From a drawing by Howard Pyle
[See p. 105



Rear-Admiral FRENCH ENSOR CHADWICK, U.S.N. (Retired),





Copyright, 1909, by Harper & Brothers.
All rights reserved.
Published October, 1909.



Introduction xi
Territorial Concepts
European Contests Affecting America and a Summary of American Expansion 1
By Albert Bushnell Hart, LL.D., Professor of History in Harvard University. Author of “National Ideals Historically Traced” and Editor of “The American Nation.”
Synopsis of the principal events, chiefly military, in the history of Colonial America, between the Landing of Columbus, 1492, and Champlain’s Battle with the Iroquois, 1609.
A Fight for Life
The Hundred Years’ War Between Early Colonists and the Indians 14
By Thomas Wentworth Higginson. Author of “A History of the United States.”
Champlain’s Battle with the Iroquois, 1609 27
By Reuben Gold Thwaites, LL.D.
Synopsis of the principal events, chiefly military, between Champlain’s Battle with the Iroquois, 1609, and the Conquest of the Pequots, 1637.
The Conquest of the Pequots, 1637 32
By Richard Hildreth. Author of “The History of the United States of America.”
Synopsis of the principal events, chiefly military, between the Conquest of the Pequots, 1637, and the Defeat of King Philip, 1676.
The Defeat of King Philip, 1676 44
By Richard Hildreth.
Synopsis of the principal events, chiefly military, between the Defeat of King Philip, 1676, and the Capture of Quebec, 1759.
The Fall of Quebec, 1759 63
By Reuben Gold Thwaites, LL.D., Librarian of the Wisconsin State Historical Society. Author of “France in America.”
Synopsis of the principal events, chiefly military, between the Capture of Quebec, 1759, and the Battle of Bunker Hill, 1775.
I. Causes of the American Revolution, 1775–1783 79
II. The Outbreak of War, 1775
By Claude Halstead Van Tyne, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of American History in the University of Michigan. Author of “The American Revolution.”
The Battle of Bunker Hill, 1775 102
By Benson J. Lossing. Author of “The Pictorial Field-book of the Revolution.”
Synopsis of the principal events, chiefly military, between the Battle of Bunker Hill, 1775, and the Battle of Saratoga, 1777.
The Battle of Saratoga, 1777 120
By Richard Hildreth.
Synopsis of the principal events, chiefly military, between the Battle of Saratoga, 1777, and the Battle of Yorktown, 1781.
I. Yorktown and the Surrender of Cornwallis, 1781 145
II. The Results of Yorktown
By Claude Halstead Van Tyne, Ph.D.
Synopsis of the principal events, chiefly military, between the Battle of Yorktown, 1781, and the Battles on the Lakes, 1813, 1814.
The Battle of Lake Erie, 1813 157
By James Barnes. Author of “Naval Actions of the War of 1812.”
The Battle of Lake Champlain, 1814 173
By James Barnes.
Synopsis of the principal events, chiefly military, in the history of the United States, between the Battle of Lake Champlain, 1814, and the War with Mexico, 1846–1847.
The Rupture with Mexico, 1843–1846 183
I. The Approach of War
II. Conquering a Peace, 1846–1848
By George Pierce Garrison, Ph.D., Professor of History in the University of Texas. Author of “Westward Extension.”
The Battle of Buena Vista, 1847 198
By John Bonner.
Scott’s Conquest of Mexico, 1847 208
Vera Cruz, Cerro Gordo, Contreras, Churubusco, Molino Del Rey, Chapultepec, the Occupation Of the City of Mexico
By John Bonner.
Synopsis of the principal events, chiefly military, between the Conquest of Mexico, 1847, and the Bombardment of Fort Sumter, 1861.
Fort Sumter, 1861 232
I. Drift toward Southern Nationalization
II. Status of the Forts
III. The Fort Sumter Crisis
IV. The Fall of Fort Sumter
By French Ensor Chadwick, Rear-Admiral U. S. N. (Retired). Author of “Causes of the Civil War.”
Synopsis of the principal events, chiefly military, between the Bombardment of Fort Sumter, 1861, and the Battle of the Monitor and Merrimac, 1862.
The Battle of the “Monitor” and the “Merrimac” 274
I. A Prelude to the Peninsular Campaign of April to June, 1862
By James Kendall Hosmer, LL.D. Author of “The Appeal to Arms” and “The Outcome of the Civil War.”
II. The Story told by Captain Worden and Lieutenant Greene of the “Monitor” 279
By Lucius E. Chittenden. Author of “Recollections of Lincoln.”
Farragut’s Capture of New Orleans, 1862 288
With some Notes on the Blockade
By James Kendall Hosmer, LL.D.
Synopsis of the principal events, chiefly military, between Farragut’s Capture of New Orleans, 1862, and the Battles of Gettysburg and Vicksburg, 1863.
Vicksburg, January–July, 1863 295
By James Kendall Hosmer, LL.D.
Gettysburg, July 1–3, 1863 306
By James Kendall Hosmer, LL.D.
Synopsis of the principal events, chiefly military, between the Battles of Gettysburg and Vicksburg, 1863, and Appomattox, 1865.
The Last Scene—Appomattox, 1865 329
Told by One Who Was Present
By Gen. G. A. Forsyth, U. S. A. (Retired). Author of “Thrilling Days in Army Life.”
Synopsis of the principal events, chiefly military, between Appomattox, 1865, and the Battles of Manila Bay and Santiago de Cuba, 1898.
The Battle of Manila Bay, 1898 347
The Battles of Santiago, 1898 357
I. The First Period of the Spanish-American War in the West Indies
II. The Land Campaign
III. The Destruction of Cervera’s Fleet
IV. The Spanish Surrender
V. Controversies Caused by the War
By John Halladay Latané, Ph.D., Professor of History, Washington and Lee University. Author of “America as a World Power.”
Index 379



Facing p.



America was discovered in a search for trade routes, but our country has been in larger part maintained and transmitted to us directly or indirectly as the result of war. Almost from the outset there were conflicting claims on the part of Spain, France, and England, and also Holland. The struggles against hostile native tribes along the Atlantic seaboard were followed by war against the aggressions of the French, who would have kept the English-speaking colonies east of the Alleghanies. That long period of strife was followed by two conflicts with England, the first gaining America for Americans as an independent nation, the second confirming it as an independent nationality. While the great Louisiana Purchase was a peaceful acquisition, Napoleon’s willingness to cede this territory was intermingled with his military plans. California and the extreme Southwest came out of conflict with Mexico. The Civil War preserved the integrity of the country which Americans had gained. Hawaii was added through a revolution fortunately bloodless. As a result of the war with Spain, Porto Rico and the Philippines were included within the limits of our authority.

Since war is a last resort, a brutal expression of failure to arrive at an agreement, the series of political events which have preceded war and the manifold aspects of civil life have seemed very justly to modern historians more important than the descriptions of war itself. The older writers were fond of dwelling upon all the pomp and circumstances and all the dramatic accompanimentsxii of battle. Modern history is written differently, so differently, in fact, that we are apt to find battles summarized in paragraphs by scientific historians. Thus the pendulum has swung from one extreme to another, until it has become a difficult matter to find in the newest shorter histories accounts of significant military events which approach completeness. Take, for example, the battle of Bunker Hill. No name in our own military history is more familiar, and yet in many of the books most readily available for older as well as younger readers this battle appears as a brief summary of facts. As to the Mexican War, such remarkable military events as Taylor’s victory at Buena Vista over a force five times as large, or the series of desperate battles which won the City of Mexico for Scott, are practically little more than obscure names for readers of to-day. It is not strange that Mr. Charles Francis Adams once inaugurated his presidency of the American Historical Association with an earnest plea for military history.

In the present volume, which is a companion to Harper & Brothers’ new edition of Sir Edward Creasy’s Decisive Battles of the World, the editor has kept in mind the importance of preserving historical relations and continuity. The concise chronology of leading events in American history which runs through from beginning to end is not entirely limited to the military side of history. The introductory chapter sketches world relations from the fifteenth century. The second chapter affords a broad view of the relations of the early colonists to the Indians, and there is also specific reference to Champlain’s alliance with the Algonquins and the consequent hostility of the Iroquois. For the rest, the conditions and causes leading up to conflict are set forth wherever necessary in order to furnish a perspective, and to afford a narrative in some degree consecutive. As to the question of selection, there is obvious justice in Creasy’s dictum that the importance of battles is to be measured by their significance,xiii and not by the number of men engaged or by carnage. To New Englanders in the seventeenth century the struggles with the Pequots and with King Philip were for the time being a fight for existence as well as for possession of the country. They were but small affairs, measured by modern standards; but much history would have been written differently had the early New England settlers encountered the fate of the lost colony of Roanoke.

The battle on the Plains of Abraham, which ended French rule on this continent, was fought by Englishmen with only slight American aid, but its consequences to Americans were assuredly momentous. As compared with Gettysburg, or Sedan, or Mukden, Bunker Hill was a mere skirmish, yet its fame is well founded, for it was the first formal stand against the British by an organized American soldiery, and in this and in the fact of American initiative in seizing and fortifying Breed’s Hill, it differed from the hasty gathering of patriots at Lexington and from the brief conflict at Concord Bridge. In the light of modern experience, again, the naval battles of Lake Erie and Lake Champlain seem small engagements, but the one safe-guarded our northern frontier and the other repelled an invasion aimed at the very vitals of our country. On the other hand, the dramatic battle of New Orleans, fought after peace was made, would have had but slight political consequences had the outcome been different.

As to the war with Mexico, a certain chastening of the American conscience has perhaps led us to forget the extraordinary gallantry of a volunteer as well as a regular soldiery in a foreign country, repeatedly pitted against great odds. The story of the more significant battles in those campaigns is entitled to better acquaintance, and Taylor’s final victory on the north and the series of desperate attacks by which Scott reached the heart of Mexico are therefore set forth in some detail.

Mention of our Civil War calls up a long roll of hard-fought battles, but Sir Edward Creasy’s point may bexiv reiterated that it is not numbers or bloodshed that constitute the significance of a battle. Fort Sumter was a small affair; Antietam, Shiloh, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Chickamauga, and other hard-fought battles were great conflicts. Yet influential as they were, they were not decisive; while Sumter represented the first open attack on the Flag and the instant call to arms.

The fight of the Monitor brought a revolution in naval warfare. The blockade of the South, which can be only touched upon here, represented that decisive influence of sea power which has been so eloquently expounded by Captain Mahan. This influence was illustrated more concretely in Farragut’s capture of New Orleans, which was as necessary as Grant’s conquest of Vicksburg to clear the Mississippi and cut the Confederacy in two. In spite of the military importance of Sherman’s march to the sea, the fact that, like Grant’s ceaseless battering in Virginia, it was a campaign rather than an event, renders any adequate description impossible in the limits of a book dealing, for the most part, with crises or facts of immediately significant consequence. On the other hand, Gettysburg, which destroyed once and for all the possibility of a successful invasion of the North, is a historical landmark in concrete form. It is described in this volume by a historian who is also a veteran of the Civil War.

Insignificant as was the war with Spain in comparison with the great struggle of 1861–65, it is assuredly of historical consequence that the battles of Santiago de Cuba destroyed the last vestiges of a Spanish rule in the Western Hemisphere which had lasted nearly four hundred years. Out of this came freedom at last for Cuba, and its grave responsibilities. Earlier in the same year Dewey’s guns drove the Spanish flag from the Pacific, and gave us a not wholly welcome partnership in the vexed questions of the Orient.

Fortunately, our Temple of Janus is closed—let us trust, never to be reopened. But there are momentous lessonsxv of patriotism and self-sacrifice to be read in these accounts of deeds which have preserved our country and helped to make it great. The eminent historians whose works have furnished these chapters have been moved by no desire to glorify war in itself—rather the reverse; but they have dealt with phases of history so vital and of such supreme interest that this story of these events will help general readers, old and young, to an ampler knowledge of our history.




European Contests Affecting America, and a Summary of American Expansion

The settlers’ task of conquering the wilderness might have been simpler had they not spent so much energy in conquering one another; for side by side with the advance of the frontier goes a process of territorial rivalry of which the end is not yet. Along with a contest with the aborigines for the face of the country went a nominal subdivision of the continent among the occupying European powers, a process made more difficult by the slow development of knowledge about the interior: as late as 1660 people thought that the upper Mississippi emptied into the Gulf of California.

At the very beginning came an effort to settle the prime problem of European title by religious authority. Three papal bulls of 1493 attempted to draw a meridian through the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, west of which Spain should have the whole occupancy of newly discovered lands, and, east of it, Portugal.1

2 Spain was first to see the New World, first to coast the continents, first to explore the interior, first to conquer tribes of the natives, and first to set up organized colonies. Except in Brazil, which was east of the demarcation line, for a century after discovery Spain was the only American power. A war for the mastery of North America between the Anglo-Saxon and the Spaniard continued for more than two centuries. After the defeat of the Spanish Armada by the English, in 1588, it became possible to break in upon the monopoly of American territory; as soon as the war with Spain was over, England gave the first charter, which resulted in the founding of a lasting English colony in America—the Virginia grant of 1606.

The claim of Spain would have been more effective had it not included the whole continent of North America, hardly an eighth of which was occupied by Spanish colonies. International law as to the occupation of new countries was in a formative state: everybody admitted that you might seize the territory of pagans, but how did you know when you had seized it? Was the state of which an accredited vessel first followed a coast thereby possessed of all the back country draining into that coast? Did actual exploration of the interior create presumptive title to the surrounding region? Was a trading-post proof that occupation was meant to be permanent? Did actual colonies of settlers, who expected to spend their lives there, make a complete evidence of rightful title?


These various sorts of claims were singularly tangled and contorted in America. Who had the best title to the Chesapeake—the English, who believed Sebastian Cabot had followed that part of the coast in 1498, or the French, whose commander Verrazzano undoubtedly was there in 1524, or the Spaniards, for whom De Ayllon made a voyage in 1526? Spanish explorers had crossed and followed the Mississippi River, but it is doubtful whether in 1600 they could easily have found its mouth. The French, in like manner, had explored the St. Lawrence,34 but without permanent results. Therefore, the territorial history of the United States may be said to begin with the almost simultaneous planting of settlements in the New World by France, England, and Holland, between 1600 and 1615. The French happened first on the St. Lawrence, which was the gateway into the interior, with its valuable fur-trade; and they set up their first permanent establishment at Quebec in 1608. The English, after thirty years of attempts on the Virginia coast, finally planted the colony of Jamestown in 1607. The Dutch rediscovered the Hudson River in 1609, and founded New Amsterdam in 1614. The next great river south, the Delaware, was occupied by the Swedes in 1638. It is one of the misfortunes of civilization that Germany, then the richest and most intellectual nation in Europe, and well suited for taking a share in the development of the New World, was in this critical epoch absorbed in the fearful Thirty Years’ War, which in 1648 left the country ruined and helpless, so that no attempt could be made to link the destinies of Germany with those of America.

Soon began seizures of undoubted Spanish territory: the English first picked up various small islands in the West Indies, in 1655 wrested away the Spanish island of Jamaica, and thereupon made a little settlement on the coast of Honduras. The next step was a determined onset against the nearer neighbors in North America. Quebec was taken and held from 1629 to 1632; the Dutch, who had absorbed the Swedish colonies, were dispossessed in 1664;2 and the English proceeded to contest Hudson Bay with the French. These conflicts marked a deliberate intention to seize points of vantage like Belize and Jamaica, and to uproot the colonies of other European powers in North America; it was part of a process of English expansion which was going on also on the opposite side of the globe.

5 As the eighteenth century began, France, England, and Spain were still in antagonism for the possession of North America; and the French, in 1699, succeeded in planting a colony on the Gulf in the side of the Spanish colonial empire. These international rivalries were soon altered by the struggle of England against the attempt of Louis XIV. to bring about the practical consolidation of Spain and France, which would have made an immense Latin colonial empire. To some degree on religious grounds, partly to protect their commerce, and partly from inscrutable international jealousies, the nations of Europe were plunged into a series of five land and naval wars between 1689 and 1783, in each of which North American territory was attacked, and in several of which great changes were made in the map.

In these wars the colonies formed an ideal as to the duty of a mother-country to protect daughter colonies, and aided in developing a policy which has been described by one of the most brilliant of modern writers as that of “sea power.”3 The illustration of that theory was a succession of fleet engagements in the West Indies, always followed by a picking up of enemy’s islands; and also the repeated efforts of the colonists in separate or joint expeditions to conquer the neighboring French or Spanish territory. The final result was the destruction of the French-American power and the serious weakening of the Spanish.

In 1732 the charter of Georgia was a denial of the Spanish claims to Florida. By the treaty of 1763 France was pressed altogether out of the continent, yielding up to England that splendid region of the eastern part of the Mississippi Valley which the English coveted, and with it the St. Lawrence Valley. For the first time since the capture of Jamaica, a considerable area of Spanish territory was transferred to England by the cession of6 the Floridas. Louisiana to the west of the Mississippi, together with New Orleans, on the east bank, were allowed to pass to Spain. From that time to the Revolution the only two North American powers were England and Spain, who substantially divided the continent between them by the line of the Mississippi River.4

During this period the English were not only acquiring but were parcelling out their new territory. It was always a serious question how far west the coast colonies extended; some of them—Massachusetts, Connecticut, Virginia, the Carolinas—had bounds nominally reaching to the Pacific Ocean. To silence this controversy, in 1763 a royal proclamation directed that the colonial governors should not exercise jurisdiction west of the heads of the rivers flowing into the Atlantic, leaving in a kind of territorial limbo the region between the summit of the Appalachians and the Mississippi.5 These numerous territorial grants gave rise to many internal controversies; but by the time of the Revolution most of the lines starting at the sea-coast and leading inward had been adjusted.

The idea of territorial solidarity among the English colonies was disturbed by the addition of Nova Scotia and Quebec on the north, and East and West Florida on the south. Intercolonial jealousy was heightened in 1774 by the Quebec act, under which the almost unpeopled region north of the Ohio River was added to the French-speaking province. When the Revolution broke out in 1775, that jealousy was reflected in the refusal of Quebec and Nova Scotia and the distant Floridas to join in it. Almost the first campaign of the war, however, showed the purpose of territorial enlargement, for in 1775 the Arnold-Montgomery expedition to Canada vainly attempted to persuade the Frenchmen by force to enter7 the union. Two years later George Rogers Clark lopped off the southern half of the British western country. The Southwest, into which settlers had begun to penetrate in 1769, was, during the Revolution, laid hold of by the adventurous frontiersman; and in 1782 the negotiators of Paris thought best to leave that, as well as the whole Northwest, in the hands of the new United States.6

The result of the Revolutionary War was the entrance into the American continent of a third territorial power, the United States, which was divided into two nearly equal portions: between the sea and the mountains lay the original thirteen states; between the mountains and the Mississippi was an area destined to be organized into separate states and immediately opened for settlement.7 This destiny was solemnly announced by votes of Congress in 1780, and by the territorial ordinance of 1784, the land ordinance of 1785, and the Northwest Ordinance of 1787, which, taken together, were virtually a charter for the western country, very similar in import to the old colonial charters.8

In this sketch of territorial development up to 1787 may be seen the elements of a national policy and a national system: the territories were practically colonies and inchoate states, soon to be admitted into the Union; while the expansion of the national boundary during the war was a presage of future conquest and enlargement; and, considering the military and naval strength of Great Britain, the only direction in which annexation was likely was the southwest. Although the Federal Constitution of 1787 acknowledged the difference between states and territories only in general terms, and made no provision for the annexation of territory, the spirit and the reasonable implication of that instrument was that the Union8 might be and probably would be enlarged; some writers at the time felt sure that republican government was applicable to large areas.9

Hence it was neither unnatural nor unsuitable that the new nation should at once show a spirit of expansion: in 1795 and 1796 its boundaries were finally acknowledged by its southern and northern neighbors. Various wild schemes of invading Spanish territory were broached, but not till 1803 was the question of the Mississippi fairly faced. Repeating the bold policy of Louis XIV., Napoleon attempted to combine the military and colonial forces of Spain with those of France, in order to make head against Great Britain. As a preliminary, in 1800 he practically compelled the cession of the former French province of Louisiana, and thereby revealed to the American people that it would be a menace to national prosperity to permit a powerful military nation to block the commercial outlet of the interior. Hence, when Napoleon changed his mind and offered the province to the United States in 1803, there was nothing for the envoys, the President, the Senate, the House, and the people to do but to accept it as a piece of manifest destiny. The boundaries of the Union were thus extended to the Gulf and to the distant Rocky Mountains.10

With a refinement of assurance the United States also claimed, and in 1814 forcibly occupied West Florida. In the same period began a purposeful movement for extending the territory of the United States to the Pacific. Taking advantage of the discovery of the mouth of the Columbia River by an American ship in 1792, President Jefferson sent out a transcontinental expedition, under Lewis and Clark, which reached the Pacific in 1805, and thereby forged a second link in the American claims to Oregon. By this time the Spanish empire was in the9 throes of colonial revolution, and in 1819 the Spanish government ceded East Florida and withdrew any claims to Oregon, Texas being left to Spain.

This is a stirring decade, and it completely changed the territorial status of the United States. By 1819 the Atlantic coast all belonged to the United States, from the St. Croix River around Florida to the Sabine; the country was reaching out toward Mexico, and was building a bridge of solid territory across the continent, where, as all the world knew, far to the south of Oregon lay the harbor of San Francisco, the best haven on the Pacific coast. The bold conceptions of Jefferson and John Quincy Adams and their compeers included the commercial and political advantages of a Pacific front; and they were consciously preparing the way for the homes of unborn generations under the American flag.

One result of the new position of the United States was to bring out sharply a territorial rivalry with Great Britain. The War of 1812 had been an attempt to annex Canada, and after it was over a controversy as to the boundary between Maine and Nova Scotia kept the two countries harassed until its settlement in 1842.11 After that the rivalry for Oregon, which had been held in joint occupation since 1818, was intensified. About 1832 immigration began in which the Americans outran the English; and it was fortunate for both countries that in 1846 the disputed territory was divided by a fair compromise line, the forty-ninth parallel.12 A third territorial controversy was fought out within the limits of the Union itself, between the friends and opponents of the annexation of Texas, in 1845.13 This was the first instance of an American colony planting itself within the acknowledged limits of another power, until it was strong enough to set10 up for itself as an independent state and to ask for admission to the Union.

The annexation of Texas inevitably led to a movement on California, which could be obtained only by aggressive war upon Mexico, and for connection with which the possession of New Mexico was also thought necessary. Ever since 1820 explorers had been opening up the region between the Mississippi and the Pacific,14 and it was known that there were several practicable roads to that distant coast.15 The annexation of California almost led the United States into a serious territorial adventure; for apparently nothing but the hasty treaty negotiated by Trist in 1848 stopped a movement for the annexation of the whole of Mexico.16 The Gadsden Purchase of 1853 conveniently rounded out the cession of New Mexico and closed this second era of territorial expansion.

The annexation of Texas was logical, and delayed only by the accidental connection with slavery; but the annexation of Oregon and California added to the Union very distant possessions, the settlement of which must have been slow but for the discovery of gold in California in 1848. At once a new set of territorial questions arose: the necessity of reaching California across the plains led to the organization of Nebraska and Kansas territories in 1854, which convulsed the parties of the time; the movement across the Isthmus to California brought up the question of an interoceanic canal in a new light; the commercial footing on the Pacific led to a pressure which broke the shell of Japanese exclusion in 1854. Above all, these annexations brought before the nation two questions of constitutional law, which proved both difficult and disturbing: the issue of slavery in the territories, which precipitated, if it did not cause, the Civil War, and the eventual status of territories which, from their situation11 or their population, were not likely to become states.

The third era of national expansion began in 1867 with the purchase of Alaska,17 which was wholly a personal plan of Secretary Seward, in which the nation took very little interest; nor was the public aroused by Seward’s more important scheme for annexing the Danish West India Islands and a part of Santo Domingo; when the latter project was taken up in 1870 and pushed with unaccountable energy by President Grant,18 popular sentiment showed itself plainly averse to annexing a country with a population wholly negro and little in accord with the American spirit. For twenty-five years thereafter there was the same indisposition to annex territory that brought problems with it; and then the movement for the annexation of Hawaii was headed off by President Cleveland in 1893.19 The Spanish War of 1898 swept all these barriers away, and left the United States in possession of the Philippine Islands, a distant archipelago containing seven and a half millions of Catholic Malays; of the island of Porto Rico, in the West Indies; of the Hawaiian group; of a responsible protectorate over Cuba; and, four years later, of the Panama strip, which may include the future Constantinople of the western world.

In the whole territorial history of the country, never has there been such a transition. The Philippines, which “Mr. Dooley” in 1898 thought might be canned goods, are now, according to the Supreme Court, in one sense “a part of the United States,” yet not an organic part in financial or governmental or legal relations. The country, which from 1850 to 1902 divided with Great Britain the responsibility for a future Isthmian canal, is now “making the dirt fly” in a canal strip which is virtually Federal territory. China, which a few years ago was one12 of the remotest parts of the earth, now lies but a few hundred miles from American possessions. The romantic era of annexations has gone by: the automobile trundles across the Great American Desert and stops for lunch at a railroad restaurant, and the South Sea Islands have lost their mystery since the trade-winds straighten out the American flag above some of those tiny land-spots.


1492. Columbus discovers the western world.

1497. John Cabot reaches the mainland of North America.

1498. Columbus discovers the mainland of South America.

1512. Ponce de Leon lands in Florida.

1513. Balboa discovers the Pacific Ocean.

1519. Entry of Cortez into the City of Mexico.

1521. Conquest of Mexico by Cortez.

1531–33. Conquest of Peru by Pizarro.

1534. Cartier’s first voyage to the St. Lawrence.

1535–36. Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca crosses the continent from near the mouth of the Mississippi to Sinaloa in Mexico.

1541. The expedition of De Soto reaches the Mississippi River. Coronado, coming from Mexico, reaches the interior, probably northeastern Kansas.

1562. The Huguenots attempt a settlement on the coast of South Carolina.

1564. Huguenot settlement on the St. John’s River in Florida.

13 1565. Founding of St. Augustine by the Spanish.

1583. Sir Humphrey Gilbert takes possession of Newfoundland in the name of Queen Elizabeth.

1584. Raleigh’s expedition to North Carolina. The region is named Virginia in honor of Queen Elizabeth.

1585. Unsuccessful settlement by the English on Roanoke Island.

1602. Bartholomew Gosnold attempts a settlement on the coast of Massachusetts.

1606. James I. grants a patent to the London and Plymouth Companies.

1607. Foundation of Jamestown.

1608. Foundation of Quebec by the French.

1609. Champlain, with Algonquin Indians, defeats Mohawks, of the Iroquois Confederacy, near Ticonderoga.



The Hundred Years’ War Between Early Colonists and the Indians

European history makes much of the “Seven Years’ War” and the “Thirty Years’ War”; and when we think of a continuous national contest for even the least of those periods, there is something terrible in the picture. But the feeble English colonies in America, besides all the difficulties of pioneer life, had to sustain a warfare that lasted, with few intermissions, for about a hundred years. It was, moreover, a warfare against the most savage and stealthy enemies, gradually trained and reinforced by the most formidable military skill of Europe. Without counting the early feuds, such as the Pequot War, there elapsed almost precisely a century from the accession of King Philip, in 1662, to the Peace of Paris, which nominally ended the last French and Indian War in 1763. During this whole period, with pacific intervals that sometimes lasted for years, the same essential contest went on; the real question being, for the greater part of the time, whether France or England should control the continent. The description of this prolonged war may, therefore, well precede any general account of the colonial or provincial life in America.

The early explorers of the Atlantic coast usually testify that they found the Indians a gentle, not a ferocious, people. They were as ready as could be expected to accept the friendship of the white race. In almost every case of quarrel the white men were the immediate aggressors,15 and where they were attacked without seeming cause—as when Smith’s Virginian colony was assailed by the Indians in the first fortnight of its existence—there is good reason to think that the act of the Indians was in revenge for wrongs elsewhere. One of the first impulses of the early explorers was to kidnap natives for exhibition in Europe, in order to excite the curiosity of kings or the zeal of priests; and even where these captives were restored unharmed, the distrust could not be removed. Add to this the acts of plunder, lust, or violence, and there was plenty of provocation given from the very outset.


The disposition to cheat and defraud the Indians has been much exaggerated, at least as regards the English settlers. The early Spanish invaders made no pretence of buying one foot of land from the Indians, whereas the English often went through the form of purchase, and very commonly put in practice the reality. The Pilgrims, at the very beginning, took baskets of corn from an Indian grave to be used as seed, and paid for it afterward. The year after the Massachusetts colony was founded the court decreed: “It is ordered that Josias Plastowe shall (for stealing four baskets of corne from the Indians) returne them eight baskets againe, be fined five pounds, and hereafter called by the name of Josias, and not Mr., as formerly he used to be.” As a mere matter of policy, it was the general disposition of the English settlers to obtain lands by honest purchase; indeed, Governor Josiah Winslow, of Plymouth, declared, in reference to King Philip’s War, that “before these present troubles broke out the English did not possess one foot of land in this colony but what was fairly obtained by honest purchase of the Indian proprietors.” This policy was quite general. Captain West, in 1610, bought the site of what is now Richmond, Virginia, for some copper. The Dutch Governor Minuit bought the island of Manhattan, in 1626, for sixty gilders. Lord Baltimore’s company purchased land for cloth, tools, and trinkets; the Swedes obtained the site of1617 Christiania for a kettle; Roger Williams bought the island of Rhode Island for forty fathoms of white beads; and New Haven was sold to the whites, in 1638, for “twelve coats of English cloth, twelve alchemy spoons, twelve hoes, twelve hatchets, twelve porringers, twenty-four knives, and twenty-four cases of French knives and spoons.” Many other such purchases will be found recorded by Doctor Ellis. And though the price paid might often seem ludicrously small, yet we must remember that a knife or a hatchet was really worth more to an Indian than many square miles of wild land; while even the beads were a substitute for wampum, or wompom, which was their circulating medium in dealing with each other and with the whites, and was worth, in 1660, five shillings a fathom.

So far as the mere bargaining went, the Indians were not individually the sufferers in the early days; but we must remember that behind all these transactions there often lay a theory which was as merciless as that of the Spanish “Requisition,”20 and which would, if logically carried out, have made all these bargainings quite superfluous. Increase Mather begins his history of King Philip’s War with this phrase, “That the Heathen People amongst whom we live, and whose Land the Lord God of our Fathers hath given to us for a rightful Possession”; and it was this attitude of hostile superiority that gave the sting to all the relations of the two races. If a quarrel rose, it was apt to be the white man’s fault; and after it had arisen, even the humaner Englishmen usually sided with their race, as when the peaceful Plymouth men went to war in defence of the Weymouth reprobates. This fact, and the vague feeling that an irresistible pressure was displacing them, caused most of the early Indian outbreaks. And when hostilities had once arisen, it was very rare for a white man of English birth to be found fighting against his own people,18 although it grew more and more common to find Indians on both sides.

As time went on each party learned from the other. In the early explorations, as of Champlain and Smith, we see the Indians terrified by their first sight of firearms, but soon becoming skilled in the use of them. “The King, with fortie Bowmen to guard me,” says Capt. John Smith, in 1608, “entreated me to discharge my Pistoll, which they there presented to me, with a mark at six-score to strike therewith; but to spoil the practise I broke the cocke, whereat they were much discontented.” But writing more than twenty years later, in 1631, he says of the Virginia settlers, “The loving Salvages their kinde friends they trained up so well to shoot in a Peace [fowling-piece] to hunt and kill them fowle, they became more expert than our own countrymen.” La Hontan, writing in 1703, says of the successors of those against whom Champlain had first used firearms, “The Strength of the Iroquese lies in engaging with Fire Arms in a Forrest, for they shoot very dexterously.” They learned also to make more skilful fortifications, and to keep a regular watch at night, which in the time of the early explorers they had omitted. The same La Hontan says of the Iroquois, “They are as negligent in the night-time as they are vigilant in the day.”

But it is equally true that the English colonists learned much in the way of forest warfare from the Indians. The French carried their imitation so far that they often disguised themselves to resemble their allies, with paint, feathers, and all; it was sometimes impossible to tell in an attacking party which warriors were French and which were Indians. Without often going so far as this, the English colonists still modified their tactics. At first they seemed almost irresistible because of their armor and weapons. In the very first year of the Plymouth settlement, when report was brought that their friend Massasoit had been attacked by the Narrangansets, and a friendly19 Indian had been killed, the colony sent ten armed men, including Miles Standish, to the Indian town of Namasket (now Middleborough) to rescue or revenge their friend; and they succeeded in their enterprise, surrounding the chief’s house and frightening every one in a large Indian village by two discharges of their muskets.

But the heavy armor gradually proved a doubtful advantage against a stealthy and light-footed foe. In spite of the superior physical strength of the Englishman, he could not travel long distances through the woods or along the sands without lightening his weight. He learned also to fight from behind a tree, to follow a trail, to cover his body with hemlock boughs for disguise when scouting. Captain Church states in his own narrative that he learned from his Indian soldiers to march his men “thin and scattering” through the woods; that the English had previously, according to the Indians, “kept in a heap together, so that it was as easy to hit them as to hit a house.” Even the advantage of firearms involved the risk of being without ammunition, so that the Rhode Island colony, by the code of laws adopted in 1647, required that every man between seventeen and seventy should have a bow with four arrows, and exercise with them; and that each father should furnish every son from seven to seventeen years old with a bow, two arrows, and shafts, and should bring them up to shooting. If this statute was violated a fine was imposed, which the father must pay for the son, the master for the servant, deducting it in the latter case from his wages.

Less satisfactory was the change by which the taking of scalps came to be a recognized part of colonial warfare. Hannah Dustin, who escaped from Indian captivity in 1698, took ten scalps with her own hand, and was paid for them. Captain Church, undertaking his expedition against the eastern Indians, in 1705, after the Deerfield massacre, announced that he had not hitherto permitted the scalping of “Canada men,” but should thenceforth20 allow it. In 1722, when the Massachusetts colony sent an expedition against the village of “praying Indians,” founded by Father Rasle, they offered for each scalp a bounty of £15, afterward increased to £100; and this inhumanity was so far carried out that the French priest himself was one of the victims. Jeremiah Bumstead, of Boston, made this entry in his almanac in the same year: “Aug. 22, 28 Indian scalps brought to Boston, one of which was Bombazen’s [an Indian chief] and one fryer Raile’s.” Two years after, the celebrated but inappropriately named Captain Lovewell, the foremost Indian fighter of his region, came upon ten Indians asleep round a pond. He and his men killed and scalped them all, and entered Dover, New Hampshire, bearing the ten scalps stretched on hoops and elevated on poles. After receiving an ovation in Dover they went by water to Boston, and were paid a thousand pounds for their scalps. Yet Lovewell’s party was always accompanied by a chaplain, and had prayers every morning and evening.

From a drawing by Howard Pyle

The most painful aspect of the whole practice lies in the fact that it was not confined to those actually engaged in fighting, but that the colonial authorities actually established a tariff of prices for scalps, including even non-combatants—so much for a man’s, so much for a woman’s, so much for a child’s. Doctor Ellis has lately pointed out the striking circumstance that whereas William Penn had declared the person of an Indian to be “sacred,” his grandson, in 1764, offered $134 for the scalp of an Indian man, $130 for that of a boy under ten, and $50 for that of a woman or girl. The habit doubtless began in the fury of retaliation, and was continued in order to conciliate Indian allies; and when bounties were offered to them, the white volunteers naturally claimed a share. But there is no doubt that Puritan theology helped the adoption of the practice. It was partly because the Indian was held to be something worse than a beast that he was treated with very little mercy. The21 truth is that he was viewed as a fiend, and there could not be much scruple about using inhumanities against a demon. Cotton Mather calls Satan “the old landlord” of the American wilderness, and says in his Magnalia: “These Parts were then covered with Nations of Barbarous Indians and Infidels, in whom the Prince of the Power of the Air did work as a Spirit; nor could it be expected that Nations of Wretches whose whole religion was the most Explicit sort of Devil-Worship should not be acted by the devil to engage in some early and bloody Action for the Extinction of a Plantation so contrary to his Interests as that of New England was.”

Before the French influence began to be felt there was very little union on the part of the Indians, and each colony adjusted its own relations with them. At the time of the frightful Indian massacre in the Virginia colony (March 22, 1622), when three hundred and forty-seven men, women, and children were murdered, the Plymouth colony was living in entire peace with its savage neighbors. “We have found the Indians,” wrote Governor Winslow, “very faithful to their covenants of peace with us, very loving and willing to pleasure us. We go with them in some cases fifty miles into the country, and walk as safely and peacefully in the woods as in the highways of England.” The treaty with Massasoit lasted for more than fifty years, and the first bloodshed between the Plymouth men and the Indians was incurred in the protection of the colony of Weymouth, which had brought trouble on itself in 1623. The Connecticut settlements had far more difficulty with the Indians than those in Massachusetts, but the severe punishment inflicted on the Pequots in 1637 quieted the savages for a long time. In that fight a village of seventy wigwams was destroyed by a force of ninety white men and several hundred friendly Indians; and Captain Underhill, the second in command, has left a quaint delineation of the attack.

There was a period resembling peace in the eastern22 colonies for nearly forty years after the Pequot War, while in Virginia there were renewed massacres in 1644 and 1656. But the first organized Indian outbreak began with the conspiracy of King Philip in 1675, although the seeds had been sown before that chief succeeded to power in 1662. In that year Wamsutta, or Alexander, Philip’s brother—both being sons of Massasoit—having fallen under some suspicion, was either compelled or persuaded by Major Josiah Winslow, afterwards the first native-born Governor of Plymouth, to visit that settlement. The Indian came with his whole train of warriors and women, including his queen, the celebrated “squaw sachem” Weetamo, and they stayed at Winslow’s house. Here the chief fell ill. The day was very hot, and though Winslow offered his horse to the chief, it was refused, because there was none for his squaw or the other women. He was sent home because of illness, and died before he got half-way there. This is the story as told by Hubbard, but not altogether confirmed by other authorities. If true, it is interesting as confirming the theory of that careful student, Lucien Carr, that the early position of women among the Indians was higher than has been generally believed. It is pretty certain, at any rate, that Alexander’s widow, Weetamo, believed her husband to have been poisoned by the English, and she ultimately sided with Philip when the war broke out, and apparently led him and other Indians to the same view as to the poisoning. It is evident that from the time of Philip’s accession to authority, whatever he may have claimed, his mind was turned more and more against the English.

It is now doubted whether the war known as King Philip’s War was the result of such deliberate and organized action as was formerly supposed, but about the formidable strength of the outbreak there can be no question. It began in June, 1675; Philip was killed August 12, 1676, and the war was prolonged at the eastward for nearly two years after his death. Ten or twelve Puritan23 towns were utterly destroyed, many more damaged, and five or six hundred men were killed or missing. The war cost the colonists £100,000, and the Plymouth colony was left under a debt exceeding the whole valuation of its property—a debt ultimately paid, both principal and interest. On the other hand, the war tested and cemented the league founded in 1643 between four colonies—Massachusetts, Plymouth, New Haven, and Connecticut—against the Indians and Dutch, while this prepared the way more and more for the extensive combinations that came after. In this early war, as the Indians had no French allies, so the English had few Indian allies, and it was less complex than the later contests, and so far less formidable. But it was the first real experience on the part of the eastern colonists of all the peculiar horrors of Indian warfare—the stealthy approach, the abused hospitality, the early morning assault, the maimed cattle, tortured prisoners, slain infants. All the terrors that lately attached to a frontier attack of Apaches or Comanches belonged to the daily life of settlers in New England and Virginia for many years, with one vast difference, arising from the total absence in those early days of any personal violence or insult to women. By the general agreement of witnesses from all nations, including the women captives themselves, this crowning crime was then wholly absent. The once famous “white woman,” Mary Jemison, who was taken prisoner by the Senecas at ten years old, in 1743—who lived in that tribe all her life, survived two Indian husbands, and at last died at ninety—always testified that she had never received an insult from an Indian, and had never known of a captive’s receiving any. She added that she had known few instances in the tribe of conjugal immorality, although she lived to see it demoralized and ruined by strong drink.

The English colonists seem never to have inflicted on the Indians any cruelty resulting from sensual vices, but24 of barbarity of another kind there was plenty, for it was a cruel age. When the Narraganset fort was taken by the English, December 19, 1675, the wigwams within the fort were all set on fire, against the earnest entreaty of Captain Church; and it was thought that more than one-half the English loss—which amounted to several hundred—might have been saved had there been any shelter for their own wounded on that cold night. This, however, was a question of military necessity; but the true spirit of the age was seen in the punishments inflicted after the war was over. The heads of Philip’s chief followers were cut off, though Captain Church, their captor, had promised to spare their lives; and Philip himself was beheaded and quartered by Church’s order, since he was regarded, curiously enough, as a rebel against Charles the Second, and this was the state punishment for treason. Another avowed reason was, that “as he had caused many an Englishman’s body to lye unburied,” not one of his bones should be placed under ground. The head was set upon a pole in Plymouth, where it remained for more than twenty-four years. Yet when we remember that the heads of alleged traitors were exposed in London at Temple Bar for nearly a century longer—till 1772 at least—it is unjust to infer from this course any such fiendish cruelty as it would now imply. It is necessary to extend the same charity, however hard it may be, to the selling of Philip’s wife and little son into slavery at the Bermudas; and here, as has been seen, the clergy were consulted and the Old Testament called into requisition.

While these events were passing in the eastern settlements there were Indian outbreaks in Virginia, resulting in war among the white settlers themselves. The colony was, for various reasons, discontented; it was greatly oppressed, and a series of Indian murders brought the troubles to a climax. The policy pursued against the Indians was severe, and yet there was no proper protection afforded by the government; war was declared25 against them in 1676, and then the forces sent out were suddenly disbanded by the governor, Berkeley. At last there was a popular rebellion, which included almost all the civil and military officers of the colony, and the rebellious party put Nathaniel Bacon, Jr., a recently arrived but very popular planter, at their head. He marched with five hundred men against the Indians, but was proclaimed a traitor by the governor, whom Bacon proclaimed a traitor in return. The war with the savages became by degrees quite secondary to the internal contests among the English, in the course of which Bacon took and burned Jamestown, beginning, it is said, with his own house; but he died soon after. The insurrection was suppressed, and the Indians were finally quieted by a treaty.

Into all the Indian wars after King Philip’s death two nationalities besides the Indian and English entered in an important way. These were the Dutch and the French. It was the Dutch who, soon after 1614, first sold firearms to the Indians in defiance of their own laws, and by this means greatly increased the horrors of the Indian warfare. On the other hand, the Dutch, because of the close friendship they established with the Five Nations, commonly called the Iroquois, did to the English colonists, though unintentionally, a service so great that the whole issue of the prolonged war may have turned upon it. These tribes, the Cayugas, Mohawks, Oneidas, Onondagas, and Senecas—afterward joined by the Tuscaroras—held the key to the continent. Occupying the greater part of what is now the State of New York, they virtually ruled the country from the Atlantic to the Mississippi and from the Great Lakes to the Savannah River. They were from the first treated with great consideration by the Dutch, and they remained, with brief intervals of war, their firm friends. One war, indeed, there was under the injudicious management of Governor Kieft, lasting from 1640 to 1643; and this came near involving the English colonies,26 while it caused the death of sixteen hundred Indians, first or last, seven hundred of these being massacred under the borrowed Puritan leader Captain Underhill. But this made no permanent interruption to the alliance between the Iroquois and the Dutch.

When New Netherlands yielded to the English, the same alliance was retained, and to this we probably owe the preservation of the colonies, their union against England, and the very existence of the present American nation. Yet the first English governor, Colden, has left on record the complaint of an Indian chief, who said that they very soon felt the difference between the two alliances. “When the Dutch held this country,” he said, “we lay in our houses, but the English have always made us lie out-of-doors.”

But if the Dutch were thus an important factor in the Indian wars, the French became almost the controlling influence on the other side. Except for the strip of English colonies along the sea-shore, the North American continent north of Mexico was French. This was not the result of accident or of the greater energy of that nation, but of a systematic policy, beginning with Champlain and never abandoned by his successors. This plan was, as admirably stated by Parkman, “to influence Indian counsels, to hold the balance of power between adverse tribes, to envelop in the net-work of French power and diplomacy the remotest hordes of the wilderness.” With this was combined a love of exploration so great that it was hard to say which assisted the most in spreading their dominion—religion, the love of adventure, diplomatic skill, or military talent. These between them gave the interior of the continent to the French. One of the New York governors wrote home that if the French were to hold all that they had discovered, England would not have a hundred miles from the sea anywhere.



By Reuben Gold Thwaites, LL.D.

From the time of the restoration of New France (1632) till the final catastrophe of 1759, Canada remained uninterruptedly French; and from the tide-water of the St. Lawrence as a base, French traders, soldiers, and settlers (habitants) spread westward, northward, and eventually southward. In the year of the restoration probably not over a hundred and eighty of its inhabitants might properly be called settlers, with perhaps a few score military men, seafarers, and visiting commercial adventurers. The majority of residents, of course, centred at Quebec, with a few at the outlying trading-posts of Tadoussac on the east, Three Rivers on the west, and the intervening hamlets of Beaupré, Beauport, and Isle d’Orleans. At the same time the English and Dutch settlements in Virginia, the Middle Colonies, and Massachusetts had probably amassed an aggregate population of twenty-five thousand—for between the years 1627 and 1637 upward of twenty thousand settlers emigrated thither from Europe. While the English government was engaged in efforts to repress the migration toward its own colonies, the utmost endeavors of the powerful French companies, their arguments reinforced by bounties, could not induce more than a few home-loving Frenchmen to try their fortunes amid the rigors of the New World.

