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In theory he may have been right, but in fact he was not. Something about Jane McCrea's murder differed from all the other lurid stories so that it fired the imagination of a thoroughly alarmed public. Her demise was one of the first and in some respects the most dramatic of the atrocities now being committed almost daily by Burgoyne's Indians, and coming on the heels of his earlier threats, it made for extremely effective propaganda. Mentioned again and again in soldiers' journals and in letters home, it soon became the chief item of conversation across New England and New York State, especially in communities close to the frontier where the fear of Indian attack was palpable.

Schuyler's aide Brockholst Livingston was certain the murder of Jane McCrea--"a young lady of beauty and family"-- had "proved of service to the Country. Many of the Inhabitants who had resolved to stay in consequence of Burgoyne's Proclamation & submit to the terms of the Victor, are now determined to a Man to disregard his promises (which he has already repeatedly broke)..." Captain Rufus Lincoln-- an original speller if ever there was one-- noted in his diary that "it was about this time Mrs.[sic]McCrea and many other peasable inhabitants were Crualy murdred by Indianes. And indeed the Ravages they Committed aded much to the number of the American Army as the Inhabitance Rather Chused to turn out and oppose them than to be Cruely Murdered with their familys and that was dear to them."

One reason the story struck home was the almost universal description of the woman as young and beautiful, with a pleasing disposition, intelligent, and possessed, of course, of those lovely long tresses. Another was that she was engaged to marry a loyalist officer, was staying with a woman related to a British general who was Burgoyne's most trusted friend, and --since the rebel army had withdrawn from the area--was in a house considered to be a safe haven. In other words, if Burgoyne could not even protect his own from his hirelings, how could any American family in the vicinity, regardless of political affiliation, age, or sex, expect to be spared?

The Massachusetts Spy quoted a report from Saratoga saying Indians were everywhere--very bold-- killing and scalping sentries in sight of the army and murdering and scalping about sixty women and children, "making no distinction between whigs or tories." The New Hampshire Gazette noted that terrified Albany residents were moving down-country after two little girls who were picking berries were scalped.

The panic in the area... had now escalated to the point where men in the ranks and civilians alike were just plain scared. The government in London and the commander in chief of the expedition had meant to terrorize the rebels, and to a considerable degree they were succeeding; as a paymaster in Schuyler's army observed, "One Hundred Indians in the Woods do us more harm [than] 1,000 British troops. They have been the Death of many brave Fellows.

The worst of it was that Schuyler's army seemed incapable of countering the Indian attacks, which continued to mount in fury. It is hard to imagine any outfit having a worse time of it during these weeks of terror than the 7th Massachusetts Regiment. On July 21 a thirty-four-man scout was surrounded by Indians and only twelve escaped. The next afternoon one sentry was killed and another scalped, whereupon the brigade turned out and had what Captain Benjamin Warren described as "a smart engagement" lasting half and hour with heavy fire on both sides. That cost the Massachusetts lads eight killed and fifteen wounded. Two days later a lieutenant and a sergeant were shot dead. On the same day that Lieutenant Van Vechten and Jane McCrea were killed, Major Daniel Whiting's detachment came under hostile fire near the hill where Van Vechten's men were posted. Some five hundred soldiers under Ebenezer Learned were sent out to rescue them, but a downpour delayed them long enough for the Indians to escape.

On July 28 a man trying to move his family away from their home near Fort Miller was shot and scalped. The 7th Massachusetts was moving away from Fort Edward, but the men still found themselves within range of the largely unseen savages, and on July 29 a sentry and a sergeant with a fatigue party felling trees near a campsite were killed. Hearing that four hundred Indians were closing in on his rear, Schuyler ordered a withdrawal to Fort Miller and in a hot little rearguard action lost three killed and three captured.

Burgoyne's army found one of the dead men, an officer, scalped, with the soles of his feet sliced off; seeing him, Surgeon Wasmus wondered if this horror had been performed before he died, and suspected that it had. Two days later a lieutenant was found drawn and quartered and hanging from a tree; another picket was killed and scalped; and a Dr. Leonard, presumably frightened and depressed by what was going on, committed suicide. The next day a terrified woman named Mrs. Rankin cut her throat with a pair of shears but survived to confront her private demons anew. And so it went, day after frightful day--more killings near Fort Miller, twenty soldiers attacked three-quarters of a mile from the post, fifteen scalps taken on August 3, and always more men captured or deserting because of the savagery they dreaded. Word of these atrocities spread like grass fire fanned by the wind, heightening the anxiety of farmers, in isolated pockets beyond the fringe of military operations.

