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Thrilling Incidents In American History

• Title
• Preface

Revolutionary War
• Opening Of The Revolution
• The Boston Massacre
• Affair of the Sloop Liberty
• Affair of the Gaspee
• The Tea Riot
• The Boston Port Bill
• The First Continental Congress-Consequent Parliamentary proceedings
• Organization of the Minute-Men
• Patrick Henry-Second Provincial Congress-First Military Enterprise
• Battles of Lexington and Concord
• Battle of Bunker's Hill
• Capture of Ticonderoga
• Second Continental Congress-Washington's Appointment
• Siege of Boston
• Incidents at the Evacuation of Boston
• Burning of Falmouth
• Arnold's Expedition to Quebec
• Siege of Quebec, and Death of Montgomery
• Scenes at Quebec during the Siege
• Expedition against Charleston
• The Declaration of Independence
• The Battle of Long Island
• Washington's Retreat through New Jersey-Capture of General Lee
• Battle of Trenton
• Battle of Princeton
• Capture of General Prescott
• Battle of Brandywine
• Battle of Germantown
• Battle of Red-Bank
• Attack on Fort Mifflin-Retirement of the Army to Valley Forge
• Battle of Bennington
• Murder of Miss M'Crea
• Battle of Stillwater
• Battle of Bemis' Heights, and Retreat of Burgoyne
• Capture of Forts Clinton and Montgomery
• Surrender of Burgoyne
• The Treaty with France
• Attack on Savannah, and Death of Pulaski
• Storming of Stony Point
• General Sullivan's Campaign against the Mohawks
• Tarleton's Quarters
• Battle of Camden, and Death of De Kalb
• Arnold's Treason
• The Loss of the Randolph
• The British Prison-Ships
• Capture of the Serapis
• Putnam's Feat at Horseneck
• Battle of Eutaw Springs
• Wayne's Charge at Green Spring
• Capture of the General Monk
• The Mutinies
• Battle of the Cowpens
• Capture of New London
• Massacre of Wyoming
• Surrender of Cornwallis

War With France
• Capture of L'Insurgente
• The Constellation and Vengeance

War With Tripoli
• Burning of the Philadelphia
• Bombardment of Tripoli
• Loss of the Intrepid
• Expedition of General Eaton

Second War With England
• Battle of Tippecanoe
• Capture of the Guerriere
• Tragical Affair of an Indian Chief
• Battle and Massacre at the River Raisin
• Captain Holmes's Expedition
• Capture of the Caledonia and Detroit
• The Wasp and Frolic
• Gallant Conduct of Lieutenant Allen at the Capture of the Macedonian
• Capture and Destruction of the Java
• Siege of Fort Meigs
• Capture of York, and Death of General Pike
• Defence of Sackett's Harbour
• Defence of Fort Stephenson
• Battle of Lake Erie
• Battle of the Thames
• Gallant Action of Commodore Chauncey under the guns of Kingston Citadel
• The Sacking of Hampton
• Capture of the Peacock
• Massacre at Fort Mimms
• Surrender of Weatherford
• Battle of Niagara
• BattIe of New Orleans

War With Mexico
• Battle of Palo Alto
• Battle of Resaca de la Palma
• Capture of Monterey
• Battle in the Streets of Monterey
• Thrilling Scenes in the Battle of Buena Vista
• Bombardment of Vera Cruz
• Battle of Cerro Gordo
• Battles of Contreras and Churubusco
• Storming of Chapultepec



ASHINGTON having obtained pleasing accounts from Canada, being assured that neither Indians nor Canadians could be prevailed upon to act against the Americans, and knowing there was a design of penetrating into that province by Lake Champlain, concerted the plan of detaching a body of troops from head-quarters, through the province of Maine, across the country to Quebec. He communicated the same to General Schuyler, who approving it, all things were got in readiness. The corps was to be commanded by Colonel Arnold, aided by Colonels Christopher Green and Roger Enos, and Majors Meigs and Bigelow, and was to consist of ten companies of musketmen and three companies of riflemen, amounting to eleven hundred.

In the evening of &ptember 13th, 1775, the detachment marched from Cambridge for Newburyport, where, six days after, they embarked on board ten transports bound to Kennebec, fifty leagues distant. They entered the mouth of the Kennebec in the morning, and, favoured with the wind and tide, proceeded up to Gardner's town. It was only fourteen days from first giving orders for building two hundred batteaux, for collecting provisions, and for draughting the eleven hundred men, to their reaching this place.- Such was the despatch!

On the 22d of September the troops embarked on board the batteaux, and proceeded to Fort Western on the east side of the river. From thence, Captain Morgan, with three companies of riflemen, was sent forward by water, with orders to get on to the great carrying-place in the most expeditious manner, and to clear the road, while the other divisions came up. The second division embarked the next day, and the third the nay after. As they advanced op the river the stream grew very rapid, and the bottom and shores were rocky. (Sept. 29.) By eleven in the, morning, Major Meigs, with the third division, arrived at Fort Halifax, standing on a point of land between the rivers Kennebec and Sebasticook. In their progress up the river, they met with two carrying-places, over which they were obliged to carry their batteaux, baggage, and every other article, till they came again to a part of the river which was navigable, and no longer obstructed by water-falls, rapids, rocks or other incumbrances, as was that which they avoided. (October 3.) They got to Norridgewock, where the major's curiosity was entertained by the sight of a child fourteen months old, the first white one born in the place. After crossing over more carrying-places, he and his men encamped at the great carrying-place, (October 10,) which was twelve miles and a half across, including three ponds that they were obliged to pass. These ponds had plenty of trout. Two days after Colonel Enos arrived at the same place with the fourth division of the army, consisting of three companies of musket-men. Colonel Arnold meeting with an Indian, wrote to General Schuyler, and enclosed his letter to a friend in Quebec. Though he had no knowledge of the Indian, he venturously intrusted the packet with him, to be carried and delivered according to order. This strange confidence might have ruined his expedition, beside involving his friend in great trouble. (October 15.) The provision was so reduced, that the men were put to allowance, three-quarters of a pound of pork and three-quarters of a pound of flour a day for each. The next day they reached Dead river.