With all his tact, Champlain had committed one act of indiscretion, the effects of which were left as an ill-fated legacy to the little colony which he otherwise nursed so well. Seeking to please his Algonquian neighbors upon the St. Lawrence, and at the time eager to explore the country, the commandant, with two of his men-at-arms, accompanied (1609) one of their frequent war-parties against the confederated Iroquois, who lived,28 for the most part, in New York state and northeastern Pennsylvania. Meeting a hostile band of two hundred and fifty warriors near where Fort Ticonderoga was afterward constructed, Champlain and his white attendants easily routed the enemy by means of firearms, with which the interior savages were as yet unacquainted.21 His success in this direction was, through the unfortunate importunity of his allies, repeated in 1610; but five years later, when he invaded the Iroquois cantonments in the company of a large body of Huron, whose country to the east of Lake Huron he had been visiting that summer, the tribesmen to the southeast of Lake Ontario were found to have lost much of their fear for white men’s weapons, and the invaders retreated in some disorder.

(From an old print)

The results were highly disastrous both to the Huron and the French. The former were year by year mercilessly harried by the bloodthirsty Iroquois, until in 164929 they were driven from their homes, and in the frenzy of fear fled first to the islands of Lake Huron, then to Mackinac and Sault Ste. Marie, finally to the southern shores of Lake Superior, and deep within the dark pine forests of northern Wisconsin. In the destruction of Huronia, several Jesuit missionaries suffered torture and death.

As for the squalid little French settlements at Three Rivers, Quebec, and Tadoussac, they soon felt the wrath of the Iroquois, who were the fiercest and best-trained fighters among the savages of North America. Almost annually the war-parties of this dread foe raided the lands of the king, not infrequently appearing in force before the sharp-pointed palisades of New France, over which were waged bloody battles for supremacy. Fortunately logs could turn back a primitive enemy unarmed with cannon; but not infrequently outlying parties of Frenchmen had sorry experiences with the stealthy foe, of whose approach through the tangled forest they had no warning. Champlain’s closing years were much saddened by these merciless assaults which he had unwittingly invited; in the decade after his death the operations of his successors were largely hampered thereby. Montreal, founded by religious enthusiasts in 1642, during its earliest years served as a buffer colony, in the direction of the avenging tribesmen, and supped to the dregs the cup of border turmoil.

Not only were Frenchmen obliged to huddle within their defences, but far and near their Indian allies were swept from the earth. The Iroquois practically destroyed the Algonquin tribes between Quebec and the Saguenay, as well as the Algonquins of the Ottawa, the Huron, and the Petun and Neutrals of the Niagara district. The fur-trade of New France was for a long period almost wholly destroyed; English and Dutch rivals to the south were friendly to the Iroquois, furnished them cheap goods and abundant firearms and ammunition, and egged them on30 in their northern forays; while toward the Mississippi, and south of the Great Lakes, Iroquois raiders terrorized those tribes which dared to entertain trade relations with the French.

In 1646, however, the blood-stained confederates, after nearly a half-century of opposition, consented to a peace which lasted spasmodically for almost twenty years; until in 1665 the French government found itself strong enough to threaten the chastisement of the New York tribesmen, and thereafter the Iroquois opposition, while not altogether quelled, was of a far less threatening character.


1609. Henry Hudson ascends the Hudson River.

1610. Henry Hudson explores Hudson Bay.

1614. The Dutch erect a Fort on Manhattan Island.

1619. A colonial assembly is convened at Jamestown. Negro slavery is introduced into Virginia.

1620. Landing of the Pilgrims at Plymouth.

1622. The Dutch West India Company take possession of New Netherlands. Indian massacre in Virginia.

1623. Settlement of New Hampshire.

1624. Dissolution of the London Company. Virginia becomes a Crown Colony.

1626. The Dutch purchase Manhattan Island from the Indians.

1628. Settlement of Salem by the Massachusetts Bay Company.

1629. The English take Quebec.

1630. Foundation of Boston.

31 1631. Settlement of Maryland by Clayborne.

1632. Canada is restored to France by England. Lord Baltimore receives a charter for a colony in Maryland.

1634. Settlement of St. Mary’s, Maryland, by Calvert.

1634–36. Settlement of Connecticut by the English. Settlement of Rhode Island by Roger Williams.

1636. Foundation of Harvard College.

1637. Conquest of the Pequots by the New England colonists.



In 1636 the Massachusetts colony, under Vane’s administration, became involved in new troubles—a violent internal controversy and a dangerous Indian war. The most powerful native tribes of New England were concentrated in the neighborhood of Narragansett Bay. The Wampanoags, or Pocanokets, were on the east side of that bay within the limits of the Plymouth patent, and the Narragansets, a more powerful confederacy, on the west side. Still more numerous and more powerful were the Pequots, whose chief seats were on or near Pequot River, now the Thames, but whose authority extended over twenty-six petty tribes, along both shores of the Sound to the Connecticut River, and even beyond it, almost or quite to the Hudson. In what is now the northeast corner of the State of Connecticut dwelt a smaller tribe, the enemies, perhaps the revolted subjects, of the Pequots, known to the colonists as Mohegans—an appropriation of a general name properly including all the Indians along the shores of Long Island Sound as far west as the Hudson, and even the tribes beyond that river, known afterward to the English as the Delawares. The Indians about Massachusetts Bay, supposed to have been formerly quite numerous, had almost died out before the arrival of the colonists, and the smallpox had since proved very fatal among the few that remained. Some tribes of no great consideration—the Nipmucks, the Wachusetts, the Nashaways—dwelt among the interior hills, and others, known collectively to the colonists as the River Indians, fished at the falls of33 the Connecticut, and cultivated little patches of its rich alluvial meadows. The lower Merrimac, the Piscataqua, and their branches were occupied by the tribes of a considerable confederacy, that of Penacook, or Pawtucket, whose chief sachem, Passaconaway, was reported to be a great magician. The interior of New Hampshire and of what is now Vermont seems to have been an uninhabited wilderness. The tribes eastward of the Piscataqua, known to the English by the general name of Tarenteens, and reputed to be numerous and powerful, were distinguished by the rivers on which they dwelt. They seem to have constituted two principal confederacies, those east of the Kennebec being known to the French of Acadie as the Abenakis. All the New England Indians spoke substantially the same language, the Algonquin, in various dialects. From the nature of the country, they were more stationary than some other tribes, being fixed principally at the falls of the rivers. They seem to have entertained very decided ideas of the hereditary descent of authority, and of personal devotion to their chiefs. What might have been at this time the total Indian population of New England it is not very easy to conjecture; but it was certainly much less than is commonly stated. Fifteen or twenty thousand would seem to be a sufficient allowance for the region south of the Piscataqua, and as many more, perhaps, for the more easterly district. The Pequots, esteemed the most powerful tribe in New England, were totally ruined, as we shall presently see, by the destruction or capture of hardly more than a thousand persons.

The provocation for this exterminating war was extremely small. Previous to the Massachusetts migration to the Connecticut, one Captain Stone, the drunken and dissolute master of a small trading vessel from Virginia, whom the Plymouth people charged with having been engaged at Manhattan in a piratical plot to seize one of their vessels, having been sent away from Boston34 with orders not to return without leave, under pain of death, on his way homeward to Virginia, in 1634, had entered the Connecticut River, where he was cut off, with his whole company, seven in number, by a band of Pequots. There were various stories, none of them authentic, as to the precise manner of his death, but the Pequots insisted that he had been the aggressor—a thing in itself sufficiently probable. As Stone belonged to Virginia, the magistrates of Massachusetts wrote to Governor Harvey to move him to stir in the matter. Van Cuyler, the Dutch commissary at Fort Good Hope, in fact revenged Stone’s death by the execution of a sachem and several others. This offended the Pequots, who renounced any further traffic with the Dutch, and sent messengers to Boston desiring an intercourse of trade, and assistance to settle their pending difficulties with the Narragansets, who intervened between them and the English settlements. They even promised to give up—at least so the magistrates understood them—the only two survivors, as they alleged, of those concerned in the death of Stone. These offers were accepted; for the convenience of this traffic a peace was negotiated between the Pequots and the Narragansets, and a vessel was presently sent to open a trade. But this traffic disappointed the adventurers; nor were the promised culprits given up. The Pequots, according to the Indian custom, tendered, instead, a present of furs and wampum. But this was refused, the colonists seeming to think themselves under a religious obligation to avenge blood with blood.

Thus matters remained for a year or two, when, in July, 1636, the crew of a small bark, returning from Connecticut, saw close to Block Island a pinnace at anchor, and full of Indians. This pinnace was recognized as belonging to Oldham, the Indian trader, the old settler at Nantasket, and explorer of the Connecticut. Conjecturing that something must be wrong, the bark approached the pinnace and hailed, whereupon the Indians on board35 slipped the cable and made sail. The bark gave chase, and soon overtook the pinnace; some of the Indians jumped overboard in their fright, and were drowned; several were killed, and one was made prisoner. The dead body of Oldham was found on board, covered with an old seine. This murder, as appeared from the testimony of the prisoner, who was presently sentenced by the Massachusetts magistrates to be a slave for life, was committed at the instigation of some Narraganset chiefs, upon whom Block Island was dependent, in revenge for the trade which Oldham had commenced under the late treaty with the Pequots, their enemies. Indeed, all the Narraganset chiefs, except the head sachem, Canonicus, and his nephew and colleague, Miantonimoh, were believed to have had a hand in this matter, especially the chieftain of the Niantics, a branch of the Narragansets, inhabiting the continent opposite Block Island.

Canonicus, in great alarm, sent to his friend and neighbor, Roger Williams, by whose aid he wrote a letter to the Massachusetts magistrates, expressing his grief at what had happened, and stating that Miantonimoh had sailed already with seventeen canoes and two hundred warriors to punish the Block Islanders. With this letter were sent two Indians, late sailors on board Oldham’s pinnace, and presently after two English boys, the remainder of his crew. In the recapture of Oldham’s pinnace eleven Indians had been killed, several of them chiefs; and that, with the restoration of the crew, seems to have been esteemed by Canonicus a sufficient atonement for Oldham’s death. But the magistrates and ministers of Massachusetts, assembled to take this matter into consideration, thought otherwise. Volunteers were called for in August, 1636; and four companies, ninety men in all, commanded by Endicott, whose submissiveness in Williams’ affair had restored him to favor, were embarked in three pinnaces, with orders to put to death all the men of Block Island, and to make the women and36 children prisoners. The old affair of the death of Stone was now also called to mind, though the murder of Oldham had no connection with it, except in some distant similarity of circumstances. Endicott was instructed, on his return from Block Island, to go to the Pequots, and to demand of them the murderers of Stone, and a thousand fathoms of wampum for damages—equivalent to from three to five thousand dollars—also, some of their children as hostages; and, if they refused, to employ force.

The Block Islanders fled inland, hid themselves, and escaped; but Endicott burned their wigwams, staved their canoes, and destroyed their standing corn. He then sailed to Fort Saybrook, at the mouth of the Connecticut, and marched thence to Pequot River. After some parley, the Indians refused his demands, when he burned their village and killed one of their warriors. Marching back to the Connecticut River, he inflicted like vengeance on the Pequot village there, whence he returned to Boston, after a three weeks’ absence and without the loss of a man.

The Pequots, enraged at what they esteemed a treacherous and unprovoked attack, lurked about Fort Saybrook, killed or took several persons, and did considerable mischief. They sent, also, to the Narragansets to engage their alliance against the colonists, whom they represented as the common enemy of all the Indians. Williams, informed of this negotiation, sent word of it to the Massachusetts magistrates, and, at their request, he visited Canonicus, to dissuade him from joining the Pequots. This mission was not without danger. In the wigwam of Canonicus, Williams encountered the Pequot messengers, full of rage and fury. He succeeded, however, in his object, and, in October, Miantonimoh was induced to visit Boston, where, being received with much ceremony by the governor and magistrates, he agreed to act with them as a faithful ally. Canonicus thought it would be necessary to attack the Pequots with a very37 large force; but he recommended, as a thing likely to be agreeable to all the Indians—so Williams informs us—that the women and children should be spared, a humane piece of advice which received in the end but little attention.

The policy of this war, or, at least, the wisdom of Endicott’s conduct, was not universally conceded. A letter from Plymouth reproached the Massachusetts magistrates with the dangers likely to arise from so inefficient an attack upon the Pequots. Gardiner, the commandant at Fort Saybrook, who lost several men during the winter, was equally dissatisfied. The new settlers up the Connecticut complained bitterly of the dangers to which they were exposed. Sequeen, the same Indian chief at whose invitation the Plymouth people had first established a trading-house on the Connecticut River, had granted land to the planters at Wethersfield on condition that he might settle near them, and be protected; but when he came and built his wigwam, they had driven him away. He took this opportunity for revenge by calling in the Pequots, who attacked the town, and killed nine of the inhabitants. The whole number killed by the Pequots during the winter was about thirty.

In December a special session of the General Court of Massachusetts organized the militia into three regiments, the magistrates to appoint the field officers—called sergeant-majors—and to select the captains and lieutenants out of a nomination to be made by the companies respectively. Watches were ordered to be kept, and travellers were to go armed....

The new towns on the Connecticut had continued to suffer during the winter. The attack on Wethersfield has been mentioned already. Fort Saybrook was beleaguered; several colonists were killed, and two young girls were taken prisoners, but were presently redeemed and sent home by some Dutch traders. It had been resolved in Massachusetts to raise a hundred and sixty men38 for the war, and already Underhill had been sent, with twenty men, to reinforce Fort Saybrook; but, during Vane’s administration, these preparations had been retarded—not from any misgivings as to the justice of the war, but because the army “was too much under a covenant of works.” The expedition was now got ready, and, by a “solemn public invocation of the word of God,” a leader was designated by lot from among three of the magistrates set apart for that purpose. The lot fell on Stoughton, whose adherence to the orthodox party during the late dissensions had restored him to favor, and obtained for him, at the late election, one of the vacant magistrates’ seats. Wilson was also designated by lot as chaplain to the expedition. The people of Plymouth agreed to furnish forty-five men.

The decisive battle, however, had been already fought. The Connecticut towns, impatient of delay, having obtained the alliance of Uncas, sachem of the Mohegans, had marched, to the number of ninety men, almost their entire effective force, under the command of John Mason, bred a soldier in the Netherlands, whom Hooker, on May 10, with prayers and religious ceremonies, solemnly invested with the staff of command. After a night spent in prayer, this little army, joined by Uncas with sixty Indians, and accompanied by Stone, Hooker’s colleague, as chaplain, embarked at Hartford. They were not without great doubts as to their Indian allies, but were reassured at Fort Saybrook. While Stone was praying “for one pledge of love, that may confirm us of the fidelity of the Indians,” these allies came in with five Pequot scalps and a prisoner. Underhill joined with his twenty men, and the united forces proceeded by water to Narragansett Bay, where they spent Sunday, May 21, in religious exercises. They were further strengthened by Miantonimoh and two hundred Narraganset warriors; but the English force seemed so inadequate that many of the Narragansets became discouraged and returned home.

39 The Pequots were principally collected a few miles east of Pequot River, now the Thames, in two forts, or villages, fortified with trees and brushwood. After a fatiguing march of two days, Mason reached one of these strongholds, situated on a high hill, at no great distance from the sea-shore. He encamped a few hours to rest his men, but marched again before daybreak, and at early dawn approached the fort. The Pequots had seen the vessels pass along the sea-shore toward the bay of Narragansett, and, supposing the hostile forces afraid to attack them, they had spent the night in feasting and dancing, and Mason could hear their shoutings in his camp. Toward morning they sunk into a deep sleep, from which they were roused by the barking of their dogs, as the colonists, in two parties, approached the fort, one led by Mason, the other by Underhill, both of whom have left us narratives of the battle. The assailants poured in a fire of musketry, and, after a moment’s hesitation, forced their way into the fort. Within were thickly clustered wigwams containing the families of the Indians, and what remained of their winter stores. The astonished Pequots seized their weapons and fought with desperation; but what could their clubs and arrows avail against the muskets and plate-armor of the colonists? Yet there was danger in the great superiority of their numbers, and Mason, crying out “we must burn them,” thrust a firebrand among the mats with which the wigwams were covered. Almost in a moment the fort was in a blaze. The colonists, “bereaved of pity and without compassion,” so Underhill himself declares, kept up the fight within the fort, while their Indian allies, forming a circle around, struck down every Pequot who attempted to escape. No quarter was given, no mercy was shown; some hundreds, not warriors only, but old men, women, and children, perished by the weapons of the colonists, or in the flames of the burning fort. “Great and doleful,” says Underhill, “was the bloody sight to40 the view of young soldiers, to see so many souls lie gasping on the ground, so thick you could hardly pass along.” The fact that only seven prisoners were taken, while Mason boasts that only seven others escaped, evinces the unrelenting character of this massacre, which was accomplished with but trifling loss, only two of the colonists being killed, and sixteen or twenty wounded. Yet the victors were not without embarrassments. The morning was hot, there was no water to be had, and the men, exhausted by their long march the two days before, the weight of their armor, want of sleep, and the sharpness of the late action, must now encounter a new body of Pequots from the other village, who had taken the alarm, and were fast approaching. Mason, with a select party, kept this new enemy at bay, and thus gave time to the main body to push on for Pequot River, into which some vessels had just been seen to enter. When the Indians approached the hill where their fort had stood, at sight of their ruined habitations and slaughtered companions they burst out into a transport of rage, stamped on the ground, tore their hair, and, regardless of everything save revenge, rushed furious in pursuit. But the dreaded firearms soon checked them, and Mason easily made good his retreat to Pequot harbor, now New London, where he found not only his own vessels, but Captain Patrick also, just arrived in a bark from Boston, with forty men. Mason sent the wounded and most of his forces by water, but, in consequence of Patrick’s refusal to lend his ship, was obliged to march himself, with twenty men, followed by Patrick, to Fort Saybrook, where his victory was greeted by a salvo of cannon.

In about a fortnight Stoughton arrived at Saybrook with the main body of the Massachusetts forces. Mason, with forty Connecticut soldiers and a large body of Narragansets, joined also in pursuing the remnants of the enemy. The Pequots had abandoned their country, or concealed themselves in the swamps. In July one of41 these fortresses was attacked by night, and about a hundred Indians captured. The men, twenty-two in number, were put to death; thirty women and children were given to the Narraganset allies; some fifty others were sent to Boston, and distributed as slaves among the principal colonists. The flying Pequots were pursued as far as Quinapiack, now New Haven. A swamp in that neighborhood, where a large party had taken refuge, being surrounded and attacked, a parley was had, and life was offered to “all whose hands were not in English blood.” About two hundred, old men, women, and children, reluctantly came out and gave themselves up. Daylight was exhausted in this surrender; and as night set in, the warriors who remained renewed their defiances. Toward morning, favored by a thick fog, they broke through and escaped. Many of the surviving Pequots put themselves under the protection of Canonicus and other Narraganset chiefs. Sassacus, the head sachem, fled to the Mohawks; but they were instigated by their allies, the Narragansets, to put him to death. His scalp was sent to Boston, and many heads and hands of Pequot warriors were also brought in by the neighboring tribes. The adult male prisoners who remained in the hands of the colonists were sent to the West Indies to be sold into slavery; the women and children experienced a similar fate at home. It was reckoned that between eight and nine hundred of the Pequots had been killed or taken. Such of the survivors as had escaped, forbidden any longer to call themselves Pequots, were distributed between the Narragansets and Mohegans, and subjected to an annual tribute. A like tribute was imposed, also, on the inhabitants of Block Island. The colonists regarded their success as ample proof of Divine approbation, and justified all they had done to these “bloody heathen” by abundant quotations from the Old Testament. Having referred to “the wars of David,” Underhill adds, “We had sufficient light from the word42 of God for our proceedings”; and Mason, after some exulting quotations from the Psalms, concludes: “Thus the Lord was pleased to smite our enemies in the hinder parts, and to give us their land for an inheritance!” The Indian allies admired the courage of the colonists, but they thought their method of war “too furious, and to slay too many.”


1638. Settlement of Rhode Island. Establishment of the Colony of New Haven. Swedes and Finns settle in Delaware.

1639. Adoption of the Connecticut Constitution.

1642. War between Charles I. and Parliament. Indecisive Battle of Edgehill.

1643. The Colonies of New England form a confederacy.

1644. Battle of Marston Moor, in which the English Royalists are defeated. Roger Williams obtains a patent from Parliament for the United Government of the Rhode Island Settlements.

1645. Defeat of the English Royalists at the Battle of Naseby.

1649. Execution of Charles I.

1653. Cromwell is made Lord Protector of England.

1655. Peter Stuyvesant, Director-General of New Netherlands, dispossesses the Swedish settlers at the mouth of the Delaware.

1660. Restoration of the Stuarts in England.

1662. The Connecticut and New Haven Colonies receive a charter from Charles II.

1664. Charles II. grants the region between the Connecticut and Delaware rivers to his brother James, Duke43 of York. The English occupy New Amsterdam and take possession of the province of New Netherland. The Colony of New Jersey is established.

1665. The union of the Connecticut and New Haven Colonies is completed.

1668. Father Marquette founds the Mission of Sault Ste. Marie.

1670. Incorporation of the Hudson Bay Company.

1673. The Dutch occupy New York and New Jersey.

1674. New York and New Jersey are restored to the English.

1675. King Philip’s War.



Except in the destruction of the Pequots, the native tribes of New England had, in 1673, undergone no very material diminution. The Pocanokets, or Wampanoags, though somewhat curtailed in their limits, still occupied the eastern shore of Narragansett Bay. The Narragansets still possessed the western shore. There were several scattered tribes in various parts of Connecticut; though, with the exception of some small reservations, they had already ceded all their lands. Uncas, the Mohegan chief, was now an old man. The Pawtucket, or Penacook, confederacy continued to occupy the falls of the Merrimac and the heads of the Piscataqua. Their old sachem, Passaconaway, regarded the colonists with awe and veneration. In the interior of Massachusetts and along the Connecticut were several other less noted tribes. The Indians of Maine and the region eastward possessed their ancient haunts undisturbed; but their intercourse was principally with the French, to whom, since the late peace with France, Acadie had been again yielded up. The New England Indians were occasionally annoyed by war parties of Mohawks; but, by the intervention of Massachusetts, a peace had recently been concluded.

Efforts for the conversion and civilization of the Indians were still continued by Eliot and his coadjutors, supported by the funds of the English society. In Massachusetts there were fourteen feeble villages of these praying Indians, and a few more in Plymouth colony.45 The whole number in New England was about thirty-six hundred, but of these near one-half inhabited the islands of Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard.

Massachusetts held a strict hand over the Narragansets and other subject tribes, and their limits had been contracted by repeated cessions, not always entirely voluntary. The Wampanoags, within the jurisdiction of Plymouth, experienced similar treatment. By successive sales of parts of their territory, they were now shut up, as it were, in the necks or peninsulas formed by the northern and eastern branches of Narragansett Bay, the same territory now constituting the continental eastern portion of Rhode Island. Though always at peace with the colonists, the Wampanoags had not always escaped suspicion. The increase of the settlements around them, and the progressive curtailment of their limits, aroused their jealousy. They were galled, also, by the feudal superiority, similar to that of Massachusetts over her dependent tribes, claimed by Plymouth on the strength of certain alleged former submissions. None felt this assumption more keenly than Pometacom, head chief of the Wampanoags, better known among the colonists as King Philip of Mount Hope, nephew and successor of that Massasoit who had welcomed the Pilgrims to Plymouth. Suspected of hostile designs, he had been compelled to deliver up his firearms, and to enter into certain stipulations. These stipulations he was accused of not fulfilling; and nothing but the interposition of the Massachusetts magistrates, to whom Philip appealed, prevented Plymouth from making war upon him. He was sentenced instead to pay a heavy fine, and to acknowledge the unconditional supremacy of that colony.

A praying Indian, who had been educated at Cambridge and employed as a teacher, upon some misdemeanor had fled to Philip, who took him into service as a sort of secretary. Being persuaded to return again to his former employment, this Indian accused Philip anew of being46 engaged in a secret hostile plot. In accordance with Indian ideas, the treacherous informer was waylaid and killed. Three of Philip’s men, suspected of having killed him, were arrested by the Plymouth authorities, and, in accordance with English ideas, were tried for murder by a jury half English, half Indians, convicted upon very slender evidence, and hanged. Philip retaliated by plundering the houses nearest Mount Hope. Presently he attacked Swanzey, and killed several of the inhabitants. Plymouth took measures for raising a military force. The neighboring colonies were sent to for assistance. Thus, by the impulse of suspicion on the one side and passion on the other, New England became suddenly engaged in a war very disastrous to the colonists, and utterly ruinous to the native tribes. The lust of gain, in spite of all laws to prevent it, had partially furnished the Indians with firearms, and they were now far more formidable enemies than they had been in the days of the Pequots. Of this the colonists hardly seem to have thought. Now, as then, confident of their superiority, and comparing themselves to the Lord’s chosen people driving the heathen out of the land, they rushed eagerly into the contest, without a single effort at the preservation of peace. Indeed, their pretensions hardly admitted of it. Philip was denounced as a rebel in arms against his lawful superiors, with whom it would be folly and weakness to treat on any terms short of absolute submission.

A body of volunteers, horse and foot, raised in Massachusetts, marched under Major Savage, in June, 1675, four days after the attack on Swanzey, to join the Plymouth forces. After one or two slight skirmishes, they penetrated to the Wampanoag villages at Mount Hope, but found them empty and deserted. Philip and his warriors, conscious of their inferiority, had abandoned their homes. If the Narragansets, on the opposite side of the bay, did not openly join the Wampanoags, they would, at least, be likely to afford shelter to their women47 and children. The troops were therefore ordered into the Narraganset country, accompanied by commissioners to demand assurances of peaceful intentions, and a promise to deliver up all fugitive enemies of the colonists—pledges which the Narragansets felt themselves constrained to give.

Arrived at Taunton on their return from the Narraganset country, news came that Philip and his warriors had been discovered by Church, of Plymouth colony, collected in a great swamp at Pocasset, now Tiverton, the southern district of the Wampanoag country, whence small parties sallied forth to burn and plunder the neighboring settlements. After a march of eighteen miles, having reached the designated spot, the soldiers found there a hundred wigwams lately built, but empty and deserted, the Indians having retired deep into the swamp. The colonists followed; but the ground was soft; the thicket was difficult to penetrate; the companies were soon thrown into disorder. Each man fired at every bush he saw shake, thinking an Indian might lay concealed behind it, and several were thus wounded by their own friends. When night came on, the assailants retired with the loss of sixteen men. The swamp continued to be watched and guarded, but Philip broke through, not without some loss, and escaped into the country of the Nipmucks, in the interior of Massachusetts. That tribe had already commenced hostilities by attacking Mendon. They waylaid and killed Captain Hutchinson, a son of the famous Mrs. Hutchinson, and sixteen out of a party of twenty sent from Boston to Brookfield to parley with them. Attacking Brookfield itself, they burned it, except one fortified house. The inhabitants were saved by Major Willard, who, on information of their danger, came with a troop of horse from Lancaster, thirty miles through the woods, to their rescue. A body of troops presently arrived from the eastward, and were stationed for some time at Brookfield.

48 The colonists now found that by driving Philip to extremity they had roused a host of unexpected enemies. The River Indians, anticipating an intended attack upon them, joined the assailants. Deerfield and Northfield, the northernmost towns on the Connecticut River, settled within a few years past, were attacked, and several of the inhabitants killed and wounded. Captain Beers, sent from Hadley to their relief with a convoy of provisions, was surprised near Northfield in September, and slain, with twenty of his men. Northfield was abandoned, and burned by the Indians.

“The English at first,” says Gookin, “thought easily to chastise the insolent doings and murderous practice of the heathen; but it was found another manner of thing than was expected; for our men could see no enemy to shoot at, but yet felt their bullets out of the thick bushes where they lay in ambush. The English wanted not courage or resolution, but could not discover nor find an enemy to fight with, yet were galled by the enemy.” In the arts of ambush and surprise, with which the Indians were so familiar, the colonists were without practice. It is to the want of this experience, purchased at a very dear rate in the course of the war, that we must ascribe the numerous surprises and defeats from which the colonists suffered at its commencement.

Driven to the necessity of defensive warfare, those in command on the river determined to establish a magazine and garrison at Hadley. Captain Lathrop, who had been dispatched from the eastward to the assistance of the river towns, was sent with eighty men, the flower of the youth of Essex County, to guard the wagons intended to convey to Hadley three thousand bushels of unthreshed wheat, the produce of the fertile Deerfield meadows. Just before arriving at Deerfield, near a small stream still known as Bloody Brook, under the shadow of the abrupt conical Sugar Loaf, the southern termination of the Deerfield mountain, Lathrop, on September49 18, fell into an ambush, and, after a brave resistance, perished there with all his company. Captain Moseley, stationed at Deerfield, marched to his assistance, but arrived too late to help him. Deerfield was abandoned, and burned by the Indians. Springfield, about the same time, was set on fire, but was partially saved by the arrival, with troops from Connecticut, of Major Treat, successor to the lately deceased Mason in the chief command of the Connecticut forces. An attack on Hatfield was vigorously repelled by the garrison.

Meanwhile, hostilities were spreading; the Indians on the Merrimac began to attack the towns in their vicinity, and the whole of Massachusetts was soon in the utmost alarm. Except in the immediate neighborhood of Boston, the country still remained an immense forest dotted by a few openings. The frontier settlements could not be defended against a foe familiar with localities, scattered in small parties, skilful in concealment, and watching with patience for some unguarded or favorable moment. Those settlements were mostly broken up, and the inhabitants, retiring toward Boston, spread everywhere dread and intense hatred of “the bloody heathen.” Even the praying Indians, and the small dependent and tributary tribes, became objects of suspicion and terror. They had been employed at first as scouts and auxiliaries, and to good advantage; but some few, less confirmed in the faith, having deserted to the enemy, the whole body of them were denounced as traitors. Eliot the apostle, and Gookin, superintendent of the subject Indians, exposed themselves to insults, and even to danger, by their efforts to stem this headlong fury, to which several of the magistrates opposed but a feeble resistance. Troops were sent to break up the praying villages at Mendon, Grafton, and others in that quarter. The Natick Indians, “those poor despised sheep of Christ,” as Gookin affectionately calls them, were hurried off to Deer Island, in Boston harbor, where they suffered excessively from a severe winter. A50 part of the praying Indians of Plymouth colony were confined, in like manner, on the islands in Plymouth harbor.

Not content with realities sufficiently frightful, superstition, as usual, added bugbears of her own. Indian bows were seen in the sky, and scalps in the moon. The northern lights became an object of terror. Phantom horsemen careered among the clouds or were heard to gallop invisible through the air. The howling of wolves was turned into a terrible omen. The war was regarded as a special judgment in punishment of prevailing sins. Among these sins, the General Court of Massachusetts, after consultation with the elders, enumerated neglect in the training of the children of church-members; pride, in men’s wearing long and curled hair; excess in apparel; naked breasts and arms, and superfluous ribbons; the toleration of Quakers; hurry to leave meeting before blessing asked; profane cursing and swearing; tippling-houses; want of respect for parents; idleness; extortion in shopkeepers and mechanics; and the riding from town to town of unmarried men and women, under pretence of attending lectures—“a sinful custom, tending to lewdness.” Penalties were denounced against all these offences; and the persecution of the Quakers was again renewed. A Quaker woman had recently frightened the Old South congregation in Boston by entering that meeting-house clothed in sackcloth, with ashes on her head, her feet bare, and her face blackened, intending to personify the smallpox, with which she threatened the colony, in punishment for its sins.

About the time of the first collision with Philip, the Tarenteens, or Eastern Indians, had attacked the settlements in Maine and New Hampshire, plundering and burning the houses, and massacring such of the inhabitants as fell into their hands. This sudden diffusion of hostilities and vigor of attack from opposite quarters made the colonists believe that Philip had long been plotting51 and had gradually matured an extensive conspiracy, into which most of the tribes had deliberately entered, for the extermination of the whites. This belief infuriated the colonists, and suggested some very questionable proceedings. It seems, however, to have originated, like the war itself, from mere suspicions. The same griefs pressed upon all the tribes; and the struggle once commenced, the awe which the colonists inspired thrown off, the greater part were ready to join in the contest. But there is no evidence of any deliberate concert; nor, in fact, were the Indians united. Had they been so, the war would have been far more serious. The Connecticut tribes proved faithful, and that colony remained untouched. Uncas and Ninigret continued friendly; even the Narragansets, in spite of so many former provocations, had not yet taken up arms. But they were strongly suspected of intention to do so, and were accused by Uncas of giving, notwithstanding their recent assurances, aid and shelter to the hostile tribes.

An attempt had lately been made to revive the union of the New England colonies. At a meeting of commissioners, on September 9, 1675, those from Plymouth presented a narrative of the origin and progress of the present hostilities. Upon the strength of this narrative the war was pronounced “just and necessary,” and a resolution was passed to carry it on at the joint expense, and to raise for that purpose a thousand men, one-half to be mounted dragoons. If the Narragansets were not crushed during the winter, it was feared they might break out openly hostile in the spring; and at a subsequent meeting a thousand men were ordered to be levied to co-operate in an expedition specially against them.

The winter was unfavorable to the Indians; the leafless woods no longer concealed their lurking attacks. The frozen surface of the swamps made the Indian fastnesses accessible to the colonists. The forces destined to act against the Narragansets—six companies from Massachusetts,52 under Major Appleton; two from Plymouth, under Major Bradford; and five from Connecticut, under Major Treat—were placed under the command of Josiah Winslow, Governor of Plymouth since Prince’s death—son of that Edward Winslow so conspicuous in the earlier history of the colony. In December the Massachusetts and Plymouth forces marched to Petasquamscot, on the west shore of Narragansett Bay, where they made some forty prisoners. Being joined by the troops from Connecticut, and guided by an Indian deserter, after a march of fifteen miles through a deep snow, they approached a swamp in what is now the town of South Kingston, one of the ancient strongholds of the Narragansets. Driving the Indian scouts before them, and penetrating the swamp, the colonial soldiers soon came in sight of the Indian fort, built on a rising ground in the morass, a sort of island of two or three acres, fortified by a palisade, and surrounded by a close hedge a rod thick. There was but one entrance, quite narrow, defended by a tree thrown across it, with a block-house of logs in front and another on the flank. It was the “Lord’s day,” but that did not hinder the attack. As the captains advanced at the heads of their companies, the Indians opened a galling fire, under which many fell. But the assailants pressed on, and forced the entrance. A desperate struggle ensued. The colonists were once driven back, but they rallied and returned to the charge, and, after a two hours’ fight, became masters of the fort. Fire was put to the wigwams, near six hundred in number, and all the horrors of the Pequot massacre were renewed. The corn and other winter stores of the Indians were consumed, and not a few of the old men, women, and children perished in the flames. In this bloody contest, long remembered as the “Swamp Fight,” the colonial loss was terribly severe. Six captains, with two hundred and thirty men, were killed or wounded; and at night, in the midst of a snow-storm; with a fifteen miles’ march before53 them, the colonial soldiers abandoned the fort, of which the Indians resumed possession. But their wigwams were burned; their provisions destroyed; they had no supplies for the winter; their loss was irreparable. Of those who survived the fight, many perished of hunger.

Even as a question of policy, this attack on the Narragansets was more than doubtful. The starving and infuriated warriors, scattered through the woods, revenged themselves by attacks on the frontier settlements. On February 10, 1676, Lancaster was burned, and forty of the inhabitants killed or taken; among the rest, Mrs. Rolandson, wife of the minister, the narrative of whose captivity is still preserved. Groton, Chelmsford, and other towns in that vicinity were repeatedly attacked. Medfield, twenty miles from Boston, was furiously assaulted, and, though defended by three hundred men, half the houses were burned. Weymouth, within eighteen miles of Boston, was attacked a few days after. These were the nearest approaches which the Indians made to that capital. For a time the neighborhood of the Narraganset country was abandoned. The Rhode Island towns, though they had no part in undertaking the war, yet suffered the consequences of it. In March, Warwick was burned, and Providence was partially destroyed. Most of the inhabitants sought refuge in the islands, but the aged Roger Williams accepted a commission as captain for the defence of the town he had founded. Walter Clarke was presently chosen governor in Coddington’s place, the times not suiting a Quaker chief magistrate.

The whole colony of Plymouth was overrun. Houses were burned in almost every town, but the inhabitants, for the most part, saved themselves in their garrisons, a shelter with which all the towns now found it necessary to be provided. On March 26 Captain Pierce, with fifty men and some friendly Indians, while endeavoring to cover the Plymouth towns, fell into an ambush and54 was cut off. That same day, Marlborough was set on fire; two days after Rehoboth was burned. The Indians seemed to be everywhere. On April 18 Captain Wadsworth, marching to the relief of Sudbury, fell into an ambush, and perished with fifty men. The alarm and terror of the colonists reached again a great height. But affairs were about to take a turn. The resources of the Indians were exhausted; they were now making their last efforts.

A body of Connecticut volunteers, under Captain Denison, and of Mohegan and other friendly Indians, Pequots and Niantics, swept the entire country of the Narragansets, who suffered, as spring advanced, the last extremities of famine. Canonchet, the chief sachem, said to have been a son of Miantonimoh, but probably his nephew, had ventured to his old haunts to procure seed-corn with which to plant the rich intervals on the Connecticut, abandoned by the colonists. Taken prisoner, he conducted himself with all that haughty firmness esteemed by the Indians the height of magnanimity. Being offered his life on condition of bringing about a peace, he scorned the proposal. His tribe would perish to the last man rather than become servants to the English. When ordered to prepare for death, he replied, “I like it well; I shall die before my heart is soft, or I shall have spoken anything unworthy of myself.” Two Indians were appointed to shoot him, and his head was cut off and sent to Hartford.

The colonists had suffered severely. Men, women, and children had perished by the bullets of the Indians, or fled naked through the wintry woods by the light of their blazing houses, leaving their goods and cattle a spoil to the assailants. Several settlements had been destroyed, and many more had been abandoned; but the oldest and wealthiest remained untouched. The Indians, on the other hand, had neither provisions nor ammunition. On May 12, while attempting to plant corn and catch fish at Montague Falls, on the Connecticut River,55 they were attacked with great slaughter by the garrison of the lower towns, led by Captain Turner, a Boston Baptist, and at first refused a commission on that account, but as danger increased, pressed to accept it. Yet this enterprise was not without its drawbacks. As the troops returned, Captain Turner fell into an ambush and was slain, with thirty-eight men. Hadley was attacked on a lecture day, June 12, while the people were at meeting; but the Indians were repulsed by the bravery of Goffe, one of the fugitive regicides, long concealed in that town. Seeing this venerable unknown man come to their rescue, and then suddenly disappear, the inhabitants took him for an angel.

Major Church, at the head of a body of two hundred volunteers, English and Indians, energetically hunted down the hostile bands in Plymouth colony. The interior tribes about Mount Wachusett were invaded and subdued by a force of six hundred men, raised for that purpose. Many fled to the north to find refuge in Canada—guides and leaders, in after years, of those French and Indian war parties by which the frontiers of New England were so terribly harassed. Just a year after the fast at the commencement of the war, a thanksgiving was observed for success in it.

No longer sheltered by the River Indians, who now began to make their peace, and even attacked by bands of the Mohawks, Philip returned to his own country, about Mount Hope, where he was still faithfully supported by his female confederate and relative, Witamo, squaw sachem of Pocasset. Punham, also, the Shawomet vassal of Massachusetts, still zealously carried on the war, but was presently killed. Philip was watched and followed by Church, who surprised his camp on August 1st, killed upward of a hundred of his people, and took prisoners his wife and boy. The disposal of this child was a subject of much deliberation. Several of the elders were urgent for putting him to death. It was finally resolved to send56 him to Bermuda, to be sold into slavery—a fate to which many other of the Indian captives were subjected. Witamo shared the disasters of Philip. Most of her people were killed or taken. She herself was drowned while crossing a river in her flight; but her body was recovered, and the head, cut off, was stuck upon a pole at Taunton, amid the jeers and scoffs of the colonial soldiers, and the tears and lamentations of the Indian prisoners.

Philip still lurked in the swamps, but was now reduced to extremity. Again attacked by Church, he was killed by one of his own people, a deserter to the colonists. His dead body was beheaded and quartered, the sentence of the English law upon traitors. One of his hands was given to the Indian who had shot him, and on August 17, the day appointed for a public thanksgiving, his head was carried in triumph to Plymouth.

The popular rage against the Indians was excessive. Death or slavery was the penalty for all known or suspected to have been concerned in shedding English blood. Merely having been present at the “Swamp Fight” was adjudged by the authorities of Rhode Island sufficient foundation for sentence of death, and that, too, notwithstanding they had intimated an opinion that the origin of the war would not bear examination. The other captives who fell into the hands of the colonists were distributed among them as ten-year servants. Roger Williams received a boy for his share. Many chiefs were executed at Boston and Plymouth on the charge of rebellion; among others, Captain Tom, chief of the Christian Indians at Natick, and Tispiquin, a noted warrior, reputed to be invulnerable, who had surrendered to Church on an implied promise of safety. A large body of Indians, assembled at Dover to treat of peace, were treacherously made prisoners by Major Waldron, who commanded there. Some two hundred of these Indians, claimed as fugitives from Massachusetts, were sent by water to Boston, where some were hanged, and the rest57 shipped off to be sold as slaves. Some fishermen of Marblehead having been killed by the Indians at the eastward, the women of that town, as they came out of meeting on a Sunday, fell upon two Indian prisoners who had just been brought in, and murdered them on the spot. The same ferocious spirit of revenge which governed the contemporaneous conduct of Berkeley in Virginia toward those concerned in Bacon’s rebellion, swayed the authorities of New England in their treatment of the conquered Indians. By the end of the year the contest was over in the South, upward of two thousand Indians having been killed or taken. But some time elapsed before a peace could be arranged with the Eastern tribes, whose haunts it was not so easy to reach.

In this short war of hardly a year’s duration the Wampanoags and Narragansets had suffered the fate of the Pequots. The Niantics alone, under the guidance of their aged sachem, Ninigret, had escaped destruction. Philip’s country was annexed to Plymouth, though sixty years afterward, under a royal order in council, it was transferred to Rhode Island. The Narraganset territory remained as before, under the name of King’s Province, a bone of contention between Connecticut, Rhode Island, the Marquis of Hamilton, and the Atherton claimants. The Niantics still retained their ancient seats along the southern shores of Narragansett Bay. Most of the surviving Narragansets, the Nipmucks, and the River Indians, abandoned their country, and migrated to the North and West. Such as remained, along with the Mohegans and other subject tribes, became more than ever abject and subservient.

The work of conversion was now again renewed, and, after such overwhelming proofs of Christian superiority, with somewhat greater success. A second edition of the Indian Old Testament, which seems to have been more in demand than the New, was published in 1683, revised by Eliot, with the assistance of John Cotton, son of the58 “great Cotton,” and minister of Plymouth. But not an individual exists in our day by whom it can be understood. The fragments of the subject tribes, broken in spirit, lost the savage freedom and rude virtues of their fathers, without acquiring the laborious industry of the whites. Lands were assigned them in various places, which they were prohibited by law from alienating. But this very provision, though humanely intended, operated to perpetuate their indolence and incapacity. Some sought a more congenial occupation in the whale fishery, which presently began to be carried on from the islands of Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard. Many perished by enlisting in the military expeditions undertaken in future years against Acadie and the West Indies. The Indians intermarried with the blacks, and thus confirmed their degradation by associating themselves with another oppressed and unfortunate race. Gradually they dwindled away. A few sailors and petty farmers, of mixed blood, as much African as Indian, are now the sole surviving representatives of the aboriginal possessors of southern New England.

On the side of the colonists the contest had also been very disastrous. Twelve or thirteen towns had been entirely ruined, and many others partially destroyed. Six hundred houses had been burned, near a tenth part of all in New England. Twelve captains and more than six hundred men in the prime of life had fallen in battle. There was hardly a family not in mourning. The pecuniary losses and expenses of the war were estimated at near a million of dollars. Massachusetts was burdened with a heavy debt. No aid nor relief seems to have come from abroad, except a contribution from Ireland of £500 for the benefit of the sufferers by the war, chiefly collected by the efforts of Nathaniel Mather, lately successor to his brother Samuel as minister of the non-conformist congregation at Dublin.



1676. Bacon’s Rebellion in Virginia against the government of Sir William Berkeley.

1679. The Scottish Covenanters are defeated by the Duke of Monmouth at Bothwell Bridge.

1681. William Penn obtains his patent from the English Crown.

1682. Purchase of East Jersey by William Penn. He takes possession of New Castle (Delaware) and founds the Colony of Pennsylvania. La Salle descends the Mississippi to its mouth.

1684. The charter of the Massachusetts Bay Company is declared forfeited to the English Crown.

1685. James II. succeeds his brother, Charles II., as King of England. Insurrection of the Earl of Argyll and the Duke of Monmouth. Defeat of Monmouth at Sedgemoor; his execution.

1686. Sir Edmund Andros is made Governor of New England.

1688. William of Orange lands in England; flight of James II.

1689. William and Mary are proclaimed King and Queen of England. England declares war against France. Victory of the Scottish Jacobites at Killiecrankie. Overthrow of Andros in New England. Beginning of King William’s War in America.