As Schuyler's weary army moved steadily south, parties of Indians and loyalists followed on their flanks and rear, nipping at their heels, waiting for any chance to waylay them. Along the retreat they had hopscotched from one position to the next, slowly falling back toward Burgoyne's destination of Albany, but Schuyler was running out of moves. After a council of war on July 30 the general issued the order to withdraw to Saratoga, and the men struck their tents and worked through the night carrying stores and loading them on rafts along with huts they had constructed, while the enemy came closer hour by hour.

...Burgoyne learned....that the rebels had a substantial supply depot in Bennington which was only lightly guarded. The general mounted his horse, rode to Baum's camp, and verbally ordered him to go not to Rockingham or Manchester but to Bennington. This may have been an impromptu, spur-of-the-moment decision, as Riedesel believed, or it may have been in Burgoyne's mind for some time, as he claimed later. "Surely," he explained, "there is nothing new or improbable in the idea that a general should disguise his real intentions at the outset of an expedition, even from the officer whom he appointed to execute them, provided a communication with that officer was certain and not remote." This was hostile territory, after all, infested with spies and informers, and it made no sense to take unnecessary security risks.

Despite the baron's misgivings, he was in a jubilant frame of mind, as well he might be considering the army's success to date. Writing to the Duke of Brunswick from Fort Edward on August 8, he boasted that "we are masters of the Hudson." The rebels had abandoned all the advantageous military positions available to them, and it was now possible to put boats on the river and have clear sailing to Albany. Not only that: Washington was said to be retreating before Howe, the rebels in the north were falling back toward Albany, Burgoyne's army was in high spirits, and he expected they would soon surround the enemy and win a decisive victory. Within the week a bridge of rafts would be thrown across the Hudson, enabling the army to be supplied with all those provisions and horses Baum was to bring back. Then the final march on Albany was to begin.

John Stark and his New Hampshiremen headed down the road from Manchester to Bennington at just about the same time Baum's task force was leaving for the same destination. When Stark arrived he found a growing number of militiamen who had drifted into town from several directions, men wearing clothes of every conceivable description--loose coats "with colors as various as the barks of oak, sumac, and other trees of our hills and swamps could make them," homespun shirts and vests, with smallclothes that fastened below the knee or long linen trousers that reached down to a pair of calfskin shoes ornamented with buckles. Almost all wore a broad-brimmed hat with a round crown. Each man carried a powder horn, a bullet bag, a flask with rum, and a gun, and those weapons were as varied as the colors of their clothing; most were antique English, French, or Spanish firearms. A few of the soldiers carried swords hammered out by a local blacksmith; even fewer had bayonets.

In early August, responding to appeals from Schuyler, the Massachusetts General Court had ordered one-sixth of the state's able-bodied men between the ages of sixteen and fifty, plus what was called the alarm list (all other eligible men up to age sixty-five), to reinforce the Northern Army, and many of these volunteers--especially form Berkshire and Hampshire counties, which were most at risk from Burgoyne's invasion force--had already mustered and marched toward Bennington. Jonas Fay of the Vermont Council of Safety had written on August 13 to colonels of that state's militia requiring them "without a moments loss of time to march one half of the Regiment under your Command" to Bennington.

...Baum said he was proceeding toward Bennington along the course of the Walloomsac River, and he planned to attack at first light on the morning of the 15th. Meantime, he added, "People are flocking in hourly, but want to be armed; the savages cannot be controlled, they ruin and take every thing they please." With Skene vouching for those Americans who were "flocking in" to take the oath of allegiance to George III, Baum had no reason to doubt their loyalty, and they were allowed to mingle freely with the soldiers, picking up whatever information they chanced to overhear.

