty-
four delegates. In addition to the transaction of busi-
ness of a judicial and civil nature, provision was made
for the organization of minute men and the enlistment
of soldiers for the Canadian expedition. A meeting of
the Committees of Safety of the counties of Cumberland
and Gloucester was convened July 23, with eighteen
delegates representing fifteen towns.

It was resolved that two hundred and fifty-two men
be raised in the counties of Cumberland and Gloucester
"as scouting parties to range the woods," for the joint
defence of both counties, these men to be divided into


four companies. The pay of the officers and privates
was to be the same as that allowed Continental troops.
A bounty of twenty-five dollars was to be allowed each
non-commissioned officer and private upon his passing
muster. In lieu of rations there was to be allowed to
each Captain sixteen shillings, to each Lieutenant four-
teen shillings and to each non-commissioner officer and
private ten shillings per week. Each officer and private
was to furnish himself with a good musket or firelock,
powder horn, bullet pouch and tomahawk, blanket and

The companies of rangers in the two counties of
Gloucester and Cumberland were to be under the com-
mand of a Major to be appointed by the convention and
this commanding officer was to march to the relief of
any of the neighboring counties or States upon "a mutual
application" from the county committees of such coun-
ties or States, or upon application from the Continental
officer commanding in the Northern Department, but
the important reservation was made "that such Conti-
nental officers do not call those companies out of the
said three counties of Cumberland, Gloucester and Char-
lotte." The following day Joab Hoisington was elected
Major of the Rangers to be raised in Gloucester and
Cumberland counties. The Captains of the four com-
panies of Rangers were Benjamin Wait, John Strong,
Joseph Hatch and Elkanah Day. Captain Day re-
signed, and Abner Seeley was elected on October 23,
1776, to fill the vacancy.

A significant note of the weakening of the New York
ties in the counties of Gloucester and Cumberland is


shown in resolutions adopted August 1, 1776, providing
that the militia of the counties of Charlotte, Cumber-
land and Gloucester should be formed into two separate
brigades, "Anything in the resolution of the Provincial
Congress of this colony (New York) on the 22nd day
of August last past to the contrary notwithstanding."
The Charlotte county men were to form one brigade,
and the men from Gloucester and Cumberland counties
were to form another. For the two counties last named,
Jacob Bayley of Newbury was chosen Brigadier Gen-
eral, and Simon Stevens of Springfield, Major of the

The idea of invading Canada followed, almost imme-
diately, the capture of Ticonderoga and Crown Point.
When Ethan Allen made his first journey to St. Johns,
after the capture of the King's sloop by Arnold, on
May 18, he forwarded a letter directed to "Mr. James
Morrison and the merchants that are friendly to the
cause of liberty in Montreal," asking for assistance and
cooperation. He requested that they send to him at St.

Online LibraryWalter Hill CrockettVermont, the Green mountain state (Volume 1) → online text (page 30 of 34)