Biographical Memoirs of the Late Rev. John Gano - 1806
[Section Two - pages 67-110]
sings on me, for taking so much care of their soul. This humbled me before God, and I then thought, I would, for the future, take more pains with souls, and especially with negroes; and I now wish I had more strictly adhered to my determination.
The next day, accompanied by Mr. Stephens, and the ladies from town, one of whom was the wife of Doctor Brisband, I went to Charleston. Mrs. Brisband took me to her house, and she and the Doctor insisted, that while I then staid in town, and at all future times, I should stay with them.
Mr. Hart, spread word among the people, that I was to preach. I went, with my tattered garb on; and when I rose to speak, the sight of so numerous and brilliant an audience, (among whom were twelve ministers, and one of whom was Mr. Whitefield,) for a moment, brought the fear of man on me; but, blessed be the Lord, I was soon relieved from this embarrassment: the thought passed my mind, I had none to fear, and obey, but the Lord.
I visited the Orphans' house, the regulations of which, together with the religious affability of the family, and their attention to the orphans, gave me the greatest satisfaction. I preached in the hall; the orphans were seated in rows before me, the smallest, on the foremost seats. The usher directed me to put out the line, and they would sing. I did so, and they all rose up; one of the little ones began the tune, and the rest of them joining, seemed a literal accomplishment of Christ's words: "Out of the mouths of babes, he shall perfect praise." In my return back, I had to pass a little island, where, I understood, there had never been but two sermons preached. I stopped here, and the people soon collecting together, I preached to them from these words: "Behold the third time I am ready to come to you, and will not be burthensome to you."
I preached at Charleston, and Ashby-river, several times. At the latter place, I preached, one evening, at the house of a Mr. Bulling; where there was a large congregation of
negroes. Their attention, encouraged me to ask them many questions, concerning their souls; and their answers, fully convinced me they had been touched by the spirit of the Lord. I then proceeded on my way home-wards, by the way of Black-river; and preached at Mr. Scriven's. In my way to Mars-bluff, on the Pedee, I lodged at the ferry-man's house. He observed, that he believed I was a minister, and wished me to tell him, of the best and shortest way to heaven. I told him that Christ was the best way; and that he must become experimentally acquainted with him, and believe in him, which was the hope of glory. - That after he had obtained this, the shortest way, that I knew, would be to place himself in the front of some army, in an engagement.
I preached, on Lord's day, at Mars-bluff; where the people attended from a considerable distance. From here, I set off again, on my journey. I was told there was a route to Tar-river, which would shorten the distance, near fifty miles; and a person offered to accompany
me ten miles, provided I would stop at a place, on the banks of Cape-Fear, I told him, I could not stop, for I had made an appointment at Fish-creek, and it was necessary for me to proceed, in order to fulfil it. When I arrived at the last place, I meant to have started early in the morning, to avoid the importunities of the people. I was obliged, however, to tarry some time; for, in the morning, I could not find my horse, and was fully convinced, he was put out of the way on purpose. After hunting for him several days, in vain, I was obliged to get another. I, however, tarried here some time and preached, and I trust to the eternal welfare of many souls. I have often thought, what a blessing, was in my disappointment, and how anxious I then was, to avoid that opportunity, of being instrumental in the corversion of the people. I thought it a heaven upon earth; and the remembrance of it, even at this day, produces a strong wish to see one more such time, before I die. The
people presented me a horse, which they purchased of Mr. Fuller, their former minister.
Another circumstance of a singular nature, which took place here, I cannot pass over in silence. A man in the neighbourhood of this place, who had formerly been a preacher, but latterly had openly professed Deism, came to hear the last sermon that I preached. I think I spoke from these words: "Acquaint now, thyself with him, and be at peace; and thereby good shall come unto you." As he had been pointed out to me, I watched him closely, and could not but observe the contempt he discovered at the beginning of service; but before it ended, the tears rolled down his cheeks, and when I had finished, he came to me, and urged me to stay and preach again. I replied, I had staid so long, that all those, who had any regard for God, and his word, had improved the opportunities of coming to hear me, and those that cared not for their own souls had rejected these opportunities. After standing a moment, he
asked me, where I expected to make the next stop. I told him, about seventy miles off, at Fish-creek, in North Carolina. He offered to bear me company. I told him, I had company. At this reply, I observed his countenance to change; and I felt hurt, at the answer I had given him: I turned to him, and told him, that if he wished to converse with me about his soul, I should be glad of his company. He said, that was his wish. The next day we started, and on the road, he convinced me of that, which, before, I did not, and probably, now, should not believe, - that there might be an Atheist in principle. That there were many in practice, was very evident. He told me, that doubts arose in his mind respecting the divinity of Christ, the Bible, heaven, and a hell, till those doubts became very strong; when he connected himself wiih a set of Deists. He afterwards joined the Atheists, who furnished him with books and arguments which established him in his infidelity, in which he had remained till yesterday; but under that sermon, he had such impressions, that nothing, but the operation of the divine
spirit could have made. He said, he did not then doubt the existence of a God, but believed his word. He said, his wish was to hear those arguments answered, which the Atheists advanced, that he might be enabled to resist future attacks. I must confess, some of his arguments, gave me a little trouble to answer, either to his or my own satisfaction.