1690. The Orangemen in Ireland win the battle of the Boyne. Destruction of Schenectady by the French and Indians. Sir William Phips, commanding a New England expedition, captures Port Royal, and later makes a fruitless demonstration against Quebec.

1691. The Jacobites are overcome in Scotland. Surrender60 of Limerick, the last stronghold of James II. in Ireland.

1692. Union of the Plymouth and Massachusetts colonies. Witchcraft delusion at Salem.

1693. The French Admiral Tourville defeats the English fleet off Cape St. Vincent.

1697. France makes peace at Ryswick with Holland, Spain, and England. Close of King William’s War in America.

1699. The French begin the settlement of Louisiana.

1701. Beginning of the War of the Spanish Succession.

1702. Death of William III. and accession of Queen Anne. Successful campaign of Churchill (Marlborough) in the Netherlands. Naval triumph of the English and Dutch over the Spanish and French at Vigo. Queen Anne’s War in America. French settlement in Alabama.

1704. The English are victorious over the French at the battle of Blenheim. Capture of Gibraltar by the English. Massacre of white settlers by the Indians at Deerfield, Massachusetts.

1706. Marlborough defeats the French and Bavarians at the battle of Ramillies.

1708. Victory of Marlborough and Prince Eugene, at Oudenarde, over the Dukes of Burgundy and Vendôme.

1711. Unsuccessful expedition of the English and New England forces under Walker against Canada.

1713. Treaty of Utrecht. Close of Queen Anne’s War in America. Acadia (Nova Scotia, etc.) ceded to England by France, which also restores the Hudson Bay region. The power of the Tuscarora Indians broken by the Carolinians.

1714. George I., Elector of Hanover, succeeds to the English Crown.

1715. Rebellion in Scotland and in the North of England in favor of James Edward Stuart, the Jacobite pretender.

1718. French settlement of New Orleans.

1720. Failure of Law’s Mississippi scheme in France.

61 1722. Establishment of the Moravian settlement in Pennsylvania under Count Zinzendorf.

1727. Accession of George II.

1728. Discovery of Behring’s Strait.

1729. Carolina, purchased by the English Crown, is divided into the royal provinces of North and South Carolina.

1730. Baltimore is laid out.

1732. Oglethorpe embarks from England to establish a settlement in Georgia.

1733. Founding of Savannah.

1741. New Hampshire is finally separated from Massachusetts.

1744. Beginning of King George’s War in America. The French capture Canseau (afterward Canso), and are repulsed at Annapolis.

1745. Jacobite rising in Scotland. Charles Edward, the young Pretender, is victorious at Prestonpans. The New England troops, under Sir William Pepperell, reduce the French fortress of Louisburg.

1746. Jacobite defeat at Culloden.

1748. The Peace of Aix-la-Chapelle terminates the War of the Austrian Succession and King George’s War in America. Louisburg restored to France.

1749. The Ohio Company receives its grant from George II.

1753. Friction between French and Americans on tributaries of the Alleghany, along American western frontier. Washington’s vain protest against the French seizure of Venango.

1754. Beginning of the French and Indian War in America. Washington’s attack upon Jumonville, near Great Meadows, the first action. The French compel Washington to capitulate at Fort Necessity.

1755. Braddock’s expedition against Fort Duquesne and his disastrous defeat. Abortive expeditions by the English against Niagara and Crown Point.

62 1756. Formal declaration of hostilities between France and England, and beginning of the Seven Years’ War. Capture of Oswego by the French.

1757. Montcalm takes Fort William Henry on Lake George.

1758. Victory of Montcalm at Ticonderoga. Reduction of Louisburg, and capture of Forts Frontenac and Duquesne by the English.



[The visits of Breton fishermen to Newfoundland in the early sixteenth century, the voyages of Cartier to the St. Lawrence in 1534 and 1541–43, the foundation of Port Royal in Acadia in 1605, and of Quebec by Champlain in 1608, were the beginnings of a French occupancy of the northern and central portions of North America which led inevitably to conflict with England and the American colonists. The title based upon Marquette’s discovery of the Mississippi in 1673, and La Salle’s exploration and claim to the whole vast valley in 1682, would have confined the English to the Atlantic seaboard. The contact between the wholly different types represented in English and French colonization caused friction which became acute when King William’s War broke out in 1689. The eight years of that war, with its profitless capture of Port Royal, Nova Scotia, were followed by Queen Anne’s War, 1702–13, and King George’s War, 1744–48, and the interval after the Treaty of Utrecht was a truce rather than peace. The French were strengthening their hold along the western frontier of the English colonists, at Fort Duquesne, and elsewhere. Braddock’s defeat in 1755, and attacks upon Crown Point and Niagara, preceded the formal declaration of hostilities between France and England in 1756, the beginning of the Seven Years’ War, involving nearly all Europe, with England and Prussia facing Russia, France, Austria, Sweden, and Saxony. In America, in 1756–57, the incompetency of Loudon and Abercrombie, the dilatory preparations to attack Louisburg, and Montcalm’s capture of Fort William Henry, made the first stage of the war a gloomy one. But Pitt’s entrance into the British cabinet as Secretary of State brought an intelligent and active prosecution of the war. The next year, 1758, witnessed the capture of Fort Frontenac on Ontario, Fort Duquesne, and Louisburg by the English and American forces.—Editor.]

The British Parliament met late in November, 1758, at a time when the nation was aglow with enthusiasm over the successes of the year—Louisburg and Frontenac64 in North America, and the driving of the French from the Guinea coast as the result of battles at Sénégal (May) and Gorée (November).22 The war was proving far more costly than had been anticipated, yet Pitt rigidly held the country to the task; but not against its will, and the necessary funds were freely voted. Walpole wrote to a friend: “Our unanimity is prodigious. You would as soon hear ‘No’ from an old maid as from the House of Commons.” The preparations for the new year were on a much larger scale than before; both by land and sea France was to be pushed to the uttermost, and the warlike spirit of Great Britain seemed wrought to the highest pitch.

The new French premier, Choiseul, was himself not lacking in activity. He renewed with vigor the project of invading Great Britain, preparations therefor being evident quite early in the year 1759. Fifty thousand men were to land in England, and twelve thousand in Scotland, where the Stuart cause still lingered. But as usual the effort came to naught. The Toulon squadron was to co-operate with one from Brest; Boscawen, who now commanded the Mediterranean fleet, apprehended the former while trying to escape through the Straits of Gibraltar in a thick haze (August 17), and after destroying several of the ships dispersed the others; while Sir Edward Hawke annihilated the Brest fleet in a brilliant sea-fight off Quiberon Bay (November 20).23 Relieved of the possibility of insular invasion, the Channel and Mediterranean squadrons were now free to raid French commerce, patrol French ports, and thus intercept communication with New France, and to harry French—and, later, Spanish—colonies overseas.



In 1757 Clive had regained Calcutta and won Bengal at the famous battle of Plassey. Two years thereafter the East Indian seas were abandoned by the French after6566 three decisive actions won by Pitt’s valiant seamen, and India thus became a permanent possession of the British empire.24 In January, 1759, also, the British captured Guadeloupe, in the West Indies.25 Lacking sea power, it was impossible for France much longer to hold her colonies; it was but a question of time when the remainder should fall into the clutches of the mistress of the ocean.

Notwithstanding all this naval activity, Pitt’s principal operations were really centred against Canada. The movement thither was to be along two lines, which eventually were to meet in co-operation. First, a direct attack was to be made upon Quebec, headed by Wolfe, who was to be convoyed and assisted by a fleet under the command of Admiral Saunders; second, Amherst—now commander-in-chief in America, Abercrombie having been recalled—was to penetrate Canada by way of Lakes George and Champlain. He was to join Wolfe at Quebec, but was authorized to make such diversions as he found practicable—principally to re-establish Oswego and to relieve Pittsburg (Fort Duquesne) with reinforcements and supplies.

Wolfe’s selection as leader of the Quebec expedition occasioned general surprise in England. Yet it was in the natural course of events. He had been the life of the Louisburg campaign of the year before, and when Amherst was expressing the desire of attacking Quebec after the reduction of Cape Breton he wrote to the latter: “An offensive, daring kind of war will awe the Indians and ruin the French. Block-houses and a trembling defensive encourage the meanest scoundrels to attack us. If you will attempt to cut up New France by the roots, I will come with pleasure to assist.”26

Wolfe, whose family enjoyed some influence, had attained a captaincy at the age of seventeen and became a67 major at twenty. He was now thirty-two, a major-general, and with an excellent fighting record both in Flanders and America. Quiet and modest in demeanor, although occasionally using excitable and ill-guarded language, he was a refined and educated gentleman; careful of and beloved by his troops, yet a stern disciplinarian; and although frail in body, and often overcome by rheumatism and other ailments, capable of great strain when buoyed by the zeal which was one of his characteristics. The majority of his portraits represent a tall, lank, ungainly form, with a singularly weak facial profile; but it is likely that these belie him, for he had an indubitable spirit, a profound mind, quick intuition, a charming manner, and was much thought of by women. Indeed, just before sailing, he had become engaged to the beautiful and charming Katharine Lowther, sister of Lord Lonsdale, and afterward the Duchess of Bolton.27

On February 17 Wolfe departed with Saunders’ fleet of twenty-one sail, bearing the king’s secret instructions to “carry into execution the said important operation with the utmost application and vigor.”28 The voyage was protracted, and after arrival at Louisburg he was obliged to wait long before the promised troops appeared. He had expected regiments from Guadeloupe, but these could not yet be spared, owing to their wretched condition; and the Nova Scotia garrisons had also been weakened by disease, so that of the twelve thousand agreed upon he finally could muster somewhat under nine thousand.29 These were of the best quality of their kind; although the general still entertained a low opinion of the value of the provincials, who, it must be admitted, were, however serviceable in bush-ranging, far below the68 efficiency of the regulars in a campaign of this character. The force was divided into three brigades, under Monckton, Townsend, and Murray, young men of ability; although Townsend’s supercilious manner—the fruit of a superior social connection—did not endear him either to his men or his colleagues.

On June 1 the fleet began to leave Louisburg. There were thirty-nine men-of-war, ten auxiliaries, seventy-six transports, and a hundred and sixty-two miscellaneous craft, which were manned by thirteen thousand naval seamen and five thousand of the mercantile marine—an aggregate of eighteen thousand, or twice as many as the landsmen under Wolfe.30 While to the latter is commonly given credit for the result, it must not be forgotten that the victory was quite as much due to the skilful management of the navy as to that of the army, the expedition being in all respects a joint enterprise, into which the men of both branches of the service entered with intense enthusiasm.

The French had placed much reliance on the supposed impossibility of great battle-ships being successfully navigated up the St. Lawrence above the mouth of the Saguenay without the most careful piloting. This portion of the river, a hundred and twenty miles in length, certainly is intricate water, being streaked with perplexing currents created by the mingling of the river’s strong flow with the flood and ebb of the tide; the great stream is diverted into two parallel channels by reefs and islands, and there are numerous shoals—moreover, the French had removed all lights and other aids to navigation. But British sailors laughed at difficulties such as these, and, while they managed to capture a pilot, had small use for him, preferring their own cautious methods. Preceded by a crescent of sounding-boats, officered by Captain James Cook, afterward of glorious memory as a pathfinder,69 the fleet advanced slowly but safely, its approach heralded by beacons gleaming nightly to the fore, upon the rounded hill-tops overlooking the long thin line of riverside settlement which extended eastward from Quebec to the Saguenay.31

The French had at first expected attacks only from Lake Ontario and from the south. But receiving early tidings of Wolfe’s expedition, through convoys with supplies from France that had escaped Saunders’ patrol of the gulf, general alarm prevailed, and Montcalm decided to make his stand at Quebec. To the last he appears to have shared in the popular delusion that British men-of-war could not ascend the river; nevertheless, he promptly summoned to the capital the greater part of the militia from all sections of Canada, save that a thousand whites and savages were left with Pouchot to defend Niagara, twelve hundred men under De la Corne to guard Lake Ontario, and Bourlamaque, with upward of three thousand, was ordered to delay Amherst’s advance and thus prevent him from joining Wolfe. The population of Canada at the time was about eighty-five thousand souls, and of these perhaps twenty-two thousand were capable of bearing arms.32 The force now gathered in and about Quebec aggregated about seventeen thousand, of whom some ten thousand were militia, four thousand regulars of the line, and a thousand each of colonial regulars, seamen, and Indians; of these two thousand were reserved for the garrison of Quebec, under De Ramezay, while the remainder were at the disposal of Montcalm for the general defence.33

The “rock of Quebec” is the northeast end of a long, narrow triangular promontory, to the north of which lies70 the valley of the St. Charles and to the south that of the St. Lawrence. The acclivity on the St. Charles side is lower and less steep than the cliffs fringing the St. Lawrence, which rise almost precipitously from two to three hundred feet above the river—the citadel cliff being three hundred and forty-five feet, almost sheer. Either side of the promontory was easily defensible from assault, the table-land being only reached by steep and narrow paths. Surmounting the cliffs, at the apex of the triangle, was Upper Town, the capital of New France. Batteries, largely manned by sailors, lined the cliff-tops within the town, and the western base, fronting the Plains of Abraham, was protected by fifteen hundred yards of insecure wall—for, after all, Quebec had, despite the money spent upon it, never been scientifically fortified, its commanders having from the first relied chiefly upon its natural position as a stronghold.

At the base of the promontory, on the St. Lawrence side, is a wide beach occupied by Lower Town, where were the market, the commercial warehouses, a large share of the business establishments, and the homes of the trading and laboring classes. A narrow strand, little more than the width of a roadway, extended along the base of the cliffs westward, communicating with the up-river country; another road led westward along the table-land above. Thus the city obtained its supplies from the interior both by highway and by river.


Entrance to the St. Charles side of the promontory had been blocked by booms at the mouth of that river, protected by strong redoubts; and off Lower Town was a line of floating batteries. Beyond the St. Charles, for a distance of seven miles eastward to the gorge of the Montmorenci, Montcalm disposed the greater part of his forces, his position being a plain naturally protected by a steep slope descending to the meadow and tidal flats which here margin the St. Lawrence. This plain rises gradually from the St. Charles, until at the Montmorenci71 cataract it attains a height of three hundred feet, and along the summit of the slope were well-devised trenches. The gorge furnished a strong natural defence to the left wing, for it could be forded only in the dense forest at a considerable distance above the falls, and to force this approach would have been to invite an ambuscade. Wolfe contented himself, therefore, with intrenching a considerable force along the eastern bank of the gorge, and thence issuing for frontal attacks on the Beauport Flats—so called from the name of the village midway. Montcalm had chosen this as the chief line of defence, on the theory that the approach by the St. Charles would be the one selected by the invaders; as, indeed, it long seemed to Wolfe the only possible path to the works of Upper Town.

Westward of the city, upon the table-land, Bougainville headed a corps of observation, supposed continually to patrol the St. Lawrence cliff-tops and keep communications open with the interior; but this precaution failed in the hour of need. The height of Point Lévis, across the river from the town, on the south bank, was unoccupied. Montcalm had wished to fortify this vantage-point, and thus block the river from both sides, but Vaudreuil had overruled him, and the result was fatal. Other weak points in the defence were divided command and the scarcity of food and ammunition, occasioned largely by Bigot’s rapacious knavery.

On June 26 the British fleet anchored off the Isle of Orleans, thus dissipating the fond hopes of the French that some disaster might prevent its approach. Three days later Wolfe’s men, now encamped on the island at a safe distance from Montcalm’s guns, made an easy capture of Point Lévis, and there erected batteries which commanded the town. British ships were, in consequence, soon able to pass Quebec, under cover of the Point Lévis guns, and destroy some of the French shipping anchored in the upper basin; while landing parties72 harried the country to the west, forcing habitants to neutrality and intercepting supplies. Frequently the British forces were, upon these various enterprises, divided into three or four isolated divisions, which might have been roughly handled by a venturesome foe. But Montcalm rigidly maintained the policy of defence, his only offensive operations being the unsuccessful dispatch of fire-ships against the invading fleet.

On his part, Wolfe made several futile attacks upon the Beauport redoubts. The position was, however, too strong for him to master, and in one assault (July 31) he lost half of his landing party—nearly five hundred killed, wounded, and missing.34 This continued ill-success fretted Wolfe and at last quite disheartened him, for the season was rapidly wearing on, and winter sets in early at Quebec; moreover, nothing had yet been heard of Amherst. There was, indeed, some talk of waiting until another season. However, more and more British ships worked their way past the fort, and, by making frequent feints of landing at widely separated points, caused Bougainville great annoyance. Montcalm was accordingly obliged to weaken his lower forces by sending reinforcements to the plains west of the city. Thus, while Wolfe was pining, French uneasiness was growing, for the British were now intercepting supplies and reinforcements from both above and below, and Bougainville’s men were growing weary of constantly patrolling fifteen or twenty miles of cliffs.35

Meanwhile, let us see how Amherst was faring. At the end of June the general assembled five thousand provincials and sixty-five hundred regulars at the head of Lake George. He had previously dispatched Brigadier Prideaux with five thousand regulars and provincials to reduce73 Niagara, and Brigadier Stanwix, who had been of Bradstreet’s party the year before, to succor Pittsburg, now in imminent danger from French bush-rangers and Indians who were swarming at Presque Isle, Le Bœuf, and Venango.

Amherst himself moved slowly, it being July 21 before the army started northward upon the lake. Bourlamaque, whose sole purpose was to delay the British advance, lay at Ticonderoga with thirty-five hundred men, but on the twenty-sixth he blew up the fort and retreated in good order to Crown Point. On the British approaching that post he again fell back, this time to a strong position at Isle aux Noix, at the outlet of Lake Champlain, where, wrote Bourlamaque to a friend, “we are entrenched to the teeth, and armed with a hundred pieces of cannon.”36 Amherst now deeming vessels essential, yet lacking ship-carpenters, it was the middle of September before his little navy was ready, and then he thought the season too far advanced for further operations.37 Amherst’s advance had, however, induced Montcalm to defend Montreal, Lévis having been dispatched thither for this purpose.

Prideaux, advancing up the Mohawk, proceeded to Oswego, where he left half of his men to cover his retreat, and then sailed to Niagara. Slain by accident during the siege, his place was taken by Sir William Johnson, the Indian commander, who pushed the work with vigor. Suddenly confronted by a French force of thirteen hundred rangers and savages from the West, who had been deflected thither from a proposed attack on Pittsburg, with the view of recovering that fort, Johnson completely vanquished them (July 24). The discomfited crew burned their posts in that region and retreated precipitately74 to Detroit. The following day Niagara surrendered, and thus, with Pittsburg also saved, the West was entirely cut off from Canada, and the upper Ohio Valley was placed in British hands. The work of Stanwix having been accomplished by Johnson, the former, who had been greatly delayed by transport difficulties, advanced as promptly as possible to the Forks of the Ohio, and in the place of the old French works built the modernized stronghold of Fort Pitt.38

On August 20, Wolfe fell seriously ill. Both he and the army were discouraged. The casualties had thus far been over eight hundred men, and disease had cut a wide swath through the ranks. Desperate, he at last accepted the counsel of his officers, that a landing be attempted above the town, supplies definitively cut off from Montreal, and Montcalm forced to fight or surrender. From September 3 to 12, Wolfe, arisen from his bed but still weak, quietly withdrew his troops from the Montmorenci camp and transported them in vessels which successfully passed through a heavy cannonading from the fort to safe anchorage in the upper basin. Reinforcements marching along the southern bank, from Point Lévis, soon joined their comrades aboard the ships. For several days this portion of the fleet regularly floated up and down the river above Quebec, with the changing tide, thus wearing out Bougainville’s men, who in great perplexity followed the enemy along the cliff-tops, through a beat of several leagues, until from sheer exhaustion they at last became careless.

On the evening of September 12, Saunders—whose admirable handling of the fleet deserves equal recognition with the services of Wolfe—commenced a heavy bombardment of the Beauport lines, and feigned a general landing at that place. Montcalm, not knowing that the majority of the British were by this time above the town,75 and deceived as to his enemy’s real intent, hurried to Beauport the bulk of his troops, save those necessary for Bougainville’s rear guard. Meanwhile, however, Wolfe was preparing for his desperate attempt several miles up the river.

Before daylight the following morning (September 13), thirty boats containing seventeen hundred picked men, with Wolfe at their head, floated down the stream under the dark shadow of the apparently insurmountable cliffs. They were challenged by sentinels along the shore; but, by pretending to be a provision convoy which had been expected from up-country, suspicion was disarmed. About two miles above Quebec they landed at an indentation then known as Anse du Foulon, but now called Wolfe’s Cove. From the narrow beach a small, winding path, sighted by Wolfe two days before, led up through the trees and underbrush to the Plains of Abraham. The climbing party of twenty-four infantrymen found the path obstructed by an abatis and trenches; but, nothing daunted, they clambered up the height of two hundred feet by the aid of stunted shrubs, reached the top, overcame the weak and cowardly guard of a hundred men, made way for their comrades, and by sunrise forty-five hundred men of the British army were drawn up across the plateau before the walls of Quebec.39


76 Montcalm, ten miles away on the other side of the St. Charles, was amazed at the daring feat, but by nine o’clock had massed his troops and confronted his enemy. The battle was brief but desperate. The intrepid Wolfe fell on the field—“the only British general,” declared Horace Walpole, “belonging to the reign of George the Second who can be said to have earned a lasting reputation.”40 Montcalm, mortally wounded, was carried by his fleeing comrades within the city, where he died before morning. During the seven hours’ battle the British had lost forty-eight killed and five hundred and ninety-seven wounded, about twenty per cent. of the firing-line; the French lost about twelve hundred killed, wounded, and prisoners, of whom perhaps a fourth were killed.41

Tom by disorder, the militia mutinous, the walls in ruins from the cannonading of the British fleet, and Vaudreuil and his fellows fleeing to the interior, the helpless garrison of Quebec surrendered, September 17, the British troops entering the following day. The English flag now floated over the citadel, and soon there was great rejoicing throughout Great Britain and her American colonies; and well there might be, for the affair on the Plains of Abraham was one of the most heroic and far-reaching achievements ever wrought by Englishmen in any land or sea.



1760. Accession of George III. to throne of England. The English capture Montreal.

1761. American commerce and industry closely restricted by enforcement of navigation laws, acts of trade, and writs of assistance. Protests of James Otis and Patrick Henry.

1762. England declares war against Spain and captures Havana.

1763. Treaty of Paris, and cession of Canada to England.

1765. Passage of the Stamp Act by the British Parliament, followed by American protests.

1766. Repeal of the Stamp Act.

1767. The British Parliament, by the Townshend Acts, imposes duties on paper, glass, tea, etc., imported into America.

1769. Massachusetts House of Representatives refuses to pay for quartering British troops. Defeat of Paoli and subjection of Corsica by the French.

1770. “Boston Massacre”—British soldiers, provoked by citizens, kill three and wound several.

1772. First partition of Poland between Russia, Austria, and Prussia. Samuel Adams actively advocates independence in Boston. British ship, the Gaspee, burned by Rhode Islanders. Virginia Assembly appoints Committee of Correspondence to keep in touch with other colonies.

1773. “Boston Tea-party”—taxed tea from England thrown overboard in Boston harbor by disguised Americans.

78 1774. Five oppressive Acts, including Boston Port Bill, passed by British Parliament. General Gage, commissioned as Governor, comes to Boston with additional British troops. A Congress meets in Philadelphia, with delegates from all colonies except Georgia, and issues a “Declaration of Rights,” frames Articles of Association, and indorses opposition of Massachusetts to the Oppressive Acts of Parliament.

1775. General Gage sends troops to destroy supplies gathered at Concord. Battles of Lexington and Concord. North Carolina the first to instruct delegates to Congress for independence. Battle of Bunker Hill. Seizure of Ticonderoga and occupation of Crown Point by Americans. Washington takes command of the army at Cambridge. The Americans capture Montreal. Arnold repulsed at Quebec and Montgomery killed.




Not a clause in the Declaration of Independence sets forth the real and underlying cause of the American Revolution. The attention of its writer was bent upon recent events, and he dwelt only upon the immediate reasons for throwing off allegiance to the British government. In the dark of the storm already upon them, the men of the time could hardly look with clear vision back to ultimate causes. They could not see that the English kings had planted the seeds of the Revolution when, in their zeal to get America colonized, they had granted such political and religious privileges as tempted the radicals and dissenters of the time to migrate to America. Only historical research could reveal the fact that from the year 1620 the English government had been systematically stocking the colonies with dissenters and retaining in England the conformers. The tendency of colonization was to leave the conservatives in England, thus relatively increasing the conservative force at home, while the radicals went to America to fortify the radical political philosophy there. Thus England lost part of her potentiality for political development.

Not only were radicals constantly settling in the colonies, because of the privileges granted them there, but the Crown neglected to enforce in the colonies the same regulations that it enforced at home. The Act of Uniformity was not extended to the colonies, though rigidly80 enforced in England; the viceregal officers, the governors, permitted themselves again and again to be browbeaten and disobeyed by the colonial legislatures;42 and even the king himself had allowed Massachusetts (1635) to overreach him by not giving up her charter.43

After a century of great laxity toward the colonies—a century in which the colonists were favored by political privileges shared by no other people of that age; after the environment had established new social conditions, and remoteness and isolation had created a local and individual hatred of restraint; after the absence of traditions had made possible the institution of representation by population, and self-government had taken on a new meaning in the world; after a great gulf had been fixed between the social, political, and economic institutions of the two parts of the British empire—only then did the British government enter upon a policy intended to make the empire a unity.44

Independence had long existed in spirit in most of the essential matters of colonial life, and the British government had only to seek to establish its power over the colonies in order to arouse a desire for formal independence. The transition in England, therefore, to an imperial ideal, about the middle of the eighteenth century, doubtless caused the rending of the empire. Walpole and Newcastle, whose administrations had just preceded the reign of George III., had let the colonies alone, and thus aided the colonial at the expense of the imperial idea; while their successors, Grenville and Townshend, ruling not wisely but too well, forced the colonists to realize that they cared more for America than for England.

The time had come, though these ministers failed to see it, when the union of Great Britain with her colonies81 depended on the offspring’s disposition toward the mother-country. Good feeling would preserve the union, but dissatisfaction would make even forcible control impossible. Social and political and economic ties still bound the colonists to the home land, but these were weak ties as compared with an irrepressible desire for self-growth. The expression of their political ideals unrestrained by the conservatism of the parent was a desired end to which they strove, almost unconscious of their object.

To understand the American Revolution, therefore, several facts must be clearly in mind—first, that Great Britain had for one hundred and fifty years been growing to the dignity of an empire, and that the thirteen colonies were a considerable part of that empire; second, the colonies had interests of their own which were not favored by the growing size and strength of the empire. They were advancing to new political ideals faster than the mother-country. Their economic interests were becoming differentiated from those of England. They were coming to have wants and ambitions and hopes of their own quite distinct from those of Great Britain.

At the fatal time when the independent spirit of America had grown assertive, the politically active part of the British people began unconsciously to favor an imperial policy, which their ministers suggested, and which to them seemed the very essence of sound reasoning and good government. They approved of the proposed creation of executives who should be independent of the dictation of the colonial assemblies. There were also to be new administrative organs having power to enforce the colonial trade regulations; and the defensive system of the colonies was to be improved by a force of regular troops, which was in part to be supported by colonial taxes.

In order to accomplish these objects, the king’s new minister, the assiduous Grenville, who knew the law better82 than the maxims of statesmanship, induced Parliament, in March, 1764, to resolve upon “certain stamp duties” for the colonies. A year later the “Gentle Shepherd,” as Pitt had dubbed him, proved his watchfulness by getting a stamp act passed,45 which, though nearly a duplicate of one in force in England, and like one of Massachusetts’ own laws, nevertheless aroused every colony to violent wrath.

This sudden flame of colonial passion rose from the embers of discontent with Grenville’s policy of enforcing the trade or navigation laws—those restrictions upon colonial industries and commerce which were the outgrowth of a protective commercial policy which England had begun even before the discovery of America.46 As the colonies grew they began to be regarded as a source of wealth to the mother-country; and, at the same time that bounties were given them for raising commodities desired by England, restrictions were placed upon American trade.47 When the settlers of the northern and middle colonies began manufacturing for themselves, their industry no sooner interfered with English manufactures than a law was passed to prevent the exportation of the production and to limit the industry itself. This system of restrictions, though it necessarily established a real opposition of interest between America and England, does not seem on the whole to have been to the disadvantage of the colonies;48 nor was the English colonial system a whit more severe than that of other European countries.

In 1733, however, the Molasses Act went into effect,4983 and, had it been enforced, would have been a serious detriment to American interests. It not only aimed to stop the thriving colonial trade with the Dutch, French, and Spanish West Indies, but was intended to aid English planters in the British West Indies by laying a prohibitive duty on imported foreign sugar and molasses. It was not enforced, however, for the customs officials, by giving fraudulent clearances, acted in collusion with the colonial importers in evading the law; but, in 1761, during the war with France, the thrifty colonists carried on an illegal trade with the enemy, and Pitt demanded that the restrictive laws be enforced.

The difficulty of enforcing was great, for it was hard to seize the smuggled goods, and harder still to convict the smuggler in the colonial courts. Search-warrants were impracticable, because the legal manner of using them made the informer’s name public, and the law was unable to protect him from the anger of a community fully in sympathy with the smugglers. The only feasible way to put down this unpatriotic trade with the enemy was to resort to “writs of assistance,” which would give the customs officers a right to search for smuggled goods in any house they pleased.50 Such warrants were legal, had been used in America, and were frequently used in England;51 yet so highly developed was the American love of personal liberty that when James Otis, a Boston lawyer, resisted by an impassioned speech the issue of such writs his arguments met universal approval.52 In perfect good faith he argued, after the manner of the ancient law-writers, that Parliament could not legalize tyranny, ignoring the historical fact that since the revolution of 1688 an act of Parliament was the highest guarantee of right, and Parliament the sovereign and supreme power. Nevertheless, the popularity of Otis’ argument showed84 what America believed, and pointed very plainly the path of wise statesmanship.

When, in 1763, the Pontiac Indian rebellion endangered the whole West and made necessary a force of soldiers in Canada, Grenville, in spite of the recent warning, determined that the colonies should share the burden which was rapidly increasing in England. He lowered the sugar and molasses duties,53 and set out to enforce their collection by every lawful means. The trouble which resulted developed more quickly in Massachusetts, because its harsh climate and sterile soil drove it to a carrying-trade, and the enforced navigation laws were thought to threaten its ruin. It was while American economic affairs were in this condition that Grenville rashly aggravated the discontent by the passage of his Stamp Act.

As the resistance of the colonies to this taxation led straight to open war and final independence, it will be worth while to look rather closely at the stamp tax, and at the subject of representation, which was at once linked with it. The terms of the Stamp Act are not of great importance, because, though it did have at least one bad feature as a law, the whole opposition was on the ground that there should be no taxation whatever without representation. It made no difference to its enemies that the money obtained by the sale of stamps was to stay in America to support the soldiers needed for colonial protection. Nothing would appease them while the taxing body contained no representatives of their own choosing.

To attain this right, they made their fight upon legal and historical grounds—the least favorable they could have chosen. They declared that, under the British constitution, there could be no taxation except by persons known and voted for by the persons taxed. The wisest men seemed not to see the kernel of the dispute.85 A very real danger threatened the colonies—subject as they were to a body unsympathetic with the political and economic conditions in which they were living—but they had no legal safeguard.54 They must either sever the existing constitutional bond or get Parliament of its own will to limit its power over the colonies. All unwittingly the opponents of the Stamp Act were struggling with a problem that could be solved only by revolution.

Two great fundamental questions were at issue: Should there be a British empire ruled by Parliament in all its parts, either in England or oversea? or should Parliament govern at home, and the colonial assemblies in America, with only a federal bond to unite them? Should the English understanding of representation be imposed upon the colonies? or should America’s institution triumph in its own home? If there was to be a successful imperial system, Parliament must have the power to tax all parts of the empire. It was of no use to plead that Parliament had never taxed the colonies before, for, as Doctor Johnson wrote, “We do not put a calf into the plough: we wait till it is an ox.”55 The colonies were strong enough to stand taxation now, and the reasonable dispute must be as to the manner of it. To understand the widely different points of view of Englishmen and Americans, we must examine their systems of representative government.

In electing members to the House of Commons in England certain ancient counties and boroughs were entitled to representation, each sending two members, regardless of the number of people within its territory. For a century and a half before the American Revolution only four new members were added to the fixed number in Parliament. Meanwhile, great cities had grown up which had no representation, though certain boroughs, once very86 properly represented, had become uninhabited, and the lord who owned the ground elected the members to Parliament, taking them, not from the district represented, but from any part of the kingdom. The franchise was usually possessed either by the owners of the favored pieces of land or in the boroughs chiefly by persons who inherited certain rights which marked them as freemen. A man had as many votes as there were constituencies in which he possessed the qualifications.

In the colonial assemblies there was a more distinct territorial basis for representation, and changes of population brought changes of representation. New towns sent new members to the provincial assembly, and held the right to be of great value. All adult men—even negroes in New England—owning a certain small amount of property could vote for these members. In the South only the landholders voted, but the supply of land was not limited, as in England, and it was easily acquired. Finally, the voter and the representative voted for must, as a rule, be residents of the same district. From the first the colonial political ideals were affected by new conditions. When they established representative government they had no historic places sanctified by tradition to be the sole breeding-places of members of Parliament.

Backed by such divergent traditions as these, the two parts of the British empire, or, more accurately, the dominant party in each section of the empire, faced each other upon a question of principle. Neither could believe in the honesty of the other, for each argued out of a different past. The opponents of the Stamp Act could not understand the political thinking which held them to be represented in the British Parliament. “No taxation without representation” meant for the colonist that taxes ought to be levied by a legislative body in which was seated a person known and voted for by the person taxed. An Englishman only asked that there be “no taxation except that voted by the House of Commons.”87 He was not concerned with the mode of election to that house or the interests of the persons composing it. The colonists called the Stamp Act tyranny, but the British government certainly intended none, for it acted upon the theory of virtual representation, the only kind of representation enjoyed by the great mass of Englishmen either at home or in the colonies. On that theory nothing was taxed except by the consent of the virtual representatives of those taxed. But, replied an American, in England the interests of electors and non-electors are the same. Security against any oppression of non-electors lies in the fact that it would be oppressive to electors also; but Americans have no such safeguard, for acts oppressive to them might be popular with English electors.56

When the news of the Stamp Act first came oversea there was apparent apathy. The day of enforcement was six months away, and there was nothing to oppose but a law. It was the fitting time for an agitator. Patrick Henry, a gay, unprosperous, and unknown country lawyer, had been carried into the Virginia House of Burgesses on the public approval of his impassioned denial, in the “Parson’s Cause” (1763), of the king’s right to veto a needed law passed by the colonial legislature. He now offered some resolutions against the stamp tax, denying the right of Parliament to legislate in the internal affairs of the colony.57 This “alarum bell to the disaffected,” and the fiery speech which secured its adoption by an irresolute assembly, were applauded everywhere. Jefferson said of Henry, that he “spoke as Homer wrote.”

As soon as the names of the appointed stamp-distributers were made known (August 1, 1765) the masses expressed their displeasure in a way unfortunately too common in America. Throughout the land there was rifling of stamp-collectors’ houses, threatening their lives, burning88 their records and documents, and even their houses. Their offices were demolished and their resignations compelled—in one case under a hanging effigy, suggestive of the result of refusal. The more moderate patriots cancelled their orders with British merchants, agreed not to remit their English debts, and dressed in homespun to avoid wearing imported clothes.

On the morning that the act went into effect (November 1, 1765) bells tolled the death of the nation. Shops were shut, flags hung at half-mast, and newspapers appeared with a death’s-head where the stamp should have been. Mobs burned the stamps, and none were to be had to legalize even the most solemn and important papers. The courts ignored them and the governors sanctioned their omission. None could be used, because none could be obtained. All America endorsed the declaration of rights of the Stamp-Act Congress, which met in New York, October, 1765. It asserted that the colonists had the same liberties as British subjects. Circumstances, they declared, prevented the colonists from being represented in the House of Commons, therefore no taxes could be levied except by their respective legislatures.58

This great ado was a complete surprise to the British government. On the passage of the Stamp Act, Walpole had written,59 “There has been nothing of note in Parliament but one slight day on the American taxes.” That expressed the common conception of its importance; and when the Grenville ministry fell (July, 1765), and was succeeded by that of Rockingham, the American situation had absolutely nothing to do with the change. The new ministry was some months in deciding its policy. The king was one of the first to realize the situation, which he declared “the most serious that ever came before Parliament” (December 5, 1765). Weak and unwilling89 to act as the new ministry was, the situation compelled attention. The king at first favored coercion of the rebellious colonies, but the English merchants, suffering from the suspended trade, urged Parliament to repeal the act. Their demand decided the ministry to favor retraction, just as formerly their influence had forced the navigation laws and the restrictions on colonial manufactures. If the king and landed gentry were responsible for the immediate causes of the Revolution, the influence of the English commercial classes on legislation was the more ultimate cause.

After one of the longest and most heated debates in the history of Parliament, under the advice of Benjamin Franklin, given at the bar of the House of Commons,60 and with the powerful aid of Pitt and Camden, the Stamp Act was repealed. Another act passed at the same time asserted Parliament’s power to legislate for the colonies in all cases whatsoever.61 Thus the firebrand was left smouldering amid the inflammable colonial affairs; and Burke was quick to point out that the right to tax, or any other right insisted upon after it ceased to harmonize with prudence and expediency, would lead to disaster.62

It is plain to-day that the only way to keep up the nominal union between Great Britain and her colonies was to let them alone. The colonies felt strongly the ties of blood, interest, and affection which bound them to England.63 They would all have vowed, after the repeal of the Stamp Act, that they loved their parent much more than they loved one another. They felt only the normal adult instinct to act independently. Could the British government have given up the imperial idea to which it so tenaciously clung, a federal union might have been preserved.

The genius of dissolution, however, gained control of90 the ministry which next came into power. When illness withdrew Pitt from the “Mosaic Ministry,” which he and Grafton had formed, Townshend’s brilliant talents gave him the unquestioned lead. This man, who is said to have surpassed Burke in wit and Chatham in solid sense, determined to try again to tax the colonies for imperial purposes.64 He ridiculed the distinction between external and internal tax; but since the colonists had put stress on the illegality of the latter he laid the new tax on imported articles, and prepared to collect at the customhouses. The income was to pay the salaries of colonial governors and judges, and thus render them independent of the tyrannical and contentious assemblies. Writs of assistance, so effective in enforcing the revenue laws but so hated by the colonists, were legalized. The collection of the revenue was further aided by admiralty courts, which should try the cases without juries, thus preventing local sympathy from shielding the violators of the law.65

All the indifference into which America had relapsed, and which the agitators so much deplored, at once disappeared. The right of trial by jury was held to be inalienable. The control of the judiciary and executive by the people was necessary to free government, asserted the pamphleteers. Parliament could not legalize “writs of assistance,” they rashly cried. The former stickling at an internal tax was forgotten, and they objected to any tax whatever—a more logical position, which John Dickinson, of Pennsylvania, supported by the assertion “that any law, in so far as it creates expense, is in reality a tax.” Samuel Adams drew up a circular letter, which the Massachusetts assembly dispatched to the other colonial assemblies, urging concerted action against this new attack on colonial liberties.66 The British government,91 through the colonial governors, attempted to squelch this letter, but the Massachusetts assembly refused to rescind, and the other colonies were quick to embrace its cause.

Signs were not wanting that the people as well as the political leaders were aroused. When the customs officials, in 1768, seized John Hancock’s sloop Liberty for alleged evasion of the customs duties, there was a riot which so frightened the officers that they fled to the fort and wrote to England for soldiers.

This and other acts of resistance to the government led Parliament to urge the king to exercise a right given him by an ancient act to cause persons charged with treason to be brought to England for trial. The Virginia assembly protested against this, and sent their protest to the other colonies for approval.67 The governor dissolved the assembly, but it met and voted a non-importation agreement, which also met favor in the other colonies. This economic argument again proved effective, and the Townshend measures were repealed, except the tax on tea; Parliament thus doing everything but remove the offence—“fixing a badge of slavery upon the Americans without service to their masters.”68 The old trade regulations also remained to vex the colonists.

In order that no disproportionate blame may be attached to the king or his ministry for the bringing on of the Revolution, it must be noted that the English nation, the Parliament, and the king were all agreed when the sugar and stamp acts were passed; and though Parliament mustered a good-sized minority against the Townshend acts, nevertheless no unaccustomed influence in its favor was used by the king. Thus the elements of the cloud were all gathered before the king’s personality began to intensify the oncoming storm. The later acts of Parliament and the conduct of the king had the sole92 purpose of overcoming resistance to established government. Most of these coercive acts, though no part of the original policy, were perfectly constitutional even in times of peace. They must be considered in their historical setting, however, just as President Lincoln’s extraordinary acts in a time of like national peril. Henceforth we are dealing with the natural, though perhaps ill-judged, efforts of a government to repress a rebellion.

After the riot which followed the seizure of the Liberty (June, 1768), two regiments of British soldiers were stationed in Boston. The very inadequacy of the force made its relations with the citizens strained, for they resented without fearing it. After enduring months of jeering and vilification, the soldiers at last (March 5, 1770) fired upon a threatening mob, and four men were killed. Much was made of the “massacre,” as it was called, because it symbolized for the people the substitution of military for civil government. A Boston jury acquitted the soldiers, and, after a town-meeting, the removal of the two regiments was secured.

A period of quiet followed until the assembly and the governor got into a debate over the theoretical rights of the colonists. To spread the results of this debate, Samuel Adams devised the “committees of correspondence,”69 which kept the towns of Massachusetts informed of the controversy in Boston. This furnished a model for the colonial committees of correspondence, which became the most efficient means for revolutionary organization. They created public opinion, set war itself in motion, and were the embryos of new governments when the old were destroyed.

The first provincial committee that met with general response from the other colonies was appointed by Virginia, March 12, 1773, to keep its assembly informed of the “Gaspee Commission.”70 The Gaspee was a sort of93 revenue-cutter which, while too zealously enforcing the Navigation Acts, ran aground (June 9, 1772) in Narragansett Bay. Some Providence men seized and burned the vessel, and the British government appointed a commission to inquire into the affair.71 The commission met with universal opposition and had to report failure.

From this time on the chain of events that led to open rebellion consists of a series of links so plainly joined and so well known that they need only the barest mention in this brief introduction to the actual war. The British government tried to give temporary aid to the East India Company by permitting the heavy revenue on tea entering English ports, through which it must pass before being shipped to America, and by licensing the company itself to sell tea in America.72 To avoid yielding the principle for which they had been contending, they retained at colonial ports the threepenny duty, which was all that remained of the Townshend revenue scheme. Ships loaded with this cheap tea came into the several American ports and were received with different marks of odium at different places. In Boston, after peaceful attempts to prevent the landing proved of no avail, an impromptu band of Indians threw the tea overboard, so that the next morning saw it lying like seaweed on Dorchester beach.

This outrage, as it was viewed in England, caused a general demand for repressive measures, and the five “intolerable acts” were passed and sent oversea to do the last irremediable mischief.73 Boston’s port was closed until the town should pay for the tea. Massachusetts’ charter was annulled, its town-meetings irksomely restrained, and its government so changed that its executive officers would all be under the king’s control. Two94 other acts provided for the care and judicial privileges of the soldiers who soon came to enforce the acts. Finally, great offence was given the Protestant colonies by granting religious freedom to the Catholics of Quebec, and the bounds of that colony were extended to the Ohio River,74 thus arousing all the colonies claiming Western lands. Except in the case of Virginia, there was no real attack on their territorial integrity, but in the excitement there seemed to be.

Some strong incentive for the colonies to act together had long been the only thing needed to send the flame of rebellion along the whole sea-coast. When the British soldiers began the enforcement of the punishment meted to Boston, sympathy and fear furnished the common bond. After several proposals of an intercolonial congress, the step was actually taken on a call from oppressed Massachusetts (June 17, 1774).75 Delegates from every colony except Georgia met in Philadelphia in September, 1774. Seven of the twelve delegations were chosen not by the regular assemblies, but by revolutionary conventions called by local committees; while in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut, three of the remaining five states, the assemblies that sent the delegates were wholly dominated by the revolutionary element. Local committees may therefore be said to have created the congress, and they would now stand ready to enforce its will.

The assembled congress adopted a declaration of rights, but their great work was the forming an American association to enforce a non-importation and non-consumption agreement.76 Local committees were to see that all who traded with England or refused to associate were held up as enemies of their country. The delegates provided for a new congress in the following May, and adjourned.

95 Meanwhile, General Gage and his “pretorian guard” in Boston were administering the government of Massachusetts with noteworthy results. A general court of the colony was summoned by Gage, who, repenting, tried to put it off; but it met, formed a provincial congress, and, settling down at Cambridge, governed the whole colony outside of Boston. It held the new royal government to be illegal, ordered the taxes paid to its own receiver instead of Gage’s, and organized a militia. Gage at last determined to disarm the provincials. His raid to destroy the stores at Concord (April 19, 1775) resulted in an ignominious retreat and the loss of two hundred and seventy-three men, to say nothing of bringing sixteen thousand patriots swarming about Boston.