After crossing the bridge by the mill at Sancoick, the Germans rustled some horses from neighboring farms and had another minor skirmish in which a Mohawk chief, bent on looting, got too far ahead of the detachment and was killed. The troops rested here in the gardens behind two houses whose owners were caught loading their furniture on wagons drawn by six oxen. The cattle were appropriated, and a guard was placed on each house to prevent looting, but Wasmus could not help worrying: "it was the habit of the Savages to scalp and demolish everything," he observed. The Indians were so "very grieved and sad" about the loss of the oldest chief, whom they "venerated as their king," that an elaborate impromptu funeral service was arranged during which sixteen dragoons followed a makeshift coffin to the gravesite and fired three volleys, which seemed to mollify the Indians and alarmed the rebels, who thought an attack had begun.

When Baum spotted the Americans coming at him in force he halted his troops and posted them in what Stark immediately sized up as a strong defensive position. Understandably, there was a good deal of confusion here. These two little armies had met almost accidentally, neither knowing much about the other's strength or whether more troops were on the way to join them, and they were like two dogs sniffing around, taking the other's measure, and until that was accomplished the sensible thing seemed to be to hang back and see what developed. Both sides were a curious mix of soldiers and skills. On the surface, Baum's corps appeared to have an edge in experience and training, yet although Stark's men were militia a good many were veterans of some rough combat duty-- in the French wars, around Boston in '75, and at Trenton and Princeton. On the other hand, both forces also included a number of men and officers who had probably never before heard a shot fired in anger.

Through the afternoon of the 14th the valley echoed to the sound of scattered gunfire, and Wasmus noted the rebels' technique of fighting: each man stood behind a tree, loaded his musket, shot, and made a dash for another tree, where the process was repeated. The surgeon (Wasmus) found himself tending several Indians wounded (another Mohawk was killed), and since they were the only ones hit it seemed as if the Americans, having heard so much about Indian atrocities, were concentrating their fire on them. "The Savages were so enraged about this loss that they wanted to depart for Canada tonight," Wasmus remarked, supposing the Indians probably had acquired enough loot to keep them happy: almost every one had a horse laden with stolen goods.

By now Stark had a lot more information about the enemy --intelligence brought in by his patrols and by those local inhabitants rightly suspected by Wasmus of providing the rebel command with details about Baum's defenses. He also had more men--mostly militia companies from Vermont and Berkshire County, including a Pittsfield contingent led by the fire-eating pastor Thomas Allen, who had been so critical of St. Clair's evacuation of Ticonderoga. The clergyman had come into camp during the night complaining to the general that if the Massachusetts militia didn't get to fight they would never answer another call to arms. Stark told him to get some rest: if the Lord sent sunshine the following day and they did not get fighting enough to suit them, he would never call on them again.

As John Stark knew, something besides tactics accounts for military success, and chances are he gave his officers a "short but animated address" as he had done at Bunker Hill. Whatever else he may have said, the remark men attributed to him long afterward was "There are the redcoats and they are ours, or Molly Stark sleeps a widow tonight."

As soon as Meibom's scouts saw them coming they raced for the redoubt, shouting that the rebels were attacking from two directions, and suddenly "a violent volley of fire erupted against the entrenchment." Herrick's men burst out of the woods and were within ten or twelve rods of the Brunswickers before opening fire from behind trees and fallen logs; then they reloaded, advanced, and let loose again. John Stark, who was no stranger to the sounds of battle described the furious salvos of muskets and cannon as "the hottest engagement I have ever witnessed, resembling a continual clap of thunder."

One rebel said the dragoons "fired by platoons and were soon covered with smoke," and those volleys tore holes in the lines of advancing men. Yet each time the Brunswickers reloaded and took aim they were blasted by rebel musket fire, and in short order the "tallest and best dragoons were sent into eternity." German gunners were firing balls and grapeshot to left and right, the Indians "made terrible faces and ran from one tree to the next," and within a matter of minutes Americans were inside the redoubt, using their guns as clubs and lunging with bayonets. It was bedlam with the deafening slam of muskets at close quarters, men screaming , shouting, and cursing, and suddenly the Germans were struggling desperately to get out before they were slaughtered. Down the steep hill they plunged with the revels only a few yards behind, and on this hot day the footrace was no contest between the dragoons in their thick wool uniforms and the Americans, most of whom wore light shirts and trousers.