That evening, we reached Tar-river, where I was happy to find, that the impressions which where on the minds of many, when I was there before, still continued.
Report had gone forth that some of the principal men in the country, had agreed, that if I came within their reach they would apprehend me as a spy; for, by my name, I was a Frenchman. This was during the French war. Some of these people, lived on the road that we must travel. My friends persuaded me not to go; but I told them, God had so far conducted me on my journey, and I should endeavour to accomplish it. I told them, if any of them were afraid of the consequences,
as it respected themselves, I would excuse them from bearing me company. We had to go forty miles, the county town was about half way. When we got near the place, some advised me to go through, as secretly as possible; I told them, I meant to refresh myself in the place. We stopped at the most public house, and got refreshment. I asked the landlord, if he thought the people would come out to hear a sermon on a week day. He told me, he thought they would; but observed, that the next Monday, there was to be a general muster for that county. I knew the colonel of the Regiment was one of those, that threatened me. I told the landlord, I should esteem it as a favour, if he would be at the trouble to speak to the colonel, and inform him of my name, and that I was the man that was at Tar-river the last fall, and tell him, that I would be there on Monday at ten o'clock, and if he thought proper, would preach a short sermon, before military duty commenced; as I understood that was not till twelve. The landlord promised to do it. I preached the next day to the people at
the meeting-house; and, both day and night, during the time I staid at private houses. On Monday, I had twenty miles to ride to the muster; and by ten o'clock, there was a numerous crowd of men and women: - they had erected a stage in the woods for me, and I preached from Paul's Christian armour. They all paid the most profound attention except one man, who behaved amiss. I spoke and told him, I was ashamed to see a soldier so awkward in duty, and wondered his officer could bear with him. The Colonel, (as I afterwards understood,) brought him to order. After service, I desired a person to inform the commander that I wanted to speak with him. He immediately came, and I told him, that although I professed loyalty to King George, and did not wish to infringe upon the laudable design of the day, - yet, I thought the King of kings, ought to be served first; and I presumed, what I had said, did not tend to make them worse soldiers; but better Christians. He complaisantly, thanked me, and said, if I could wait, he would make the exercise as
short as possible, and give an opportunity for another sermon, for which he should be much obliged to me. I told him, I had an appointment, some miles off to preach the next day. Thus ended my chastisement, and the fears of my friends.
We went that night, to Tar-river, and, the next day, twenty miles farther, where I made an appointment to preach. From hence, I returned by the way of Kotockton, or Blue-ridge, where the inhabitants are scattered. On my road, I observed a thunderstorm arising, and rode speedily for the first house. When I arrived, the man came running into the house, and seeing me, appeared much alarmed: there being at that time, great demands for men and horses for Braddock's army. He said to me: "Sir, are you a press-master." I told him, I was. "But," said he, "you do not take married men." I told him, surely I did; and that the master, I wished him to serve, was good, his character unimpeachable, the wages great, and that it would be for the benefit of his
wife and children, if he enlisted. He made many excuses, but I endeavoured to answer them, and begged him to turn out a volunteer in the service of Christ. This calmed his fears; and I left him, and proceeded on my journey to Kotockton, where I spent some time, and baptised Mr. Hail.