Though mainly social and economic forces brought the revolution to the stage of open warfare, a Massachusetts politician had so used these forces that both his friends and enemies thought the blame or the honor to be his. Samuel Adams began to desire independence as early as 1768. From that time it was his unwearying effort to keep alive the opposition to the British ministry. For years he sought to instil in the minds of rising youths the notion of independence. His adroit mind, always awake and tireless, toiled for but one end; and he was narrow-minded enough to be a perfect politician. Two opposing views could never occupy his mind at the same time. For sharp practices he had no aversion, but he used them for public good, as he saw it, and not for private gain. He was a public servant, great or small, from his earliest manhood—as inspector of chimneys, tax-collector, or moderator of town-meetings. He was ever a failure in96 business; in politics, shrewd and able. The New England town-meeting was the theatre of his action;77 he directed the Boston meetings, and the other towns followed. His tools were men. He was intimate with all classes, from the ship-yard roustabouts to the ministers of the gospel. In the canvass and caucus he was supreme. Others were always in the foreground, thinking that theirs was the glory. An enemy said that he had an unrivalled “talent for artfully and fallaciously insinuating” malice into the public mind. A friend dubbed him the “Colossus of debate.” He was ready in tact and cool in moments of excitement; his reasoning and eloquence had a nervous simplicity, though there was little of fire, and he was sincere rather than rhetorical.

Adams was of medium stature, but in his most intense moments he attained to a dignity of figure and gesture. His views were clear and his good sense abundant, so that he always received profound attention. Prematurely gray, palsied in hand, and trembling in voice, yet he had a mental audacity unparalleled. He was dauntless himself, and thus roused and fortified the people. Nor were his efforts confined to the town-meeting, for he was also a voluminous newspaper writer. He showed no tolerance for an opponent, and his attacks were keenly felt. “Damn that Adams. Every dip of his pen stings like a horned snake,” cried an enemy. Thus he went on canvassing, caucusing, haranguing, and writing until the maddened Gage attempted to seize him and the munitions of war which he and his fellow-politicians had induced the colony to collect. Concord and Lexington and the pursuit into Boston were the results.

At the close of that long day of fighting (April 19, 1775) it was plain that war had begun, and the Massachusetts politicians who had pushed matters to that stage may well have had misgivings. A single colony could have no hope97 of success, and there was little in the past to make one believe that the thirteen colonies would unite even to defend their political liberties. Franklin gave a vivid picture of their different forms of government, different laws, different interests, and, in some instances, different religious persuasions and different manners.78 Their jealousy of one another was, he declared, “so great that, however necessary a union of the colonies has long been for their common defence, ... yet they have never been able to effect such a union among themselves.” They were more jealous of each other than of England, and though plans for union had been proposed by their ablest statesmen, they had refused to consider them.79 There were long-standing disputes between neighboring colonies over boundaries, over relations with the Indians, and over matters of trade.

The greatest danger, however, that confronted the American cause was political division on the subject of the relations with England. As the quarrel with the mother-country grew more bitter, it was seen that the British government had many friends in America who, if they did not defend the action of the ministry, at least frowned upon the violent opposition to it. They believed that America’s best interests lay in the union with Great Britain. The aristocracy of culture, of dignified professions and callings, of official rank and hereditary wealth tended to side with the central government.80 The more prosperous and contented men had no grievances, and conservatism was the character one would expect in them. They denounced the agitators as demagogues and their followers as “the mob.”

Through the long ten years of unrest preceding the Revolution, these Tories, as they were called, had suffered at the hands of mobs, and now, when Gage was powerless98 outside of Boston, an active persecution of them began.81 Millers refused to grind their corn, labor would not serve them, and they could neither buy nor sell. Men refused to worship in the same church with them. They were denounced as “infamous betrayers of their country.” Committees published their names, “sending them down to posterity with the infamy they deserve.” After the siege of Boston had begun, those who were even suspected of Toryism, as their support of the king was called, were regarded as enemies in the camp. The Massachusetts committees compelled them to sign recantations or confined them in jails for refusal. If they escaped they were pursued with hue and cry.

Some fled to other colonies, but found that, “like Cain, they had some discouraging mark upon them.” In exile they learned that the patriot wrath visited their property: their private coaches were burned or pulled in pieces. A rich importer’s goods were destroyed or stolen, and his effigy was hung up in sight of his house during the day and burned at night. Beautiful estates, where was “every beauty of art or nature, every elegance, which it cost years of care and toil in bringing to perfection,” were laid waste. Looking upon this work of ruin, a despairing loyalist cried that the Americans were “as blind and mad as Samson, bent upon pulling the edifice down upon their heads to perish in the ruins.”

The violence of the patriots’ attack upon the loyalists seemed for a time to eliminate the latter from the struggle. The friends of royal power in America expected too much, and while the king’s enemies were organizing they waited for him to crush the rising rebellion. They looked on with wonder as the signal flew from one local committee to another over thirteen colonies, who now needed only a glowing fact like Lexington to fuse them into one defensive whole. The news reached Putnam’s Connecticut farm in99 a day; Arnold, at New Haven, had it the next day, and in four days it had reached New York.82 Unknown messengers carried it through Philadelphia, past the Chesapeake, on to Charleston, and within twenty days the news in many garbled forms was evoking a common spirit of patriotism from Maine to Georgia. It was commonly believed that America must be saved from “abject slavery” by the bands of patriots encompassing Boston.

The farmers and mechanics who had hurried from their work to drive the British from Concord into Boston were not an army. They settled down in a great half-circle around the port with a common purpose of compelling Gage to take to his ships, but with no definite plan. Confusion was everywhere. Men were coming and going, and there were no regular enlistments.83 A few natural leaders were doing wonders in holding them together.84 Among them the brave and courteous Joseph Warren, the warm friend of Samuel Adams and zealous comrade in the recent work of agitation, was conquering insubordination by the manly modesty and gentleness of his character. Others who were old campaigners of the French and Indian wars worked ceaselessly to bring order out of chaos.

Yet not even the fanatic zeal of the siege could banish provincial jealousies. There were as many leaders as there were colonies represented. New Hampshire men were led by John Stark, a hero of the French war; Connecticut men were under Israel Putnam, more picturesque as a wolf-slayer than able as a leader. Nathanael Greene, the philosophic and literary blacksmith, commanded the Rhode Island militia.85 It was with difficulty that “the grand American army,” as the Massachusetts congress called it, finally intrusted the chief command to General Artemas Ward, who, in turn, was controlled by the Massachusetts committee of safety.

100 Even with some organization and a leader there was little outward semblance of an army. In the irregular dress, brown and green hues were the rule. Uniforms like those of the British regulars, the hunting-shirt of the backwoodsman, and even the blankets of savages were seen side by side in the ranks of the first patriot armies. There was little distinction between officer and private.86 Each company chose its own officers out of the ranks,87 and the private could not understand why he should salute his erstwhile friend and neighbor or ask his permission to go home. The principle of social democracy was carried into military life to the great detriment of the service. Difference in rank was ignored by the officers themselves, who in some cases did menial work about camp to curry favor with their men.

Fortunately, there was in this raw militia a good leaven of soldiers seasoned and trained in the war with France. These men led expeditions to the islands of Boston Harbor in the effort to get the stock before it should be seized by the British.88 Numerous slight engagements resulted, turning favorably, as a rule, for the patriots, and the new recruits gained courage with experience. Thus nearly two months passed away, and an elated patriot wrote that “danger and war are become pleasing, and injured virtue is now aroused to avenge herself.”

The only way to drive Gage out of Boston was to seize one of the commanding hill-tops either in Dorchester or Charlestown, whence they might open a cannonade on the city. Gage saw this danger, and with the arrival of reinforcements under Howe, Clinton, and Burgoyne a plan was made to get control of the dangerous hill-tops. With ten thousand well-equipped soldiers to pit against an ill-trained and poorly commanded multitude of farmers the101 task seemed easy. After trying to terrify the rebels by threatening with the gallows all who should be taken with arms, and offering to pardon those who would lay them down, Gage prepared to execute this plan. The patriots forestalled him by sending twelve hundred men under the veteran Colonel Prescott to seize Bunker Hill, in Charlestown.



In May, 1775, the British force in Boston had increased by fresh arrivals from England and Ireland to ten thousand men. The man-of-war Cerberus arrived on the 25th with Generals Howe, Clinton, and Burgoyne—three officers experienced in the military tactics of Europe, but little prepared for service here. They were surprised at the aspect of affairs, and Gage was reproached for his apparent supineness. However, unity of action was necessary, and the new-comers heartily co-operated with Gage in his plans, such as they were, for dispersing the rebel host that hemmed him in. He issued a proclamation on June 12 insulting in words and menacing in tone. It declared martial law; pronounced those in arms and their abettors “rebels, parricides of the Constitution,” and offered a free pardon to all who would forthwith return to their allegiance, except John Hancock and Samuel Adams, who were outlawed, and for whose apprehension as traitors a reward was offered. This proclamation, so arrogant and insulting, served only to exasperate the people. In the mean while several skirmishes had occurred between parties of the British regulars and the provincials, upon some of the cultivated islands that dot the harbor of Boston.

At this time (May, 1775) but little progress had been made by the Americans in erecting fortifications. Some breastworks had been thrown up at Cambridge, near the foot of Prospect Hill, and a small redoubt had been formed at Roxbury. The right wing of the besieging army, under General Thomas, was at Roxbury, consisting of four thousand103 Massachusetts troops, including four artillery companies, with field-pieces and a few heavy cannon. The Rhode Island forces, under Greene, were at Jamaica Plains, and near there was a greater part of General Spencer’s Connecticut regiment. General Ward commanded the left wing at Cambridge, which consisted of fifteen Massachusetts regiments, the battalion of artillery under Gridley, and Putnam’s regiment, with other Connecticut troops. Most of the Connecticut forces were at Inman’s farm. Paterson’s regiment was at the breastwork on Prospect Hill, and a large guard was stationed at Lechmere’s Point. Three companies of Gerrish’s regiment were at Chelsea; Stark’s regiment was at Medford, and Reid’s at Charlestown Neck, with sentinels reaching to Penny Ferry and Bunker Hill.

It was made known to the Committee of Safety that General Gage had fixed upon the night of June 18 to take possession of and fortify Bunker Hill and Dorchester Heights. This brought matters to a crisis, and measures were taken to perfect the blockade of Boston. The Committee of Safety ordered Colonel Prescott, with a detachment of one thousand men, including a company of artillery, with two field-pieces, to march at night and throw up intrenchments upon Bunker Hill, an eminence just within the peninsula of Charlestown, and commanding the great northern road from Boston, as well as a considerable portion of the town. Bunker Hill begins at the isthmus, and rises gradually for about three hundred yards, forming a round, smooth hill, sloping on two sides toward the water, and connected by a ridge of ground on the south with the heights now known as Breed’s Hill. This was a well-known public place, the name, “Bunker Hill,” being found in the town records and in deeds from an early period. Not so with “Breed’s Hill,” for it was not named in any description of streets previous to 1775, and appears to have been called after the owners of the pastures into which it was divided, rather than by the common name104 of Breed’s Hill. Thus, Monument Square was called Russell’s Pasture; Breed’s Pasture lay farther south, and Green’s Pasture was at the head of Green Street. The easterly and westerly sides of this height were steep. On the east, at its base, were brick-kilns, clay-pits, and much sloughy land. On the west side, at the base, was the most settled part of the town. Moulton’s Point, a name coeval with the settlement of the town, constituted the southeastern corner of the peninsula. A part of this tract formed what is called Morton’s Hill. Bunker Hill was one hundred and ten feet high, Breed’s Hill sixty-two feet, and Moulton’s Hill thirty-five feet. The principal street of the peninsula was Main Street, which extended from the Neck to the ferry. A road ran over Bunker Hill, around Breed’s Hill, to Moulton’s Point. The westerly portions of these eminences contained fine orchards.

A portion of the regiments of Prescott, Frye, and Bridge, and a fatigue party of two hundred Connecticut troops with intrenching tools, paraded in the Cambridge camp at six o’clock in the evening. They were furnished with packs and blankets, and ordered to take provisions for twenty-four hours. Samuel Gridley’s company of artillery joined them, and the Connecticut troops were placed under the command of Thomas Knowlton, a captain in Putnam’s regiment, who was afterward killed in the battle on Harlem Heights. After an impressive prayer from the lips of President Langdon, of Harvard College, Colonel Prescott and Richard Gridley, preceded by two servants with dark lanterns, commenced their march, at the head of the troops, for Charlestown. It was about nine o’clock at night, the sky clear and starry, and the weather very warm. Strict silence was enjoined, and the object of the expedition was not known to the troops until they arrived at Charlestown Neck, where they were joined by Major Brooks, of Bridge’s regiment, and General Putnam. A guard of ten men was placed in Charlestown, and the main body marched over Bunker Hill. A council was held, to105 select the best place for the proposed fortification. The order was explicit, to fortify Bunker Hill; but Breed’s Hill being nearer Boston, and appearing to be a more eligible place, it was concluded to proceed to fortify it, and to throw up works, also, on Bunker Hill, to cover a retreat, if necessary, across Charlestown Neck. Colonel Gridley marked out the lines of the proposed fortifications, and, at about midnight, the men, having thrown off their packs and stacked their arms, began their perilous work—perilous, because British sentinels and British ships-of-war were almost within sound of their picks.

Officers and men labored together with all their might, with pickaxes and spades, and were cheered on in their work by the distant signals of safety—“All’s well!”—that came from the shipping and the sentinels at the foot of Copp’s Hill. It proclaimed that they were still undiscovered; and at every cry of “All’s well!” they plied their tools with increased vigor. When the day dawned, at about four o’clock, they had thrown up intrenchments six feet high; and a strong redoubt, which was afterward the admiration of the enemy, loomed up on the green height before the wondering eyes of the astonished Britons like a work of magic. The British officers could hardly be convinced that it was the result of a few hours’ labor only, but deemed it the work of days. Gage saw at once how foolish he had been in not taking possession of this strong point, as advised, while it was in his power to do so.

The fortification was first discovered at dawn, by the watchmen on board the British man-of-war Lively. Without waiting for orders, the captain put springs upon his cables, and opened a fire on the American works. The noise of the cannon aroused the sleepers in Boston, and when the sun arose on that bright morning, every eminence and roof in the city swarmed with people, astonished at the strange apparition upon Breed’s Hill. The shots from the Lively did no harm, and, defended by their intrenchments, the Americans plied their tools in strengthening their works106 within, until called to lay aside the pick and shovel for gun and knapsack.


On June 17 Admiral Graves, the naval commander at Boston, ordered the firing to cease; but it was soon renewed, not only by the shipping, but from a battery of six guns upon Copp’s Hill in the city. Gage summoned a council of war early in the morning. As it was evident that the Americans were rapidly gaining strength, and that the safety of the town was endangered, it was unanimously resolved to send out a force to drive them from the peninsula of Charlestown and destroy their works on the heights. It was decided, also, to make the attack in front, and preparations were made accordingly. The drums beat to arms, and Boston was soon in a tumult. Dragoons galloping, artillery trains rumbling, and the marching and countermarching of the regulars and loyalists, together with the clangor of the church bells, struck dismay into many a heart before stout in the presence of British protectors. It is said that the danger which surrounded the city converted many Tories into patriots; and the selectmen, in the midst of that fearful commotion, received large accessions to their list of professed friends from the ranks of the timid loyalists.

Toward noon between two and three thousand picked men from the British army, under the command of General Sir William Howe and General Pigot, embarked in twenty-eight barges, part from the Long Wharf and some107 from the North Battery, in Boston, and landed at Morton’s, or Moulton’s Point, beyond the eastern foot of Breed’s Hill, covered by the guns of the Falcon and other vessels.

The Americans had worked faithfully on their intrenchments all the morning, and were greatly encouraged by the voice and example of Prescott, who exposed himself, without care, to the random shots of the battery on Copp’s Hill. He supposed, at first, that the enemy would not attack him, but, seeing the movements in the city, he was convinced to the contrary, and comforted his toiling troops with assurances of certain victory. Confident of such a result himself, he would not at first send to General Ward for a reinforcement; but between nine and ten o’clock, by advice of his officers, Major Brooks was dispatched to headquarters for that purpose. General Putnam had urged Ward early in the morning to send fresh troops to relieve those on duty; but only a portion of Stark’s regiment was allowed to go, as the general apprehended that Cambridge would be the principal point of attack. Convinced otherwise, by certain intelligence, the remainder of Stark’s regiment, and the whole of Reed’s corps, on the Neck, were ordered to reinforce Prescott. At twelve o’clock the men in the redoubt ceased work, sent off their intrenching tools, took some refreshments, hoisted the New England flag, and prepared to fight. The intrenching tools were sent to Bunker Hill, where, under the directions of General Putnam, the men began to throw up a breastwork. Some of the more timid soldiers made the removal of the tools a pretext for leaving the redoubt, and never returned.

It was between twelve and one o’clock when the British troops, consisting of the fifth, thirty-eighth, forty-third, and fifty-second battalions of infantry, two companies of grenadiers, and two of light infantry, landed, their rich uniforms and arms flashing and glittering in the noonday sun, making an imposing and formidable display. General Howe reconnoitred the American works, and, while waiting for reinforcements, which he had solicited from Gage,108 allowed his troops to dine. When the intelligence of the landing of the enemy reached Cambridge, two miles distant, there was great excitement in the camp and throughout the town. The drums beat to arms, the bells were rung, and the people and military were speedily hurrying in every direction. General Ward used his own regiment, and those of Paterson and Gardner and a part of Bridge’s, for the defence of Cambridge. The remainder of the Massachusetts troops were ordered to Charlestown, and thither General Putnam conducted those of Connecticut.

At about two o’clock the reinforcement for Howe arrived, and landed at the present navy-yard. It consisted of the Forty-seventh battalion of infantry, a battalion of marines, and some grenadiers and light infantry. The whole force (about four thousand men) was commanded and directed by the most skilful British officers then in Boston; and every man preparing to attack the undisciplined provincials was a drilled soldier, and quite perfect in the art of war. It was an hour of the deepest anxiety among the patriots on Breed’s Hill. They had observed the whole martial display, from the time of the embarkation until the forming of the enemy’s line for battle. For the Americans, as yet, very little succor had arrived. Hunger and thirst annoyed them, while the labors of the night and morning weighed them down with excessive fatigue. Added to this was the dreadful suspicion that took possession of their minds, when only feeble reinforcements arrived, that treachery had placed them there for the purpose of sacrifice. Yet they could not doubt the patriotism of their principal officers, and before the action commenced their suspicions were scattered to the winds by the arrival of their beloved Doctor Warren and General Pomeroy. Warren, who was president of the Provincial Congress, then sitting at Watertown, seven miles distant, informed of the landing of the enemy, hastened toward Charlestown, though suffering from sickness and exhaustion. He had been commissioned a major-general four109 days before. Putnam, who was at Cambridge, forwarding provisions and reinforcements to Charlestown, tried to dissuade him from going into the battle. Warren was not to be diverted from his purpose, and, mounting a horse, he sped across the Neck and entered the redoubt, amid the loud cheers of the provincials, just as Howe gave orders to advance. Colonel Prescott offered the command to Warren, as his superior, when the latter replied, “I am come to fight as a volunteer, and feel honored in being allowed to serve under so brave an officer.”

While the British troops were forming, and preparing to march along the Mystic River for the purpose of flanking the Americans and gaining their rear, the artillery, with two field-pieces, and Captain Knowlton, with the Connecticut troops, left the redoubt, took a position near Bunker Hill, and formed a breastwork seven hundred feet in length, which served an excellent purpose. A little in front of a strong stone and rail fence, Knowlton built another, and between the two was placed a quantity of new-mown grass. This apparently slight breastwork formed a valuable defence to the provincials.

It was now three in the afternoon. The provincial troops were placed in an attitude of defence as the British column moved slowly forward to the attack. Colonel Prescott and the original constructors of the redoubt, except the Connecticut troops, were within the works. General Warren also took post in the redoubt. Gridley and Callender’s artillery companies were between the breastworks and rail fence on the eastern side. A few troops, recalled from Charlestown after the British landed, and a part of Warner’s company, lined the cart-way on the right of the redoubt. The Connecticut and New Hampshire forces were at the rail fence on the west of the redoubt, and three companies were stationed in the main street at the foot of Breed’s Hill.


Before General Howe moved from his first position he sent out strong flank guards, and directed his heavy artillery110 to play upon the American line. At the same time a blue flag was displayed as a signal, and the guns upon Copp’s Hill and the ships and floating batteries in the river poured a storm of round-shot upon the redoubt. A furious cannonade was opened at the same moment upon111 the right wing of the provincial army at Roxbury, to prevent reinforcements being sent by General Thomas to Charlestown. Gridley and Callender, with their field-pieces, returned a feeble response to the heavy guns of the enemy. Gridley’s guns were soon disabled; while Callender, who alleged that his cartridges were too large, withdrew to Bunker Hill. Putnam was there, and ordered him back to his first position. He disobeyed, and nearly all his men, more courageous than he, deserted him. In the meanwhile, Captain Walker, of Chelmsford, with fifty resolute men, marched down the hill near Charlestown and greatly annoyed the enemy’s left flank. Finding their position very perilous, they marched over to the Mystic, and did great execution upon the right flank. Walker was there wounded and made prisoner, but the greater part of his men succeeded in gaining the redoubt.

Under cover of the discharges of artillery the British army moved up the slope of Breed’s Hill toward the American works in two divisions, General Howe with the right wing, and General Pigot with the left. The former was to penetrate the American lines at the rail fence; the latter to storm the redoubt. They had not proceeded far before the firing of their artillery ceased, in consequence of discovering that balls too large for the field-pieces had been sent over from Boston. Howe ordered the pieces to be loaded with grape; but they soon became useless, on account of the miry ground at the base of the hill. Small arms and bayonets now became their reliance.

Silently the British troops, burdened with heavy knapsacks, toiled up the ascent toward the redoubt in the heat of a bright summer’s sun. All was silent within the American intrenchments, and very few provincials were to be seen by the approaching battalions; but within those breastworks, and in reserve behind the hills, crouched fifteen hundred determined men, ready, at a prescribed signal, to fall upon the foe. The provincials had but a scanty supply of ammunition, and, to avoid wasting it by ineffectual shots,112 Prescott gave orders not to fire until the enemy were so near that the whites of their eyes could be seen. “Then,” he said, “aim at their waistbands; and be sure to pick off the commanders, known by their handsome coats!” The enemy were not so sparing of their powder and ball, but when within gunshot of the apparently deserted works commenced a random firing. Prescott could hardly restrain his men from responding, and a few did disobey his orders and returned the fire. Putnam hastened to the spot, and threatened to cut down the first man who should again disobey orders, and quiet was restored. At length the enemy reached the prescribed distance, when, waving his sword over his head, Prescott shouted, “Fire!” Terrible was the effect of the volley that ensued. Whole platoons of the British regulars were laid upon the earth like grass by the mower’s scythe. Other deadly volleys succeeded, and the enemy, disconcerted, broke and fled toward the water. The provincials, joyed at seeing the regulars fly, wished to pursue them, and many leaped the rail fence for the purpose; but the prudence of the American officers kept them in check, and in a few minutes they were again within their works, prepared to receive a second attack from the British troops, that were quickly rallied by Howe. Colonel Prescott praised and encouraged his men, while General Putnam rode to Bunker Hill to urge on reinforcements. Many had arrived at Charlestown Neck, but were deterred from crossing by the enfilading fire of the Glasgow and two armed gondolas near the causeway. Portions of regiments were scattered upon Bunker Hill and its vicinity, and these General Putnam, by entreaties and commands, endeavored to rally. Colonel Gerrish, who was very corpulent, became completely exhausted by fatigue; and other officers, wholly unused to warfare, coward-like kept at a respectful distance from danger. Few additional troops could be brought to Breed’s Hill before the second attack was made.

The British troops, reinforced by four hundred marines113 from Boston, under Major Small, accompanied by Doctor Jeffries, the army surgeon, advanced toward the redoubt in the same order as at first, General Howe boldly leading the van, as he had promised. It was a mournful march over the dead bodies of scores of their fellow soldiers; but with true English courage they pressed onward, their artillery doing more damage to the Americans than at the first assault. It had moved along the narrow road between the tongue of land and Breed’s Hill, and when within a hundred yards of the rail fence, and on a line with the breastworks, opened a galling fire, to cover the advance of the other assailants. In the meanwhile, a carcass and some hot shot were thrown from Copp’s Hill into Charlestown, which set the village on fire. The houses were chiefly of wood, and in a short time nearly two hundred buildings were in flames, shrouding in dense smoke the heights in the rear whereon the provincials were posted. Beneath this veil the British hoped to rush unobserved up to the breastworks, scale them, and drive the Americans out at the point of the bayonet. At that moment a gentle breeze, which appeared to the provincials like the breath of a guardian angel—the first zephyr that had been felt on that sultry day—came from the west and swept the smoke away seaward, exposing to the full view of the Americans the advancing columns of the enemy, who fired as they approached, but with little execution. Colonels Brener, Nixon, and Buckminster were wounded, and Major Moore was killed. As before, the Americans reserved their fire until the British were within the prescribed distance, when they poured forth their leaden hail with such sure aim and terrible effect that whole ranks of officers and men were slain. General Howe was at the head, and once he was left entirely alone, his aids and all about him having perished. The British line recoiled, and gave way in several parts, and it required the utmost exertion in all the remaining officers, from the generals down to the subalterns, to repair the disorder which this114 hot and unexpected fire had produced. All their efforts were at first fruitless, and the troops retreated in great disorder to the shore.

General Clinton, who had beheld the progress of the battle with mortified pride, seeing the regulars repulsed a second time, crossed over in a boat, followed by a small reinforcement, and joined the broken army as a volunteer. Some of the British officers remonstrated against leading the men a third time to certain destruction; but others, who had ridiculed American valor, and boasted loudly of British invincibility, resolved on victory or death. The incautious loudness of speech of a provincial, during the second attack, declaring that the ammunition was nearly exhausted, gave the enemy encouraging and important information. Howe immediately rallied his troops and formed them for a third attack, but in a different way. The weakness of the point between the breastwork and the rail fence had been discovered by Howe, and thitherward he determined to lead the left wing with the artillery, while a show of attack should be made at the rail fence on the other side. His men were ordered to stand the fire of the provincials, and then make a furious charge with bayonets.

So long were the enemy making preparations for a third attack that the provincials began to imagine that the second repulse was to be final. They had time to refresh themselves a little and recover from that complete exhaustion which the labor of the day had produced. It was too true that their ammunition was almost exhausted, and, being obliged to rely upon that for defence, as comparatively few of the muskets were furnished with bayonets, they began to despair. The few remaining cartridges within the redoubt were distributed by Prescott, and those soldiers who were destitute of bayonets resolved to club their arms and use the breeches of their guns when their powder should be gone. The loose stones in the redoubt were collected for use as missiles if necessary, and all resolved to fight as long as a ray of hope appeared.

115 During this preparation on Breed’s Hill, all was confusion elsewhere. General Ward was at Cambridge, without sufficient staff-officers to convey his orders. Henry (afterward General) Knox was in the reconnoitring service, as a volunteer, during the day, and upon his reports Ward issued his orders. Late in the afternoon, the commanding general despatched his own, with Paterson and Gardner’s regiments, to the field of action; but to the raw recruits the aspect of the narrow Neck was terrible, swept as it was by the British cannon. Colonel Gardner succeeded in leading three hundred men to Bunker Hill, where Putnam set them intrenching, but soon ordered them to the lines. Gardner was advancing boldly at their head, when a musket-ball entered his groin and wounded him mortally. His men were thrown into confusion, and very few of them engaged in the combat that followed, until the retreat commenced. Other regiments failed to reach the lines. A part of Gerrish’s regiment, led by Adjutant Christian Febiger, a Danish officer, who afterward accompanied Arnold to Quebec and was distinguished at Stony Point, reached the lines just as the action commenced, and effectually galled the British left wing. Putnam, in the mean time, was using his utmost exertions to form the confused troops on Bunker Hill and get fresh corps with bayonets across the Neck.

All was order and firmness at the redoubt on Breed’s Hill as the enemy advanced. The artillery of the British swept the interior of the breastwork from end to end, destroying many of the provincials, among whom was Lieutenant Prescott, a nephew of the colonel commanding. The remainder were driven within the redoubt, and the breastwork was abandoned. Each shot of the provincials was true to its aim, and Colonel Abercrombie and Majors Williams and Speedlove fell. Howe was wounded in the foot, but continued fighting at the head of his men. His boats were at Boston, and retreat he could not. His troops pressed forward to the redoubt,116 now nearly silent, for the provincials’ last grains of powder were in their guns. Only a ridge of earth separated the combatants, and the assailants scaled it. The first that reached the parapet were repulsed by a shower of stones. Major Pitcairn, who led the troops at Lexington, ascending the parapet, cried out, “Now for the glory of the marines!” and was immediately shot by a negro soldier. Again numbers of the enemy leaped upon the parapet, while others assailed the redoubt on three sides. Hand to hand the belligerents struggled, and the gun-stocks of many of the provincials were shivered to pieces by the heavy blows they were made to give. The enemy poured into the redoubt in such numbers that Prescott, perceiving the folly of longer resistance, ordered a retreat. Through the enemy’s ranks the Americans hewed their way, many of them walking backward and dealing deadly blows with their musket-stocks. Prescott and Warren were the last to leave the redoubt. Colonel Gridley, the engineer, was wounded, and borne off safely. Prescott received several thrusts from bayonets and rapiers in his clothing, but escaped unhurt. Warren was the last man that left the works. He was a short distance from the redoubt, on his way toward Bunker Hill, when a musket-ball passed through his head, killing him instantly. He was left on the field, for all were flying in the greatest confusion, pursued by the victors, who remorselessly bayoneted those who fell in their way.

Major Jackson had rallied Gardner’s men upon Bunker Hill, and, pressing forward with three companies of Ward’s, and Febiger’s party from Gerrish’s regiment, poured a destructive fire upon the enemy between Breed’s and Bunker Hill, and bravely covered the retreat from the redoubt. The Americans at the rail fence, under Stark, Reed, and Knowlton, reinforced by Clark, Coit, and Chester’s Connecticut companies and a few other troops, maintained their ground, in the meanwhile, with great firmness, and successfully resisted every attempt of the enemy to turn117 their flank. This service was very valuable, for it saved the main body, retreating from the redoubt, from being cut off. But when these saw their brethren, with the chief commander, flying before the enemy, they too fled. Putnam used every exertion to keep them firm. He commanded, pleaded, cursed and swore like a madman, and was seen at every point in the van trying to rally the scattered corps, swearing that victory should crown the Americans. “Make a stand here!” he exclaimed; “we can stop them yet! In God s name, fire and give them one shot more!” The gallant old Pomeroy, also, with his shattered musket in his hand, implored them to rally, but in vain. The whole body retreated across the Neck, where the fire from the Glasgow and gondolas slew many of them. They left five of their six field-pieces and all their intrenching tools upon Bunker Hill, and they retreated to Winter Hill, Prospect Hill, and to Cambridge. The British, greatly exhausted, and properly cautious, did not follow, but contented themselves with taking possession of the peninsula. Clinton advised an immediate attack upon Cambridge, but Howe was too cautious or too timid to make the attempt. His troops lay upon their arms all night on Bunker Hill, and the Americans did the same on Prospect Hill, a mile distant. Two British field-pieces played upon them, but without effect, and, both sides feeling unwilling to renew the action, hostilities ceased. The loss of the Americans in this engagement was one hundred and fifteen killed and missing, three hundred and five wounded, and thirty who were taken prisoners; in all, four hundred and fifty. The British loss is not positively known. Gage reported two hundred and twenty-six killed, and eight hundred and twenty-eight wounded; in all, ten hundred and fifty-four. In this number are included eighty-nine officers. The Provincial Congress of Massachusetts, from the best information they could obtain, reported the British loss at about fifteen hundred. The number of buildings consumed in Charlestown, before118 midnight, was about four hundred; and the estimated loss of property (most of the families, with their effects, having moved out) was nearly six hundred thousand dollars.

The number engaged in this battle was small, yet contemporary writers and eye-witnesses represent it as one of the most determined and severe on record. There was absolutely no victory in the case. The most indomitable courage was displayed on both sides; and when the provincials had retired but a short distance, so wearied and exhausted were all that neither party desired more fighting, if we except Colonel Prescott, who earnestly petitioned to be allowed to lead a fresh corps that evening and retake Breed’s Hill. It was a terrible day for Boston and its vicinity, for almost every family had a representative in one of the two armies. Fathers, husbands, sons, and brothers were in the affray, and deep was the mental anguish of the women of the city, who, from roofs and steeples and every elevation, gazed with streaming eyes upon the carnage, for the battle raged in full view of thousands of interested spectators in the town and upon the adjoining hills. In contrast with the terrible scene were the cloudless sky and brilliant sun.89



1775. Washington conducts the siege of Boston. The Americans take Montreal. Unsuccessful assaults on Quebec. Settlement of Kentucky by Daniel Boone.

1776. The British evacuate Boston. The British repulsed at Charleston, S. C. The Continental Congress adopts the Declaration of Independence. The British, under Howe and Clinton, defeat the Americans, under Putnam and Sullivan, in the battle of Long Island. The British occupy New York. The Americans defeated at White Plains. Washington surprises the Hessians at Trenton.

1777. Washington is victorious at Princeton. Burgoyne takes Ticonderoga. The Americans are victorious at Bennington. Washington defeated by Howe in the battle of the Brandywine. Battle of Stillwater. The British enter Philadelphia. Repulse of Washington at Germantown. Battle of Saratoga.



In 1777 the British ministry had planned, in addition to the operations of the main army against Philadelphia, an invasion from Canada, apprehensions of which had led the Americans into their late unsuccessful attempt to conquer that province. Such supplies of men or money as they asked for were readily voted; but in England, as well as in America, enlistments were a matter of difficulty. Lord George Germaine was possessed with an idea, of which Sir William Howe found it very difficult to disabuse him, that recruits might be largely obtained among the American loyalists. In spite, however, of all the efforts of Tryon, Delancey, and Skinner, the troops of that description hardly amounted as yet to twelve hundred men; and Howe complained, not without reason, of the tardiness of the ministers in filling up his army.

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The American Northern Department, again placed under the sole command of Schuyler, had been so bare of troops during the winter that serious apprehensions had been felt lest Ticonderoga might be taken by a sudden movement from Canada over the ice. The Northern army was still very feeble; and the regiments designed to reinforce it filled up so slowly, notwithstanding the offer of large additional bounties, that Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New Hampshire were obliged to resort to a kind of conscription, a draft of militia men to serve for twelve months as substitutes till the regiments could be filled. In forming121 the first New England army, the enlistment of negro slaves had been specially prohibited; but recruits of any color were now gladly accepted, and many negroes obtained their freedom by enlistment.

The Middle and Southern colonies, whence Washington’s recruits were principally to come, were still more behind-hand. Of the men enlisted in those states, many were foreign-born, redemptioners, or indented servants, whose attachment to the cause could not fully be relied upon. Congress had offered bounties in land to such Germans as might desert from the British, and Howe now retorted by promising rewards in money to foreigners deserting the American service. Congress, as a countervailing measure, at Washington’s earnest request relinquished a plan they had adopted of stopping a portion of the pay of the indented servants in the army as a compensation to their masters for loss of service. That compensation was left to be provided for at the public expense, and the enlisted servants were all declared freemen.

Washington was still at Morristown, waiting with no little anxiety the movements of the British. The expected reinforcements and supplies, especially tents, the want of which had kept Howe from moving, had at last arrived. Burgoyne had assumed the command in Canada; but what his intentions were Washington did not know—whether he would advance by way of Lake Champlain, or, what seemed more probable, would take shipping in the St. Lawrence and join Howe in New York. Nor could he tell whether Howe would move up the Hudson to co-operate with Burgoyne, or whether he would attempt Philadelphia; and if so, whether by land or water.

Philadelphia, however, seemed the most probable object of attack; and the more effectually to cover that city, leaving Putnam in the Highlands with a division of Eastern troops, Washington, on May 28th, moved to a piece of strong ground at Middlebrook, about twelve miles from Princeton. He had with him forty-three battalions, arranged122 in ten brigades and five divisions; but these battalions were so far from being full that the whole amounted to only eight thousand men.

On June 13th Howe marched out of New Brunswick with a powerful army, designing apparently to force his way to Philadelphia. Washington called to his aid a large part of the troops in the Highlands; the New Jersey militia turned out in force; Arnold, to whom had been assigned the command at Philadelphia, was busy with Mifflin in preparing defences for the Delaware. It was Howe’s real object, not so much to penetrate to Philadelphia as to draw Washington out of his intrenchments and to bring on a general engagement, in which, upon anything like equal ground, the British general felt certain of victory. With that intent he made a sudden and rapid retreat, evacuated New Brunswick even, and fell back to Amboy. The bait seemed to take; the American van, under Stirling, descended to the low grounds, and Washington moved with the main body to Quibbletown. But when Howe turned suddenly about and attempted to gain the passes and heights on the American left, Washington, ever on the alert, fell rapidly back to the strong ground at Middlebrook. In this retrograde movement Stirling’s division lost a few men and three pieces of artillery; but the American army was soon in a position in which Howe did not choose to attack it.

Defeated in this attempt to bring on a general action, and having made up his mind to approach Philadelphia by water, the British commander, on June 30th, withdrew into Staten Island, where he embarked the main body of his army, not less than sixteen thousand strong, leaving Clinton, who had been lately honored with the Order of the Bath, to hold New York with five thousand men, and, by expeditions up the Hudson and into New Jersey, to co-operate as well with Burgoyne as with the attack upon Philadelphia.

Washington knew from spies, of whom he always had123 a number in New York, that a fleet of transports was fitting out there, but its destination was kept secret. Perhaps Howe meant to proceed up the Hudson to co-operate with Burgoyne; and the probability of such a movement seemed to be increased by the arrival of news that Burgoyne was advancing up Lake Champlain. Perhaps, with the same object of aiding Burgoyne, Howe might make an attempt upon Boston, thus finding employment at home for the New England militia and preventing any reinforcements to Schuyler’s army. Under these impressions, Washington moved slowly toward the Hudson; but when the British fleet went to sea, he retraced his steps toward the Delaware; and news arriving that the ships had been seen off Cape May, he advanced to Germantown. Instead of entering the Delaware, the British fleet was presently seen steering to the eastward, and all calculations were thus again baffled. It was thought that Howe was returning to New York or had sailed for New England, and the army was kept ready to march at a moment’s notice. Washington, in the interval, proceeded to Philadelphia and there had an interview with Congress.

* * * * *

The force in Canada at Burgoyne’s disposal had been a good deal underrated by Washington and by Congress; nor could they be induced to believe that anything was intended in that quarter beyond a feigned attack upon Ticonderoga, in order to distract attention from Philadelphia. Hence the less pains had been taken to fill up the ranks of the Northern army, which, indeed, was much weaker than Congress had supposed. At least ten thousand men were necessary for the defence of Ticonderoga alone; but St. Clair, who commanded there, had only three thousand, very insufficiently armed and equipped. The posts in the rear were equally weak.

It was a part of Burgoyne’s plan not merely to take Ticonderoga, but to advance thence upon Albany, and, with the co-operation of the troops at New York, to get124 possession also of the posts in the Highlands. The British would then command the Hudson through its whole extent, and New England, the head of the rebellion, would be completely cut off from the Middle and Southern colonies.

Burgoyne started on this expedition with a brilliant army of eight thousand men, partly British and partly Germans, besides a large number of Canadian boatmen, laborers, and skirmishers. On the western shore of Lake Champlain, near Crown Point, he met the Six Nations in council, and, after a feast and a speech, some four hundred of their warriors joined his army. His next step, on June 29th, was to issue a proclamation, in a very grandiloquent style, setting forth his own and the British power, painting in vivid colors the rage and fury of the Indians, so difficult to be restrained, and threatening with all the extremities of war all who should presume to resist his arms.

Two days after the issue of this proclamation, Burgoyne appeared before Ticonderoga. He occupied a steep hill which overlooked the fort, and which the Americans had neglected because they thought it inaccessible to artillery. Preparations for attack were rapidly making, and St. Clair saw there was no chance for his troops except in instant retreat. The baggage and stores, placed in bateaux, under convoy of five armed galleys, the last remains of the American flotilla, were despatched, on July 6th, up the narrow southern extremity of the lake to Skenesborough, now Whitehall, toward which point the troops retired by land, in a southeasterly direction, through the New Hampshire Grants.

While General Fraser pursued the retreating troops, followed by General Riedesel with a corps of Germans, Burgoyne forced the obstructions opposite Ticonderoga, and, embarking several regiments, he speedily overtook the American stores and baggage, all of which fell into his hands.



126 The garrison of Skenesborough, informed of Burgoyne’s approach, set fire to the works and retreated up Wood Creek to Fort Anne, a post about half-way to the Hudson. They had a sharp skirmish with a British regiment which followed them; but, other troops coming up, they set fire to the buildings at Fort Anne and retired to Fort Edward.

The van of St. Clair’s troops, at the end of their first day’s march, had reached Castleton, a distance of thirty miles from Ticonderoga; but the rear, which included many stragglers, and amounted to twelve hundred men, contrary to St. Clair’s express orders, stopped short at Hubberton, six miles behind, where they were overtaken on the morning of July 7th and attacked by Fraser. One of the regiments fled disgracefully, leaving most of their officers to be taken prisoners. The two other regiments, under Francis and Warner, made a stout resistance, but when Riedesel came up with his Germans they too gave way. Francis was killed, and many with him; some two hundred were taken prisoners. Those who escaped, though dispersed for the moment, reached St. Clair in detached parties. Warner, with some ninety men, came up two days after the battle. This was at Rutland, to which place St. Clair, having heard of the fall of Skenesborough had continued his retreat. For some time his whereabouts was unknown, but, after a seven days’ march, he joined Schuyler at Fort Edward, on the Hudson. Here was assembled the whole force of the Northern army, amounting to about five thousand men; but a considerable part were militia hastily called in, many were without arms, there was a great deficiency of ammunition and provisions, and the whole force was quite disorganized.

The region between Skenesborough and the Hudson was an almost unbroken wilderness. Wood Creek was navigable as far as Fort Anne; from Fort Anne to the Hudson, over an exceedingly rough country, covered with thick woods and intersected by numerous streams and morasses, extended a single military road. While Burgoyne halted127 a few days at Skenesborough to put his forces in order and to bring up the necessary supplies, Schuyler hastened to destroy the navigation of Wood Creek by sinking impediments in its channel, and to break up the bridges and causeways, of which there were fifty or more on the road from Fort Anne to Fort Edward. At all those points where the construction of a side passage would be difficult he ordered trees to be felled across the road with their branches interlocking. All the stock in the neighborhood was driven off, and the militia of New England was summoned to the rescue.

The loss of Ticonderoga, with its numerous artillery, and the subsequent rapid disasters came like a thunderbolt on Congress and the Northern States. “We shall never be able to defend a post,” wrote John Adams, President of the Board of War, in a private letter, “till we shoot a general.” Disasters, the unavoidable result of weakness, were ascribed to the incapacity or cowardice of the officers. Suggestions of treachery even were whispered, and the prejudices of the New-Englanders against Schuyler broke out with new violence. In the anger and vexation of the moment, all the Northern generals were recalled, and an inquiry was ordered into their conduct; but the execution of this order was suspended on the representation of Washington that the Northern army could not be left without officers. Washington shared the general surprise and vexation, but he had confidence in Schuyler, and he did all in his power to reinforce the Northern army. Two brigades from the Highlands, Morgan with his rifle corps, the impetuous Arnold, and Lincoln, a great favorite with the Massachusetts militia, were ordered to the Northern Department. Washington declined the selection of a new commander tendered to him by Congress, and that selection, guided by the New England members, fell upon Gates.

Burgoyne meanwhile issued a new proclamation for a convention of ten deputies from each township, to assemble at Castleton, to confer with Governor Skene, and to128 take measures for the re-establishment of the royal authority. Schuyler, in a counter-proclamation, threatened the utmost rigor of the law of treason against all who complied with Burgoyne’s propositions. Subsequently to the Declaration of Independence, the inhabitants of Vermont had organized themselves into an independent state, had applied to Congress for admission into the Union, and had adopted a constitution. A Continental regiment had been raised and officered in Vermont, of which Warner had been commissioned as colonel. But Congress, through the influence of New York, disclaimed any intention to countenance the pretensions of Vermont to independence; and the Vermont petition for admission into the Union had been lately dismissed with some asperity. If Burgoyne, however, founded any hopes of defection upon this circumstance, he found himself quite mistaken.

The advance from Skenesborough cost the British infinite labor and fatigue; but, beyond breaking up the roads and placing obstacles in their way, Schuyler was not strong enough to annoy them. These impediments were at length overcome; and Burgoyne, with his troops, artillery, and baggage, presently appeared on the banks of the Hudson. The British army hailed with enthusiasm the sight of that river, object of their toil, which they had reached on July 29th with great efforts indeed, but with an uninterrupted career of success and a loss of not above two hundred men.

It now only remained for the British to force their way to Albany; nor did it seem likely that Schuyler could offer any serious resistance. His army, not yet materially increased, was principally composed of militia without discipline, the troops from the eastward being very little inclined to serve under his orders and constantly deserting. Fort Edward was untenable. As the British approached, the Americans crossed the river, and retired, first to Saratoga, and then to Stillwater, a short distance above the mouth of the Mohawk.