A number of dragoons were shot in the redoubt, others as they raced downhill, and once they started running, a rebel said, "there was no regular battle--all was confusion--a party of our men would attack and kill or take prisoners....Every man seemed to manage for himself" in a free-for-all that resembled mob violence more than any organized attack. It did not take long. Captain Peter Clark said the battle lasted half an hour "and was equal to Bunker Hill excepting there was not so many cannon." He remarked of the Germans, "The Lord of Hosts sent them off in such haste they left their all and run..."

When Stafford's collection of militia companies stepped off toward the loyalist redoubt, the captain noticed that an old man was present--a slender fellow, "stooping a little with advanced age and hard work, with a wrinkled face, and well known as one of the oldest persons in our town." There was no telling what lay ahead when they reached that redoubt, but Stafford knew it was no place for an aged man, and he told him to stay where he was and keep watch over the baggage. At that the old-timer came forward, smiling, pulled off his hat exposing "loose hair [that] shone as white as silver," and replied, "Not till I've had a shot at them first, captain, if you please."  A cheer went up from the others, and off they went with the old man marching along.

Nothing in Baum's confident message of August 14 to Burgoyne had suggested the need --urgent or otherwise-- for reinforcements. The sole hint of what might lie ahead was a reference to the presence of fifteen to eighteen hundred rebels in Bennington, but any threat they might pose was passed off with the prediction that they "are supposed to leave it on our approach," followed by Baum's statement that he intended to attack the Americans early the following morning. That resulted in a letter from Burgoyne's aide-de-camp, Sir Francis Carr Clerke, to Breymann that lacked any sense of foreboding or the need for speed.

What Skene did not admit in his letter was the extent of the disaster. Between nine hundred and a thousand men had been lost--killed, wounded, captured, missing--and it might have been worse had darkness not prevented further American pursuit. For Burgoyne, whose only means of augmenting his army was to hope more loyalists would join him, to lose nearly 15 percent of the professional soldiers he had brought from Canada was calamitous, and while his private secretary described the result of the battle as a "check", the commander knew better. Only seven dragoons returned to the army, and that regiment was left with a mere eighty men--a camp guard, a few sick, and others who had remained behind.

In the fading light, Sally Kellogg watched prisoners and wounded pass by her house after the battle, and it was "a sight to behold--some men with broken legs, some with balls shot through their bodies, some with heads done up, some men on litters...others on horseback...Those on horseback had their heads bound up and look'd sorrowfully," she said. "There was not a house but what was stowed full of wounded," and these unfortunates were "distributed through the town, the British and Hessians among the tories, the Americans among Whigs.

Throughout that long day nearby families had suffered the agonies of worry and uncertainty. In Williamston, Massachusetts, a group of women spent the long hours at the meetinghouse with the minister, praying for their men and suffering the anguish of not knowing what was happening until late that night, when a courier arrived with news from the front.

At the time the Massachusetts militia received the call to join Gates it was obvious they were needed in a hurry, and many of them rode their horses to Bemis Heights. On October 9, Gates issued orders for all the army's horses except those needed by the artillery to be rounded up for use by a detachment of thirteen hundred militiamen under Brigadier John Fellows. Since there were not enough animals by half, the men who assembled that evening at sunset were instructed to ride two to a mount, with one soldier on each horse that pulled their two cannon. In a heroic performance the detachment made twenty-six miles by eight the following morning--enough to pass the British and take position on the east side of the Hudson opposite Saratoga, where they could block any attempt by the British to cross the river at the mouth of the Batten Kill.

By now the plight of Burgoyne's army was truly appalling, and no one described it more vividly than General Riedesel, who wrote: "There was no place of safety for the baggage; and the ground was covered with dead horses that had either been killed by the enemy's bullets or by exhaustion, as there had been no forage for several days...Even for the wounded, no spot could be found which could afford them a safe shelter--not even, indeed, for so long a time as might suffice for a surgeon to bind up their ghastly wounds. The whole camp was now a scene of constant fighting. The soldier could not lay down his arms day or night, except to exchange his gun for the spade when new entrenchments were thrown up. The sick and wounded would drag themselves along into a quiet corner of the woods and lie down to die on the damp ground. Nor even here were they longer safe, since every little while a ball would come crashing down among the trees."