I now set off for New-Jersey, and preached on my way, and soon arrived at Morristown. I had a number of youth among my congregation, in this place; and I used, frequently, to address them, both in public and private, on the vanity of their frolics; but could not make any impression on them. In the application of one of my sermons, in addressing the youth, I told them, they had treated me with politeness in many respects, but they had never given me an invitation to any of their meetings; and, as I was a single person, I thought myself entitled to the compliment. This was soon spread abroad, some blamed, and some commended what I had said. An old Presbyterian deacon, (who lived near me, and had a number of young
persons in his family,) came to me, and encouraged me to visit their meetings, saying, he would bear me company. Some time after, hearing they had a frolic some ways off, I called on the deacon, and we set off to visit the young people; but they hearing of our coming, had dispersed before we arrived. Soon after this, they had another meeting, and sent me a polite invitation to attend. The first step, after receiving their invitation, was to go to the house where they were to meet, and to desire leave of the master and mistress of it, to act with freedom there that evening, (provided I acted in character,) without their interference. This request, the old people readily complied with. I then went to Esquire Cobel, and desired him to accompany me, which he did. A young man desired us to walk into the house, which we did; and after waiting some time, expecting the company, I inquired and found they had given us the slip, and had gone about three miles off, where they had frequently met before. Here they began their frolic, but the landlord told them, that they
had appointed that evening to meet at Mr. Wade's, and had given Mr. Gano an invitation, to meet with them. He said, they had behaved in an impolite manner, and that he should therefore absolutely refuse their enjoying themselves there that night. This so exasperated them, that, being determined to have their frolic out, they proceeded about three miles farther, where they met with the same reception. This exasperated them still more, and they returned to Mr. Wades, determined to finish their frolic. But in this they were also disappointed, for Mr. Wade told them, that in consequence of their treatment to Mr. Gano, the Squire had forbid his suffering the like there again, under the penalty of the law. This ended the frolic, and, during the time I lived there, I never heard of another.
I went to Connecticut-farms, to John Stites's, Esq. who was the Mayor of the Burrough of Elizabeth-Town; and having formed a matrimonial engagement with his daughter Sarah, previous to my journey, we
were married; and, by the assistance of my father-in-law, I purchased a small farm, near Morristown, and in the neighbourhood of the then infant Baptist church, where I had formerly preached. We soon took possession of our farm. My labour, as a preacher, increased; for besides my stated services in the church, there was a destitute churchi at Black-river, in the State of New-Jersey, which depended on me to administer the ordinances; and although the church was small, the members were scattered in different townships; - some in Baskinridge, Morristown, Mendham, &c. &c. who applied for lectures in each place; and the appearances of success were such, as induced me to repeat my visits as often as possible, and almost beyond what my health would admit of. At one of these places, there was a happy instance of a promising youth, (by name Hezekiah Smith,) who professed to be converted, and joined the church, who appeared to have an inclination for education, to which his parents objected. His eldest brother, joined me in solicitating his father, who finally consented
to his receiving an education. He went through a collegiate education at Prince-Town College, and came out a zealous preacher, and to appearances, a useful one. The church at Morristown gradually grew, and the congregation gradually increased.
Repeated solicitations came from South-Carolina, for a minister to travel among them, and, as I had been there before, and had some acquaintance, I was induced to engage in a second journey. I therefore set out, and, when I arrived at the Yadkin, in North-Carolina, I was strongly solicited to move among them. They sent two messengers to my church, to give me up. I requested them to let the matter rest, till my return from South-Carolina, to which they consented. Upon my arrival in South-Carolina, I was happy in the appearances of religion in many places. After staying about eight months, I set off for home, and was much rejoiced, upon my return, that God had blessed us with a son, during my absence, whom we called John. The next Lord's-day after my arrival, I called a church-
meeting, to give the church at Yadkin, an opportunity to present their message; which they did, and used all their influence with the church to no apparent success. I then dismissed the messengers, and told them, I would not leave the church without their consent; but if, at any time, they should consent, I would write to them. The members of the church having conversed upon the matter, at our next church-meeting, addressed me in the following manner: "We gave the messengers no manner of encouragement, supposing that would prevent your coolly deliberating, upon their necessity and ours. But we deem you the best judge, and are willing to leave the matter with God, and your own conscience. If you think it your duty to leave us, we cannot insist upon your stay." My reply was, that as they had left the matter to me, it appeared to be my duty to go to that people, who were entirely destitute, and that it was not for want of attachment to them. They accordingly agreed to dismiss me, I made preparations for removal, disposed of
my property, and wrote to the church in North-Carolina.
I at length took leave of the church and my friends, and started on a long, expensive, and tedious journey; and, through the goodness of God, arrived there in about five weeks, after travelling about eight hundred miles. We met with a favourable reception from the people, and Colonel G. Smith, received us in his house, where we continued, until I built a house.