129 Hardly had Schuyler taken up this position when news arrived of another disaster and a new danger. While moving up Lake Champlain, Burgoyne had detached Colonel St. Leger, with two hundred regulars, Sir John Johnson’s Royal Greens, some Canadian Rangers, and a body of Indians under Brant, to harass the New York frontier from the west. On August 3d St. Leger laid siege to Fort Schuyler, late Fort Stanwix, near the head of the Mohawk, then the extreme western post of the State of New York. General Herkimer raised the militia of Tryon County, and advanced to the relief of this important post, which was held by Gansevoort and Willett, with two New York regiments. About six miles from the fort, owing to want of proper precaution, Herkimer, on August 6th, fell into an ambush. Mortally wounded, he supported himself against a stump and encouraged his men to the fight. By the aid of a successful sally by Willett, they succeeded at last in repulsing the assailants, but not without a loss of four hundred, including many of the leading patriots of that region, who met with no mercy at the hands of the Indians and refugees.

Tryon County, which included the whole district west of Albany, abounded with Tories. It was absolutely necessary to relieve Fort Schuyler, lest its surrender should be the signal for a general insurrection. Arnold volunteered for that service, and was despatched by Schuyler with three regiments; with the rest of his army he withdrew into the islands at the confluence of the Mohawk and the Hudson, a more defensible station than the camp at Stillwater.

The command of Lake George, as well as of Lake Champlain, had passed into the hands of the British. That lake furnished a convenient means of transportation; a large quantity of provisions and stores for the British army had arrived at Fort George, and Burgoyne was exerting every effort for their transportation to his camp on the Hudson. The land carriage was only eighteen miles, but the roads130 were so bad and the supply of draught cattle so small that, after a fortnight’s hard labor, the British army had only four days’ provisions in advance.

“To try the affections of the country, to mount Riedesel’s Dragoons, to complete Peter’s Corps of Loyalists, and to obtain a large supply of cattle, horses, and carriages,” so Burgoyne expressed himself in his instructions, it was resolved to send a strong detachment into the settlements on the left. Colonel Baum was sent on this errand, with two pieces of artillery and eight hundred men, dismounted German dragoons and British marksmen, with a body of Canadians and Indians, and Skene and a party of Loyalists for guides.

Langdon, the principal merchant at Portsmouth, and a member of the New Hampshire council, having patriotically volunteered the means to put them in motion, a corps of New Hampshire militia, called out upon news of the loss of Ticonderoga, had lately arrived at Bennington under the command of Stark. Disgusted at not having been made a brigadier, Stark had resigned his Continental commission as colonel, and, in agreeing to take the leadership of the militia, had expressly stipulated for an independent command. On that ground he had just declined to obey an order from Lincoln to join the main army—a piece of insubordination which might have proved fatal, but which, in the present case, turned out otherwise. Informed of Baum’s approach, Stark sent off expresses for militia and for Warner’s regiment, encamped at Manchester, and joined by many fugitives since the battle of Hubberton. Six miles from Bennington, on the appearance of Stark’s forces (August 14th), Baum began to intrench himself, and sent back to Burgoyne for reinforcements. The next day was rainy, and Stark, also expecting reinforcements, delayed the attack. Baum improved the interval in throwing up intrenchments. Breyman marched to his assistance, but was delayed by the rain and the badness of the roads, which also kept back Warner’s131 regiment. Having been joined on August 16th by some Berkshire militia under Colonel Simmons, Stark drew out his forces, and about noon approached the enemy. “There they are!” exclaimed the rustic general—“we beat to-day, or Molly Stark’s a widow!” The assault was made in four columns, in front and rear at the same time, and after a hot action of two hours the intrenchments were carried. The Indians and provincials escaped to the woods; the Germans were mostly taken or slain. The battle was hardly over, and Stark’s men were in a good deal of confusion, when, about four in the afternoon, Breyman was seen coming up. Warner’s regiment luckily arrived at the same time. The battle was renewed and kept up till dark, when Breyman abandoned his baggage and artillery, and made the best retreat he could. Besides the killed, about two hundred in number, the Americans took near six hundred prisoners, a thousand stand of arms, as many swords, and four pieces of artillery—a seasonable supply for the militia now flocking in from all quarters. The American loss was only fourteen killed and forty-two wounded.

Just at the moment when a turn in the affairs of the Northern Department became fully apparent, the two brigades from the Highlands having arrived, and the militia fast pouring in, Schuyler, much to his mortification, was superseded by Gates on August 22d. He still remained, however, at Albany, and gave his assistance toward carrying on the campaign. The day after Gates assumed the command, Morgan arrived with his rifle corps, five hundred strong, to which were presently added two hundred and fifty picked men under Major Dearborn, of Scammell’s New Hampshire regiment.

The victory of Stark had a magical effect in reviving the spirits of the people and the courage of the soldiers. Indignation was also aroused by the cruelties reported of Burgoyne’s Indian allies. A most pathetic story was told of one Jenny McRea, murdered by Indians near Fort132 Edward. Her family were Loyalists; she herself was engaged to be married to a Loyalist officer. She was dressed to receive her lover, when a party of Indians burst into the house, carried off the whole family to the woods, and there murdered, scalped, and mangled them in the most horrible manner. Such, at least, was the story as told in a letter of remonstrance from Gates to Burgoyne. Burgoyne, in his reply, gave, however, a different account. According to his version, the murder was committed by two Indians sent by the young lady’s lover to conduct her for safety to the British camp. They quarrelled on the way respecting the division of the promised reward, and settled the dispute by killing the girl. Even this correction hardly lessened the effect of the story or diminished the detestation so naturally felt at the employment of such barbarous allies.

The artful Arnold, while on his march for the relief of Fort Schuyler, had sent into St. Leger’s camp a very exaggerated account of his numbers. The Indians, who had suffered severely in the battle with Herkimer, and who had glutted their vengeance by the murder of prisoners, seized with a sudden panic, deserted in large numbers. On August 22d, two days before Arnold’s arrival, St. Leger himself precipitately retired, leaving his tents standing and the greater part of his stores and baggage to fall into Arnold’s hands. On returning to Gates’ camp, Arnold received the command of the left wing.

These checks were not without their effect on the Six Nations. Burgoyne’s Indians began to desert him—an example which the Canadians soon followed. The Onondagas and some of the Mohawks joined the Americans. Through the influence of the missionary Kirkland, the Oneidas had all along been favorably disposed. It was only the more western clans, the Cayugas, Tuscaroras, and Senecas, which adhered firmly during the war to the British side.

The American army being now about six thousand133 strong, besides detached parties of militia under General Lincoln, which hung upon the British rear, Gates left his island camp, and presently occupied Behmus’ Heights, a spur from the hills on the west side of the Hudson, jutting close upon the river. By untiring efforts, Burgoyne had brought forward thirty days’ provisions, and, having thrown a bridge of boats over the Hudson, he crossed to Saratoga. With advanced parties in front to repair the roads and bridges, his army slowly descended the Hudson—the Germans on the left, by a road close along the river; the British, covered by light infantry, provincials, and Indians, by the high ground on the right.

Gates’ camp on the brow of Behmus’90 Heights formed a segment of a circle, convex toward the enemy. A deep intrenchment extended to the river on the right, covered not only by strong batteries, but by an abrupt and thickly wooded ravine descending to the river. From the head of this ravine, toward the left, the ground was level and partially cleared, some trees being felled and others girdled. The defences here consisted of a breastwork of logs. On the extreme left, a distance of three-quarters of a mile from the river, was a knoll, a little in the rear, crowned by strong batteries, and there was another battery to the left of the centre. Between the two armies were two more deep ravines, both wooded. An alarm being given about noon of September 19th that the enemy was approaching the left of the encampment, Morgan was sent forward with his riflemen. Having forced a picket, his men, in the ardor of pursuit, fell unexpectedly upon a strong British column, and were thrown into temporary confusion. Cilley’s and Scammell’s New Hampshire regiments were ordered out to reinforce him. Hale’s regiment of New Hampshire, Van Courtlandt’s and Henry Livingston’s of New York, and two regiments of Connecticut militia were successively led to the field, with orders to extend to the left and support the points where they perceived the134 greatest pressure. About three o’clock the action became general, and till nightfall the fire of musketry was incessant. The British had four field-pieces; the ground occupied by the Americans, a thick wood on the borders of an open field, did not admit the use of artillery. On the opposite side of this field, on a rising ground, in a thin pine wood, the British troops were drawn up. Whenever they advanced into the open field, the fire of the American marksmen drove them back in disorder; but when the Americans followed into the open ground the British would rally, charge, and force them to fall back. The field was thus lost and won a dozen times in the course of the day. At every charge the British artillery fell into possession of the Americans, but the ground would not allow them to carry off the pieces, nor could they be kept long enough to be turned on the enemy. Late in the afternoon, the British left being reinforced from the German column, General Learned was ordered out with four regiments of Massachusetts and another of New York. Something decisive might now have occurred, but the approach of night broke off the contest, and the Americans withdrew to their camp, leaving the field in possession of the British. They encamped upon it, and claimed the victory; but, if not a drawn battle, it was one of those victories equivalent to a defeat. The British loss was upward of five hundred, the American less than three hundred. To have held their ground in the circumstances in which the armies stood was justly esteemed by the Americans a decided triumph.

In anticipation of an action, Gates had ordered the detached corps to join him. Stark, with the victors of Bennington, had arrived in camp the day before. Their term of service, however, expired that day; and satisfied with laurels already won, in spite of all attempts to detain them, they marched off the very morning of the battle. In consideration of his courage and good conduct at Bennington, Congress overlooked the insubordination of135 Stark, which, in a resolution just before, they had pointedly condemned, and he was presently elected a brigadier. Howe and McDougall about the same time were chosen major-generals.

Before receiving Gates’ orders to join the main body, a party of Lincoln’s militia, led by Colonel Brown, had surprised the posts at the outlet of Lake George on September 17th, and had taken three hundred prisoners, also several armed vessels and a fleet of bateaux employed in transporting provisions up the lake. Uniting with another party under Colonel Johnson, they approached Ticonderoga and beleaguered it for four days. Burgoyne’s communications thus entirely cut off, his situation became very alarming, and he began to intrench. His difficulties increased every moment. Provisions were diminishing, forage was exhausted, the horses were perishing. To retreat with the enemy in his rear was as difficult as to advance.

A change of circumstances not less remarkable had taken place in the American camp. Gates’ army was increasing every day. The battle of Behmus’ Heights was sounded through the country as a great victory, and, the harvest being now over, the militia marched in from all sides to complete the overthrow of the invaders. Lincoln, with the greater part of his militia, having joined the army on September 22d, he received the command of the right wing. Arnold, on some quarrel or jealousy on the part of Gates, had been deprived, since the late battle, of his command of the left wing, which Gates assumed in person. Gates was neither more able nor more trustworthy than Schuyler; but the soldiers believed him so, and zeal, alacrity, and obedience had succeeded to doubts, distrust, and insubordination. Yet Gates was not without his difficulties. The supply of ammunition was very short, and the late change in the commissariat department, taking place in the midst of the campaign, made the feeding of the troops a matter of no little anxiety.

Disposition of troops, October 7th

There was still one hope for Burgoyne. A letter in136 cipher, brought by a trusty messenger from Clinton, at New York, informed him of an intended diversion up the Hudson; and, could he maintain his present position, he might yet be relieved. But his troops, on short allowance of provisions, were already suffering severely, and it was necessary either to retreat or to find relief in another battle. To make a reconnaissance of the American lines, he drew out fifteen hundred picked men on October 7th and formed them less than a mile from the American camp. The two camps, indeed, were hardly cannon-shot apart. As soon as Burgoyne’s position was discovered his left was furiously assailed by Poor’s New Hampshire brigade. The attack extended rapidly to the right, where137 Morgan’s riflemen manœuvred to cut off the British from their camp. Gates did not appear on the field any more than in the former battle; but Arnold, though without any regular command, took, as usual, a leading part. He seemed under the impulse of some extraordinary excitement, riding at full speed, issuing orders, and cheering on the men. To avoid being cut off from the camp, the British right was already retreating, when the left, pressed and overwhelmed by superior numbers, began to give way. The gallant Fraser was mortally wounded, picked off by the American marksmen; six pieces of artillery were abandoned; and only by the greatest efforts did the British troops regain their camp. The Americans followed close upon them, and, through a shower of grape and musketry, assaulted the right of the British works. Arnold forced an entrance; but he was wounded, his horse was shot under him as he rode into one of the sally-ports, and his column was driven back. Colonel Brooks, at the head of Jackson’s regiment of Massachusetts, was more successful. He turned the intrenchments of a German brigade, forced them from the ground at the point of the bayonet, captured their camp equipage and artillery, and, what was of still more importance, and a great relief to the American army, an ample supply of ammunition. The repeated attempts of the British to dislodge him all failed, and he remained at night in possession of the works. Darkness at length put an end to the fighting; but the Americans slept on their arms, prepared to renew it the next morning. The advantages they had gained were decisive. The British had lost four hundred men in killed, wounded, and prisoners; artillery, ammunition, and tents had been captured; and the possession of a part of the works by the Americans would enable them to renew the attack the next day with every chance of success. For the safety of the British army a change of position was indispensable; and, while the Americans slept, the British general, with skill and intrepidity, order and silence, drew back his discomfited138 troops to some high grounds in the rear, where the British army appeared the next morning (October 8th) drawn up in order of battle. That day was spent in skirmishes. While attempting to reconnoitre, General Lincoln was severely wounded and disabled from further service. Fraser was buried on a hill he had designated, amid showers of balls from the American lines. The Baroness de Riedesel, who followed the camp with her young children, and whose quarters were turned into a sort of hospital for the wounded officers, has left a pathetic account of the horrors of that day and of the retreat that followed.

To avoid being surrounded, Burgoyne was obliged to abandon his new position, and, with the loss of his hospitals and numerous sick and wounded, to fall back to Saratoga on October 9th. The distance was only six miles; but the rain fell in torrents, the roads were almost impassable, the bridge over the Fishkill had been broken down by the Americans, and this retrograde movement consumed an entire day. The same obstacles prevented, however, any serious annoyance from the American troops. During this retreat, the better to cover the movements of the army, General Schuyler’s house at Saratoga and extensive saw-mills were set on fire and destroyed. A body of artificers, sent forward under a strong escort to repair the bridge toward Fort Edward, found that road and the ford across the Hudson already occupied by the Americans. The fleet of bateaux, loaded with the British supplies and provisions, was assailed from the left bank of the river, and many of the boats were taken. The lading of the others was only saved by a most laborious and difficult transportation, under a sharp American fire, up the steep river-bank to the heights occupied by the British army. Even the camp itself was not safe; grape and rifle balls fell in the midst of it.

Burgoyne’s situation was truly deplorable. He had heard nothing further from New York, and his effective force was now reduced to four thousand men, surrounded139 by an enemy three times as numerous, flushed with success, and rapidly increasing. All the fords and passes toward Lake George were occupied and covered by intrenchments, and, even should the baggage and artillery be abandoned, there was no hope of forcing a passage. An account of the provisions on hand (October 13th) showed only three days’ supply. The troops, exhausted with hunger and fatigue, and conscious of their hopeless situation, could not be depended on, especially should the camp be attacked. A council of war, to which not field officers only, but all the captains commandant were summoned, advised to open a treaty of capitulation.

Gates demanded, at first, an unconditional surrender; but to that Burgoyne would not submit. The American commander was the less precise about terms, and very eager to hasten matters, lest he too might be attacked in the rear. He knew, though Burgoyne did not, that the intended diversion from New York, delayed for some time to await the arrival of forces from Europe, had at length been successfully made, and that all the American posts in the Highlands had fallen into the hands of the British. Should Burgoyne continue to hold out, this new enemy might even make a push on Albany.

The main defences of the Highlands, Forts Clinton and Montgomery, on the west bank of the Hudson, separated from each other by a small stream, and too high to be battered from the water, were surrounded by steep and rugged hills which made the approach to them on the land side very difficult. To stop the ascent of the enemy’s ships, frames of timber, with projecting beams shod with iron, had been sunk in the channel. A boom, formed of great trees fastened together, extended from bank to bank, and in front of this boom was stretched a huge iron chain. Above these impediments several armed vessels were moored. On an island a few miles higher up, and near the eastern bank of the river, was Fort Constitution, with another boom and chain. Near the entrance of the Highlands,140 and below the other posts, Fort Independence occupied a high point of land on the east bank of the river. It was at Peekskill, just below Fort Independence, that the commanding officer in the Highlands usually had his headquarters. The two brigades sent to the Northern army, and other detachments which Washington had himself been obliged to draw from the Highlands, had so weakened the regular garrison that Washington became much alarmed for the safety of that important post. The remainder of the New York militia, not under arms in the Northern Department, had been called out by Governor Clinton to supply the place of the detached regulars; other militia had been sent from Connecticut; but, as no signs of immediate attack appeared, and as the harvest demanded their services at home, Putnam allowed most of them to return. Half the New York militia were ordered back again by Clinton, but before they had mustered the posts were lost. Putnam was at Peekskill with the main body of the garrison, which amounted in the whole to not more than two thousand men. While a party of the enemy amused him with the idea that Fort Independence was their object, a stronger party landed lower down, on the other side of the river, and, pushing inland through the defiles of the Highlands, approached Forts Clinton and Montgomery, of which the entire garrison did not exceed six hundred men. Before assistance could be sent by Putnam—indeed, before he knew of the attack—the forts, much too extensive to be defended by so small a force, were both taken on October 5th. Governor Clinton, who commanded, his brother, General James Clinton, and a part of the garrison availed themselves of the knowledge of the ground and escaped across the river, but the Americans suffered a loss of two hundred and fifty in killed and prisoners. Fort Constitution was immediately evacuated by the few troops that held it, and two new Continental frigates, with some other vessels, were set on fire to prevent their falling into the hands of the enemy. Even141 Peekskill and Fort Independence were abandoned, the stores being conveyed to Fishkill, whither Putnam retired with his forces. The booms and chains were removed, so that ships could pass up; and a British detachment under Tryon burned Continental Village, a new settlement on the east side of the river, where many public stores were deposited.


142 Informed of these movements, and very anxious to have Burgoyne’s army out of the way, Gates agreed, on October 16th, that the British troops should march out of their camp with the honors of war, should lay down their arms, and be conducted to Boston, there to embark for England, under an engagement not to serve against the United States till exchanged. Having heard from a deserter of the advance of Clinton, Burgoyne hesitated to ratify the treaty; but, on consideration and consultation with his officers, he did not choose to run the risk of breaking it. The prisoners included in this capitulation were five thousand six hundred and forty-two; the previous losses of the army amounted to near four thousand more. The arms, artillery, baggage, and camp equipage became the property of the captors. The German regiments contrived to save their colors by cutting them from the staves, rolling them up, and packing them away with Madame de Riedesel’s baggage.

As soon as the garrison of Ticonderoga heard of the surrender, they hastily destroyed what they could and retired to Canada. Putnam no sooner heard of it than he sent pressing despatches for assistance. The British had proceeded as high up as Esopus, which they burned about the very time that Burgoyne was capitulating. Putnam had been already joined by some three thousand militia, to which a large detachment from Gates’ army was soon added. As it was now too late to succor Burgoyne, having dismantled the forts in the Highlands, the British returned to New York, carrying with them sixty-seven pieces of heavy artillery and a large quantity of provisions and ammunition. Before their departure they burned every house within their reach—a piece of malice ascribed to Tryon and his Tories.

The capture of a whole British army,91 lately the object143 of so much terror, produced, especially in New England, an exultation proportionate to the recent alarm. The military reputation of Gates, elevated to a very high pitch, rivalled even the fame of Washington, dimmed as it was by the loss of Philadelphia, which, meanwhile, had fallen into the enemy’s hands. The youthful Wilkinson, who had acted during the campaign as deputy adjutant-general of the American army, and whose Memoirs contain the best account of its movements, being sent to Congress with news of the surrender, was henceforth honored with a brevet commission as brigadier-general; which, however, he speedily resigned when he found a remonstrance against this irregular advancement sent to Congress by forty-seven colonels of the line. The investigation into Schuyler’s conduct resulted, a year afterward, in his acquittal with the highest honor. He insisted, however, on resigning his commission, though strongly urged by Congress to retain it. But he did not relinquish the service of his country, in which he continued as active as ever, being presently chosen a member of Congress.


1777. Congress adopts the Articles of Confederation. Stars and Stripes adopted. British evacuate New York. British occupy Philadelphia. American winter-quarters at Valley Forge, in December.

1778. France recognizes the independence of the United States. The British evacuate Philadelphia. The battle of144 Monmouth. France declares war against England. The Wyoming Valley Massacre. Battle of Rhode Island. The British enter Savannah. General George Rogers Clark conquers the “Old Northwest.”

1779. Storming of Stony Point by the Americans. Paul Jones, in the Bon Homme Richard, is victorious over the British frigate Serapis. The British win the engagement of Brier Creek. Spain declares war against Great Britain. Congress guaranties the Floridas to Spain if she takes them from Great Britain, provided the United States should have free navigation on the Mississippi.

1780. Lincoln surrenders to Clinton at Charleston. Defeat of Gates by Cornwallis in the first battle of Camden. Treason of Benedict Arnold. Capture and execution of André. The British are defeated at King’s Mountain.

1781. American victory at Cowpens. The ratification of the Articles of Confederation by the several states completed. Greene is defeated by Cornwallis at Guilford Court-House. The British are victorious at Hobkirk’s Hill (second battle of Camden). New London burned by Arnold. Battle of Eutaw Springs. Washington and Rochambeau, aided by the French fleet under Count de Grasse, besiege Cornwallis in Yorktown. Surrender of Cornwallis.



The year 1781 opened with small promise of a speedy ending of the American struggle for independence. New York remained in the hands of the English. Cornwallis was confident of success in the South. But Greene’s brilliant campaigning and Lafayette’s strategy left Cornwallis with a wearied army devoid of any fruits of victory, and, finally returning to the seaboard, he settled himself at Yorktown. Washington, before New York, had watched the Southern campaigns closely. Word came from the Count de Grasse that the French fleet under his command was ready to leave the West Indies and join in operations in Virginia. Washington at once planned a new campaign, destined to prove of peculiar brilliancy. He was joined by Rochambeau’s French army from Newport. Clinton, the British commander in New York, was tricked into believing that the city was to be closely besieged. But the American and French armies, six thousand strong, passed by New York in a race through Princeton and Philadelphia to Chesapeake Bay, which they reached on September 5th, the day that De Grasse entered with his fleet to join the other French fleet which had been set free from Newport. De Grasse maintained his command of Chesapeake Bay in spite of the futile attack of Admiral Graves and the British fleet. If Rodney, who had sailed for England, had been in Graves’ place the outcome might have been different. A defeat of De Grasse would have meant British control of the water and a support for Cornwallis, which would have saved his army and ruined Washington’s plans. Yorktown affords one of the striking illustrations in Captain Mahan’s Influence of Sea Power upon History.—Editor.


The allied American and French armies joined Lafayette at Williamsburg, Virginia, September 25, 1781, and on the 27th there was a besieging army there of sixteen146 thousand men, under the chief command of Washington, assisted by Rochambeau. The British force, about half as numerous, were mostly behind intrenchments at Yorktown. On the arrival of Washington and Rochambeau at Williamsburg, they proceeded to the Ville de Paris, De Grasse’s flag-ship, to congratulate the admiral on his victory over the British admiral Graves on the 5th, which147 had prevented British relief of Yorktown by sea, and to make specific arrangements for the future. Preparations for the siege were immediately begun. The allied armies marched from Williamsburg (September 28th), driving in the British outposts as they approached Yorktown, and taking possession of abandoned works. The allies formed a semicircular line about two miles from the British intrenchments, each wing resting on the York River, and on the 30th the place was completely invested. The British at Gloucester, opposite, were imprisoned by French dragoons under the Duke de Lauzun, Virginia militia, led by General Weedon, and eight hundred French marines. Only once did the imprisoned troops attempt to escape from that point. Tarleton’s legion sallied out, but were soon driven back by De Lauzun’s cavalry, who made Tarleton’s horse a prisoner and came near capturing his owner.


In the besieging lines before Yorktown the French troops occupied the left, the West India troops of St. Simon being on the extreme flank. The Americans were on the right; and the French artillery, with the quarters of the two commanders, occupied the centre. The American artillery, commanded by General Knox, was with the right. The fleet of De Grasse was in Lynn Haven Bay to beat off any vessels that might attempt to relieve Cornwallis. On the night of October 6th heavy ordnance was brought up from the French ships, and trenches were begun at six hundred yards from the British works. The first parallel was completed before the morning of the 7th, under the direction of General Lincoln; and on the afternoon of the 9th several batteries and redoubts were finished, and a general discharge of heavy guns was opened by the Americans on the right. Early on the morning of the 10th the French opened several batteries on the left. That evening the same troops hurled red-hot balls upon British vessels in the river, which caused the destruction by fire of several of them—one a forty-four-gun ship.

148 The allies began the second parallel on the night of the 11th, which the British did not discover until daylight came, when they brought several heavy guns to bear upon the diggers. On the 14th it was determined to storm two of the redoubts which were most annoying, as they commanded the trenches. One on the right, near the York River, was garrisoned by forty-five men; the other, on the left, was manned by about one hundred and twenty men. The capture of the former was intrusted to Americans led by Lieutenant-Colonel Alexander Hamilton, and that of the latter to French grenadiers led by Count Deuxponts. At a given signal Hamilton advanced in two columns—one led by Major Fish, the other by Lieutenant-Colonel Gimat, Lafayette’s aide, while Lieutenant-Colonel John Laurens, with eighty men, proceeded to turn the redoubt to intercept a retreat of the garrison. So agile and furious was the assault that the redoubt was carried in a few minutes, with little loss on either side. Laurens was among the first to enter the redoubt and make the commander, Major Campbell, a prisoner. The life of every man who ceased to resist was spared.

Meanwhile the French, after a severe struggle, in which they lost about one hundred men in killed and wounded, captured the other redoubt. Washington, with Knox and some others, had watched the movements with intense anxiety, and when the commander-in-chief saw both redoubts in possession of his troops he turned and said to Knox, “The work is done, and well done.” That night both redoubts were included in the second parallel. The situation of Cornwallis was now critical. He was surrounded by a superior force, his works were crumbling, and he saw that when the second parallel of the besiegers should be completed and the cannon on their batteries mounted his post at Yorktown would become untenable, and he resolved to attempt an escape by abandoning the place, his baggage, and his sick, cross the York River, disperse the allies who environed Gloucester, and by rapid marches149 gain the forks of the Rappahannock and Potomac, and, forcing his way by weight of numbers through Maryland and Pennsylvania, join Clinton at New York.

Boats for the passage of the river were prepared and a part of the troops passed over, when a furious storm suddenly arose and made any further attempts to cross too hazardous to be undertaken. The troops were brought back, and Cornwallis lost hope. After that the bombardment of his lines was continuous, severe, and destructive, and on the 17th he offered to make terms for surrender. On the following day Lieutenant-Colonel de Laurens and Viscount de Noailles (a kinsman of Madame Lafayette), as commissioners of the allies, met Lieutenant-Colonel Dundas and Major Ross, of the British army, at the house of the Widow Moore to arrange terms for capitulation. They were made similar to those demanded of Lincoln at Charleston eighteen months before. The capitulation was duly signed, October 19, 1781, and late on the afternoon of the same day Cornwallis, his army, and public property were surrendered to the allies.92

For the siege of Yorktown the French provided thirty-seven ships of the line, and the Americans nine. The Americans furnished nine thousand land troops (of whom fifty-five hundred were regulars), and the French seven thousand. Among the prisoners were two battalions of Anspachers, amounting to ten hundred and twenty-seven men, and two regiments of Hessians, numbering eight hundred and seventy-five. The flag of the Anspachers was given to Washington by the Congress.

The news of the surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown spread great joy throughout the colonies, especially at Philadelphia, the seat of the national government. Washington sent Lieutenant-Colonel Tilghman to Congress with the news. He rode express to Philadelphia to carry the150 despatches of the chief announcing the joyful event. He entered the city at midnight, October 23d, and knocked so violently at the door of Thomas McKean, the president of Congress, that a watchman was disposed to arrest him. Soon the glad tidings spread over the city. The watchman, proclaiming the hour and giving the usual cry, “All’s well,” added, “and Cornwallis is taken!” Thousands of citizens rushed from their beds, half dressed, and filled the streets. The old State-house bell, that had clearly proclaimed independence, now rang out tones of gladness. Lights were seen moving in every house. The first blush of morning was greeted with the booming of cannon, and at an early hour the Congress assembled and with quick-beating hearts heard Charles Thomson read the despatch from Washington. At its conclusion it was resolved to go in a body to the Lutheran church, at 2 P.M., and “return thanks to the Almighty God for crowning the allied armies of the United States and France with success.”93


By Claude Halstead Van Tyne, Ph.D.

The surrender of Cornwallis came at the right time to produce a great political effect in England. The war had assumed such tremendous proportions that accumulated disaster seemed to threaten the ruin of Great Britain. From India came news of Hyder Ali’s temporary successes, and of the presence of a strong French armament which demanded that England yield every claim except to Bengal.151 That Warren Hastings and Sir Eyre Coote would yet save the British Empire there, the politicians could not foresee. Spain had already driven the British forces from Florida, and in the spring of 1782 Minorca fell before her repeated assaults and Gibraltar was fearfully beset. De Grasse’s successes during the winter in the West Indies left only Jamaica, Barbadoes, and Antigua in British hands. St. Eustatius, too, was recaptured, and it was not until the middle of April that Rodney regained England’s naval supremacy by a famous victory near Marie-Galante.94 England had not a friend in Europe, and was beset at home by violent agitation in Ireland, to which she was obliged to yield an independent Irish Parliament.95 Rodney’s victory and the successful repulsion of the Spaniards from Gibraltar, in the summer of 1782, came too late to save the North ministry.

The negotiations between the English and American peace envoys dragged on. Congress had instructed the commissioners not to make terms without the approval of the French court, but the commissioners became suspicious of Vergennes, broke their instructions, and dealt directly and solely with the British envoys. Boundaries, fishery questions, treatment of the American loyalists, and settlement of American debts to British subjects were settled one after another, and, November 30, 1782, a provisional treaty was signed. The definitive treaty was delayed until September 3, 1783, after France and England had agreed upon terms of peace.96

America awaited the outcome almost with lethargy. After Yorktown the country relapsed into indifference, and Washington was left helpless to do anything to assure victory. He could only wait and hope that the enemy was as exhausted as America. Disorganization was seen everywhere—in politics, in finance, and in the army.152 Peace came like a stroke of good-fortune rather than a prize that was won. Congress (January 14, 1784) could barely assemble a quorum to ratify the treaty.97

During the war many had feared that British victory would mean the overthrow in England of constitutional liberty. The defeat, therefore, of the king’s purpose in America seemed a victory for liberalism in England as well as in America. Personal government was overthrown, and no British king has gained such power since. The dangers to freedom of speech and of the press were ended. Corruption and daring disregard of public law received a great blow. The ancient course of English constitutional development was resumed. England never, it is true, yielded to her colonies what America had demanded in 1775, but she did learn to handle the affairs of her colonies with greater diplomacy, and she does not allow them now to get into such an unsympathetic state.

Great Britain herself was not so near ruin as she seemed; she was still to be the mother of nations, and the English race was not weakened, though the empire was broken. In political, social, and intellectual spirit England and America continued to be much the same. English notions of private and public law still persisted in independent America. The large influence which the Anglo-Saxon race had long had upon the world’s destiny was not left with either America or England alone, but with them both. America only continued England’s “manifest destiny” in America, pushing her language, modes of political and intellectual activity, and her social customs westward and southward—driving back Latin civilization in the same resistless way as before the Revolution.

For America much good came out of the Revolution. Americans had acted together in a great crisis, and Washington’s efforts in the army to banish provincial distinctions153 did much to create fellow-feeling which would make real union possible. With laws and governments alike, and the same predominant language, together with common political and economic interests, future unity seemed assured.

The republican form of government was now given a strong foothold in America. Frederick the Great asserted that the new republic could not endure, because “a republican government had never been known to exist for any length of time where the territory was not limited and concentrated”; yet America, within a century, was to make it a success over a region three times as great as the territory for which Frederick foretold failure.98

1813 AND 1814

1782. Holland recognizes the independence of the United States. The British evacuate Savannah and Charleston. Signing of the preliminary treaty of peace with Great Britain.

1783. Peace of Versailles between Great Britain, the United States, France, and Spain. Great Britain acknowledges the independence of the United States, restores Florida and Minorca to Spain, and cedes Tobago to France. Evacuation of New York by the British.

1785. Disputes between the United States and Spain over the navigation of the Mississippi and the boundaries of the Floridas.

1786. Outbreak of Shays’ Rebellion in Massachusetts.

154 1787. Suppression of Shays’ Rebellion. Framing of the Constitution of the United States at Philadelphia. Congress undertakes the government of the Northwest Territory.

1788. The Constitution ratified by a majority of the States.

1789. George Washington elected first President of the United States. The Continental Congress is superseded by the first Congress under the Constitution. Beginning of the French Revolution.

1790. Rhode Island (the last of the original thirteen States) ratifies the Constitution. Harmar’s unsuccessful expedition against the Indians of the Northwest Territory.

1791. Admission of Vermont into the Union. Defeat of St. Clair by the Miami Indians. Insurrection of the blacks in Hayti against the French. Canada is divided into Upper and Lower Canada.

1792. Admission of Kentucky into the Union.

1793. Beginning of Washington’s second administration. Execution of Louis XVI. and Marie Antoinette. Napoleon Bonaparte commands the French artillery at the recapture of Toulon from the English.

1794. Whiskey Insurrection in Pennsylvania. The Miami Indians defeated by Gen. Anthony Wayne near Maumee Rapids, Ohio.

1796. Admission of Tennessee into the Union. John Adams elected President. Bonaparte becomes the conspicuous figure in European warfare.

1797. Trouble between France and the United States. The Constellation captures L’Insurgente.

1798. Passage of the Alien and Sedition laws in the United States.

1799. Death of Washington.

1800. The seat of government of the United States is removed from Philadelphia to Washington. Thomas Jefferson elected President. Retrocession of Louisiana to France by Spain.

155 1801. War between Tripoli and the United States.

1802. Admission of Ohio into the Union.

1803. The Louisiana Purchase is negotiated with France.

1804. Thomas Jefferson re-elected President. Decatur captures and burns the frigate Philadelphia at Tripoli. Lewis and Clark Expedition, 1804–1806. Napoleon proclaimed Emperor of France.

1805. Peace between the United States and Tripoli.

1806. The Leander, a British naval vessel, fires into an American coaster off Sandy Hook. Great Britain issues an “Order in Council” declaring the coast of Europe from the Elbe to Brest under blockade. Napoleon issues Berlin Decree. Culmination of Aaron Burr’s conspiracy and his arrest.

1807. Congress prohibits the importation of slaves. The British man-of-war Leopard fires upon the American frigate Chesapeake and takes four seamen claimed as British subjects. Aaron Burr tried for conspiracy and treason, and acquitted. Another British “Order in Council” forbids neutral nations to deal with France. Napoleon’s Milan decree forbidding trade with England. American Embargo Act, prohibiting foreign commerce.

1808. James Madison elected President. Embargo Act repealed. Non-intercourse Act passed, forbidding commerce with Great Britain and France.

1809. Recall of British minister asked by American government.

1810. Napoleon orders sale of captured American vessels, worth with their cargoes $8,000,000.

1811. General Harrison defeats Tecumseh at Tippecanoe. Fight between the United States frigate President and the British sloop-of-war Little Belt.

1812. Admission of Louisiana into the Union. The United States declares war against Great Britain. The Americans, under Hull, invade Canada. Surrender of Hull at Detroit. The Constitution captures the Guerrière; the Wasp takes the Frolic; the United States, the Macedonian;156 and the Constitution, the Java. James Madison re-elected President. General Smyth makes a futile attempt to invade Canada.

1813. The British are victorious at Frenchtown. The Hornet captures the Peacock. The Americans take York (Toronto), and the British are repulsed at Sackett’s Harbor. Capture of the Chesapeake by the Shannon. The Boxer taken by the Enterprise. Commodore Perry wins the battle of Lake Erie.

1814. General Jackson defeats the Creek Indians. The Essex surrenders to the Phœbe and the Cherub. The Americans are victorious at Chippewa and Lundy’s Lane. Battle of Lake Champlain. In Europe the year was chiefly notable for the entry of the Allies into Paris, the abdication of Napoleon, and his withdrawal to Elba.



The opening of the nineteenth century brought years of humiliation, in which American ideals of a neutral commerce, to be unrestricted except by incidents of actual war, collided with the passions of two nations engaged in a death-grapple between “the elephant and the whale”—the French army and the English navy. The established principles of international law were set aside, and fifteen hundred American merchantmen were made prize under a series of iniquitous Orders in Council and Decrees. American sailors were seized by British cruisers on the high seas, even on a duly commissioned American man-of-war. President Jefferson discovered that great nations at war are not moved by ideals of permanent self-interest, and that the rights and the friendship of little powers are not trump-cards.

Then the country entered into the War of 1812 at the inopportune moment when the snows of Russia were about to overwhelm Napoleon. In the war the Americans held a talisman which could sway even proud Albion: the victories of American cruisers, combined with the heroism of the privateers, convinced the English that, after all, David was a likely youth, whose sling might disturb the peace of the nations; and they agreed, in the Peace of Ghent, in 1814, to terms highly favorable to the United States. From that time down to the Civil War the United States had the respect of all European nations.

The War of 1812 seemed designed by Providence to teach the Americans that free institutions do not of themselves create trained soldiers or efficient officers. The field of land war was strewn with the dead reputations of commanding officers, and the nation underwent the deep humiliation of the destruction of the national capital, but the magnificent conduct of the American navy on the lakes and on the ocean showed what Americans could do in a disciplined service with men properly armed and supplied. Upon England especially the lesson that, ship against ship, the Americans were their equals as navigators and fighting-men158 was never lost. The naval victories, combined with the defeat of the British by Jackson in the closing days of the war, left on the minds of the Americans the impression of a second national success.—Prof. Albert Bushnell Hart, in National Ideals.

Oliver Hazard Perry, the hero of Lake Erie, inherited from his father a fearless, high-strung disposition, and early in life showed his longing for adventure. The elder Perry was a seaman from the time he could lift a handspike, and fought in the Revolutionary days, first as a privateersman on a Boston letter-of-marque, and afterward as a volunteer on board the frigate Trumbull and the sloop-of-war Mifflin. He was captured and imprisoned for eight long months in the famous Jersey prison-ship, where he succeeded in braving the dangers of disease, starvation, and hardship, and at last regained his liberty. Once more he became a privateersman, but ill-fortune followed him. He was captured in the English Channel, and confined for eighteen months in a British prison, whence he again escaped and made his way to the island of St. Thomas. From thence he sailed to Charleston, South Carolina, where he arrived about the time that peace was concluded. After that Perry found employment in the East Indian trade until 1798, when he was appointed to the command of the U.S.S. General Greene. He was the head of a large family, having married in 1783, the oldest of his children being Oliver Hazard. Of the four other sons, three of them also entered the navy and served with distinction.

Oliver Hazard as a boy was not physically strong; he grew tall at an early age, and his strength was not in keeping with his inches. Nevertheless, he declared himself positively in favor of taking up the sea as a profession, and in April of 1799, after his father had been in command of the General Greene for one year, to his delight young Perry received his midshipman’s warrant and joined the same ship.

The young midshipman made several cruises with his159 father to the West Indies; his health and strength increased with the life in the open air; he showed capacity and courage, and participated in the action that resulted in the reduction of Jacmel in connection with the land attack of the celebrated General Toussaint’s army. This was the last active service of the General Greene; she was sold and broken up, and upon the reduction of the navy in 1801 the elder Perry left the service. In 1803 his son returned from a cruise in the Mediterranean and was promoted to an acting lieutenancy.

In our naval history of this time the recurrence of various names, and the references made over and over again to the same actions and occurrences, are easily accountable when we think of the small number of vessels the United States possessed and the surprisingly few officers on the pay-rolls. The high feeling of esprit de corps that existed among them came from the fact that they each had a chance to prove their courage and fidelity. There was a high standard set for them to reach.

Oliver Hazard Perry went through the same school that, luckily for us, graduated so many fine officers and sailors—that of the Tripolitan war. After he returned to America, at the conclusion of peace with Tripoli, he served in various capacities along the coast, proving himself an efficient leader upon more than one occasion. The first service upon which the young officer was employed after the commencement of the war with England was taking charge of a flotilla of gunboats stationed at Newport.

As this service was neither arduous nor calculated to bring chances for active employment in the way of fighting, time hung on his hands, and Perry chafed greatly under his enforced retirement. At last he petitioned the government to place him in active service, stating plainly his desire to be attached to the naval forces that were then gathering under the command of Commodore Chauncey on the lakes. His request was granted, to his great joy, and he set out with all despatch.

160 It was at an early period of the war that the government had seen the immense importance of gaining the command of the western lakes, and in October of 1812 Commodore Chauncey had been ordered to take seven hundred seamen and one hundred and fifty marines and proceed by forced marches to Lake Ontario. There had been sent ahead of him a large number of ship-builders and carpenters, and great activity was displayed in building and outfitting a fleet which might give to the United States the possession of Lake Ontario. There was no great opposition made to the American arms by the British on this lake, but the unfortunate surrender of General Hull had placed the English in undisputed possession of Lake Erie.

In March, 1813, Captain Perry having been despatched to the port of Erie, arrived there to find a fleet of ten sail being prepared to take the waters against the British fleet under Commodore Barclay—an old and experienced leader, a hero of the days of Nelson and the Victory.

Before Perry’s arrival a brilliant little action had taken place in October of the previous year. Two British vessels, the Detroit and the Caledonia, came down the lake and anchored under the guns of the British Fort Erie on the Canadian side. At that time Lieutenant Elliott was superintending the naval affairs on Lake Erie, and, the news having been brought to him of the arrival of the English vessels on the opposite side, he immediately determined to make a night attack and cut them out. For a long time a body of seamen had been tramping their toilsome march from the Hudson River to the lakes, and Elliott, hearing that they were but some thirty miles away, despatched a messenger to hasten them forward; at the same time he began to prepare two small boats for the expedition. About twelve o’clock the wearied seamen, footsore and hungry, arrived, and then it was discovered that in the whole draft there were but twenty pistols, and no cutlasses, pikes, or battle-axes. But Elliott was not161 dismayed. Applying to General Smyth, who was in command of the regulars, for arms and assistance, he was supplied with a few muskets and pistols, and about fifty soldiers were detached to aid him.

Late in the afternoon Elliott had picked out his crews and manned the two boats, putting about fifty men in each; but he did not stir until one o’clock on the following morning, when in the pitch darkness he set out from the mouth of Buffalo Creek, with a long pull ahead. The wind was not strong enough to make good use of the sails, and the poor sailors were so weary that those who were not rowing lay sleeping, huddled together on their arms, and displaying great listlessness and little desire for fighting. At three o’clock Elliott was alongside the British vessels. It was a complete surprise; in ten minutes he had full possession of them and had secured the crews as prisoners. But after making every exertion to get under sail, he found to his bitter disappointment that the wind was unfortunately so light that the rapid current made them gather an increasing sternway every instant. Another unfortunate circumstance was that he would have to pass the British fort below and quite close to hand, for he was on the Canadian shore. As the vessels came in sight of the British battery, the latter opened a heavy fire of round and grape, and several pieces of flying artillery stationed in the woods took up the chorus.

The Caledonia, being a smaller vessel, succeeded in getting out of the current, and was beached in as safe a position as possible under one of the American batteries at Black Rock, across the river; but Elliott was compelled to drop his anchor at the distance of about four hundred yards from two of the British batteries. He was almost at their mercy, and in the extremity he tried the effect of a ruse, or, better, made a threat that we must believe he never intended carrying into effect.

Observing an officer standing on the top of an earthwork, he hailed him at the top of his voice:

162 “Heigh, there, Mr. John Bull! if you fire another gun at me I’ll bring up all my prisoners, and you can use them for targets!” he shouted.

The answer was the simultaneous discharge of all of the Englishman’s guns. But not a single prisoner was brought on deck to share the fate of the Americans, who felt the effect of the fire, and who now began to make strenuous efforts to return it. Elliott brought all of the guns on one side of his ship, and replied briskly, until he suddenly discovered that all of his ammunition was expended. Now there was but one chance left: to cut the cable, drift down the river out of the reach of the heavy batteries, and make a stand against the flying artillery with small arms. This was accordingly done, but as the sails were raised the fact was ascertained that the pilot had taken French leave. No one else knew the channel, and, swinging about, the vessel drifted astern for some ten minutes; then, fortunately striking a cross-current, she brought up on the shore of Squaw Island, near the American side. Elliott sent a boat to the mainland with the prisoners first. It experienced great difficulty in making the passage, being almost swamped once or twice, and it did not return. Affairs had reached a crisis, but with the aid of a smaller boat, and by the exercise of great care, the remainder of the prisoners and the crew succeeded in getting on shore at about eight o’clock in the morning. At about eleven o’clock a company of British regulars rowed over from the Canadian shore to Squaw Island and boarded the Detroit, their intention being to destroy her and burn up the munitions with which she was laden. Seeing their purpose, Major Cyrenus Chapin, a good Yankee from Massachusetts, called for volunteers to return to the island, and, despite the difficulties ahead, almost every man signified his willingness to go. Quickly making his selection, Major Chapin succeeded in landing with about thirty men at his back, and drove off the English before they had managed to start the flames. About three o’clock163 a second attempt was made, but it was easily repulsed.