Horatio Gates spent the morning of October 12 writing a letter to John Hancock, president of Congress, reporting on "the great Success of the Arms of the United States in this Department" on October 7. After detailing the cannon, arms and ammunition, and baggage taken in the "very warm and bloody" battle, he listed the principal enemy officers captured... Simon Fraser, leading the "Flying Army" of the enemy, had been killed. In the meantime, he continued, desertion "has taken a deep Root in the Royal army, particularly among the Germans who come to us in Shoals." His own wounded included "the Gallant Major General Arnold," and he went on to cite the performance of Morgan's riflemen and Dearborn's light infantry as key factors in the victory.

On October 15, Benjamin Warren wrote in his journal, "All remains still like Sunday," and in the stillness a marquee was raised between the advanced guard of both armies for the meeting of the four officers--James Wilkinson and militia brigadier William Whipple for Gates, Lieutenant Colonel Nicholas Sutherland and Captain James Craig for Burgoyne--and by early evening they had signed articles of capitulation and taken them to their respective commanders.

It was too late for forlorn hopes, but Burgoyne could not bring himself to give up: he decided to stall for more time. Early in the morning of October 16 he dictated another letter to Gates stating that he had "received intelligence that a considerable force has been detached" from the American army, and since a paramount reason for the surrender was that army's superiority in numbers he insisted that two of his officers be permitted to determine Gate's strength and verify that no substantial changes had been made.

That tore it. Gates was furious--above all at the questioning of his word and at Burgoyne's impudence to "require" him to submit to a count of his army. The fact was that a few hundred militiamen, whose hitches were up, had left the army for home, but this in no way diminished Gate's force, since more were arriving daily. Gates replied icily that he "condescends to assure your excellency that no violation of the treaty has taken place," that the request was inadmissible, that it was up to General Burgoyne "to ratify or dissolve the treaty," and that he expected an immediate response. Word quickly spread through camp that Gates believed "there is treachery" afoot, and the men were ordered to lay on their arms and parade at three in the morning, according to Ephraim Squier.

Wilkinson carried Gates's peremptory note to British headquarters, with an ultimatum that Burgoyne had exactly one hour in which to answer. Years later Wilkinson recalled vividly the occasion of their meeting and wondered what the British general's thought must have been. Here was the famous leader of a British army; a familiar of His Majesty George III, ruler of the world's mightiest empire; he had hobnobbed with dukes and earls; married the daughter of a nobleman; and now to be confronted by this nobody--"a youth in a plain blue frock, without other military insignia than a cockade and a sword." It must have seemed like waking to find that the nightmare was all true--his hopes shattered, his name disgraced, his career at an end. Whatever he may have felt inwardly, Burgoyne was as stubborn and determined as ever. "I do not recede from my purpose," he said loftily, "the truce must end." The two men synchronized their watches, and Wilkinson turned on his heel and left. When the two-hour deadline passed without a word from Burgoyne, Gates dispatched Colonel John Greaton on horseback to demand compliance within ten minutes or he would launch an attack. The colonel returned at once with the signed convention. It was over.

from Saratoga by Richard M. Ketchum

Burgoyne Surrenders

"We have this day restored the Sovereign, to Whom alone men ought to be obedient.  He reigns in heaven and...from the rising to the setting sun, may His Kingdom come."

Samuel Adams, in a speech to the Continental Congress, July 4, 1776

An interesting incident of Burgoyne's retreat is worthy of note. "The British John Burgoyne was one of Williamsburg's most distinguished guests of the eighteenth century. He had gained possession of Fort Ticonderoga but was hemmed in at Saratoga. Finally, on October 17, 1777 his 6000 troops laid down their arms. On his way back to Boston he and a few straggling soldiers took shelter in a cave on the Clary farm. In the morning this unwelcome company entered the kitchen of the farmhouse, then owned by Samuel Barber, and snatched the milk jars from the shelves. In their eagerness, they spilled all of it, making it necessary to go on to Haydenville for breakfast under the old oak at Fairfield's tavern."

- from a History of Williamsburg

Clary House 2001

“No People can be bound to acknowledge and adore the invisible hand, which conducts the Affairs of men, more than the People of the United States. Every step, by which they have advanced to the character of an independent nation, seems to have been distinguished by some token of providential agency."

– George Washington, 1789 Inaugural Address

Washington was truly the indespensable man of the Revolution and the founding of the country.  Looking back, Washington had at least eight narrow escapes during the Revolutionary War and another in the French & Indian War.  In this first conflict, Washington was the only British officer not killed or wounded in Braddock's Massacre; he escaped with four bullet holes in his coat and had two horses shot out from under him.  Washington wrote later, "...the miraculous care of Providence...protected me beyond all human expectation."  