The people met, and determined on building a meeting-house, which was completed in a few months. As there was no other place of worship near, and there was a great collection of inhabitants of different denominations, they all attended, and it became generally united. In order that all might be concerned, upon necessary occasions, we appointed a board of trustees, some of each denomination. They continued to be united, while I remained there, which was about two years and a half. Before I left the place,
a Baptist church was constituted, and many additions made to it. During my residence in this place, we were blest with another son, who was born November llth, 1758, and whom we called Daniel. A circumstance occurred at Pedee, an hundred and ten miles off, which I will mention, as it in some measure respects myself. The minister of the church was displaced for the crime of intoxication. After a little time, he gave up drinking, and justified the church in their procedure, and was restored to his standing in the church, He requested me to supply them four times a year, which I did, and felt happy that my labours were, or apppeared to be, blest among them. At one of these quarterly visits, a gentleman who lived sixteen miles off, and who prof'ssed to be a Deist, attended, and I happened to take a text applicable, viz. "Acquaint nvw thyself with him, and be at peace, thereby good shall come unto thee." He appeared extremely affected, and after sermon solicited me to go home with him, and preach, which I did, I appointed the next day to preach again, and had a large
audience. I saw this man, some time after, and he told me of his prospects of happiness and of futurity. I also received an invitation to preach to a church of old standing, which was established upon the free-will principle. They professed that they were much enlightened under my ministry, and to have their principles greatly renewed. There appeared to be a general stir of religion among them; and although it is now forty years since, I saw a man and his wife about four years ago, who professed to have been awakened at that time.
The reason of my leaving this place, was, the war with the Cherokee Indians. I had a Captain's commission from the Governor; but there being ho immediate call for my services, and my family being much exposed, I concluded it was expedient to move back to New-Jersey, I therefore resigned my commission, and left this place, and under the protection of a kind providence, arrived safely at my father-in-law's, at Elizabeth-Town.
with my wife and two children, after being absent two years.
During my residence in North-Carolina, Mr. Jenkins Jones, pastor of the Baptist church in Philadelphia, died; and the church being destitute of a pastor, had sent a call to England, for one. It was represented, that they had been so particular in the requisite qualifications for a minister, that it had given offence to the preachers; so that they were entirely destitute. They made application to me, to visit them; and also to Mr. Miller, of Scotch Plains, who had been a successful minister in New-York, and had baptised sundry persons there. I visited New-York and Philadelphia, alternately. I at length came to the conclusion, that I would supply both places, two Sabbath's at each place. The church at Philadelphia, invited me, to bring my family, and tarry with them, till they received an answer from England. I answered them, that I would not come on such terms; but if they would affix a certain time for my stay, I would accept of their invitation.
To this proposal they acceded, and I went to Philadelphia. While there, Mrs. Gano had a daughter, born December 23d, 1760, whom we called Peggy. During my stay there, which was through the winter, the church appeared in a flourishing state, and several additions were made to it.
In the spring, the church at New-York, knowing my term of engagement was nearly up, sent a call to me, to remove there. I answered, that I would go for one year, but that I would take three months of that time to visit North-Carolina; to which they agreed. I accordingly removed. They had finished a meeting-houee, and had began a parsonage house; and they seemed disposed to do any thing, to render me happy. Their church, which at first consisted of only twenty-six members, were speedily increased; and a hopeful work began. At every church-meeting there was a number who offered themselves. My usual services, on Lord's days, were, preaching three times; and I gave a lecture weekly. The church being too small
to accommodate the people who attended, an addition was made to it. The church, at this time, had increased to two hundred in number.