The Detroit mounted six long six-pounders, and her crew numbered some sixty men. She was worth saving, but so badly was she grounded on the island that it was impossible to get her off, and, after taking her stores out, Elliott set her on fire to get rid of her. The little Caledonia was quite a valuable capture, aside from her armament, as she had on board a cargo of furs whose value has been estimated at one hundred and fifty thousand dollars.

But to return to the condition of affairs upon the arrival of Captain Perry. The fleet that in a few weeks he had under his command consisted of the brig Lawrence, of twenty guns, to which he attached his flag; the Niagara, of twenty guns, in command of Elliott; and the schooners Caledonia and Ariel, of three and four guns respectively. There were, besides, six smaller vessels, carrying from one to two guns each; in all, Perry’s fleet mounted fifty-five guns. The British fleet, under command of Barclay, consisted of the Detroit (named after the one that was wrecked), the Queen Charlotte, and the Lady Prevost. They mounted nineteen, seventeen, and thirteen guns, in the order named. The brig Hunter carried ten guns; the sloop Little Belt, three; and the schooner Chippeway, one gun; in all, Barclay had sixty-three guns, not counting several swivels—that is, more than eight guns to the good.

The morning of September 10th dawned fine and clear. Perry, with his fleet anchored about him, lay in the quiet waters of Put-in Bay. A light breeze was blowing from the south. Very early a number of sail were seen out on the lake beyond the point, and soon the strangers were discovered to be the British fleet. Everything depended now upon the speed with which the Americans could prepare for action. In twelve minutes every vessel was under way and sailing out to meet the on-comers; the Lawrence led the line. As the two fleets approached, the British164 concentrated the fire of their long and heavy guns upon her. She came on in silence; at her peak was flying a huge motto-flag—plain to view were the words of the brave commander of the Chesapeake, “Don’t give up the ship.”

The responsibility that rested upon the young commander’s shoulders was great; his position was most precarious. This was the first action between the fleets of the two hostile countries; it was a battle for the dominion of the lakes; defeat meant that the English could land at any time an expeditionary force at any point they chose along the shores of our natural northern barrier. The Lawrence had slipped quite a way ahead of the others, and Perry found that he would have to close, in order to return the English fire, as at the long distance he was surely being ripped to pieces.

Signalling the rest of the fleet to follow him, he made all sail and bore down upon the English; but, to quote from the account in the Naval Temple, printed in the year 1816, “Every brace and bowline of the Lawrence being shot away, she became unmanageable, notwithstanding the great exertion of the sailing-master. In this situation she sustained the action within canister distance upward of two hours, until every gun was rendered useless and the greater part of her crew either killed or wounded.”

It is easy to imagine the feelings of Perry at this moment. The smaller vessels of his fleet had not come within firing distance; there was absolutely nothing for him to do on board the flag-ship except to lower his flag. Yet there was one forlorn-hope that occurred to the young commander, and without hesitation he called away the only boat capable of floating; taking his flag, he quitted the Lawrence and rowed off for the Niagara. The most wonderful accounts of hair-breadth escapes could not equal that of Perry upon this occasion. Why his boat was not swamped, or its crew and commander killed,165 cannot be explained. Three of the British ships fired broadsides at him at pistol-shot distance as he passed by them in succession; and, although the water boiled about him, and the balls whistled but a few inches overhead, he reached the Niagara in safety.


In this diagram and the following, A is the British squadron, and its vessels are designated by Roman numerals: I, Chippeway; II, Detroit; III, Hunter; IV, Queen Charlotte; V, Lady Prevost; VI, Little Belt. B is the American squadron, and the vessels are designated by Arabic numerals: 1, Scorpion; 2, Ariel; 3, Lawrence; 4, Caledonia; 5, Niagara; 6, Somers; 7, Porcupine; 8, Tigress; 9, Trippe.

The diagrams were furnished to Benson J. Lossing by Commodore Stephen Champlin, of the United States Navy, the commander of the Scorpion in the battle.

There are but a few parallel cases to this, of a commander leaving one ship and transferring his flag to another in the heat of action.

The Duke of York upon one occasion shifted his flag, in the battle of Solebay; and in the battle of Texel, fought on August 11, 1673, the English Admiral Sprague shifted his flag from the Royal Prince to the St. George; and the Dutch Admiral Van Tromp shifted his flag from the Golden Lion to the Comet, owing to the former vessel being practically destroyed by a concentrated fire. This does not detract from the gallantry of Perry’s achievement. The danger he faced was great, and he was probably closer to the enemy’s vessels than any of the commanders above mentioned.


Perry’s younger brother, who was but a midshipman, was one of the seven other men in the boat. They left166 on board the Lawrence not above a half-score of able-bodied men to look after the numerous wounded. Owing to the opinions of many of the contemporary writers, who gave way to an intense feeling of partisanship, some bitterness was occasioned and sides were taken in regard to the actions of Master Commandant Elliott and his superior officer; but, looking back at it from this day, we can see little reason for any feeling of jealousy. It is hard to point the finger at any one on the American side in this action and say that he did not do his duty. As Perry reached the side of the Niagara the wind died away until it was almost calm; the smaller vessels, the sloops and schooners—the Somers, the Scorpion, the Tigress, the Ohio, and the Porcupine—were seen to be well astern. Upon Perry setting foot on deck, Elliott congratulated him upon the way he had left his ship, and volunteered to bring up the boats to windward, if he could be spared. Upon receiving permission, he jumped into the boat in which Perry had rowed from the Lawrence and set out to bring up all the forces. Every effort was made to form a front of battle, and the little gunboats, urged on by sweeps and oars, were soon engaged in a race for glory. In the mean time, however, the English had slackened their fire as they saw the big flag lowered from the Lawrence’s mast-head; they supposed that the latter had struck, and set up a tremendous cheering. This was hushed as they caught sight of the flash of oars and realized what was167 going forward. In a few minutes, out of the thick smoke came the Niagara, breaking their line and firing her broadsides with such good execution that great confusion followed throughout the fleet. Two of their larger brigs, the Queen Charlotte and Detroit, ran afoul of each other, and the Niagara, giving signal for close action, ran across the bow of one ship and the stern of the other, raking them both with fearful effect; then, squaring away and running astern of the Lady Prevost, she got in another raking fire, and, sheering off, made for the Hunter. Now the little one-gun and two-gun vessels of the American fleet were giving good accounts of themselves.

From a painting by Carlton T. Chapman


Although their crews were exposed to full view and stood waist-high above the bulwarks, they did no dodging; their shots were well directed, and they raked the Englishmen fore and aft, carrying away all the masts of the Detroit and the mizzen-mast of the Queen Charlotte.

A few minutes after 3 P.M. a white flag at the end of a boarding-pike was lifted above the bulwarks of the Hunter. At sight of this the Chippeway and Little Belt crowded all sail and tried to escape, but in less than a quarter of an hour they were captured and brought back by the Trippe and Scorpion, under the commands of Lieutenant Thomas Holdup and Sailing-Master Stephen Champlin. With a ringing cheer the word went through the line that the British had surrendered. The sovereignty of Lake Erie belonged to America. The question of supremacy was settled.

The events of the day had been most dramatic. This fight amid the wooded shores and extending arms of the bay was viewed from shore by hundreds of anxious Americans. The bright sunlight and calm surface of the lake, the enshrouding fog of smoke that from shore hid all but the spurts of flame and the topmasts and occasionally the flags of the vessels engaged, all had combined to make a drama of the most exciting and awe-inspiring interest. Nor was the last act to be a letting-down. Perry determined168 to receive the surrender of the defeated enemy nowhere else but on the deck of his old flag-ship that was slowly drifting up into the now intermingled fleets.


Once more he lowered his broad pennant and rowed out for the crippled Lawrence. He was received on board with three feeble cheers, the wounded joining in, and a number of men crawling up from the slaughter-pen of a cockpit, begrimed and bloody.

On board the Lawrence there had been left but one surgeon, Usher Parsons. He came on deck red to the elbows from his work below, and the terrible execution done by the concentrated English fire was evident to the English officers as they stepped on board the flag-ship. Dead men lay everywhere. A whole gun’s crew were littered about alongside of their wrecked piece. From below came the mournful howling of a dog. The cockpit had been above the water’s surface, owing to the Lawrence’s shallow draught, and here was a frightful sight. The wounded had been killed outright or wounded again as they lay on the surgeon’s table. Twice had Perry called away the surgeon’s aids to help work ship, and once his hail of “Can any wounded men below there pull a rope?” was answered by three or four brave, mangled fellows crawling up on deck to try to do their duty. All this was apparent to the English officers as they stepped over the bodies of the dead and went aft to where Perry stood with his arms folded, no vainglorious expression on his169 face, but one of sadness for the deeds that had been done that day. Each of the English officers in turn presented his sword, and in reply Perry bowed and requested that the side-arms should be retained. As soon as the formalities had been gone through with, Perry tore off the back of an old letter he took from his pocket, and, using his stiff hat for a writing-desk, scribbled the historic message which a detractor has charged he cribbed from Julius Caesar: “We have met the enemy and they are ours:—two ships, two brigs, one schooner, and one sloop.”

Calling away a small boat, he sent Midshipman Forrest with the report to Gen. William Henry Harrison.

A computation has been made by one historian of the number of guns directed against the Lawrence in the early part of the action. The English had heavier armaments and more long guns; they could fight at a distance where the chubby carronade was useless. The Lawrence had but seven guns whose shots could reach her opponents, while the British poured into her the concentrated fire of thirty-two. This accounts for the frightful carnage.


When the Lawrence was being shot through and through, and there were but three guns that could reply to the enemy’s fire, Lieutenant Yarnell, disfigured by a bad wound across his face from a splinter, came up to where Perry was standing. “The officers of my division have all been cut down,” he said. “Can I have others?” Perry looked about him and sent three of his aid to help Yarnell, but in less than a quarter of an hour the lieutenant170 returned again. His words were almost the same as before, but he had a fresh wound in his shoulder. “Those officers,” he said, “have been cut down also.”

“There are no more,” Perry replied. “Do your best without them.”

Three times was Yarnell wounded, and three times after his wounds had been hurriedly dressed he returned to his post.

Dulany Forrest, the midshipman whom Perry sent with the despatch to General Harrison, had a most remarkable escape. He was a brave lad who had faced death before; he had seen the splinters fly in the action between the Constitution and the Java. Forrest was standing close to Captain Perry when a grape-shot that had glanced from the side of a port struck the mast, and, again deflected, caught the midshipman in the chest. He fell, gasping, at Perry’s feet.

“Are you badly hurt, lad?” asked the latter, anxiously, as he raised the midshipman on his knee.

“No, sir; not much,” the latter answered, as he caught his breath. “But this is my shot, I think.” And with that he extracted the half-spent ball from his clothing and slipped it into his pocket.

Midshipman Henry Laub was killed in the cockpit just after having had a dressing applied to his shattered right arm. A Narragansett Indian who served as a gunner in the forward division of the Lawrence was killed in the same manner.

A summary of the losses on both sides shows that, despite the death-list of the Lawrence, the English loss was more severe. On board the American flag-ship, twenty-two were killed and sixty-one were wounded; on board the Niagara, two killed and twenty-five wounded; the Ariel had one killed and three wounded; the Scorpion, two killed; the Caledonia, three wounded; and the Somers and Trippe each showed but two wounded men apiece. In all, twenty-seven were killed and ninety-six171 wounded on the American side. The comparison of the loss of the rest of the fleet and that suffered by the Lawrence makes a remarkable showing. The English lost forty-one killed and ninety-four wounded altogether. A number of Canadian Indians were found on board the English vessels. They had been engaged as marksmen, but the first shot had taken all the fight out of them, and they had hidden and skulked for safety.

Perry’s treatment of the prisoners was magnanimous. Everything that would tend to relieve the sufferings of the wounded was done, and relief was distributed impartially among the sufferers on both sides. The result of this action was a restoration of practical peace along the frontier of the lake. The British evacuated Detroit and Michigan, and the dreaded invasion of the Indians that the settlers had feared so long was headed off.

Perry, who held but a commission of master commandant, despite his high-acting rank, was promoted at once to a captaincy, the date of his commission bearing the date of his victory. He was given the command of the frigate Java, a new forty-four-gun ship then fitting out at Baltimore. Gold medals were awarded to him and to Elliott by Congress, and silver medals to each of the commissioned officers. A silver medal also was given to the nearest male relative of Lieutenant Brooks, of the marines, and swords to the nearest male relatives of Midshipmen Laub, Claxton, and Clark. Three months’ extra pay was voted to all the officers, seamen, and marines, and, in addition, Congress gave $225,000 in prize-money, to be divided among the American forces engaged in the action. This sum was distributed in the following proportions: Commodore Chauncey, who was in command on the lakes, $12,750; Perry and Elliott, $7140 each—besides which Congress voted Perry an additional $5000; the commanders of gunboats, lieutenants, sailing-masters, and lieutenants of marines received $2295 each; midshipmen, $811; petty officers, $447 per capita; and marines and sailors, $209 apiece.

172 No money, however, could repay the brave men for the service they had rendered the country. To-day the dwellers along the shores of Lake Erie preserve the anniversary of the battle as an occasion for rejoicing. While the naval actions at sea reflected honor and glory to their commanders and credit to the service, the winning of Lake Erie averted a national catastrophe.99



The first Thomas Macdonough was a major in the Continental Army, and his three sons also possessed desires for entering the service of their country. The oldest had been a midshipman under Commodore Truxton, but, being wounded in the action between the Constellation and the L’Insurgente, he had to retire from the navy owing to the amputation of his leg. But his younger brother, Thomas Macdonough, Jr., succeeded him, and he has rendered his name and that of Lake Champlain inseparable; but his fearlessness and bravery were shown on many occasions long before he was ordered to the lakes.

In 1806 he was first-lieutenant of the Siren, a little sloop-of-war in the Mediterranean service. On one occasion when Captain Smith, the commander of the Siren, had gone on shore, young Lieutenant Macdonough saw a boat from a British frigate lying in the harbor row up to an American brig a short distance off, and afterward put out again with one more man in her than she had originally. This looked suspicious, and Macdonough sent to the brig to ascertain the reason, with the result that he found that an American had been impressed by the English captain’s orders. Macdonough quietly lowered his own boat and put after the heavy cutter, which he soon overhauled. Although he had but four men with him, he took the man out of the cutter and brought him on board the Siren. When the English captain heard, or rather saw, what had occurred—it was right under the bow of his174 frigate that the affair took place—he waxed wroth, and, calling away his gig, he rowed to the Siren to demand an explanation.

The following account of the incident is quoted from the life of Macdonough in Frost’s Naval Biography:

“The Englishman desired to know how Macdonough dared to take a man from one of his Majesty’s boats. The lieutenant, with great politeness, asked him down into the cabin; this he refused, at the same time repeating the same demand, with abundance of threats. The Englishman threw out some threats that he would take the man by force, and said he would haul the frigate alongside the Siren for that purpose. To this Macdonough replied that he supposed his ship could sink the Siren, but as long as she could swim he should keep the man. The English captain said to Macdonough:

“‘You are a very young man, and a very indiscreet young man. Suppose I had been in the boat—what would you have done?’

“‘I would have taken the man or lost my life.’

“‘What, sir! would you attempt to stop me, if I were now to attempt to impress men from that brig?’

“‘I would; and to convince yourself I would, you have only to make the attempt.’

“On this the Englishman went on board his ship, and shortly afterward was seen bearing down in the direction of the American vessel. Macdonough ordered his boat manned and armed, got into her himself, and was in readiness for pursuit. The Englishman took a circuit around the American brig, and returned again to the frigate. When Captain Smith came on board he justified the conduct of Macdonough, and declared his intention to protect the American seaman.”

Although Macdonough was very young, and his rank but that of a lieutenant, people who knew him were not surprised to hear that he had been appointed to take command of the little squadron on Lake Champlain. These175 vessels were built of green pine, and almost without exception constructed in a hurried fashion. They had to be of light draught, and yet, odd to relate, their general model was the same as that of ships that were expected to meet storms and high seas.

Macdonough was just the man for the place; as in the case of Perry, he had a superb self-reliance and was eager to meet the enemy.

Lake Champlain and the country that surrounds it were considered of great importance by the English, and, descending from Canada, large bodies of troops poured into New York State. But the American government had, long before the war was fairly started, recognized the advantage of keeping the water communications on the northern frontier. The English began to build vessels on the upper part of the lake, and the small force of ships belonging to the Americans was increased as fast as possible. It was a race to see which could prepare the better fleet in the shorter space of time.

In the fall of the year 1814 the English had one fairly sized frigate, the Confiance, mounting thirty-nine guns; a brig, the Linnet; a sloop, Chubb, and the sloop Finch; besides which they possessed thirteen large galleys, aggregating eighteen guns. In all, therefore, the English fleet mounted ninety-five guns. The Americans had the Saratoga, sloop of war, twenty-six guns; the Eagle, twenty; the Ticonderoga, seventeen; the Preble, seven; and ten galleys carrying sixteen; their total armament was nine guns less than the British.

By the first week in September Sir George Prevost had organized his forces and started at the head of fourteen thousand men to the southward. It was his intention to dislodge General Macomb, who was stationed at Plattsburg, where considerable fortifications had been erected. A great deal of the militia force had been drawn down the State to the city of New York, owing to the fears then entertained that the British intended making an attack176 upon the city from their fleet. It was Sir George’s plan to destroy forever the power of the Americans upon the lake, and for that reason it was necessary to capture the naval force which had been for some time under the command of Macdonough. The English leader arranged a plan with Captain Downie, who was at the head of the squadron, that simultaneous attacks should be made by water and land. At eight o’clock on the morning of September 11th news was brought to Lieutenant Macdonough that the enemy was approaching. As his own vessels were in a good position to repel an attack, he decided to remain at anchor and await the onslaught in a line formation. In about an hour the enemy had come within gunshot distance, and formed a line of his own parallel with that of the Americans. There was little or no breeze, and consequently small chance for manœuvring. The Confiance evidently claimed the honor of exchanging broadsides with the Saratoga. The Linnet stopped opposite the Eagle, and the galleys rowed in and began to fire at the Ticonderoga and the Preble.


Macdonough wrote such a clear and concise account of the action that it is best to quote from it:

“... The whole force on both sides became engaged, the Saratoga suffering much from the heavy fire of the Confiance. I could perceive at the same time, however, that our fire was very destructive to her. The Ticonderoga, Lieutenant-Commandant Cassin, gallantly sustained her full share of the action. At half-past ten the Eagle, not being able to bring her guns to bear, cut her cable, and anchored in a more eligible position, between my ship and the Ticonderoga, where she very much annoyed the enemy, but unfortunately leaving me exposed to a galling fire from the enemy’s brig.

“Our guns on the starboard side being nearly all dismounted or unmanageable, a stern-anchor was let go, the bower-cable cut, and the ship winded with a fresh broadside on the enemy’s ship, which soon after surrendered.177 Our broadside was then sprung to bear on the brig, which struck about fifteen minutes afterward. The sloop which was opposed to the Eagle had struck some time before, and drifted down the line. The sloop which was with their galleys had also struck. Three of their galleys are said to be sunk; the others pulled off. Our galleys were about obeying with alacrity the signal to follow them, when all the vessels were reported to me to be in a sinking state. It then became necessary to annul the signal to the galleys and order their men to the pumps. I could only look at the enemy’s galleys going off in a shattered condition, for there was not a mast in either squadron that could stand178 to make sail on. The lower rigging, being nearly all shot away, hung down as though it had just been placed over the mast-heads.

“The Saratoga had fifty-nine round shot in her hull; the Confiance one hundred and five. The enemy’s shot passed principally just over our heads, as there were not twenty whole hammocks in the nettings at the close of the action, which lasted, without intermission, two hours and twenty minutes.

“The absence and sickness of Lieutenant Raymond Perry left me without the assistance of that able officer. Much ought fairly to be attributed to him for his great care and attention in disciplining the ship’s crew as her first-lieutenant. His place was filled by a gallant young officer, Lieutenant Peter Gamble, who, I regret to inform you, was killed early in the action.”

The English had begun the action as if they never doubted the result being to their advantage, and, before taking up their positions in the line parallel to Macdonough’s, Downie had sailed upon the waiting fleet bows on; thus most of his vessels had been severely raked before they were able to return the fire. As soon as Sir George Prevost saw the results of the action out on the water, he gave up all idea of conquest, and began the retreat that left New York free to breathe again. The frontier was saved. The hills and the shores of the lake had been crowded with multitudes of farmers, and the two armies encamped on shore had stopped their own preparations and fighting to watch.

Sir George Prevost had bombarded the American forts from the opposite side of the River Saranac, and a brigade endeavored to ford the river with the intention of attacking the rear of General Macomb’s position. However, they got lost in the woods, and were recalled by a mounted messenger just in time to hear the cheers and shouts of victory arise from all about them.

In the battle the Saratoga had twenty-eight men killed179 and twenty-nine wounded, more than a quarter of her entire crew; the Eagle lost thirteen killed and twenty wounded; the Ticonderoga, six killed and six wounded; the Preble, two killed; and the galleys, three killed and three wounded. The Saratoga was hulled fifty-five times, and had caught on fire twice from the hot shot fired by the Confiance. The latter vessel was reported to have lost forty-one killed outright and eighty-three wounded. In all, the British loss was eighty-four killed and one hundred and ten wounded.

Macdonough received substantial testimonials of gratitude from the country at large, the Legislature of New York giving him one thousand acres of land, and the State of Vermont two hundred. Besides this, the corporations of Albany and New York City made him the present of a valuable lot, and from his old command in the Mediterranean he received a handsome presentation sword.100

MEXICO, 1846–1847

1814. General Jackson seizes Pensacola. The Hartford Convention. Treaty of Ghent between Great Britain and the United States terminates the war.

1815. Before the news of peace reached this country General Jackson repulses the British attack on New Orleans,180 defeating in a bloody battle veterans who had fought against Napoleon. Escape of Napoleon from Elba. The “Hundred Days.” Battle of Waterloo. Second abdication of Napoleon, who is sent to St. Helena. Commodore Decatur imposes terms upon the Dey of Algiers, and exacts reparation from Tunis and Tripoli.

1816. James Monroe elected President. Indiana admitted into the Union.

1817. Admission of Mississippi into the Union.

1818. Beginning of the Seminole War. Illinois admitted into the Union. Act passed establishing the flag of the United States. General Jackson captures Spanish fort, St. Mark’s, Florida.

1819. Treaty between the United States and Spain for the cession of Florida (formal possession given in 1821). Admission of Alabama into the Union.

1820. Admission of Maine into the Union. Adoption of the Missouri Compromise, 1820, 1821. James Monroe re-elected President.

1822. Establishment of the colony of Liberia. The President recommends recognition of the independence of the South American States and Mexico.

1823. The President announces the “Monroe Doctrine.”

1824. John Quincy Adams elected President.

1825. Corner-stone of Bunker Hill monument laid in presence of Lafayette.

1827. Parry’s expedition to the Arctic circle, latitude 82° 45´.

1828. Andrew Jackson elected President.

181 1829. First locomotive tried in the United States, at Honesdale, Pa.

1830. The Webster-Hayne debate in Congress. Establishment of the Mormon Church.

1831. William Lloyd Garrison begins the publication of the Liberator in Boston.

1832. Black Hawk War. Defeat of the Sacs and the Foxes. Nullification movement in South Carolina. Andrew Jackson re-elected President.

1833. Henry Clay’s tariff compromise. President Jackson removes the public funds from the Bank of the United States. Formation of the American Anti-Slavery Society.

1834. Act of Congress for the formation of Indian Territory.

1835. Outbreak of the Second Seminole War. Revolution in Texas against Mexican authority. Great fire in New York.

1836. Admission of Arkansas into the Union. Martin Van Buren elected President. Storming of the Alamo by Santa Anna. Houston defeats the Mexicans on the San Jacinto. The republic of Texas proclaimed.

1837. Admission of Michigan into the Union. Financial panic throughout the United States.

1838. Inauguration of transatlantic steam navigation.

1839. Dissolution of the Confederacy of Central America.

1840. William Henry Harrison elected President.

1841. John Tyler succeeds to the Presidency after the death of President Harrison.

1842. Final termination of the Seminole War. The Ashburton Treaty between Great Britain and the United States for the settlement of the Northeastern boundary line concluded. Dorr’s Rebellion in Rhode Island.

1844. James K. Polk elected President. Invention of the electric telegraph.

1845. Admission of Florida and Texas into the Union.

1846. Admission of Iowa into the Union. War begins between the United States and Mexico. The Mexicans182 defeated at Palo Alto and Resaca de la Palma. Surrender of Monterey. Occupation of California and New Mexico by the American forces. Treaty between Great Britain and the United States for the settlement of the Northwestern boundary-line dispute. Discovery of anæsthetics by Doctor Norton.

1847. General Taylor defeats Santa Anna at Buena Vista. Occupation of Vera Cruz. American victories at Pueblo, Contreras, and Churubusco. Storming of Molino del Rey. Storming of Chapultepec and occupation of the City of Mexico.




Upon the annexation of Texas (in 1845) Mexico at once severed her diplomatic relations with the United States. This result had been foreshadowed by the utterances of Mexican officials dating from the revival of the question in 1843. The relations, however, of the two countries had been difficult to adjust from the time when Mexico became independent in 1821. The most serious friction between them arose concerning four subjects: claims of the United States citizens on the government of Mexico; assistance given the Texans by the people of the United States; violation of Mexican territory by United States troops; and the annexation of Texas.

* * * * *

The immediate occasion, however, of the breach of diplomatic relations in 1845 was the annexation of Texas. When rumors of the renewal of the annexation movement came to the city of Mexico in the summer of 1843, President Santa Anna gave notice to the United States government, in a letter dated August 23d, from Secretary of State Bocanegra to Minister Waddy Thompson, that “the Mexican government will consider equivalent to a declaration of war against the Mexican Republic the passage of an act for the incorporation of Texas with the territory of the United States; the certainty of the fact184 being sufficient for the immediate proclamation of war, leaving to the civilized world to determine with regard to the justice of the cause of the Mexican Nation, in a struggle which it has been so far from provoking.”101

Thompson replied immediately with a sharply resentful letter, questioning the sources of information of the Mexican authorities as to the prospect of annexation, but refusing any explanation whatever. Another letter from Bocanegra to Thompson asserted that the advices of the Mexican government on the subject were official and reliable, and sought to justify the attitude of Mexico as follows: “but as it may happen that ambition and delusion may prevail over public propriety, that personal views may triumph over sane and just ideas, and that the vigorous reasoning of Mr. John Quincy Adams and his co-laborers may be ineffectual, how can it be considered strange and out of the way that Mexico, under such a supposition, should announce that she will regard the annexation of Texas as an act of declaration of war?”102 Secretary of State Upshur approved the course of Thompson, and instructed him that, in case he were again addressed in such offensive language, he should demand either a withdrawal of the letter or a suitable apology.

On November 3, 1843, Almonte, the Mexican minister at Washington, in accordance with the instructions of his government, notified Upshur, in a communication whose terms were hardly less offensive than those used by Bocanegra to Thompson, that if “the United States should, in defiance of good faith and of the principles of justice which they have constantly proclaimed, commit the unheard-of act of violence (inaudito atentado—the expression [says the official translator] is much stronger than the translation) of appropriating to themselves an integrant part of the Mexican territory, the undersigned, in the185 name of his Nation, and now for them, protests, in the most solemn manner, against such an aggression; and he moreover declares, by express order of his Government, that, on sanction being given by the Executive of the Union to the incorporation of Texas into the United States, he will consider his mission ended, seeing that, as the Secretary of State will have learned, the Mexican Government is resolved to declare war so soon as it receives information of such an act.” On November 8th Upshur replied, in a restrained and dignified way, repelling both the threats and insinuations of Almonte’s letter and intimating that the policy of the United States would not be affected by them.103 To this Almonte rejoined, on the 11th, suggesting that Upshur had been misled by an incorrect translation of the letter of November 3d, and disclaiming any intention to impute to the authorities of the American Union unworthy views or designs as to Texas. December 1, 1843, Upshur replied, denying that he had misunderstood Almonte, and declaring that the United States regarded Texas as an independent nation and did not feel called on to consult any other nation in dealing with it.104

On the accomplishment of annexation, the threat of Almonte was carried out. The joint resolution making the offer was approved March 1, 1845, and on March 6th he demanded his passports. March 28th the United States minister in Mexico was officially notified that the diplomatic intercourse between the two countries was at an end.105 The expressions of the Mexican papers indicated the most intense popular excitement in that country, and those of the government treated the war as already existing.106 Two decrees were passed by the Mexican congress and approved by President Herrera, one on June 4th and186 the other on June 7th, providing for an increase of the available force in order to resist annexation.107 July 20th the “supreme government,” or executive, recommended to the congress a declaration of war against the United States from the moment when the government should know that annexation had been effected or Texas had been invaded.

There can be little question, indeed, that impatience on both sides had gone beyond the point of safety and was threatening appeal to arms. No theory of a conspiracy is needed to explain the war with Mexico. While it was strongly opposed and condemned by a bold and outspoken minority, the votes in Congress and the utterances of the contemporaneous journals show that it was essentially a popular movement, both in Mexico and in the United States. The disagreement reached the verge of an outbreak in 1837, and the only thing that prevented a conflict then was that Congress was a bit more conservative than the President; but neither the aggressiveness of Jackson nor even that of Polk would have been so likely to end in actual fighting had it not been well understood that they were backed by sympathetic majorities. On the Mexican side, at the critical moment, the pacific tendencies of the executive were overpowered by the angry impulse of the people.

May 28, 1845, General Taylor, who was in command of the troops in the Southwest, was ordered, in view of the prospect of annexation, to hold himself in readiness to advance into Texas with the approval of the Texan authorities, and to defend that republic from any invasion of which he should be officially informed after Texas had consented to annexation on the terms offered. June 15th he was ordered to advance, with the western frontier of Texas for his ultimate destination. There he was to occupy a convenient point “on or near the Rio Grande,”187 but to limit himself to the defence of the territory of Texas unless Mexico should declare war against the United States. He was subsequently directed to protect the territory up to the Rio Grande, avoiding, however, except in case of an outbreak of hostilities, any attack on posts actually held by Mexicans, but placing at least a part of his forces west of the Nueces.108 In July, General Taylor advanced into Texas, and in August he established his camp on the west bank of the Nueces, near Corpus Christi.109 The spot which he selected could hardly be considered as “near” the Rio Grande, being, in fact, about one hundred and fifty miles therefrom. The location was chosen because of its convenience as a temporary base either for defensive or offensive operations.

The army remained in camp near Corpus Christi several months. The information Taylor obtained here and reported to Washington indicated no threatening movement on the part of the Mexicans; but on October 4th he suggested that, if the United States government meant to insist on the Rio Grande as the boundary, it would gain an advantage by occupying points on that river. He therefore suggested an advance to Point Isabel and Laredo.110 Meanwhile had come the attempt to renew diplomatic relations between the United States and Mexico, which ended in failure. January 13, 1846, when it was known in Washington that Slidell would probably not be received by the Mexican government, Taylor was ordered to advance to the Rio Grande.111

Up to the time of this movement the Mexican government had neglected the distinction in the validity of its claims to the territory east of the Rio Grande. It strenuously188 asserted the right of Mexico to the whole of Texas, whatever its limits might be, and declared that annexation would be tantamount to a declaration of war. From the Mexican point of view, Taylor invaded Mexico the moment he entered Texas. But when he advanced to the Rio Grande the distinction was finally made. April 12, 1846, he was warned by Ampudia, general in command of the Mexican forces at Matamoras, to retire in twenty-four hours—not beyond the Sabine, as one might have expected from the previous attitude of the Mexican government, but beyond the Nueces.112

A few days later occurred the first conflict. April 24th a party of dragoons sent out by Taylor was ambushed on the east side of the river by a large force of Mexicans, and after a skirmish, in which a number of men were killed and wounded, was captured.113 The official report of this affair reached Washington the evening of Saturday, May 9th.114 President Polk had already decided, in conformity with the judgment of all his cabinet except Bancroft, to send to Congress a message recommending a declaration of war. Now, in formulating the reasons for the declaration, he asserted that “Mexico has passed the boundary of the United States, has invaded our territory, and shed American blood upon the American soil,”115 and with the unanimous concurrence of his cabinet he sent the message to Congress, Monday, May 11th.

On the same day a bill providing for the enlistment of fifty thousand soldiers and the appropriation of ten million dollars, the preamble to which re-echoed the President’s assertion that war existed by the act of Mexico itself, passed the House by a vote of 174 to 14.116



It was only after Polk felt assured of the refusal to receive Slidell117 that he assumed an attitude so aggressive as clearly to challenge war; and from that time forward it seems to have been his desire to carry the struggle just far enough to bring Mexico to the point of conceding a territorial indemnity on the terms which he had intended to offer through Slidell. In accordance with this policy he suggested, while the question of Slidell’s reception by the Paredes government was yet in suspense, that Slidell should be directed to go on board a United States vessel and wait for further instructions.118 The object of this plan was evidently to be able to resume negotiations, as soon as Mexico had felt the pressure sufficiently, without the delays incident to a correspondence between the two capitals. The same considerations influenced, at a later stage of the war, the appointment of Trist.119 To this method of pushing on the conflict, with the sword in one hand and the olive-branch in the other, Polk applied the peculiar designation of “conquering a peace.”

After the declaration of war by Congress, May 12, 1846, General Scott, the commander-in-chief of the United States Army, was appointed to command directly the forces that were to operate against Mexico. According to a plan of operations which appears to have originated with President Polk himself, but which was concurred in by Secretary of War Marcy and by General Scott, New Mexico and California, which Polk intended to claim by way of indemnity, and Chihuahua, were to be occupied and held;190 the United States forces were to be pushed toward the heart of Mexico in order to force the Mexicans to terms; and the naval forces in the Gulf and the Pacific were assigned specific duties in connection with the general scheme.120

The plan was in keeping with the main purpose of the war, and was, on the whole, well adapted to insure success. The northern provinces were far distant from the city of Mexico; the hold of the central government upon them was but slight; and, even if its available forces had been sufficiently strong and effective to send the troops needed to resist invasion, the difficulties of transportation would have been hard to overcome. Of course, similar difficulties were experienced in throwing the United States troops into the interior of northern Mexico; but such operations were far easier for a strong government with abundant resources than for one so ill established and so lacking in means as that of Herrera or Paredes. The population of the north Mexican provinces was sparse and unenergetic, and could not be relied on for its defence; the local governments were weak and inefficient; and in 1846 that of California was disastrously affected by dissensions between two rival leaders, José Castro and Pio Pico, representing respectively the northern district and the southern.121 It was in the northern district, in the lower valley of the Sacramento River and near the bay of San Francisco, that the foreign population, including the Americans, was most numerous.

The plan for a campaign directed at the city of Mexico was gradually developed as the war went on. The impression of Polk and his advisers at first was that a vigorous invasion of Mexico would end the war, without the necessity of pushing it far into the interior; and, since operations on the coast in the summer were so dangerous, the attack was made first in the north. The resistance191 of the Mexicans was, however, more desperate and prolonged than was expected, and ultimately the change was made to the shorter and more direct line of advance by way of Vera Cruz.


192 The occupation of New Mexico and California was accomplished speedily and with little resistance. General Kearny occupied New Mexico in the summer of 1846, and the occupation of California under Commodore R. F. Stockton was completed by January, 1847. The first expeditions against Mexico from the north under Wool and Doniphan were inconclusive.

The army which was most depended on to force Mexico to terms was that operating in the east. The campaign in this quarter began with an advance from Matamoras through Tamaulipas and Nuevo León into Coahuila. But as it progressed the plan was gradually assimilated, so far as these states were concerned, to that which had been followed in dealing with California and New Mexico, and became one of simple occupation; while the attack was shifted to the south, and the final advance was made from Vera Cruz direct on the city of Mexico.

In the prosecution of the war, in this part especially, the administration was much hampered by the character and conduct of the generals on whom the detailed development and execution of the plan devolved. The friction thus arising was increased by mutual suspicions of political motives between President Polk, certain members of his cabinet, and the generals themselves.

* * * * *

In this war the United States troops, though always outnumbered—in some cases heavily—and usually with the advantage of position against them, enjoyed such superiority both in morale and in matériel that they were almost uniformly victorious. Their victories, however, were by no means easy; on the contrary, they were obtained only at the cost of no little bloody fighting and of great loss of men. And, as is not unusual in like emergencies, there was much complaint of the extravagance and inefficiency of the quartermaster’s department.122

193 The attack on Mexico began with the advance of Taylor’s army. Two battles, Palo Alto, on May 8, 1846, and Resaca de la Palma, on the following day, were required to drive the Mexicans across the Rio Grande. Taylor then advanced from Matamoras through Tamaulipas into Nuevo León, and, after defeating the Mexicans in a three days’ battle, September 21–23, at Monterey, the capital of Nuevo León, he captured that city. Saltillo, the capital of Coahuila, was occupied by the United States troops on November 16th, and Victoria, the capital of Tamaulipas, December 29th.

TAYLOR’S MARCH 1846–1847

It had long before this become a most important question whether the campaign should be confined to the occupation and cutting-off of northern Mexico, or whether the army should be pushed on toward the city of Mexico. Taylor recommended the first of these two plans; but when asked his advice as to what should be done further, and especially whether an expedition should be aimed at the city of Mexico from near Vera Cruz, he had been hesitating and non-committal in his answer.123 Orders issued direct from Washington, September 22, 1846, in194 connection with the scheme before it was fully developed, to General Patterson, one of Taylor’s subordinates, drew from Taylor himself a resentful protest.124 Finally the plan of capturing Vera Cruz and marching thence upon the city of Mexico was adopted by Polk and his cabinet, with a little objection from Buchanan as to advancing beyond Vera Cruz,125 and Scott was elected to lead the expedition. Soon after his appointment, he left Washington, and about the end of December he reached Matamoras and began to make preparations for the attack on Vera Cruz. Part of Taylor’s men were drawn away for the southern campaign, and renewed complaints from him were added to the general chorus of discord and dissatisfaction.126

Information of the shifting of the attack to the south reached Santa Anna through intercepted despatches, and he at once conceived the project of a counter-stroke. Advancing northward with an army of more than twenty thousand men, he came upon Taylor February 23, 1847, with only about one-fourth that number at Buena Vista, a few miles south of Saltillo. The American troops gained a brilliant victory,127 and with this the serious work of the “army of occupation” was at an end.

(From a print of the time)

Attention was now centred on the southern campaign. During the month of February, 1847, Scott’s troops were conveyed by sea from Brazos Santiago and concentrated on the island of Lobos, about sixty miles south of Tampico. On March 9th a landing was made without opposition near Vera Cruz. With the co-operation of the naval forces under Commodore Conner the city was invested, and,195 after a brief siege culminating in a sharp bombardment, was captured, March 29, 1847.128


Next in order was the advance upon the city of Mexico, which began April 8th. The first resistance was met at Cerro Gordo, where, on April 17th and 18th, Scott’s army of not more than nine thousand drove thirteen thousand Mexicans, in disastrous defeat, from a naturally strong and well-fortified position. Finally there was a series of battles near the city of Mexico, which culminated in its capture, and which will be referred to further on.

Meanwhile another effort was made by Polk to negotiate, an idea which even after the failure of the Slidell mission had been kept steadily in view.

* * * * *

In answer to the proposition to negotiate which came through Trist, the American commissioner, Santa Anna contrived to intimate that, if he were paid ten thousand dollars down and one million on the conclusion of peace, negotiations should begin at once. After consulting with several of his officers, in a conference held late in July or early in August, Scott paid the ten thousand dollars.129 Still no step was taken by the Mexicans toward negotiation until they were beaten in the engagements at Contreras, August 19th and 20th, and Churubusco, August 20, 1847. Then Scott himself proposed an armistice,196 which was accepted August 24th. Commissioners were appointed to meet Trist, and the effort to conclude a treaty began. Whether it could have been accomplished at that stage of the “conquering” on the basis of his instructions is uncertain; but Trist’s wavering attitude undoubtedly served to make the possibility much less. The Mexican commissioners still refused to come to terms, and submitted counter-propositions which were in conflict with those instructions, but which Trist referred to the authorities at Washington.130 As soon as unofficial news of what Trist had done was received there, President Polk, without waiting to hear from him directly, ordered his recall.131

In the mean time the armistice had been terminated and the advance of the United States troops renewed. The victories of Molino del Rey, September 8th, and Chapultepec, September 13th, opened the way to the city of Mexico, which was occupied on September 14th.132 Santa Anna abdicated, and on November 22d the new government announced to Trist that it had appointed commissioners to negotiate. Trist had already received the letter recalling him; but, in spite of this fact, he listened to the suggestion of the Mexicans that they were not officially notified of his recall, and were anxious to negotiate on the terms of his original instructions.

The negotiations terminated with the treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo, signed February 2, 1848. The boundary agreed upon was to follow the Rio Grande from its mouth to the line of New Mexico; that line westward and northward to the first branch of the Gila it should cross; that branch and the Gila to the Colorado; and the line between Upper and Lower California thence to the Pacific.133 For197 the territory thus ceded by Mexico the United States was to satisfy the claims of its citizens on the Mexican government, and to pay in addition thereto fifteen million dollars. In spite of the fact that Trist’s authority had been withdrawn before the final negotiations, President Polk submitted the treaty to the Senate, and after some opposition and suspense it was ratified, March 10, 1848, by a vote of 38 to 14.



After Taylor’s capture of Monterey, the stronghold of northern Mexico, an armistice terminated hostilities till November 13th, 1846. By that time Santa Anna—who had returned to Mexico—had mustered a powerful army at San Luis Potosi, and was expected to march against Monterey. Taylor, intending to act on the defensive only, proposed to occupy a line stretching from Saltillo to Tampico, which fort had been evacuated by the Mexicans; and, in pursuance of this plan, marched on Saltillo and Victoria, and occupied them without resistance. His plans were frustrated by a requisition from General Scott depriving him of Worth and Twiggs’ divisions of regulars. Thus reduced to a force of some five thousand men—all of whom, except a few dragoons and artillery, were volunteers—Taylor was compelled to abandon his projected line, and to content himself with one stretching from Saltillo to the mouth of the Rio Grande. December, January, and part of February were spent by the army in awaiting the Mexican attack. It was known that Santa Anna would advance from San Luis to expel the invaders; his force was fairly estimated, and the wide disparity, in point of numbers, between the two armies was not concealed from the troops. Yet there was no thought of retreating; on the contrary, when Taylor determined to advance southward from Saltillo, and to occupy Agua Nueva, eighteen miles nearer the foe, the whole army marched in high spirits. It was subsequently found that the force under Taylor—including Wool’s division, which had joined the199 main army—was too small to hold Agua Nueva, and a retrograde movement was ordered to the pass of La Angostura, a narrow defile near the hacienda of Buena Vista. There the army awaited Santa Anna’s approach.

It was on February 22d—Washington’s birthday—that the Mexican advance made its appearance, rolling before it clouds of dust. It had suffered dreadfully on the road from San Luis from cold and want of supplies; but, allowing for these sources of loss, the army led by Santa Anna cannot have numbered less than twenty thousand men, including four thousand cavalry and twenty pieces of artillery; and the sufferings of the march made the soldiers all the more eager for the battle. Disappointed in not finding Taylor at Agua Nueva, as he had expected, Santa Anna proclaimed that he had fled, and ordered the cavalry in pursuit. The Mexicans had already had one experience of Taylor’s flights—a second was at hand. When the lancers reached the Angostura, they found the pass guarded by Washington’s battery of eight pieces, and very properly halted. The correspondence, since so famous, between the two generals then took place; and on receipt of Taylor’s laconic letter Santa Anna commenced the attack.

The advantage of position was all on the side of the United States army. The pass itself was so narrow that Washington’s battery could guard it against almost any force; impassable gullies and ravines flanked it on the west, and on the east the mountains gradually rose to a height of some two thousand feet. The only spot on which a regular battle could be fought was a plateau on the east of the pass, which stretched from the precipitous mountain-slope nearly to the road, terminating on that side in several ridges and ravines. This plateau gained, the pass might have been turned; and accordingly Santa Anna’s first thought was to master it. A strong body of light infantry was despatched, in the afternoon of the 22d, to climb the mountain-side which commanded the plateau; but the moment the manœuvre was perceived a party of200 Taylor’s riflemen ascended the opposite ridge to keep them in check. The Mexicans opened fire, and the Kentuckians replied; and thus, as each body strove to overtop the other, both ridges were soon covered with smoke. Foiled in his object, Santa Anna awaited the morning to commence operations in earnest; and Taylor, fearing an attack on Saltillo, set out to complete the defences of that point during the night.

At two o’clock in the morning the American pickets were driven in, and at break of day the Mexican light infantry, on the ridge above the plateau, led by General Ampudia, commenced charging down into the ravine which separated them from the Kentuckians. They had received reinforcements during the night, and were at least eight to one. Fortunately, General Wool had anticipated the movement, and Lieutenant O’Brien was ready at the foot of the hill with a piece of cannon. A very few discharges, well-aimed, sent the Mexicans back to cover. Then the main army advanced; two columns, under Pacheco and Lombardini, supported by lancers and a twelve-pounder battery in the rear, marching directly toward the plateau, and a third moving against the pass. Wool had disposed the army almost in a line across the plateau from the pass to the mountain: Washington’s battery being on the right, and O’Brien’s on the left wing, the infantry and a squadron of dragoons in the centre, and the volunteer cavalry inclined slightly to the rear on the right and left. About nine in the morning Pacheco’s column debouched from a ravine and began to form coolly on a ridge of the plateau. General Lane hastened forward, skirting the mountains with the Second Indiana volunteers and O’Brien’s battery, to meet them. At two hundred yards O’Brien opened with terrific effect; the close columns of the Mexicans were ploughed by his shot. But the reply was steady and almost equally effective. Raked on the left by the twelve-pounder battery, and assailed by a storm of bullets from the masses rising out of the ravine, the volunteers fell201 thickly round their colors, and, after some minutes, the Indiana volunteers could stand it no longer, and fled in spite of Lane’s efforts to rally them.134 O’Brien was left almost alone with his guns. He fired one last discharge, then, hastily limbering up, followed the flying infantry over the plateau.