                                            from God Bless America  by Coddington & Chapman

Fifteen years later, in 1770, George Washington returned to the same Pennsylvania woods (where he fought in the French & Indian Wars). A respected Indian chief, having heard that Washington was in the area, traveled a long way to meet with him.

He sat down with Washington, and face-to-face over a council fire, the chief told Washington the following:

    "I am a chief and ruler over my tribes. My influence extends to the waters of the great lakes and to the far blue mountains. I have traveled a long and weary path that I might see the young warrior of the great battle. It was on the day when the white man’s blood mixed with the streams of our forests that I first beheld this chief [Washington].

    I called to my young men and said, “Mark yon tall and daring warrior? He is not of the red-coat tribe—he hath an Indian’s wisdom and his warriors fight as we do—himself alone exposed. Quick, let your aim be certain, and he dies.”

    Our rifles were leveled, rifles which, but for you, knew not how to miss—’twas all in vain, a power mightier far than we shielded you.

    Seeing you were under the special guardianship of the Great Spirit, we immediately ceased to fire at you. I am old and shall soon be gathered to the great council fire of my fathers in the land of the shades, but ere I go, there is something bids me speak in the voice of prophecy:

    Listen! The Great Spirit protects that man [pointing at Washington], and guides his destinies—he will become the chief of nations, and a people yet unborn will hail him as the founder of a mighty empire. I am come to pay homage to the man who is the particular favorite of Heaven, and who can never die in battle."

This story of God's divine protection and of Washington's open gratitude could be found in many school textbooks until the 1930s.   Now few Americans have read it.  Washington often recalled this dramatic event that helped shape his character and confirm God's call on his life.

from Under God: Mac & Tait

"I take particular pleasure in acknowledging that the interposing hand of Heaven, in the various instances of our extensive preparations for this operation, has been most conspicuous and remarkable."

George Washington to the president of Congress, after the British surrender at Yorktown November 15, 1781

George Washington Prays

"I always consider the settlement of America with reverence and wonder, as the opening of a grand scene and design in Providence, for the illumination of the ignorant and the emancipation of the slavish part of mankind all over the earth."

John Adams

"Liberty cannot be preserved without a general knowledge among the people, who have a right, from the frame of their nature, to knowledge, as their great Creator, who does nothing in vain, has given them understandings, and a desire to know; but besides this, they have a right, an indisputable, unalienable, indefeasible, divine right to that most dreaded and envied kind of knowledge, I mean, of the characters and conduct of their rulers."

John Adams

"What do we mean by the American Revolution? Do we mean the American war? The Revolution was effected before the war commenced. The Revolution was in the minds and hearts of the people; a change in their religious sentiments, of their duties and obligations...[The Great Awakening]. This radical change in the principles, opinions, sentiments, and affections of the people was the real American Revolution."  

John  Adams    Letter to H. Niles (February 13, 1818)

John Adams
... kept in touch with his Harvard classmates, and for several in particular maintained boundless admiration. Moses Hemmenway, who had become a Congregational minister known for his interminable sermons, would remain, in Adams's estimate, one of the first scholars of their generation.  - David McCullough

"I have concluded, to mount my Horse, tomorrow Morning at four, and ride to Wells to hear my old worthy learned ingenious Friend (Moses) Hemmenway, whom I never was yet so happy as to hear. Mr. Winthrop agrees to be my Company."

John Adams to his wife Abigail Adams - July 2, 1774




Moses Hemmenway, who was known as "an eminent Divine of great metaphysical powers", was born in 1734 and died at Wells, Maine in 1811. Dr. Hemmenway graduated from Harvard in 1759 and was ordained minister of the First Church of Wells the same year. He was a classmate of John Adams, with whom he corresponded for many years. On February 22, 1800 he delivered a Discourse: Occasioned by the Lamented Death of General George Washington. The following are some excerpts.

…United America has very sensibly felt the shock through its whole extent and trembles at the fall. Since the sun has shone on these regions, a death so lamented has never been known among us.