About the time I left Philadelphia, Providence blessed that church, by sending a young and respectable preacher, Samuel Stillman, from South-Caiolina, among them. He possessed popular talents as a speaker. He continued with them, till the arrival of Morgan Edwards, the minister from England, Mr. Stillman went to Boston, where he now continues, pastor of the first Baptist church in that place. I remained in the city of New-York, (where we had another son December 25th, 1762, whom we named Stephen,) until the introduction of the British war. During my residence in this place, the church were in love and harmony, except a few difficulties that took place, by the arrival of two or three preachers from England. One of them was John Murray, who advanced the doctrine of universal salvation, and who, for a little time, drew a few from my
church, as well as from others. Another was one Dawson, who ingratiated himself into the favour of some of my church; but, understanding his character did not stand fair in the place from whence he came, I discountenanced any marks of respect which my people wished to shew him. This dissatisfied several, but the body of the church coincided with me. This occasioned us much difficulty, though it did not amount to a division in the church, which was, what Dawson was desirous of promoting; and which he did effect in other churches where he was countenanced, viz. Stratfield, in Connecticut, and one in Newport, (Rhode-Island,) and some others. The third, was one John Allen, or Junius Junior, as he professed to be. We had more difficulty in the church, on this man's account, than with both.the others. His invectives were levelled against me, and I, in return, obtained from England, an account of the man and his character at home, which satisfied my people that he did not possess much merit. Finding himself neglected and despised
he removed eastward. Soon after, a great difficulty arose in the church respecting the singing of psalms. Although the cause was trivial, the consequence was a separation of the church, or, in other words, the second church was constituted out of it. From these two churches others were constituted; - One upon Staten-Island; - one at Stamford, (Connecticut,) - one in King-street; and another, at Peeks-Kill.
From the constitution of the church, until its separation, it pleased God to renovate the hearts of many; and many were called to exercise their gifts in the ministry. One of these was Mr. Isaac Skillman, a graduate of Prince-Town, College. At the time he joined, the church, he taught a latin school in the city of New-York. He afterwards, accepted a call from the second Baptist church in Boston, where he lived a few years. He was solicited to remove to Kentucky, and take charge of a seminary of learning at Lexington in that state; but was diverted from it, by a call from a church in New-Jersey
which he accepted, and in which he now continues. About the same time, Mr. Ebenezer Frances, of Stamford in Connecticut, one of the members we dismissed from our church, to constitute the church in Stamford, was called by them to the ministry; and still continues in it, with reputation, for ought I know to the contrary. Stephen Gano, now a minister at Providence, in the state of Rhode-Island, was called from our church to preach. Another was, Mr. Thomas Ustick, now a minister in Philadelphia. He was baptised, and joined our church when he was about fourteen years of age. He was a promising youth, and had a great desire for an education; which induced us, to encourage him to go to Rhode-Island College, in Providence, where he completed his education, under the care of President Manning. After his return, the church, finding he had a desire for the ministry, put him on trial, and licenced him to preach; which he did in different places, in New-England, before he was called to the place, where he now is.
While in this place, we had another daughter, who was bom February 4th, 1764, and whom we called Sarah, The.year after, our eldest son, John Stites Gano, who was on a visit to his grand-parents, met with a fall, which put a period to his existence, after languishing a few days. He professed a hope of eternal life, through the mediation of Jesus Christ. On the 14th day of July, 1766, we had another son, who bore the name of John Stites Gano, after my eldest. On the 15th of August, 1768, we had another daughter, who died in the third year of her age. We had another son, whom we called Isaac Eaton Gano, in the year 1770; and at the commencement of the war, just before we left New-York, we had another son, whom we called Richard Montgomery Gano.
The war now coming on, obliged the church to separate, and many removed from the city, in almost every direction, through the union. I was invited by Mr. Peter Brown, of Horseneck, in the edge of Connecticut,
to remove my family to his house, as he understood I was determined to remain in the city, till the enemy entered it: the British fleet were in the Narrows, and part of their troops were landing on Long and Staten Islands.
I was invited to become Chaplain of the regiment, belonging to Colonel Charles Webb, of Stamford, and Lieutenant Colonel Hall. This I declined. They then proposed to me, to come to their regiment, which lay a little distance from the city, and preach to them one sermon on Lord's-day, and attend them every morning. To this I acceded.
The enemy's shipping took possession both of the North and East-rivers, and clearly evinced their determination of landing their troops. This left me no possible opportunity, of getting my household furniture; I was obliged therefore, to retire, precipitately, to our camp. The next day, after a little skirmishing, the British took possession of the city, and our army was driven to Haarlem
heights. - From thence, after a few more skirmishes, we had to retreat to Kings-bridge, in West-Chester, leaving in Fort-Washington, a garrison of about fifteen hundred men, all of whom, a little after, fell a sacrifice to the British. From King's-bridge, we retreated to White-plains, where General Washington had the greater part of his army, excepting those that were employed in Pennsylvania. On the heights of White-plains, we had a warm, though partial battle; for not a third of our army, or probably of theirs, was brought to action. My station, in time of action, I knew to be among the surgeons; but in this battle, I, somehow, got in the front of the regiment; yet I durst not quit my place, for fear of damping the spirits of the soldiers, or of bringing on me an imputation of cowardice. Rather than do either, I chose to risk my fate. This circumstance, gave an opportunity to the young officers of talking; and I believe it had a good effect upon some of them. From this place, we withdrew, in a few days, to North-Castle, and encamped not far from the Presbyterian meeting house,
which was made a hospital for the sick and wounded. I obtained a furlough, to visit my family, for a few days; and upon my return, found all the army gone from the place, except one poor soldier, whom I found at the hospital, with a bottle of water at his side.