It was an almost fatal movement; for, Lombardini gaining the southern edge of the plateau at that moment, the two Mexican columns united, and the lancers, who swarmed on the flanks, galloped down on the volunteers. To add to the danger, the Indiana regiment in its flight became entangled with the Arkansas volunteers, who caught the panic and fled likewise. Their loss in a fight where the enemy was over four to one was severely felt. However, nothing daunted, the Second Illinois, under Colonel Bissell, received the Mexican fire, and returned it as fast as the men could load. The dragoons, who could do no service in such a conflict, were sent to the rear; but a couple of guns, under Trench and Thomas, were brought to bear, and every shot cut like a knife through the Mexican columns. Still, it was impossible for such a handful of men to check an army of thousands: the enemy poured down the plateau, and, passing between the mountain and the Illinoisans, turned our left and poured in a flank as well as a front fire. Eighty men having fallen in twenty minutes, Colonel Bissell gave the word of command to face to the rear, and the gallant regiment, as cool as if on drill, faced about, marched deliberately a few yards toward the ravine—Churchill walking his horse before them—then turned and resumed firing.

Meanwhile the lancers were driving the Indiana and Arkansas volunteers off the plateau, and cutting off the riflemen in the mountain from the main army. These, perceiving the danger, and trusting that the lancers would202 be checked by the Arkansas and Kentucky cavalry, toward which they were approaching, abandoned their position and came running down the mountain-side, with a view of cutting their way back to the batteries. But the mounted volunteers made but a brief stand against the impetuous charge of the lancers, and Ampudia’s light infantry no sooner saw the riflemen move than they followed close on their heels, firing as they went. The slaughter of our poor fellows was dreadful; the Texans were annihilated. In one confused mass, riflemen and volunteer cavalry, Arkansans and Kentuckians were driven back by the advancing columns of the enemy, and little was wanted to complete the rout. Vainly did the officers try to rally the fugitives. No sooner had a handful of men been persuaded to halt and turn than a volley from the Mexicans scattered them. Thus fell Captain Lincoln—a chivalrous spirit, who was struck to the earth by two balls in the act of cheering on a small party of Kentuckians to hold their ground.

(From a print of the time)

At this perilous moment the rattle of musketry was drowned by a tremendous roar pf cannon in the direction of the pass. The Mexicans under Villamil had approached within range, and Captain Washington, who had sworn to hold the pass against any odds, was keeping his word. The gunners had been wild with ardor and suspense all morning; they were now gratified, and, though three guns had been taken from the battery, they poured such a murderous fire upon Villamil’s column as it approached through the narrow pass that, after wavering a moment, it scattered, and most of the men sought refuge in the ravines. The moment they broke the Second Illinoisans, who had been stationed at the pass, eagerly followed their colonel, Hardin, to the plateau, to share the dangers of their comrades. Almost as soon McKee’s Kentuckians and Bragg’s battery came plunging through the gullies on the west of the pass and joined them; while Sherman’s guns were speedily brought up from the rear. Thus the First Illinoisans203 were saved, and grape and canister mowed down the Mexican masses at the foot of the mountain.

Still, the light infantry under Ampudia were pressing on by the left to the rear of Wool’s position. In half an hour the pass might have been turned. Most providentially at that moment Taylor arrived with Davis’ Mississippi riflemen and May’s dragoons. The former barely stopped an instant for the men to fill their canteens, then hastened to the field. Boiling with rage, Davis called on the Indiana volunteers to form “behind that wall,” pointing to his men, and advance against their enemy. Their colonel, Bowles, the tears streaming down his face, finding all his appeals fruitless, seized a musket and joined the Mississippians as a private. Time could not be lost; Ampudia was close upon them; Davis formed and advanced with steady tread against a body more than five times his strength. A rain of balls poured upon the Mississippians, but no man pulled a trigger till sure of his mark. Then those deadly rifles blazed and stunned the Mexican advance. A ravine separated them from the enemy; Davis gave the word, and, with a cheer, down they rushed and up the other side; then forming hastily, with one awful volley they shattered the Mexican head and drove them back to cover.

But the cavalry had crept round the mountain and were descending on the hacienda. They were Torrejon’s brigade, splendid fellows, mostly lancers, and brimful of fight. Opposed to them were Yell’s Arkansas and Marshall’s Kentucky mounted volunteers—less than half their number. Hopelessly these brave fellows stood, firing their carbines as the foe approached; but the last man was still taking aim when the lancers were upon them like a whirlwind. The brave Yell was dashed to the earth a corpse, and Lieutenant Vaughan fell from his horse, pierced by twenty-four wounds. Huddled together in a confused mass, Mexicans and Americans dashed side by side toward the hacienda, engaged in a death-struggle as they galloped204 onward, and enveloped in a cloud of dust. One tall Mexican was seen, mounted upon a powerful horse, spearing every one that came within reach, in the drunkenness of battle; while here and there a Kentuckian, with native coolness, loaded as he rode, and brought down man after man. In less time than it takes to read these lines the horses’ hoofs were rattling over the streets, shrieks and shouts heralding their approach. Amid the din, the crack of rifles from the roofs of the houses told that the little garrison were holding their own. Through and through the hacienda the Mexicans swept, disengaging themselves from the volunteers just in time to escape a charge from May’s dragoons, which came clattering down the ravine to the rescue. Reynolds followed with two pieces of flying artillery, and Torrejon himself, badly wounded and minus several of his best men, was glad to escape to the mountains.

Meanwhile Major Dix had snatched the colors of the Second Indiana volunteers from the hands of their bearer, and bitterly swore that, with God’s help, that standard should not be disgraced that day. “He would bear it alone,” he said, “into the thick of the fight.” Roused by his words, a few men rallied around him and joined the Mississippi rifles on the plateau. The gallant Third Indiana were there, and Sherman had brought up a howitzer. Enraged at the failure of the attack on the hacienda, a fresh body of lancers now charged these troops, advancing in close column, knee to knee, and lance in rest. In breathless haste the volunteers were thrown across the narrow ridge, in two lines, meeting at an angle near the centre. Not a whisper broke the silence as the Mexicans approached, and the intrepid bearing of men whom nothing could have saved from destruction if the charge had been vigorous appalled the lancers. Within eighty yards of the lines they actually halted. At that instant the rifles were raised: a second—an awful second—elapsed. Then “Fire!” and a blaze ran round the angle. The205 Mexican column was destroyed. Horses and men writhed on the plain. The rear rank stood for a moment, but a single discharge from the howitzer scattered them too, and they fell back. For the first time during the day fortune seemed to favor the Americans. Hemmed in on two sides, and driven to the base of the mountain, five thousand Mexicans, horse and foot, with Ampudia’s division, were being slaughtered by nine guns, which never slackened fire. Their fate was certain; when a flag of truce from Santa Anna induced Taylor to silence his batteries. It was only a ruse. Santa Anna asked, “What does General Taylor want?” Before the answer reached him, the Mexicans had made good their escape to the rear.

Notwithstanding the parley, one Mexican battery continued its fire upon our troops. This was the eighteen and twenty-four pounder battery of the battalion of San Patricio, composed of Irishmen, deserters from our ranks, and commanded by an Irishman named Riley. Harassed by this fire, and perceiving the enemy’s treachery, Taylor sent the Illinoisans and Kentuckians, with three pieces of artillery, in pursuit of Ampudia. They hurried forward along the heads of the ravines; but to their horror, as they neared the southern edge of the plateau, an overwhelming force of over ten thousand men, comprising the whole of Santa Anna’s reserve, emerged from below and deployed before their firing. To resist was madness. The volunteers discharged their pieces and rushed precipitately into the nearest gorge. Its sides were steep, and many rolled headlong to the bottom. Others were massacred by a shower of bullets poured from Mexicans who clustered on both ridges above. In the midst of the carnage, Hardin, McKee, and many other brave officers fell, vainly trying to seek an exit for their troops. At the mouth of the ravine a squadron of lancers were ready to cut off their escape. Down the sides poured the Mexican infantry, slaughtering the wounded with the bayonet and driving the helpless mass before them.206 Above, pale as death, with compressed lips, O’Brien and Thomas stood to their deserted pieces. Once before that morning the Mexican shot had left the former alone at his gun; for the second time the fortune of the day seemed to depend on his single exertions. If he could hold the enemy at bay for a few minutes, there would be time for other batteries to come up. Ball after ball tore ragged gaps through the advancing host. After each discharge O’Brien fell back just far enough to load and fire again, praying in an agony that help might come. He was wounded himself; all his men were killed or wounded; but he never flinched before the surging wave of Mexicans until the clack of whips and the rattle of wheels were heard behind him. Then—for he knew it was Bragg urging onward his jaded horses—the brave fellow aimed one deadly volley of canister and abandoned his piece. The next moment Bragg unlimbered and opened a telling fire. Sherman followed, and, Davis and Lane coming up at a run, the crack of rifles was heard away to the extreme left. On the right, the well-known roar of Washington’s guns startled the foe. It was the death-warrant of the lancers, who were penning our volunteers in the ravine. Out came the remnant, leaving crowds of dead, and not one man wounded, in the horrid trap, and hastily scaled the side of the plateau. Taylor was there, coolly picking the balls out of his dress, and Wool rode wildly backward and forward, urging on the rear ranks. But it was needless. At Bragg’s third discharge the whole body of the Mexicans broke and dashed pell-mell into the ravine whence they had come.

This was the last of the battle. Davis and Bragg followed the enemy a short distance; but the San Patricio battery still commanded the southern edge of the plateau, and the troops were so fagged that they could hardly walk. Night was coming on, and the firing ceased. The men lay down where they stood; and a few, overcome by fatigue, slept side by side with the dead and the wounded.207 It was a dark, gloomy night, and a bitter wind swept from the mountain. Not far in the distance the wolf’s howl broke dismally on the ear, and the vultures flapped their wings overhead. Nothing was known of the Mexican army; no one could say what the morrow might bring forth. With anxious eye the officers looked for the dawn.

It came at last; and to their inexpressible delight the first streaks of light in the eastern sky revealed a deserted camp. The Mexicans had fled. An army of over twenty thousand men, comprising the flower of the Mexican troops, had been beaten by forty-six hundred Americans, over four thousand of whom were raw volunteers. Such a cheer as rose from the pass of Angostura on that February morning never before or since re-echoed through the dark gorges of the Sierra Madre.



Northern Mexico lay helpless at Taylor’s feet. The stars and stripes floated over the citadel of Monterey, and the flower of the Mexican army, commanded by their greatest general, had been repulsed at Buena Vista. Nothing now remained but to strike a blow at the vitals of the southern republic. That task had been imposed on General Scott, whose skill and experience designated him as the proper man to conduct a campaign in which the fate of the war was to be decided.

On March 6, 1847, the fleet of transports and men-of-war was concentrated near Vera Cruz. It bore a small but well-disciplined force of some twelve thousand men, comprising the whole standing army of the United States—four regiments of artillery, eight of infantry, one of mounted riflemen, and detachments of dragoons—besides eight volunteer regiments of foot and one of horse. Major-General Scott commanded the whole, with Worth, fresh from the brilliant capture of Monterey, Twiggs, and the volunteer Patterson as his brigadiers. Under the latter served Generals Quitman, Pillow, and Shields.

Vera Cruz was the strongest place on this continent, after Quebec. Situated on the border of the Gulf, it was surrounded by a line of bastions and redans, terminating at either extremity in a fort of large capacity. A sandy plain encircled it on the land side, affording no protection to an assailant within seven hundred yards of the walls; and toward the sea, on a reef at a distance of rather more than half a mile, the famous fort of San Juan d’Ulloa commanded the harbor. In March, 1847, the city209 mounted nearly ninety, the castle one hundred and twenty-eight guns of various calibers, including several thirteen-inch mortars and ten-inch Paixhans. So implicit was the faith of the Mexicans in the strength of the place that, having rendered it, as they believed, impregnable, they left its defence to a garrison of five thousand men, and bade them remember that the city was named Vera Cruz the Invincible. This was the first mistake of the enemy; a second was omitting to provision the place for a siege; a third was allowing women, children, and non-combatants to remain in the town. In this instance, as in so many others, the overweening assurance of the Mexicans was the cause of their ruin. Monterey and Buena Vista should have taught them to know better.

* * * * *

The American troops began to land on March 9, 1847, and by the 12th a line of troops five miles long surrounded Vera Cruz. On the 22d the bombardment was begun, and on the 26th, without an assault, the Mexicans began negotiations for a surrender, which took place three days afterward.


On April 8th the army, headed by Twiggs’ division, moved forward on the national road toward the city of Mexico. At the mountain-pass of Cerro Gordo the Mexicans, under Santa Anna, had made a stand. They had planted batteries to command all the level ground, and behind them were some twelve thousand infantry and cavalry. The fighting began on the 17th with an attack by Twiggs on the Mexican left, which resulted in driving back the Mexicans, and in the capture of a strong position on a hill called Atalaya, where some cannon were mounted in the night. The next day the desperate assaults of Harney and Riley stormed the redoubts on the crest of Cerro Gordo, and Riley and210 Shields charged and captured the Mexican batteries on the road. On the left Pillow was less successful, but the guns of Cerro Gordo were turned against the Mexicans, who, seeing the defeat of Santa Anna, hoisted a white flag. Three thousand men, including five generals, surrendered to General Scott, and over a thousand were killed or wounded. Of the American force of eighty-five hundred, sixty-three were killed and three hundred and sixty-eight wounded.

The unopposed seizure of the castle of La Hoya, and the occupation of the towns of Perote and Puebla were followed by a delay due to the necessity of waiting for reinforcements to replace the three thousand volunteers whose time had expired.

Reinforcements arrived but slowly, and each detachment, as it moved from Vera Cruz to the mountains, had to sustain a running fight with the guerrillas whom Santa Anna had let loose on the road. All arrived, however, in safety, and by the beginning of August General Scott was ready to move on the valley of Mexico with ten thousand seven hundred and thirty-eight men, leaving Colonel Childs with fourteen hundred to garrison Puebla. On the third day they stood upon the summit of the ridge which looks down upon the valley of Mexico, with the city itself glittering in the centre, and bright lakes, grim forts, and busy causeways dotting the dark expanse of marsh and lava. That night the troops encamped at the foot of the mountains and within the valley on the border of Lake Chalco.

With the energy which characterized Santa Anna throughout the war, he had prepared for a desperate defence. Civil strife had been silenced, funds raised, an army of twenty-five thousand men mustered, and every precaution taken which genius could suggest or science indicate. Nature had done much for him. Directly in front of the invading army lay the large lakes of Xochimilco and Chalco. These turned, vast marshes, intersected211 by ditches and for the most part impassable, surrounded the city on the east and south—on which side Scott was advancing—for several miles. The only approaches were by causeways, and these Santa Anna had taken prodigious pains to guard. The national road to Vera Cruz—which Scott must have taken had he marched on the north side of the lakes—was commanded by a fort mounting fifty-one guns on an impregnable hill called El Peñon. Did he turn the southern side of the lakes, a field of lava, deemed almost impassable for troops, interposed a primary obstacle, and fortified positions at San Antonio, San Angel, and Churubusco, with an intrenched camp at Contreras, were likewise to be surmounted before the southern causeways could be reached. Beyond these there yet remained the formidable castle of Chapultepec and the strong enclosure of Molino del Rey to be stormed before the city gates could be reached. Powerful batteries had been mounted at all these points, and ample garrisons detailed to serve them. The bone and muscle of Mexico were there. Goaded by defeat, Santa Anna never showed so much vigor; ambition fired Valencia; patriotism stirred the soul of Alvarez; Canalejo, maddened by the odium into which he had fallen, was boiling to regain his sobriquet of “The Lion of Mexico.” With a constancy equal to anything recorded of the Roman Senate, the Mexican Congress, on learning the defeat at Cerro Gordo, had voted unanimously that any one opening negotiations with the enemy should be deemed a traitor, and the citizens with one accord had ratified the vote. Within six months Mexico had lost two splendid armies in two pitched battles against the troops now advancing against the capital; but she never lost heart.


When the engineers reported that the fortress on El Peñon could not be carried without a loss of one-third the212 army, Scott decided to move by the south of the lakes; and Worth accordingly advanced, leading the van, as far as San Augustin, nine miles from the city of Mexico. There a large field of lava—known as the Pedregal—barred the way. On the one side, a couple of miles from San Augustin, the fortified works at San Antonio commanded the passage between the field and the lake; on the other the ground was so much broken that infantry alone could advance, and General Valencia occupied an intrenched camp, with a heavy battery, near the village of Contreras, three miles distant. Scott determined to attack on both sides, and sent forward Worth on the east and Pillow and Twiggs on the west. The latter advanced as fast as possible over the masses of lava on the morning of the 19th, and by 2 P.M. a couple of light batteries were placed in position and opened fire on the Mexican camp.

At the same time, General Persifer Smith conceived the plan of turning Valencia’s left, and hastened along the path through the Pedregal in the direction of a village called San Jeronimo. Colonel Riley followed. Pillow sent Cadwalader’s brigade on the same line, and later in the day Morgan’s regiment was likewise despatched toward that point. They drove in the Mexican pickets and skirmishers, dispersed a few parties of lancers, and occupied the village without loss. Seeing the movement, Santa Anna hastened to Valencia’s support with twelve thousand men. He was discovered by Cadwalader just as the latter gained the village road; and, appreciating the vast importance of preventing a junction between the two Mexican generals, that gallant officer did not hesitate to draw up his brigade in order of battle. So broken was the ground that Santa Anna could not see the amount of force opposed to him, and declined the combat. This was all Cadwalader wanted. Shields’ brigade was advancing through the Pedregal, and the troops which had already crossed were rapidly moving to the rear of Valencia’s camp. Night, too, was close at213 hand. When it fell, Smith’s, Riley’s, and Cadwalader’s commands had gained the point they sought. Shields joined them at ten o’clock; and at midnight Captain Lee crossed the Pedregal, with a message from General Smith to General Scott, to say that he would commence the attack at daybreak next morning.

It rained all night, and the men lay in the mud without fires. At three in the morning (August 20th) the word was passed to march. Such pitchy darkness covered the face of the plain that Smith ordered every man to touch his front file as he marched. Now and then a flash of lightning lit up the narrow ravine; occasionally a straggling moonbeam pierced the clouds and shed an uncertain glimmer on the heights; but these flitting guides only served to make the darkness seem darker. The soldiers groped their way, stumbling over stones and brushwood, and did not gain the rear of the camp till day broke. Then Riley bade his men look to the priming of their guns and reload those which the rain had wet. With the first ray of daylight the firing had recommenced between the Mexican camp and Ransom’s corps stationed in front and Shields’ brigade at San Jeronimo. Almost at the same moment Riley began to ascend the height in the rear. Before he reached the crest, his engineers, who had gone forward to reconnoitre, came running back to say that his advance had been detected, that two guns were being pointed against him, and a body of infantry were sallying from the camp. The news braced the men’s nerves. They gained the ridge, and stood a tremendous volley from the Mexicans without flinching. Poor Hanson of the Seventh—a gallant officer and an excellent man—was shot down with many others; but the Mexicans had done their worst. With steady aim, the volley was returned; and ere the smoke rose a cheer rang through the ravine and Riley fell with a swoop on the intrenchments. With bayonet and butt of musket, the Second and Seventh drove the enemy from his guns,214 leaping into his camp and slaughtering all before them. Up rushed Smith’s own brigade on the left, driving a party of Mexicans before them, and charging with the bayonet straight at Torrejon’s cavalry, which was drawn up in order of battle. Defeat was marked on their faces. Valencia was nowhere to be found. Salas strove vainly to rouse his men to defend themselves with energy; Torrejon’s horse, smitten with panic, broke and fled at the advance of our infantry. Riley hurled the Mexicans from their camp after a struggle of a quarter of an hour; and as they rushed down the ravine their own cavalry rode over them, trampling down more men than the bayonet and ball had laid low. On the right, as they fled, Cadwalader’s brigade poured in a destructive volley; and Shields, throwing his party across the road, obstructed their retreat and compelled the fugitives to yield themselves prisoners of war; The only fight of any moment had taken place within the camp. There, for a few minutes, the Mexicans had fought desperately; two of our regimental colors had been shot down; but finally Anglo-Saxon bone and sinew had triumphed. To the delight of the assailants, the first prize of victory was the guns O’Brien had abandoned at Buena Vista, which were regained by his own regiment. Twenty other guns and over one thousand prisoners, including eighty-eight officers and four generals, were likewise captured, and some fifteen hundred Mexicans killed and wounded. The American loss in killed, wounded, and missing was about one hundred men.

Barely taking time to breathe his troops, Smith followed in pursuit toward the city. By ten o’clock in the morning he reached San Angel, which Santa Anna evacuated as he approached. The general-in-chief and the generals of division had by this time relieved Smith of his command; Scott rode to the front, and in a few brief words told the men there was more work to be done that day. A loud cheer from the ranks was the reply.215 The whole force then advanced to Coyacan, within a mile of Churubusco, and prepared to assault the place.


Santa Anna considered it the key to the city, and awaited the attack in perfect confidence with thirty thousand men. The defences were of a very simple description. On the west, in the direction of Coyacan, stood the large stone convent of San Pablo, in which seven heavy guns were mounted, and which, as well as the wall and breastworks in front, was filled with infantry. A breastwork connected San Pablo with the tête de pont over the Churubusco River, four hundred yards distant. This was the easternmost point of defence, and formed part of the San Antonio causeway leading to the city. It was a work constructed with the greatest skill—bastions, curtain, and wet ditch, everything was complete and perfect—four guns were mounted in embrasure and barbette, and as many men as the place would hold were stationed there. The reserves occupied the causeway behind Churubusco. Independently of his defences, Santa Anna’s numbers—nearly five to one—ought to have insured the repulse of the assailants.

By eleven—hardly seven hours having elapsed since the Contreras camp had been stormed, five miles away—Twiggs and Pillow were in motion toward the San Antonio causeway. Nothing had been heard of Worth, who had been directed to move along the east side of the Pedregal on San Antonio; but it was taken for granted he had carried the point, and Scott wished to cut off the retreat of the garrison. Twiggs was advancing cautiously toward the convent, when a heavy firing was heard in advance. Supposing that a reconnoitring party had been attacked, he hastily sent forward the First Artillery, under Dimmick, through a field of tall corn, to support them. No sooner had they separated from the main216 body than a terrific discharge of grape, canister, and musketry assailed them from the convent. In the teeth of the storm they advanced to within one hundred yards of that building, and a light battery under Taylor was brought up on their right and opened on the convent. Over an hour the gunners stood firm to their pieces under a fire as terrible as troops ever endured; one-third of the command had fallen before they were withdrawn. Colonel Riley meanwhile, with the stormers of Contreras, had been despatched to assail San Pablo on the west, and, like Dimmick, was met by a murderous rain of shot. Whole heads of companies were mowed down at once. Thus Captain Smith fell, twice wounded, with every man beside him; and a single discharge from the Mexican guns swept down Lieutenant Easley and the section he led. It was the second time that day the gallant Second had served as targets for the Mexicans, but not a man fell back. General Smith ordered up the Third in support, and these, protecting themselves as best they could behind a few huts, kept up a steady fire on the convent. Sallies from the works were constantly made and as constantly repulsed, but not a step could the assailants make in advance.

By this time the battle was raging on three different points. Worth had marched on San Antonio that morning, found it evacuated, and given chase to the Mexicans with the Fifth and Sixth Infantry. The causeway leading from San Antonio to the tête de pont of Churubusco was thronged with flying horse and foot; our troops dashed headlong after them, never halting till the advance corps—the Sixth—were within short range of the Mexican batteries. A tremendous volley from the tête de pont in front and the convent on the flank then forced them to await the arrival of the rest of the division. This was the fire which Twiggs heard when he sent Dimmick against the convent.

Worth came up almost immediately; and, directing217 the Sixth to advance as best they could along the causeway in the teeth of the tête de pont, despatched Garland and Clarke’s brigades through the fields on the right to attack it in flank. Every gun was instantly directed against the assailants; and, though the day was bright and clear, the clouds of smoke actually darkened the air. Hoffman, waving his sword, cheered on the Sixth; but the shot tore and ripped up their ranks to such a degree that in a few minutes they had lost ninety-seven men. The brigades on the right suffered as severely. One hundred men fell within the space of an acre. Still they pressed on, till the Eighth (of Clarke’s brigade) reached the ditch. In they plunged, Lieutenant Longstreet bearing the colors in advance—scrambled out on the other side—dashed at the walls, without ladders or scaling implements—bayoneted the defenders as they took aim. At last officers and men, mixed pell-mell, some through the embrasures, some over the walls, rushed or leaped in and drove the garrison helter-skelter upon their reserves.

The tête de pont gained, its guns were turned on the convent, whence the Mexicans were still slaughtering our gallant Second and Third. Duncan’s battery, too, hitherto in reserve, was brought up, and opened with such rapidity that a bystander estimated the intervals between the reports at three seconds. Stunned by this novel attack, the garrison of San Pablo slackened fire. In an instant the Third, followed by Dimmick’s artillery, dashed forward with the bayonet to storm the nearest bastion. With a run they carried it, the artillery bursting over the curtain; but at that moment a dozen white flags waved in their faces. The whole fortified position of Churubusco was taken.

Meantime, however, a conflict as deadly as either of these was raging behind the Mexican fortifications. Soon after the battle commenced, Scott sent Pierce and Shields’ brigades by the left, through the fields, to attack218 the enemy in the rear. On the causeway, opposed to them, were planted Santa Anna’s reserves—four thousand foot and three thousand horse—in a measure protected by a dense growth of maguey. Shields advanced intrepidly with his force of sixteen hundred. The ground was marshy, and for a long distance—having vainly endeavored to outflank the enemy—his advance was exposed to their whole fire. Morgan, of the Fifteenth, fell wounded. The New York regiment suffered fearfully, and their leader, Colonel Burnett, was disabled. The Palmettos, of South Carolina, and the Ninth, under Ransom, were as severely cut up; and after a while all sought shelter in and about a large barn near the causeway. Shields, in an agony at the failure of his movement, cried imploringly for volunteers to follow him. The appeal was instantly answered by Colonel Butler, of the Palmettos: “Every South-Carolinian will follow you to the death!” The cry was contagious, and most of the New-Yorkers took it up. Forming at angles to the causeway, Shields led these brave men, under an incessant hail of shot, against the village of Portales, where the Mexican reserves were posted. Not a trigger was pulled till they stood at a hundred and fifty yards from the enemy. Then the little band poured in their volley, fatally answered by the Mexican host. Butler, already wounded, was shot through the head, and died instantly. Calling to the Palmettos to avenge his death, Shields gives the word to charge. They charge—not four hundred in all—over the plain, down upon four thousand Mexicans, securely posted under cover. At every step their ranks thinned. Dickenson, who succeeded Butler in command of the Palmettos, seizes the colors as the bearer falls dead; the next moment he is down himself, mortally wounded, and Major Gladden snatches them from his hand. Adams, Moragne, and nearly half the gallant band are prostrate. A very few minutes more, and there will be no one left to bear the glorious flag.

(From a print of the time)

219 But at this very moment a deafening roar was heard in the direction of the tête de pont. Round-shot and grape, rifle-balls and canister came crashing down the causeway into the Mexican ranks from their own battery. Worth was there just in time. Down the road and over the ditch, through the field and hedge and swamp, in tumult and panic, the Mexicans fled from the bayonets of the Sixth and Garland’s brigade. A shout, louder than the cannon’s peal—Worth was on their heels, with his best men. Before Shields reached the causeway he was by his side, driving the Mexican horse into their infantry, and Ayres was galloping up with a captured Mexican gun. Captain Kearny, with a few dragoons, rode straight into the flying host, scattered them right and left, sabred all he could reach, and halted before the gate of Mexico. Not till then did he perceive that he was alone with his little party, nearly all of whom were wounded; but, in spite of the hundreds of escopetas that were levelled at him, he galloped back in safety to headquarters.

The sun, which rose that morning on a proud army and a defiant metropolis, set at even on a shattered, haggard band and a city full of woe-stricken wretches who did nothing all night but quake with terror and cry at every noise, “Aqui viene los Yanquies!” All along the causeway, and in the fields and swamp on either side, heaps of dead men and cattle, intermingled with broken ammunition-carts, marked where the American shot had told. A gory track leading to the tête de pont, groups of dead in the fields on the west of Churubusco, over whose pale faces some stalks of tattered corn still waved, red blotches in the marsh next the causeway, where the rich blood of Carolina and New York soaked the earth, showed where the fire of the heavy Mexican guns and the countless escopetas of the infantry had been most murderous. Scott had lost, in that day’s work, over one thousand men in killed and wounded, seventy-nine of whom were officers.220 The Mexican loss, according to Santa Anna, was one-third of his army, equal probably to ten thousand men, one-fourth of whom were prisoners, the rest killed and wounded. As the sun went down the troops were recalled to headquarters; but all night long the battle-field swarmed with straggling parties, seeking some lost comrade in the cold and rain, and surgeons hurrying from place to place and offering succor to the wounded.

It would have been easy for Scott to have marched on the city that night, or next morning, and seized it before the Mexicans recovered the shock of their defeat. Anxious, however, to shorten the war, and assured that Santa Anna was desirous of negotiating; warned, moreover, by neutrals and others that the hostile occupation of the capital would destroy the last chance of peaceable accommodation and rouse the Mexican spirit to resistance all over the country, the American general consented, too generously perhaps, to offer an armistice to his vanquished foe. It was eagerly accepted, and negotiations were commenced which lasted over a fortnight. Early in September the treachery of the Mexicans became apparent. No progress had been made in the negotiations; and, in defiance of the armistice, an American wagon, proceeding to the city for provisions, had been attacked by the mob and one man killed and others wounded. Scott wrote to Santa Anna, demanding an apology, and threatening to terminate the armistice on the 7th if it were not tendered. The reply was insulting in the extreme; Santa Anna had repaired his losses and was ready for another fight.


On the evening of the 7th of September Worth and his officers were gathered in his quarters at Tacubaya. On a table lay a hastily sketched map showing the position of the fortified works at Molino del Rey, with the Casa221 Mata on one side and the castle of Chapultepec on the other. The Molino was occupied by the enemy; there was reason to believe it contained a foundry in full operation, and Worth had been directed to storm it next morning. Over that table bent Garland and Clarke, eager to repeat the glorious deeds of August 20th at the tête de pont of Churubusco; Duncan and Smith, already veterans; Wright, the leader of the forlorn-hope, joyfully thinking of the morrow; famous Martin Scott and dauntless Graham, little dreaming that a few hours would see their livid corpses stretched upon the plain; fierce old McIntosh, covered with scars; Worth himself, his manly brow clouded and his cheek paled by sickness and anxiety. Each officer had his place assigned to him in the conflict; and they parted to seek a few hours’ rest. At half-past two in the morning of the 8th the division was astir. ’Twas a bright, starlight night, whose silence was unbroken as the troops moved thoughtfully toward the battle-field. In front, on the right, about a mile from the encampment, the hewn-stone walls of the Molino del Rey—a range of buildings five hundred yards long and well adapted for defence—were distinctly visible, with drowsy lights twinkling through the windows. A little farther off, on the left, stood the black pile of the Casa Mata, the arsenal, crenelled for musketry and surrounded by a quadrangular field-work. Beyond the Casa Mata lay a ravine, and from this a ditch and hedge ran, passing in front of both works to the Tacubaya road. Far on the right the grim old castle of Chapultepec loomed up darkly against the sky. Sleep wrapped the whole Mexican line, and but few words were spoken in the American ranks as the troops took up their respective positions—Garland, with Dunn’s battery and Huger’s twenty-four-pounders, on the right, against the Molino; Wright, at the head of the stormers, and followed by the light division, under Captain Kirby Smith, in the centre; McIntosh, with Duncan’s battery, on the left, near the ravine, looking222 toward the Casa Mata; and Cadwallader, with his brigade, in reserve.

Night still overhung the east when the Mexicans were roused from their slumbers by the roar of Huger’s twenty-four-pounders and the crashing of the balls through the roof and walls of the Molino. A shout arose within their lines, spreading from the ravine to the castle; lights flashed in every direction, bugles sounded, the clank of arms rang from right to left, and every man girded himself for the fray. With the first ray of daylight Major Wright advanced with the forlorn-hope down the slope. A few seconds elapsed; then a sheet of flame burst from the batteries, and round-shot, canister, and grape hurtled through the air. “Charge!” shouted the leader, and down they went, with double-quick step, over the ditch and hedge and into the line, sweeping everything before them. The Mexicans fell from their guns, but soon, seeing the smallness of the force opposed to them, and reassured by the galling fire poured from the azoteas and Molino on the stormers, they rallied, charged furiously, and drove our men back into the plain. Here eleven out of the fourteen officers of Wright’s party and the bulk of his men fell killed or wounded. All of the latter who could not fly were bayoneted where they lay by the Mexicans. Captain Walker, of the Sixth, badly shot, was left for dead; he saw the enemy murdering every man who showed signs of life, but the agony of thirst was so insupportable that he could not resist raising his canteen to his lips. A dozen balls instantly tore up the ground around him; several Mexicans rushed at him with the bayonet, but at that moment the light division under Kirby Smith came charging over the ditch into the Mexican line and diverted their attention.

(From a print of the time)

Garland, meanwhile, moved down rapidly on the right with Dunn’s guns, which were drawn by hand, all the horses having been wounded and become unmanageable. These soon opened an enfilading fire on the Mexican battery;223 and, some of the gunners flying, the light division charged, under a hot fire, and carried the guns for a second time. Their gallant leader was shot dead in the charge. But the enemy could afford to lose the battery. From the tops of the azoteas, from the Casa Mata, and the Molino, a deadly shower of balls was rained crosswise upon the assailants. Part of the reserve was brought up, and Dunn’s guns and the Mexican battery were served upon the buildings without much effect at first. Lieutenant-Colonel Graham led a party of the Eleventh against the latter; when within pistol-shot a terrific volley assailed him, wounding him in ten places. The gallant soldier quietly dismounted, pointed with his sword to the building, cried “Charge!” and sank dead on the field.

There was an equally fierce fight at the other wing, where Duncan and McIntosh had driven in the enemy’s right toward the Casa Mata. McIntosh started to storm that fort; and, in the teeth of a tremendous hail of musketry, advanced to the ditch, only twenty-five yards from the work. There a ball knocked him down; it was his luck to be shot or bayoneted in every battle. Martin Scott took the command, but as he ordered the men forward he rolled lifeless into the ditch. Major Waite, the next in rank, had hardly seen him fall before he too was disabled. By whole companies the men were mowed down by the Mexican shot; but they stood their ground. At length some one gave the word to fall back, and the remnants of the brigade obeyed. Many wounded were left on the ground; among others Lieutenant Burnell shot in the leg, whom the Mexicans murdered when his comrades abandoned him. After the battle his body was found, and beside it his dog, moaning piteously and licking his dead master’s face.

At the head of four thousand cavalry, Alvarez now menaced our left. Duncan watched them come, driving a cloud of dust before them, till they were within close224 range; then, opening with his wonderful rapidity, he shattered whole platoons at a discharge. Worth sent him word to be sure to keep the lancers in check. “Tell General Worth,” was his reply, “to make himself perfectly easy; I can whip twenty thousand of them.” So far as Alvarez was concerned, he kept his word.

On the American right the fight had reached a crisis. Mixed confusedly together, men of all arms furiously attacked the Molino, firing into every aperture, climbing to the roof, and striving to batter in the doors and gates with their muskets. The garrison never slackened their terrible fire for an instant. At length, Major Buchanan, of the Fourth, succeeded in bursting open the southern gate, and almost at the same moment Anderson and Ayres, of the artillery, forced their way into the buildings at the northwestern angle. Ayres leaped down alone into a crowd of Mexicans—he had done the same at Monterey—and fell covered with wounds. In our men rushed on both sides, stabbing, firing, and felling the Mexicans with their muskets. From room to room and house to house a hand-to-hand encounter was kept up. Here a stalwart Mexican hurled down man after man as they advanced; there Buchanan and the Fourth levelled all before them. But the Mexicans never withstood the cold steel. One by one the defenders escaped by the rear toward Chapultepec, and those who remained hung out a white flag. Under Duncan’s fire the Casa Mata had been evacuated, and the enemy was everywhere in full retreat. Twice he rallied and charged the Molino; but each time the artillery drove him back toward Chapultepec, and parties of the light infantry pursued him down the road. Before ten in the morning the whole field was won; and, having blown up the Casa Mata, Worth, by Scott’s order, fell back to Tacubaya.

With gloomy face and averted eye the gallant soldier received the thanks of his chief for the exploits of the morning. His heart was with the brave men he had225 lost: near eight hundred out of less than thirty-five hundred, and among them fifty-eight officers, many of whom were his dearest friends. All had fallen in advance of their men, with sword in hand and noble words on their lips. They had helped to storm Molino del Rey, and to cut down near a fifth of Santa Anna’s fourteen thousand men. Sadly the general returned to his quarters.

The end was now close at hand. Reconnaissances were carefully made, and, the enemy’s strength being gathered on the southern front of the city. General Scott determined to assault Chapultepec on the west. By the morning of the 12th the batteries were completed, and opened a brisk fire on the castle, without, however, doing any more serious damage than annoying the garrison and killing a few men. The fire was kept up all day; and at night preparations were made for the assault, which was ordered to be made next morning.


At daybreak on the 13th the cannonade recommenced, as well from the batteries planted against Chapultepec as from Steptoe’s guns, which were served against the southern defences of the city in order to divert the attention of the enemy. At 8 A.M. the firing from the former ceased and the attack commenced. Quitman advanced along the Tacubaya road, Pillow from the Molino del Rey, which he had occupied on the evening before. Between the Molino and the castle lay first an open space, then a grove thickly planted with trees; in the latter Mexican sharpshooters had been posted, protected by an intrenchment on the border of the grove. Pillow sent Lieutenant-Colonel Johnstone with a party of voltigeurs to turn this work by a flank movement; it was handsomely accomplished, and, just as the voltigeurs broke through the redan, Pillow, with the main body, charged it in front226 and drove back the Mexicans. The grove gained, Pillow pressed forward to the foot of the rock; for the Mexican shot from the castle batteries, crashing through the trees, seemed even more terrible than it really was, and the troops were becoming restless. The Mexicans had retreated to a redoubt half-way up the hill; the voltigeurs sprang up from rock to rock, firing as they advanced, and followed by Hooker, Chase, and others, with parties of infantry. In a very few minutes the redoubt was gained, the garrison driven up the hill, and the voltigeurs, Ninth, and Fifteenth in hot pursuit after them. Here the firing from the castle was very severe. Colonel Ransom, of the Ninth, was killed, and Pillow himself was wounded.

Still the troops pressed on till the crest of the hill was gained. There some moments were lost, owing to the delay in the arrival of scaling-ladders, during which two of Quitman’s regiments and Clarke’s brigade reinforced the storming party. When the ladders came, numbers of men rushed forward with them, leaped into the ditch, and planted them for the assault. Lieutenant Selden was the first man to mount. But the Mexicans collected all their energies for this last moment. A tremendous fire dashed the foremost of the stormers in the ditch, killing Lieutenants Rogers and Smith, and clearing the ladders. Fresh men instantly manned them, and, after a brief struggle, Captain Howard, of the voltigeurs, gained a foothold on the parapet. McKenzie, of the forlorn-hope, followed; and a crowd of voltigeurs and infantry, shouting and cheering, pressed after him and swept down upon the garrison with the bayonet. Almost at the same moment Johnstone, of the voltigeurs, who had led a small party round to the gate of the castle, broke it open and effected an entrance in spite of a fierce fire from the southern walls. The two parties uniting, a deadly conflict ensued within the building. Maddened by the recollection of the murder of their wounded comrades at Molino del Rey, the stormers at first showed no quarter. On every side227 the Mexicans were stabbed or shot down without mercy. Many flung themselves over the parapet and down the hillside, and were dashed in pieces against the rocks. More fought like fiends, expending their last breath in a malediction and expiring in the act of aiming a treacherous blow as they lay on the ground. Streams of blood flowed through the doors of the college, and every room and passage was the theatre of some deadly struggle. At length the officers succeeded in putting an end to the carnage, and, the remaining Mexicans having surrendered, the stars and stripes were hoisted over the castle of Chapultepec by Major Seymour.

Meanwhile Quitman had stormed the batteries on the causeway to the east of the castle, after a desperate struggle, in which Major Twiggs, who commanded the stormers, was shot dead at the head of his men. The Mexicans fell back toward the city. General Scott, coming up at this moment, ordered a simultaneous advance to be made on the city along the two roads leading from Chapultepec to the gates of San Cosme and Belen respectively. Worth was to command that on San Cosme, Quitman that on Belen. Both were prepared for defence by barricades, behind which the enemy were posted in great numbers. Fortunately for the assailants, an aqueduct, supported on arches of solid masonry, ran along the centre of each causeway. By keeping under cover of these arches and springing rapidly from one to another, Smith’s rifles and the South Carolina regiment were enabled to advance close to the first barricade on the Belen road and pour in a destructive fire on the gunners. A flank discharge from Duncan’s guns completed the work; the barricade was carried; and, without a moment’s rest, Quitman advanced in the same manner on the garita of San Belen, which was held by General Torres with a strong garrison. It, too, was stormed, though under a fearful hail of grape and canister; and the rifles moved forward toward the citadel. But at this moment228 Santa Anna rode furiously down to the point of attack. Boiling with rage at the success of the invaders, he smote General Torres in the face, threw a host of infantry into the houses commanding the garita and the road, ordered the batteries in the citadel to open fire, planted fresh guns on the Paseo, and infused such spirit into the Mexicans that Quitman’s advance was stopped at once. A terrific storm of shot, shells, and grape assailed the garita, where Captain Dunn had planted an eight-pounder. Twice the gunners were shot down, and fresh men sent to take their places. Then Dunn himself fell, and immediately afterward Lieutenant Benjamin and his first sergeant met the same fate. The riflemen in the arches repelled sallies, but Quitman’s position was precarious till night terminated the conflict.

Worth, meanwhile, had advanced in like manner along the San Cosme causeway, driving the Mexicans from barricade to barricade till within two hundred and fifty yards of the garita of San Cosme. There he encountered as severe a fire as that which stopped Quitman. But Scott had ordered him to take the garita, and take it he would. Throwing Garland’s brigade out to the right and Clarke’s to the left, he ordered them to break into the houses, burst through the walls, and bore their way to the flanks of the garita. The plan had succeeded perfectly at Monterey; nor did it fail here. Slowly but surely the sappers passed from house to house, until at sunset they reached the point desired. Then Worth ordered the attack. Lieutenant Hunt brought up a light gun at a gallop and fired it through the embrasure of the enemy’s battery, almost muzzle to muzzle; the infantry at the same moment opened a most deadly and unexpected fire from the roofs of the houses, and McKenzie, at the head of the stormers, dashed at the battery and carried it almost without loss. The Mexicans fled precipitately into the city.

At one that night two parties left the citadel and229 issued forth from the city. One was the remnant of the Mexican army, which slunk silently and noiselessly through the northern gate, and fled to Guadalupe-Hidalgo; the other was a body of officers who came under a white flag to propose terms of capitulation.


The sun shone brightly on the morning of September 14th. Scores of neutral flags floated from the windows on the Calle de Plateros, and in their shade beautiful women gazed curiously on the scene beneath. Gayly dressed groups thronged the balconies, and at the street-corners were scowling, dark-faced men. The street resounded with the heavy tramp of infantry, the rattle of gun-carriages, and the clatter of horses’ hoofs. “Los Yanquies!” was the cry, and every neck was stretched to obtain a glimpse of the six thousand bemired and begrimed soldiers who were marching proudly to the Gran Plaza. But six months before, Winfield Scott had landed on the Mexican coast; since then he had stormed the two strongest places in the country, won four battles in the field against armies double, treble, and quadruple his own, and marched without reverse from Vera Cruz to the city of Mexico; losing fewer men, making fewer mistakes, and creating less devastation, in proportion to his victories, than any invading general of former times.


1848. Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo between the United States and Mexico. Admission of Wisconsin into the Union. Congress passes an act for the organization of Oregon Territory. Migration of the Mormons to Great Salt Lake. Zachary Taylor elected President. Formation230 of the Free-Soil party. Discovery of gold in California.

1850. The United States and Great Britain conclude the Clayton-Bulwer Treaty regarding a water route across Central America. On the death of Zachary Taylor, Millard Fillmore succeeds to the Presidency. New Mexico and Utah are organized as territories, and the “Clay Compromise,” providing for the admission of California as a free state, is adopted. Slavery in the District of Columbia is abolished.