Colonel Enos having got up with his division in about three days, was ordered to send back the sick, and those that could not be furnished with provision; but, contrary to Colonel Arnold's expectation, re- turned to Cambridge with his whole division a few d~ys after. Major Meigs received orders to push on w~th his division (October 19) for Chaudiere Head, with the greatest expedition. But they proceeded very slowly, by reason of falls, carrying-places, and bad weather. Their course was only three miles. (October 22.) The rains made the river rise the preceding night in some parts eight feet perpendicular; and in many places it overflowed its banks, and rendered it very difficult for the men on shore to march. The next day the stream was so rapid, that, in passing it, five or six batteaux filled and overset, by which they lost several barrels of provisions, a number of guns, clothes, and other articles. Such was the rapidity of the stream, and interruptions by carrying-places, that it was with much fatigue they got on twenty-one miles within the three following days. To their great satisfaction they reached the carrying-place, (October 27,) which lies across the height of land that runs through the colonies to Georgia, and on the further side of whIch the streams run the reverse of the river they had ascended. They crossed the heights to Chaudiere river, and continued their march by land to Quebec. (November 1.) The marching through the woods was extremely bad. Major Meigs passed a number of soldiers who had no provisions, and some of whom were sick. It was not in his power to help or relieve them. But one or two dogs were killed, which the distressed soldiers ate with a relishing appetite, without sparing either feet or skin. A few ate their cartouch-boxes, breeches, and shoes, being several days without provision. The major and his men marched on upon the banks of the Chaudiere, (November 3,) and at twelve o'clock met with supplies, to the inexpressible joy of the soldiers, who were near starving. Colonel Arnold, with a small party, made a forced March, and returned with provisions purchased of the inhabitants, on which the hunger-bitten adventurers made a voracious meal. (November 4.) The next day at eleven, Major Meigs and his men arrived at a French house, and were hospitably treated. It was the first house he had seen for thirty-one days, having been all that time in a rough, barren, and uninhabited wilderness, where he never saw a human being except those belonging to the detachment. He and his party were immediately supplied with fresh beef, fowls, butter, pheasants, and vegetables, at this settlement, called Sertigan, twenty-five, leagues from Quebec. They were kindly entertained while marching down the country.

When Colonel Arnold got within two leagues and a half of Point Levi, (November 8,) he wrote to General Montgomery, that as he had received no answer either from General Schuyler or his friend, he made no doubt but that the Indian had betrayed his trust,-and that he was confirmed in it, upon finding that the inhabitants of Quebec had been some time apprised of his coming, and had destroyed all the canoes at Point Levi, to prevent the detachments from passing over. The fact was, the Indian, instead of delivering the packet as directed, carried it to the lieutenant-governor, who, on reading the letters, secured Mr. Mercier, the merchant, and began immediately to put the city in the best state of defence he could; whereas before it was wholly defenceless, and might easily have been carried by surprise.

On the 9th of November Colonel Arnold arrived at Point Levi, where we leave him to remove, if possible, the embarrassments into which his own imprudence has brought him, by needlessly trusting an unknown Indian with despatches of the utmost consequence. The detachment suffered hardships beyond what can well be conceived of, in the course of the expedition. The men had to haul their batteaux up over falls, up rapid streams, over carrying-places, and to march through morasses, thick woods, and over mountains, for about three hundred and twenty miles. In many places they had to pass over the ground and the mountains several times, as without it they must have left much of their baggage behind, and have failed in the enterprise. They lost all their powder, except what was in cartridges and horns, while penetrating through the woods. But what proved the greatest trial to them, was the starving condition to which they were reduced when approaching the end of their tedious and distressing march. The pork being gone, they had for four days only half-a-pound of flour a day for each man. Tbeir whole store was then divided, which yielded about four pints of flour per man-a small allowance for men near a hundred miles from any habitation or prospect of supply. It was used sparingly; but several, when they had baked and eaten their last morsel, discovered, to their great confusion, that they had thirty miles to travel before they could expect the least mouthful more. But their dread of consequences was soon removed, by the unexpected return of Colonel Arnold, with cattle. The soldiers exercised the greatest fortitude and patience under the difficulties and sufferings that occurred; and when again in the midst of plenty, and an easy situation, soon lost all painful remembrance of what had happened, and gloried in having accomplished, by their indefatigable zeal and industry, an undertaking above the common race of men in this debauched age.

Let us attend to Colonel Enos. His return to camp excited both astonishment and indignation. (December 1.) A court martial was ordered to sit upon him; when it appeared that he had but three days' provision, and was about one hundred miles from the English settlements; that a council of war was called, which agreed upon the return of the colonel's whole division; and that he was for going on without, but that it was opposed. It was the unanimous opinion of the court that Colonel Enos was under a necessity of returning, and he was acquitted with honour. A number of officers, of the best character, were fully satisfied and persuaded that his conduct deserved applause rather than censure. Had he not returned, his whole division must have been starved.