The British, had passed through New-Jersey, towards Philadelphia; and had garrisoned a body of men at Brunswick, Prince-Town, and Trenton; where they had quartered the chief part of their Hessian troops. General Washington, had passed over the Delaware with a part of his army, and encamped in Newton, in Pennsylvania; and had ordered the remainder, which I belonged to, and which General Lee commanded, to come after him. We marched through Morristown, and Baskinridge, in New-Jersey, where General Lee was taken, in the night, in the outskirts of our army. The command then devolved ou General Glover, who led us through Aiimrell, aver the Dekware, to General Washington's army.
Our troops, principally consisted of men, enlisted for the year, and the militia. General Washington gave orders for his army to march, in the evening, across the Dekware, to Trenton, and attack the Hessians. In this attack, eleven hundred Hessians were taken prisoners. The time, for which our troops engaged, being out, General Washington, visited the various regiments, and requested them to serve six weeks longer. In that time, he said, he expected a reinforcement, with an army, raised either for three years, or during the war. Our affairs were principally conducted by State-Congresses. The British, hearing of our army being at Trenton, marched their troops after us; and the two armies met at Prince-Town, where a skirmish took place, and the British retreated to Brunswick. Here General Washington, with a handful of men, kept the British ia close quarters, for the remainder of the year.
Six weeks being now expired, and we about to return home, the colonel and officers of the regiment requested to know, if I would
join them provided they should raise another body of men. I answered them in the affirmative; but on my return home, I found a letter from Colonel Dubosque, who was stationed at Fort-Montgomery, on the bank of North-river, opposite Fish-Kill. On the receipt of this letter, I set off to the colonel's regiment, to refuse the invitation, therein contained. On my arrival there, I found General James Clinton, in company with the Colonel, both of whom, urged me to accept the office of Chaplain, in so forcible a manner, that I finally consented. I repaired to the fort, where I remained, till the British took it from us, by storm.
The North-river, was a great object, both to the Americans, and the enemy. For while we had the command of it, the eastern and southern states, could operate to great advantage; but if the enemy could control it, it would involve us in great difficulties and embarrassments. They were therefore anxious to have their army come from Canada, to Albany, and their navy, to take possession of
North-river, and thereby form a junction with each other. Their navy, sailed up the river, and landed their soldiers, amounting to about five thousand men. We had, both in Fort-Montgomery, and Fort-Clinton, but about seven hundred men. We had been taught to believe, that we should be reinforced, in time of danger, from the neighbouring militia; but they were, at this time, very inactive. We heard of the approach of the enemy, and that they were about a mile and a half from Fort-Clinton. That fort sent out a small detachment, which was immediately driven back. The British army surrounded both our forts, and commenced an universal firing. I was walking on the breast-work, viewing their approach, but was obliged to quit this station, as the musquet balls frequently passed me. I observed the enemy, marching up a little hollow, that they might be secured from our firing, till they came within eighty yards of us. Our breast-work, immediately before them, was not more than waist-band-high, and we had but a few men. The enemy, kept up a heavy firing, till our
men, gave them a well directed fire, which affected them very sensibly. Just at this time, we had a reinforcement from a redoubt, next to us, which obliged the enemy to withdraw. I walked to an eminence, where I had a good prospect, and saw the enemy advancing towards our gate. This gate, faced Fort-Clinton, and Captain Moody, who commanded a piece of artillery at that fort, seeing our desperate situation, gave the enemy a charge of grape-shot, which threw them into great confusion. Moody repeated his charge, which entirely dispersed them for that time.