Holding a Major's commission in the army, he [Washington] gained an advantage over a superior enemy; and afterward, under the unfortunate Braddock, who not hearkening to his advice, fell, and his army was defeated on the banks of the Monongahela, our WASHINGTON was honored as the instrument, under God, of bringing off the shattered remains of that army; and it may not be unworthy of notice, that, in a public address delivered about this time, he was spoken of, as one, who seemed designed in providence to be a Savior of his country; words, which have been verified in a more remarkable manner, than was probably thought of, at the time they were spoken.

Though he was, it is said, one of great sensibility, as most great men are, yet he had such uncommon government of himself, that the very trying and provoking scenes, with which he was often exercified, very seldom occasioned any visible discomposure of spirits. An achievement truly heroic. "He that ruleth his spirit is better than the mighty who taketh a city." And when by means of his valour and conduct, with that of the other brave officers, and soldiers under him, the war was, by the blessing of God, brought to a happy and triumphant close, and peace, liberty, and independence secured to United America, then, with a magnanimity and generosity scarce to be paralleled, he gave up his commission to the Congress, and fell into the rank again with private citizens, resolutely refusing to receive any compensation for the toils and dangers of eight years spent in the service of his country, except what should accrue to him from the applauses of his own conscience…

But when his country's wrongs and grievances, of which no redress could be obtained by peaceable negotiation, called to arms, and he perceived that the public eye was looking up to him for his help, he immediately complied with the unexpected call, and took upon him the command of the army to be raised for the defence of the nation. And had his life been prolonged, in the present critical situation of affairs, we should have hoped for important advantages from his wisdom and influence. But these hopes have now vanished with his expiring breath.

Before we finish this sketch, it must not be omitted that he was a serious professor of the Christian religion, and held in utter abhorrence the principles of that vile, atheistical, Epicurian Philosophy, which has corrupted the minds and morals of so many, and produced incalculable mischief in the world.

Such was his end, for whose death a nation mourns, and whose name is honored as the friend of man, the patron and defender of the liberties and rights of his country. He received the sudden summons with a mind raised above fear. " I am not afraid to die," said he, with his expiring breath, and then closing his eyes and mouth, with his own hands, closed a useful and glorious life with that serenity of mind, and composure of countenance, for which he had been so remarkable while passing through the successive and changing scenes of his life.

With growing dignity behold him rise,
Great while he lives, but greater when he dies.

It was not merely possessing great talents that made GENERAL WASHINGTON so much greater than others, but it was his improving them so eminently for the good of mankind. Let us go and do likewise; though we expect not to rise to the height of his greatness, yet let us endeavour in our narrower sphere to serve God and our generation with diligence and fidelity. To him, who improves well what he hath, more shall be given, and though his beginning were small, his latter end may greatly increase.

When we see that the life of the greatest, the most honorable, and useful men is but a vapour, like that of others, which soon vanishes away, sometimes when we most need the benefit of their talents, virtues, and influence, we are loudly admonished not to put our trust in any of the sons of men. They who seem most worthy of our confidence may, we find, break like reeds when we lean upon them, and pierce our hearts with sorrow and disappointment. God is our only sure refuge, and present help in time of trouble. His name is a strong tower to which we may fly and be safe. Under his protection we may hope to escape those evils, of which we seem to have reason to be apprehensive, in consequence of the breaches he has made upon us. We shall not suffer shipwreck, if God takes our helm to steer us safe through the rocks of danger, though the under pilots of the state should be washed overboard and drowned in the most dangerous and tempestuous seas, the stormy wind is obedient to him, and will fulfill his word. Though WASHINGTON is dead, GOD lives and reigns, the king eternal and immortal. Let the earth rejoice, clouds and darkness are round about him, but righteousness and judgment are the habitation of his throne. Alleluia for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth; and if we seek him he will be found of us. He is with us while we are with him. This God will then be our God forever and ever. Happy is the people that is in such a case, yea happy is the people whose God is the Lord. Finis -- Rev. Moses Hemmenway

An Angel Visits Washington

"Son of the Republic, look and learn.  While the stars remain and the heavens send down dew upon the earth, so long shall the Republic last.  Let every child of the Republic learn to live for his God, his land, and union."

from Divine Heritage by M. Leone Drumheller

December 1, 1800 -- Voted that ten dollars be given as a bounty for a wolf's head.

- from Williamsburg Town Records

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