About sunset, the enemy sent a couple of flags, into each of our forts, demanding an immediate surrender, or we should all be put to the sword. General George Clinton, who commanded in Fort-Montgomery, returned for answer, that the latter was preferrable to the former, and that he should not surrender the fort. General James Clinton, who commanded in Fort-Clinton, answered the demand in the same manner. A few
minutes after the flags had returned, the enemy commenced a very heavy firing, which was answered by our army. The dusk of the evening, together with the smoke, and the rushing in of the enemy, made it impossible for us to distinguish friend, from foe. This confusion, gave us an opportunity of escaping, through the enemy, over the breast-work. Many escaped to the water's side, and got on board a scow, and pushed off. Before she had got twice her length, we grappled one of our row-gallies, into which we all got, and crossed the river. We arrived safe at New-Windsor, where in a few days after, we were joined by some more of our army, who had escaped from the forts. By our returns, we had lost, killed and taken prisoners, about three hundred men. The enemy, as we afterwards understood, had one thousand or eleven hundred killed, among whom were eighteen Captains, and one or two field officers, besides a great number of wonnded.
When we arrived at New-Windsor, I obtained a furlough, to visit my family, who then
lived at New-Fairfield, where was born, my daughter Susannah, on the 8th of November, 1777, and from whence, after tarrying a few days, I departed for the army.
The command of the North-river, as I before said, was a great object with the Americans, as well as the enemy. The British, therefore, made every exertion to unite their northern and southern armies. A spy was dispatched from Sir Henry Clinton, to obtain information of our situation. But providentially for us, the spy was apprehended, and the enemy's scheme frustrated. Their northern army, was captured at Bennington, on their way to Albany, principally, by the New-England militia, under the command of Gereral Gates. I obtained another furlough to visit my family, but as our army was encamped near a meeting-house, I was ordered to visit them, and preach. My family removed to New-Milford, where I often preached, when on a visit to them.
At the opening of the next campaign, General Clinton's brigade, consisted, of two regiments from New York, one from New-England, and one from New-Jersey, neither of which had a Chaplain. I was, therefore constituted Chaplain to the brigade, by General Clinton, and, soon after, commissioned as such, by Congress. During this campaign, the principal operations, of the enemy, were in Pennsylvania and New-England. In the latter, they burnt part of Old Stratfield, and attacked Danbury, where they were so warmly repulsed, that with difficulty they escaped. - At the close of the campaign, General Clinton's brigade was ordered to take winter-quarters in Albany. While we remained there, a message came from our troops, which lay at Canajoharie, to General Clinton, requesting, to let me go and spend a little time with them. To this the General consented, and I went. When I got there, they asked me to preach; and wished I would dwell a little more on politics than I commonly did. In one of my discourses, I took the words of Moses to his father-in-law;
"Come go thou with us, and we will do thee good; for he that seeketh my life, seeketh thy life, but with us thou shall be in safeguard."
About this time, the western expedition was meditated, to be conducted by General Sullivan. General Maxfield, of New-Jersey, was to go up the Susquehanna, and form a junction with General Clinton. General Banis's brigade, from New-England, to go to Otsego, at the head of the Susquehanna, and wait for orders, to come down the river, with flat-bottomed boats, which were for the conveyance of the troops and provisions. Accordingly, one hundred and eight boats were provided, and went up the North and Mohawk-rivers, to Canajoharie. From thence, they were carried through woods and swamps, sixteen miles, to Otsego, which forms the Susquehanna. While some of the army were cutting and preparing the road for the conveyance of the boats, the General sent others, to dam the outlet, which was so effectually done, that the whole lake was raised three or four feet. We encamped at
Otsego, for five or six weeks, previous to our receiving orders for marching. We lay here on the fourth of July, and the officers insisted on my preaching, which I did from these words: "This day shall be a memorial unto you throughout your generations." On tliis occasion, the soldiery behaved with the most decency that I ever knew them to, during the war. Some of them usually absented themselves from worship on Lord's-day, and the only punishment they were subjected to was the digging up of stumps, which, in some instances, had a good effect.
Our troops, both officers and privates, grew extremely impatient of remaining so inactive, fearing the campaign would fall through. The General informed me, that he had received orders to move, and that he should do it on the next Monday. He requested me not to mention it, till after service the next day, which was Sunday. I preached to them from these words: "Being ready to depart on the morrow." As soon as service was closed, the General rose up, and
ordered each Captain to appoint a certain number of men out of his company, to draw the boats from the lake, and string them along the Susquehaima, below the dam, and load them, that they might be ready to depart the next morning. Notwithstanding, the dam had been opened several hours, yet the swell it had occasioned in the river, served to carry the boats over the shoals and flatts, which would have been impossible otherwise. It was at that time very dry; it was therefore, matter of astonishment to the inhabitants, down the river, for above an hundred miles, what could have occasioned such a freshet in the river. The soldiers marched on both sides of the river, excepting the invalids, who went in the boats, with the baggage and provision. In a few days, we formed a junction, at Cayuga, with the troops from below. The General calculated the route, and the time it would consequently take them; examined the provision, and finally concluded to form a garrison, leave all the baggage and provision, (excepting that in charge of Colonel Butler,) and proceed with
two or three pieces of light cannon, for the place of destination. The next day we had a little skirmish with the Indians, who, we believed, had secretly watched the motions of both divisions of our army.
We marched for Newton, (Penn.) where the different nations of Indians, under their two chiefs, Butler and Brant, had collected, and ambuscaded. General Sullivan, by some of his spies, gained information of this, the evening before; and therefore planned the attack for next morning. Sullivan, with his division and cannon, was to march up and attack, while General Poor with his regiment, should march to the right, and take possession of a mountain, where it was judged the main body of the Indians lay. General Clinton to advance further to the right, and station himself at the back of the mountain, to head the enemy, if they were routed. We pursued our orders, till forced, by an impassable defile, to go nearly into General Poor's route. Many of the enemy, by this means, escaped. One circumstance, prevented
our gaining a complete victory. Our orders were not put in execution, when the attack was made by General Sullivan; he commenced with heavy firing from his cannon, which created a general alarm among the Indians. This we learnt from two prisoners, whom we took. They also told us, that the instant the first cannon was fired, they broke their ranks, and took to running, although Butler and Brant, ordered them to stop. When our army collected, we saw ourselves surrounded by a large field of Indian corn, pumpkins, squashes, beans, &c. Which was no unpleasant sight to soldiers, who were as hungry as we were. Here General Sullivan displayed his generalship, by putting the army on half allowance, that we might more effectually secure the victory, by pursuing the Indians. Our success, and the exhortations of our officers, induced the soldiery to a cheerful compliance, and they consequently set up a loud huzza! An Irishman, observing this, said, he had been a long time in the British army, and some time in the service of America, but he never heard
soldiers cry huzza! for half allowance before; however, as they all had, he would. To this place, we brought several of our boats; ami from here, they were sent back, to convey some wounded soldiers and corn, for the garrison.
On our return, the Indians that were settled on Cayuga and Tioga, were apprised of our approach, and had left those two places, leaving behind them an old squaw, and a young one to take care of her. The General, destroyed the town; but first ordered her into a wigwam, and forbid any one hurting her or her wigwam; and also left a note on her door to that effect. We understood, that in going to the Genesee, we had to go through a. considerable town. The general sent off a lieutenant and serjearnt [sic], with twenty men, to make discoveries, and to return that night. Instead of returning, they wished to try the conveniency of an Indian wigwam, and therefore tarried all night. The Indians, hearing of this, formed an ambuscade between them and the army, which our men did not discover,
till they were entrapped. One of our men, by name Murphy, cleared himself from them, shot an Indian who attempted to oppose him, and brought us the information. The General put the army in motion; but before we arrived to the relief of our men, we were stopped by a rivulet, and were obliged to throw a bridge across it. While this was doing, the General stationed centinels beyond the men, who were at work, and nearly within gun-shot of the Indians. In crossing the bridge, they shot one or two of our men: one of our centnals, a daring fellow, saw a cluster of them rise from their concealment, and knowing it was impossible for him to escape from them, run toward them, hallooed and waved his hat, as though our army were nigh him. This alarmed them so, tliat they arose and run, leaving their baggage &c. behind them. We crossed the bridge, but had not marched far, before night overtook us. We were obliged to encamp. The distance, between us and the Genesee flats, was but small,
Next morning, we set off on our march, crossed the Genesee, and marched seven miles to a large Indian town. Here we discovered, that the Indians had massacred our Lieutenant Boyd and the Serjeant, and had burnt down their huts. Among the ruins of the huts, we found a number of human bones, which we supposed were those of Boyd's scout taken in the skirmish, and of their own men who were killed or wounded. Here we encamped for the night.
In the morning, we heard the guns from the British garrison. We discovered amazing fields of corn, not yet gathered, which our army destroyed. It was supposed that the Indians were gone to the British garrison; and that they had concluded our intention was for the garrison. In the afternoon, our army wheeled about; and General Clinton, was ordered to encamp at the Genesee, and wait for our division to come up. Sullivan's division, encamped in a large corn-field. Our division, marched with all the dispatch they could, being amazing weak
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