1851. Unsuccessful filibustering expedition, under Lopez, against Cuba. Arrival of Louis Kossuth in the United States.

1852. Franklin Pierce elected President.

1853. Organization of Washington Territory. The Kane Arctic expedition in search of Sir John Franklin.

1854. Repeal of the Missouri Compromise, limiting slave territory in the United States, and passage of the Kansas-Nebraska bill, making slavery optional in the new territories. The “Ostend Manifesto” recommends the purchase of Cuba by the United States. Passage of the commercial reciprocity treaty between the United States and Canada (abrogated in 1866). Commodore Perry concludes a treaty with Japan.

1855. A Pro-Slavery legislature organizes in Kansas. A Free-State convention draws up the Topeka Constitution. William Walker, with a force of filibusters, invades Nicaragua. Opening of the railway across the Isthmus of Panama.

1856. Civil war in Kansas. James Buchanan elected President.

1857. Victory of the Free-State party at the polls in Kansas. A Pro-Slavery convention draws up the Lecompton Constitution. Dred Scott decision. Mormon rebellion in Utah. Financial panic in the United States and Europe.

1858. Admission of Minnesota into the Union. Kansas rejects the Lecompton Constitution. Senator Douglas231 debates. Partial establishment of transatlantic telegraphic communication.

1859. Admission of Oregon into the Union. John Brown’s raid into West Virginia. His capture, trial, and execution. Petroleum discovered in the United States. San Juan islands occupied by General Harney.

1860. Abraham Lincoln elected President. Secession of South Carolina. Kansas prohibits slavery within its boundaries. Lewis Cass, Secretary of State, resigns because President Buchanan refused to reinforce Major Anderson at Fort Moultrie, S. C.

1861. Secession of Mississippi, January 9th, followed by Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Texas, and Louisiana. Admission of Kansas into the Union. Jefferson Davis elected president of the Confederate States of America on February 7th. Bombardment of Fort Sumter.




Seventy-two years after the adoption of the Constitution, called into being to form “a more perfect union,” and eighty-five years after the declaration of independence (a space completely covered by the lives of men still living), a new confederacy of seven Southern states was formed, and the great political fabric, the exemplar and hope of every lover of freedom throughout the world, was apparently hopelessly rent. Of these seven states but two were of the original thirteen—Louisiana and Florida had been purchased by the government of the Union; a war had been fought in behalf of Texas; two states, Alabama and Mississippi, lay within original claims of Georgia, but had been ceded to the Union and organized as Federal territories.

April 11, 1861, found a fully organized separate government established for these seven states, with a determination to form a separate nation, most forcibly expressed by the presence of an army at Charleston, South Carolina, which next day was to open fire upon a feebly manned fort, and thus to begin a terrible civil war. The eight other slave states were in a turmoil of anxiety, leaning toward their sisters of the farther South through the common sympathy which came of slavery, but drawn also to the Union through tradition and233 appreciation of benefits, and through a realization by a great number of persons that their interests in slavery were much less than those of the states which had already seceded.

The North, in the middle of April, was only emerging from a condition of stupefied amazement at a condition which scarcely any of its statesmen, and practically none of the men of every-day life, had thought possible. It was to this crisis that the country had been brought by the conflicting views of the two great and strongly divided sections of the Union respecting slavery, and by the national aspirations which, however little recognized, were working surely in each section, but upon divergent lines.

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The outward manifestations in the history of the separation of the North and the South stand out in strong relief: the Missouri question; the protective tariff and South Carolina nullification; the abolition attacks which wrought the South into a frenzy suicidal in character through its impossible demands upon the North for protection; the action of the Southern statesmen in the question of petitions; the passage of a fugitive-slave law which drove the North itself to nullification; the Kansas-Nebraska act and its outcome of civil war in the former territory; the recognition, in the dicta of the supreme court in the Dred Scott case, of the South’s contention of its constitutional right to carry slavery into the territories, and the stand taken by the North against any further slavery extension. To these visible conflicts were added the unconscious workings of the disruptive forces of a totally distinct social organization. The outward strifes were but the symptoms of a malady in the body politic of the Union which could have but one end, unless the deep, abiding cause, slavery, should be removed.135

234 The president and vice-president of the Southern Confederacy, in their elaborate defences written after the war, have endeavored to rest the cause of the struggle wholly on constitutional questions. Stephens, whose book, not even excepting Calhoun’s utterances, is the ablest exposition of the Southern reading of the Constitution, says: “The struggle or conflict, ... from its rise to its culmination, was between those who, in whatever state they lived, were for maintaining our Federal system as it was established, and those who were for a consolidation of power in the central head.”136 Jefferson Davis is even more explicit. “The truth remains,” he says, “intact and incontrovertible, that the existence of African servitude was in no wise the cause of the conflict, but only an incident. In the later controversies ... its effect in operating as a lever upon the passions, prejudices, or sympathies of mankind was so potent that it has been spread like a thick cloud over the whole horizon of historic truth.”137

This is but begging the question. The constitutional view had its weight for the South in 1860 as it had for New England in the Jefferson-Madison period. Jefferson’s iron domination of the national government during his presidency, a policy hateful to New England, combined with the fear of being overweighted in sectional influence by the western extension through the Louisiana purchase, led to pronounced threats of secession by men of New England, ardently desirous of escaping from what Pickering, one of its most prominent men, termed the Virginian supremacy.138 Exactly the same arguments were used, mutatis mutandis, later by the South.

As we all know, the movement, which never had any real popular support and which had its last spasm of life in the Hartford Convention at the close of the War of235 1812, came to naught. Freed by the fall of Napoleon and the peace with England from the pressure of the upper and nether mill-stones which had so ground to pieces our commerce, a prosperity set in which drowned the sporadic discontent of the previous twenty years. The fears of the Eastern states no longer loomed so high and were as imaginary in fact, and had as slight a basis, as were, in the beginning of the era of discord, those of the South. Could slavery have been otherwise preserved, the extreme decentralizing ideas of the South would have disappeared with equal ease, and Stephens’ causa causans—“the different and directly opposite views as to the nature of the government of the United States, and where, under our system, ultimate sovereign power or paramount authority properly resides,” would have had no more intensity of meaning in 1860 than to-day.

Divergence of constitutional views, like most questions of government, follow the lines of self-interest; Jefferson’s qualms gave way before the great prize of Louisiana; one part of the South was ready in 1832 to go to war on account of a protective tariff; another, Louisiana, was at the same time demanding protection for her special industry. The South thus simply shared in our general human nature, and fought, not for a pure abstraction, as Davis and Stephens, led by Calhoun, would have it, but for the supposed self-interest which its view of the Constitution protected. Its section, its society, could not continue to develop in the Union under the Northern reading of the document, and the irrepressible and certain nationalization, so different from its own tendencies, to which the North as a whole was steadily moving.

Slavery drove the South into opposition to the broad, liberal movement of the age. The French Revolution; the destruction of feudalism by Napoleon; the later popular movements throughout Europe and South America; the liberalizing of Great Britain; the nationalistic ideas of which we have the results in the236 German empire and the kingdom of Italy, and the strong nationalistic feeling developing in the northern part of the Union itself had but little reflex action in the South because of slavery and the South’s consequent segregation and tendency to a feudalistic nationalization.

STATUS OF THE FORTS (OCT. 29, 1860–DEC. 20, 1860)

General Scott, with his memories of 1832, was one of those who appreciated the danger hanging over the country, and, October 29, 1860, he wrote from New York, where he had his headquarters, a letter of great length to the President, which in pompous phrases, conceding the right of secession, and embodying some absurd ideas, such as allowing “the fragments of the great republic to form themselves into new confederacies, probably four,” as a smaller evil than war, gave it as his “solemn conviction” that there was, from his knowledge of the Southern population, “some danger of an early act of rashness preliminary to secession, viz.: the seizure of some or all of the following posts: Forts Jackson and St. Philip on the Mississippi; Morgan below Mobile, all without garrisons; Pickens, McKee at Pensacola, with an insufficient garrison for one; Pulaski, below Savannah, without a garrison; Moultrie and Sumter, Charleston harbor, the former with an insufficient garrison, the latter without any; and Fort Monroe, Hampton Roads, with an insufficient garrison.”

He gave it as his opinion that “all these works should be immediately so garrisoned as to make any attempt to take any one of them by surprise or coup de main ridiculous.” He did not state the number of men needed, but in a supplementary paper the next day (October 30th) said, “There is one (regular) company in Boston, one here (at the Narrows), one at Pittsburg, one at Baton237 Rouge—in all, five companies only within reach.”139 These five companies, about two hundred and fifty men, were of course absurdly inadequate to garrison nine such posts, but, had there been a determination in the President’s mind to prevent seizures, enough men could have been brought together to hold the more important points.

For Scott’s statement as to the number available was grossly inaccurate, and but serves to show the parlous state of a war department in which the general-in-chief can either be so misinformed or allow himself to remain in ignorance of vital facts. There were but five points in the farther South of primal importance: the Mississippi, Mobile, Pensacola, Savannah, and Charleston; two hundred men at each would have been ample to hold the positions for the time being, and, being held, reinforcement in any degree would later have been easy. There was a total of 1048 officers and men at the Northern posts,140 including Leavenworth, Mackinac, Plattsburg, Boston, New York, and Fort Monroe, who could have been drawn upon. There were already 250 men at Charleston, Key West, Pensacola, and Baton Rouge. It is safe to say that a thousand men were available. There were also some eight hundred marines at the navy-yards and barracks141 who could have been used in such an emergency. The aggregate of the army, June 30, 1860, was 16,006, of which 14,926 were enlisted men; and it was in the power of the President to increase this total aggregate to 18,626.142 Recruiting was, in fact, actively going on; almost every man at the posts mentioned could, even much after the date of Scott’s paper, have been safely withdrawn for the object mentioned and quickly replaced.

238 Scott’s inaccurate report gave Buchanan additional reason for the inaction which was his basic thought. He says, in his apologia, that “to have attempted to distribute these five companies in the eight forts of the cotton states and Fortress Monroe in Virginia, would have been a confession of weakness.... It could have had no effect in preventing secession, but must have done much to provoke it.”143 The first part of this statement would have been true had these five companies been the only force available; the second, on the supposition that the President meant that any attempt with a force reasonably large would have provoked secession, was a short-sighted view. To garrison the forts could not have been more obnoxious than to put them in a state of defence. At any time before the secession of a state they could have been garrisoned without bringing on actual conflict. The statesmen of the South were well aware that an attack upon an armed force of the United States, before secession, must place them irretrievably in the wrong. South Carolina did not secede until December 20th. To resist the sending of troops before this date to any of these forts would have been unqualified treason, and for this no one in the South was prepared. The safety of the secession movement, the extension of sympathy throughout the South, rested very greatly upon strict compliance with the forms of law and with the theories of the Constitution held by that section. At least one ardent secessionist, Judge Longstreet, recognized this when he appealed to South-Carolinians to refrain from any act of war; “let the first shot,” he said, “come from the enemy. Burn that precept into your hearts.144 It was impossible that the Southern leaders should place themselves, or allow their people to place them, in the attitude of waging war against the Union while even in their own view their states still239 remained within it. There was, too, still a very large Union sentiment in the South, though finally swept into the vortex by the principle of going with the state, which would not have been averse to a determined action on the part of the President and might have upheld it, as in 1833. Such vigor would have given this sentiment a working basis, through the evidence that the Federal authority was to be upheld; and it would have caused a pause even in the least thoughtful of the secessionists had they felt that their coast strongholds were to be held and all their ports to be in the hands of the enemy. In the dearth of manufactures in the South, the holding of their ports was an essential to Southern military success. Their closure by blockade was equally an essential to the success of the North. The strategy of the situation was of the clearest and most palpable, and with their coast forts in Union hands warlike action on the part of the South is not conceivable. One can thus understand the importance of spreading the reiterated statements of “intense excitement” and “danger of attack” in the event of reinforcement; statements which, in the circumstances, must be regarded, if the phrase may be used, in the nature of a gigantic and successful “bluff.”

* * * * *

The military property of the United States at Charleston consisted of the armory, covering a few acres, where were stored twenty-two thousand muskets and a considerable number of old, heavy guns, and of three forts named for South-Carolinians of Union-wide fame. The smallest of these, Castle Pinckney, was a round, brick structure, in excellent condition, on a small island directly east of the town and distant from the wharves but half a mile. It completely commanded the town, and had a formidable armament of four forty-two-pounders, fourteen twenty-four-pounders, and four eight-inch sea-coast howitzers. The powder of the arsenal was here stored. The only garrison was an ordnance sergeant,240 who, with his family, looked after the harbor light which was in the fort.

Almost due east again, and three miles distant, was Fort Moultrie, on the south end of Sullivan’s Island, a low sand-spit forming the north side of the harbor entrance. The work had an area of one and a half acres, and mounted fifty-five guns in barbette. The drifting sands had piled themselves even with the parapet, and the work was in such condition as to be indefensible against a land attack. The whole was but of a piece with the long-continued neglect arising from many years of peace and the optimistic temperament of a people who never believe that war can occur until it is upon them; it was the natural outcome of the almost entire absence of governmental system and forethought of the time. The fort was garrisoned by two companies, comprising sixty-four enlisted men and eight officers, of the First regiment of artillery; the surgeon, band, a hospital steward, and an ordnance sergeant brought the total up to eighty-four.

Almost south of Moultrie was Cummings Point, on Morris Island, forming the southern side of the harbor entrance. Nearly midway between this point and Moultrie, but a half-mile within the line joining them, and distant three and a half miles from the nearest part of the city, was Fort Sumter, begun in 1829, and after thirty-one years not yet finished. Built on a shoal covered at most stages of the tide, it rose directly out of the water, with two tiers of casemates, and surmounted by a third tier of guns in barbette. In plan it was very like the transverse section of the ordinary American house, the apex of the two sides representing the lines of the roof, looking toward Moultrie. It was intended for a garrison of six hundred and fifty men and an armament of one hundred and forty-six guns, of which seventy-eight were on hand.

On a report made in July by Captain J. G. Foster, repairs241 on Moultrie were begun September 14th, and next day upon Sumter, some two hundred and fifty men being employed. The sand about the walls of Moultrie was removed, a wet ditch dug, a glacis formed, the guardhouse pierced with loop-holes, and the four field-guns placed in position for flank attack.

At the end of October, Captain Foster, foreseeing events, requested the issue of arms to the workmen to protect property, and the Secretary of War approved the issue of forty muskets, if it should meet the concurrence of the commanding officer. Colonel Gardner, in reply, November 5th, doubted the expediency, as most of the laborers were foreigners, indifferent to which side they took, and wisely advised, instead, filling up “at once” the two companies at Moultrie with recruits and sending two companies from Fort Monroe to the two other forts.145 The requisition was thus held in abeyance, and the muskets remained at the arsenal. When, only two days later, Gardner, urged by the repeated solicitations of his officers, directed the transfer of musket ammunition to Moultrie, the loading of the schooner was objected to by the owner of the wharf, and the military store-keeper, under apparently very inadequate pressure, returned the stores to the arsenal. A permit, given by the mayor of Charleston next day, for the removal was very properly declined by Gardner, on the ground that the city authorities could not control his actions.146

The affair, however, cost Gardner his command, by a process described by the Assistant Secretary of State, Trescot: “I received a telegram from Charleston, saying that intense excitement prevailed, ... and that, if the removal was by orders of the Department of War, it ought to be revoked, otherwise collision was inevitable. Knowing the Cabinet were then in session, I went over to the White House.... I took Governor Floyd aside, and he was242 joined, I think, by Messrs. Cobb and Toucey, and showed them the telegram. Governor Floyd replied, ‘Telegraph back at once; say that you have seen me, that no such orders have been issued, and none such will be issued, under any circumstances.’” Floyd, a day or so later, gave Trescot “his impressions of the folly of Colonel Gardner’s conduct, and his final determination to remove him and supply his place with Major Robert Anderson, in whose discretion, coolness, and judgment he put great confidence. He also determined to send Colonel Ben. Huger to take charge of the arsenal, believing that his high reputation, his close association with many of the most influential people in Charleston, and the fact of his being a Carolinian, would satisfy the state of the intention of the government.”147

That Floyd himself was in an uncertain state of mind is shown by his willingness to begin and continue the work upon the forts; that his mental state did not permit logical action is clear from his temper and attitude regarding the transfer of musket ammunition November 7th, though but the week before (October 31st) he had authorized the transfer of the muskets themselves.

Major Fitz-John Porter, of the adjutant-general’s office, later the able and ill-treated general, was sent to Charleston to inspect the conditions. His report, made November 11th, revealed the military inefficiency almost inseparable from a post so neglected and ill-manned, and subject to the lazy peace conditions of the period. He said: “The unguarded state of the fort invites attack, if such design exists, and much discretion and prudence are required on the part of the commander to restore the proper security without exciting a community prompt to misconstrue actions of authority. I think this can be effected by a proper commander without checking in the slightest the progress of the engineer in completing the243 works of defence.” Major Porter continues with a most significant phrase, “All could have been easily arranged a few weeks since, when the danger was foreseen by the present commander.”148

November 15th, Anderson was ordered to the command. A Kentuckian by birth, his wife a Georgian, his views in sympathy with those of General Scott, he appeared to be and, as results proved, was in many respects particularly fitted for the post; by November 23d he was able to report that in two weeks the outer defences of Moultrie would be finished and the guns mounted, and that Sumter was ready for the comfortable accommodation of one company, and, indeed, for the temporary reception of its proper garrison. “This,” he said, “is the key to the entrance to this harbor; its guns command this work [Moultrie] and could drive out its occupants. It should be garrisoned at once.... So important do I consider the holding of Castle Pinckney by the government that I recommend, if the troops asked for cannot be sent at once, that I be authorized to place an engineer detachment [of an officer and thirty workmen] ... to make the repairs needed there.... If my force was not so very small, I would not hesitate to send a detachment at once to garrison that work. Fort Sumter and Castle Pinckney must be garrisoned immediately if the government determines to keep command of this harbor.”

Anderson proceeded to give advice which sane judgment and every sentiment of national honor demanded. After mentioning his anxiety to avoid collision with the citizens of South Carolina, he said: “Nothing, however, will be better calculated to prevent bloodshed than our being found in such an attitude that it would be madness and folly to attack us. There is not so much feverish excitement as there was last week, but that there is a settled determination to leave the Union, and obtain244 possession of this work, is apparent to all.... The clouds are threatening, and the storm may break upon us at any moment. I do, then, most earnestly entreat that a reinforcement be immediately sent to this garrison, and that at least two companies be sent at the same time to Fort Sumter and Castle Pinckney.” Anderson also stated his belief that as soon as the people of South Carolina learned that he had demanded reinforcements they would occupy Pinckney and attack Moultrie; and therefore it was vitally important to embark the troops in war steamers and designate them for other duty as a blind.149 Captain Foster, November 24th, reported the whole of the barbette tier of Sumter ready for its armament and as presenting an excellent appearance of preparation and strength equal to seventy per cent. of its efficiency when finished.150 He said, November 30th, “I think more troops should have been sent here to guard the forts, and I believe that no serious demonstration on the part of the populace would have met such a course.”151

The work on the forts was, of course, well known to the people of Charleston, and that at Moultrie, at least, subject to daily inspection by many visitors. There was still no restriction “upon any intercourse with Charleston, many of whose citizens were temporary residents of Sullivan’s Island. The activity about the fort drew to it a large number of visitors daily, and the position of the garrison and the probable action of the state in regard to the forts were constant subjects of discussion. There was as yet no unfriendly feeling manifested, and the social intercourse between the garrison and their friends in Charleston was uninterrupted. But as the days went on the feeling assumed a more definite shape, and found expression in many ways.... It was openly announced, both to the commanding officer and to his officers, that as soon as the state seceded a demand for245 the delivery of the forts would be made, and, if resisted, they would be taken.... Meantime, all of the able-bodied men in Charleston were enrolled, military companies were formed everywhere, and drilling went on by night and day, and with the impression among them that they were to attack Fort Moultrie.”152 November 28th and December 1st, Anderson again pressed for troops or for ships of war in the harbor;153 but his last request was anticipated in a letter of the same date, when he was informed by the War Department, “from information thought to be reliable, that an attack will not be made on your command, and the Secretary has only to refer to his conversation with you and to caution you that, should his convictions unhappily prove untrue, your actions must be such as to be free from the charge of initiating a collision. If attacked, you are of course expected to defend the trust committed to you to the best of your ability.”154

A demand being made by the adjutant of a South Carolina regiment on the engineer officer at Moultrie for a list of his workmen, “as it was desired to enroll the men upon them for military duty,”155 Anderson asked for instructions. The War Department replied, December 14th, “If the state authorities demand any of Captain Foster’s workmen on the ground of their being enrolled into the service of the state, ... you will, after fully satisfying yourself that the men are subject to enrolment, and have been properly enrolled, ... cause them to be delivered up or suffer them to depart.” Banality could go no further, and Anderson, December 18th, informed the department that, as he understood it, “the South Carolina authorities sought to enroll as a part of their army intended to act against the forces of the United States men who are employed by and in the pay of that government, and246 could not, as I conceived, be enrolled by South Carolina ‘under the laws of the United States and of the state of South Carolina.’” No answer was vouchsafed to this, and the request was not complied with.

Anderson’s repeated statements of the necessity of the occupancy of Sumter, without which his own position was untenable, led to the despatch of Major Buell, a Kentuckian, and later a major-general of United States volunteers, with verbal instructions, which, however, on Buell’s own motion, and with the thought that Anderson should have written evidence, were reduced, December 11th, to writing. This memorandum is of such importance that it must be given in full.

“You are aware of the great anxiety of the Secretary of War that a collision of the troops with the people of this state shall be avoided, and of his studied determination to pursue a course with reference to the military force and forts in this harbor which shall guard against such a collision. He has therefore carefully abstained from increasing the force at this point, or taking any measures which might add to the present excited state of the public mind, or which would throw any doubt on the confidence he feels that South Carolina will not attempt, by violence, to obtain possession of the public works or interfere with their occupancy. But as the counsels and acts of rash and impulsive persons may possibly disappoint those expectations of the government, he deems it proper that you should be prepared with instructions to meet so unhappy a contingency. He has therefore directed me verbally to give you such instructions. You are carefully to avoid every act which would needlessly tend to provoke aggression; and for that reason you are not without evident and imminent necessity to take up any position which could be construed in the assumption of a hostile attitude. But you are to hold possession of the forts in the harbor, and if attacked you are to defend yourself to the last247 extremity. The smallness of your force will not permit you, perhaps, to occupy more than one of the three forts, but an attack on, or attempt to take possession of, any one of them will be regarded as an act of hostility, and you may then put your command into either of them which you may deem most proper to increase its power of resistance. You are also authorized to take similar steps whenever you have tangible evidence of a design to proceed to a hostile act.”156

These instructions did not come to the President’s knowledge until December 21st, though a despatch from Washington, December 13th, published in the Charleston Courier, announced Major Buell’s visit; when made known to the President, he directed them to be modified, ordering that if “attacked by a force so superior that resistance would, in your judgment, be a useless waste of life, it will be your duty to yield to necessity and make the best terms in your power.”157

December 3d, Anderson placed Lieutenant Jefferson C. Davis with thirty men in Castle Pinckney, and began work there. Action upon a request for arms for the workmen at Sumter and Pinckney was deferred by the War Department “for the present,” but Captain Foster going to the arsenal, December 17th, for two gins for hoisting, “to the transmission of which there was no objection,” arranged with the store-keeper that the old order of the Ordnance Department of November 1st, for forty muskets, should be complied with, which was done. “Intense excitement” as usual was reported the next day to have occurred; there was the reiteration of great danger of “violent demonstration” from a military official of the state who called upon Foster, and who stated that Colonel Huger had informed the governor that no arms should be removed. Foster declined to return the arms, stating that he knew nothing of Huger’s pledge, but was248 willing to refer the matter to Washington. Trescot was informed by telegraph that “not a moment’s time should be lost.” The Secretary of War was aroused in the depths of the night, and the result was a telegraphic order from Floyd himself to “return [the arms] instantly.”158 The go-between Assistant Secretary of State, so busily engaged with affairs not his own, received from the aide-de-camp of Governor Pickens the telegram: “The Governor says he is glad of your despatch, for otherwise there would have been imminent danger. Earnestly urge that there be no transfer of troops from Fort Moultrie to Fort Sumter and inform Secretary of War.”159 Captain Foster, explaining to the War Department, December 20, 1860, says, “when in town to see General Schnierle and allay any excitement relative to the muskets, I found to my surprise that there was no excitement except with a very few who had been active in the matter, and the majority of the gentlemen whom I met had not even heard of it.”160

Pickens, the new governor of South Carolina, December 17th, the day after his inauguration, and before the state had passed the ordinance of secession, made a demand on the President for the delivery of Fort Sumter. The letter, drawn in the most offensive terms, and marked “strictly confidential,” urged that all work be stopped and that no more troops be ordered. It continued: “It is not improbable that, under orders from the commandant, or, perhaps, from the commander-in-chief of the army, the alteration and defences of the posts are progressing without the knowledge of yourself or the Secretary of War. The arsenal in the city of Charleston, with the public arms, I am informed, was turned over very properly to the keeping and defence of the state force at249 the urgent request of the Governor of South Carolina. I would most respectfully, and from a sincere devotion to the public peace, request that you would allow me to send a small force, not exceeding twenty-five men and an officer, to take possession of Fort Sumter immediately, in order to give a feeling of safety to the community.”161

The ever-ready Trescot arranged an interview December 20th with the President for the delivery of the letter. The President stated that he would give an answer the next day. In the mean time Trescot, seeing the difficulties to which it led, consulted both Senators Davis and Slidell, who thought the demand “could do nothing but mischief”; and on consultation with two of the South Carolina delegation in Washington, Governor Pickens was advised by telegraph to withdraw the letter, which was done. Trescot’s letter to Governor Pickens, returning that of the latter, after mentioning all that had been done by the executive to refrain from injuring the sensibilities of South Carolina, said: The President’s “course had been violently denounced by the Northern press, and an effort was being made to institute a Congressional investigation. At that moment he could not have gone to the extent of action you desired, and I felt confident that, if forced to answer your letter then, he would have taken such ground as would have prevented his even approaching it hereafter; ... you had all the advantage of knowing the truth, without the disadvantage of having it put on record.... I was also perfectly satisfied that the status of the garrison would not be disturbed.... I have had this morning an interview with Governor Floyd, the Secretary of War; ... while I cannot even here venture into details, which are too confidential to be risked in any way, I am prepared to say ... that nothing will be done which will either do you injury or properly create alarm.”162

250 The President’s painful weakness is but too clear in the fact that he had not only given his confidence so largely to such a man, whose position and attitude he knew, but saw nothing derogatory in such a letter as that of Governor Pickens, and could draft a reply (December 20th) in which, while stating that no authority had been given to Governor Gist to guard the Charleston arsenal, he said: “I deeply regret to observe that you seem entirely to have misapprehended my position, which I supposed had been clearly stated in my message. I have incurred, and shall incur, any reasonable risk ... to prevent a collision.... Hence I have declined for the present to reinforce these forts, relying upon the honor of the South-Carolinians that they will not be assaulted whilst they remain in their present condition; but that commissioners will be sent by the convention to treat with Congress on the subject.”163

December 18th the President sent Caleb Cushing with a letter to Governor Pickens, with the idea of inducing the authorities and people of South Carolina to await the action of Congress and the development of opinion in the North as to the recommendation of his message. Governor Pickens told Cushing, December 20th, the day of the passage of the ordinance of secession, that he would make no reply to the letter, and stated “very candidly that there was no hope for the Union, and that, as far as he was concerned, he intended to maintain the separate independence of South Carolina.”164

THE FORT SUMTER CRISIS (DEC. 2, 1860–JAN. 8, 1861)

The question of the United States forts was now uppermost, and upon the action regarding them hung war or251 peace. Three commissioners—Robert W. Barnwell, James H. Adams, and James L. Orr—were appointed by South Carolina to lay the ordinance of secession before the President and Congress, and were empowered as agents of the state to treat for the delivery of the forts and other real estate, for the apportionment of the public debt, and for a division of all the property of the United States.165

In apprehension of the occupation of Sumter by Anderson, a patrol by two small steamers, the Nina and General Clinch, was established, with orders to prevent such action at all hazards and seize Fort Sumter if it should be attempted. A Lieutenant-Colonel Green was sent to Fort Monroe to observe any movements; and one Norris, at Norfolk, was employed to give information of any action at the Norfolk navy-yard. A committee of prominent men was sent to Fort Sumter, who thoroughly inspected the works and reported upon them.

Meantime, Major Anderson had been preparing, with great caution and foresight, to move his command. For some ten days the officers had been apprised that it was advisable to send the families of the men to the unoccupied barracks on James’ Island, known as Fort Johnson, a mile and a quarter west of Sumter. The work of mounting guns at Sumter had been discontinued for three days, and the elevating-screws and pintle-bolts sent to Moultrie so that the guns should not be used if the South-Carolinians should anticipate his action, and also to give the impression that occupancy of the fort was not designed. All stores and provisions at Fort Moultrie which could be carried, and personal belongings, except what the men could carry in their knapsacks, were loaded as for Fort Johnson in the two small sailing-vessels which were to carry the women and children.

Christmas Day had been fixed for the transfer, but252 heavy rains prevented. The delay might have had other consequences, for, curiously enough, on the morning of December 26th, Colonel R. B. Rhett, Jr., waited upon the governor, with a private warning letter from Washington to the effect that Anderson was about to seize Sumter, and urged the governor to secure it.166

All was made ready on December 26th, and the quartermaster who was to have charge of the little flotilla, loaded with “everything in the household line from boxes and barrels of provisions to cages of canary-birds,” was directed to go to Fort Johnson, but not to land anything. Upon a signal of two guns from Moultrie he was to go to Sumter on the plea that he had to report to Anderson that he could not find accommodations. Five pulling-boats in customary use were available for the transportation of the men. Only one officer had been thus far informed, and the men had no suspicion where they were to go when they fell in at retreat roll-call with packed knapsacks and filled cartridge-boxes, carried at parade under a general standing order. So little was the movement suspected that Captain Doubleday, second in command, came at sunset to Anderson in the midst of the officers to invite the major to tea. He was then informed of Anderson’s intentions, and was directed to have his company in readiness in twenty minutes, an order met by an “eager obedience.” Part of this time was taken in arranging for the safety of Mrs. Doubleday in the village outside of the fort, whither the families of the other officers were also sent. The men were ready promptly, and the first detachment of twenty, led by Anderson himself, marched over the quarter of a mile of sand to the landing-place with the good-fortune of encountering, no one.

Anderson went in the leading boat. Lieutenant Meade, the engineer in charge of the works at Castle253 Pinckney, had charge of the second, and Captain Doubleday of the third. When half-way across, Doubleday’s boat came unexpectedly in the path of one of the patrol boats, the General Clinch, which was towing a schooner to sea. The men were ordered to take off their coats and cover their muskets. The steamer stopped, but in the twilight, and with the resemblance of the boat and its load of men to the usual parties of workmen, suspicion was not aroused, and the steamer resumed her way without questioning. She had been anxiously watched from Moultrie, and had she interfered would have been fired upon by a thirty-two-pounder, two of which had been loaded with that intent. Captain Foster, with Assistant Surgeon Crawford, a Mr. Moall, four non-commissioned officers, and seven privates, had been left at Moultrie to spike the guns, burn the gun-carriages, and hew down the flag-staff.167

On reaching Sumter, the workmen, some hundred and fifty, swarmed to the wharf, some feebly cheering, many angrily demanding the reason for the presence of the soldiers; many of the workmen wore the secession cockade; the malecontents (a number of whom shortly returned to Charleston) quickly gave way before the bayonets of Doubleday’s men, who at once occupied the main entrance and guard-room; sentries were posted and the fort was under military control. Boats were now sent back for Captain Seymour’s company, which arrived without interference, and the whole force, except the few detailed to remain at Moultrie, was in Sumter before eight o’clock, at which hour Anderson wrote the Adjutant-General, reporting that he had “just completed, by the blessing of God, the removal to this fort of all my garrison.... The step which I have taken was, in my opinion, necessary to prevent the effusion of blood.”168 On the firing of the signal-guns at Moultrie, Lieutenant254 Hall left the west side of the bay with the two lighters carrying the men’s families and stores, and reached Sumter under sail.

With the help of the engineer’s workmen at Moultrie, the boats were loaded during the night with part of the impedimenta of every sort which had to be left in the first crossing, and reached Sumter in the early dawn. The following day, December 27th, was passed like the preceding night, in transferring ammunition and other stores to Sumter; but a month and a half’s supply of provisions, some fuel, and personal effects had to be left. All the guns at Moultrie were spiked, and the carriages of those bearing on Sumter burned, the smoke from these bearing to Charleston the first indication of what had happened. At fifteen minutes before noon the command and one hundred and fifty workmen were formed in a square near the flag-staff of Sumter; the chaplain offered a prayer expressing gratitude for their safe arrival, and prayed that the flag might never be dishonored, but soon float again over the whole country, a peaceful and prosperous nation. “When the prayer was finished, Major Anderson, who had been kneeling, arose, the battalion presented arms, the band played the national air, and the flag went to the head of the flag-staff, amid the loud and earnest huzzas of the command.”169


Intense excitement in Charleston was the natural outcome of Anderson’s action, and the morning of the 27th the governor sent his aide-de-camp, Colonel Pettigrew, accompanied by Major Capers, with a peremptory demand that Anderson should return with his garrison to Moultrie, to which Anderson replied, “Make my compliments to the governor and say to him that I decline to accede to his request; I cannot and will not go back.” The governor’s messenger mentioned that when Governor Pickens came into office he found an understanding255 between his predecessor (Gist) and the President, by which the status in the harbor was to remain unchanged. Anderson stated “that he knew nothing of it; that he could get no information or positive orders from Washington; ... that he had reason to believe that [the state troops] meant to land and attack him from the north; that the desire of the governor to have the matter settled peaceably and without bloodshed was precisely his own object in transferring his command; ... that he did it upon his own responsibility alone,” as safety required it, “and as he had the right to do.” He added that, “In this controversy between the North and the South, my sympathies are entirely with the South,” but that a sense of duty to his trust was first.170 The immediate result was the occupancy by the state forces, December 27th, of Pinckney and Moultrie; the seizure, December 30th, of the unoccupied barracks known as Fort Johnson, and of the arsenal, with its ordnance and ordnance stores, valued at four hundred thousand dollars.

The news of Anderson’s dramatic, bold, and self-reliant act, one for which the country owes a debt to the memory of this upright and excellent commander, brought consternation to the President and Secretary of War, who learned it through the indefatigable Trescot, who had, on the 26th, arranged for the three commissioners of South Carolina an interview with the President for December 27th, at one o’clock. The news of the morning brought a complete change of circumstances. A telegram to Wigfall was brought by him to the commissioners and to the Secretary of War, who at once went to the commissioners. Trescot was present, and could not believe in an “act not only without orders but in the face of orders.” Floyd at once telegraphed, asking an explanation of the report. “It is not believed, because there is no order for any such movement.” A telegram256 in reply from Anderson assured him of the truth, and a written report gave as reasons that “many things convinced me that the authorities of the state designed to proceed to a hostile act. Under this impression I could not hesitate that it was my solemn duty to move my command from a fort which we could not have held probably longer than forty-eight or sixty hours to this one where my power of resistance is increased to a very great degree.”171

[In January a futile attempt to relieve Fort Sumter was made by sending from New York two hundred troops in an unarmed steamer, The Star of the West, which was fired upon by the secessionists in Fort Moultrie, and, receiving no support from Fort Sumter, returned to New York.]


Lamon’s172 officiousness resulted in giving both to Anderson and to the Confederate authorities an impression that Sumter would surely be evacuated; hence Beauregard, March 26th, wrote to Anderson offering facilities for removal, but asking his word of honor that the fort would be left without any preparation for its destruction or injury. This demand deeply wounded Anderson, and he resented it in a letter of the same date, saying, “If I can only be permitted to leave on the pledge you mention, I shall never, so help me God, leave this fort alive.”173 Beauregard hastened to state that he had only alluded to the “pledge” on account of the “high source” from which the rumors appeared to come, and257 made a full amend, which re-established their usual relations.

Anderson had informed Fox that, by placing the command on a short allowance, he could make the provisions last until after April 10th; but not receiving instructions from the War Department that it was desirable to do so, it had not been done.174 He had already reported, March 31st, that his last barrel of flour had been issued two days before.175

Anderson’s little command, as he explained to Washington April 1st, would now face starvation should the daily supply of fresh meat and vegetables, still allowed from Charleston, be cut off. Being in daily expectation, since the return of Colonel Lamon to Washington, of receiving orders to vacate the post, he had, to the great disadvantage of the food supply, kept the engineer laborers as long as he could. He now asked permission to send them from Sumter; but the request, referred to Montgomery April 2d by Beauregard, was refused, unless all the garrison should go.176

April 1st an ice-laden schooner bound for Savannah entered Charleston harbor by mistake, and was fired upon by a Morris Island battery. Again the Sumter batteries were manned and a consultation held, at which five of the eight officers declared in favor of opening fire, but no action was taken by Anderson beyond sending an officer to the offending battery, from which word was returned by its commanding officer that he was simply carrying out his orders to fire upon any vessel carrying the United States colors which attempted to enter.

On April 4th Anderson assembled his officers, and for the first time made known to them the orders of January 10th and February 23d, directing him to act strictly on the defensive. As Lieutenant Talbot had just been promoted captain and ordered to Washington, Anderson258 determined to send by him his despatches. In order to arrange for his departure, Talbot, April 4th, accompanied Lieutenant Snyder, under a white flag, to call the attention of the governor to the fact that the schooner fired upon had not been warned by one of their own vessels, as had been arranged. It developed that the guard-vessel on duty had come in on account of heavy weather, and the commanding officer was consequently dismissed. The request to allow Talbot to proceed brought out the fact that orders had been received from Montgomery not to allow any portion of the garrison to leave the fort unless all should go177—which, however, Beauregard construed, for the benefit of Talbot, to apply more particularly to laborers and enlisted men178—and also that the following telegram from Commissioner Crawford had reached Charleston April 1st: “I am authorized to say that this government will not undertake to supply Sumter without notice to you. My opinion is that the President has not the courage to execute the order agreed upon in Cabinet for the evacuation of the fort, but that he intends to shift the responsibility upon Major Anderson by suffering him to be starved out. Would it not be well to aid in this by cutting off all supplies?”179 Beauregard had, the same day, sent the message to the Confederate Secretary of War, with the remark, “Batteries here ready to open Wednesday or Thursday. What instructions?”

April, 1861

The knowledge of these telegrams called from Anderson, April 5th, a pathetic despatch to the War Department: “I cannot but think Mr. Crawford has misunderstood what he has heard in Washington, as I cannot think the government could abandon, without instructions and without advice, a command which has tried to do all its duty to our country.” He ended a fervent appeal for this act of justice with, “Unless we receive supplies259260 I shall be compelled to stay here without food or to abandon this post very early next week.”180 “At this time,” says Doubleday, “the seeming indifference of the politicians to our fate made us feel like orphan children of the Republic, deserted by both the State and Federal administration.”181

Two days later Anderson received a letter of April 4th from the Secretary of War, informing him of the government’s purpose to send the Fox expedition, and hoping that he would be able to sustain himself until the 11th or 12th.182 The same day he was informed by the Confederate authorities that the supply of provisions had been stopped, and late that evening that no mails coming or going would be allowed to pass. The fort was to be “completely isolated.” This action was undoubtedly taken at this moment in consequence of a telegram from Washington sent Magrath April 6th, as follows: “Positively determined not to withdraw Anderson. Supplies go immediately, supported by naval force under Stringham if their landing be resisted.” This telegram, signed “A Friend,” was, as later became known, from James E. Harvey, who was about to go as United States minister to Portugal. It was sent to Montgomery, and had its full effect.183

Just before the reception of the information regarding the stoppage of mails, Anderson had posted his acknowledgment of the War Department’s letter of the 4th and a report by Foster to the chief-engineer of the army; both letters were opened by the Confederate authorities, and gave full confirmation of the accuracy of the telegram from “A Friend.” Anderson said that “the resumption of work yesterday (Sunday) at various points on Morris Island, and the vigorous prosecution of it this261 morning, ... shows that they have either received some news from Washington which has put them on the qui vive, or that they have received orders from Montgomery to commence operations here. I fear” that Fox’s attempt “cannot fail to be disastrous to all concerned.... We have not oil enough to keep a light in lanterns for one night. The boats will have therefore to rely at night entirely upon other marks. I ought to have been informed that this expedition was to come. Colonel Lamon’s remark convinced me that the idea merely hinted at to me by Captain Fox would not be carried out. We shall strive to do our duty, though I frankly say that my heart is not in the war which I see is to be thus commenced.”184

As shown by despatches which Anderson had no means of sending, and carried north, eight guard-boats and signal-vessels were on duty out far beyond the bar; a fourth gun had been added to the new battery on Sullivan’s Island, which had until the 8th been masked by a house now torn down, and which bore directly upon any boat attempting to land stores on the left bank. There was bread enough to last, using half-rations, until dinner-time Friday (12th). Anderson reported the command in fine spirits. It was evident that a hostile force was expected. The iron-clad floating battery appeared the morning of the 11th at the west end of Sullivan’s Island. Anderson, in ignorance that his own intercepted letter and Harvey’s telegram had given them all they needed to know, said: “Had they been in possession of the information contained in your letter of the 4th instant they could not have made better arrangements than these they have made and are making to thwart the contemplated scheme.”185

Chew, who, as mentioned, had been selected as the messenger to carry to Charleston the notice of the President’s262 intention to attempt to provision Sumter, left Washington Saturday, April 6th, at 6 P.M., in company with Captain Talbot, and reached Charleston forty-eight hours later; finding no action taken against Sumter, he delivered a copy of his memorandum to the governor, who called General Beauregard into the consultation. Captain Talbot’s request to join the garrison at Sumter was referred to Beauregard, and peremptorily refused, Beauregard remarking that the instructions from Montgomery required that no communication whatever should be permitted with Anderson except to convey an order for the evacuation of the fort.186 The return of the envoys to Washington was much delayed by disarrangement of trains by order of Beauregard, who also held all telegrams from Chew to Lincoln.187

Sumter now mounted fifty-nine guns, twenty-seven of the heaviest of which were in barbette (the upper and open tier). In the lowest tier there were also twenty-seven, four of which were forty-two-pounders and the remainder thirty-two’s. The ports of the second (or middle tier), eight feet square, were closed by a three-foot brick wall, laid in cement and backed in twenty-seven of the more exposed by two feet of sand kept in place by planks or barrels. On the parade were one 10-inch and four 8-inch guns, mounted as howitzers, the former to throw shells into Charleston, the latter into the batteries on Cummings Point. The guns bearing upon the three batteries on the west end of Sullivan’s Island were ten thirty-two-pounders; on Fort Moultrie, two forty-three-pounders. Five guns bore upon the mortar battery at Fort Johnson. Seven hundred cartridges had been made up, material of every kind, even the woollen shirts of the men, being used.188

Bearing upon Fort Sumter there were on Sullivan’s Island three 8-inch, two thirty-two-pounders, and six twenty-four-pounders263 in Fort Moultrie; two thirty-two-pounders and two twenty-four-pounders in the new enfilade battery; one 9-inch, two forty-two-pounders, and two thirty-two-pounders at the Point and aboard the floating battery, and six 10-inch mortars; on Morris Island, two forty-two-pounders, one twelve-pounder Blakely rifle, three 8-inch guns, and seven 10-inch mortars; at Fort Johnson, one twenty-four-pounder and four 10-inch mortars; at Mount Pleasant, one 10-inch mortar: a total of twenty-seven guns and eighteen mortars.189 The latter were particularly to be feared, as mortar fire under the conditions of a fixed target and perfectly established distances is extremely accurate. The interior of the fort was thus as vulnerable as the exterior.

Governor Pickens at once sent to Montgomery a telegram reporting the visit of the President’s messenger. A lengthy discussion ensued in the Confederate Cabinet. Toombs, the Secretary of State, said: “The firing upon that fort will inaugurate a civil war greater than any the world has yet seen; and I do not feel competent to advise you.”190 In the state of Southern feeling, however, the only thing possible was for Secretary Walker to order Beauregard, April 10th, “If you have no doubt of the authorized character of the agent who communicated to you the intention of the Washington government to supply Sumter by force, you will at once demand its evacuation, and if this is refused proceed, in such manner as you may determine, to reduce it.”191 Beauregard answered the same day, “The demand will be made to-morrow at twelve o’clock.” To this came reply from Montgomery, “Unless there are special reasons connected with your own condition, it is considered proper that you should make the demand at an earlier date.” Beauregard replied (all these of the same date, the 10th), “The264 reasons are special for twelve o’clock.”192 These imperative “reasons” proved to be shortness of powder, then on its way, and which arrived from Augusta, Georgia, that evening,193 and the placing of a new rifled twelve-pounder.

Shortly after noon, April 11th, a boat bearing a white flag and three officers, the senior being Colonel James Chesnut, recently a United States senator, pushed off from a Charleston wharf and arrived at Sumter at half-past three. The officers being conducted to Anderson, a demand for the evacuation of the work was delivered. The officers of the fort were summoned, and after an hour’s discussion it was determined, without dissent, to refuse the demand, and a written refusal was sent, in which Anderson regretted that his sense of honor and his obligations to his government prevented his compliance.194 Anderson accompanied the messengers as far as the main gate, where he asked, “Will General Beauregard open his batteries without further notice to me?” Colonel Chesnut replied, “I think not,” adding, “No, I can say to you that he will not, without giving you further notice.” On this Anderson unwisely remarked that he would be starved out anyway in a few days if Beauregard did not batter him to pieces with his guns. Chesnut asked if he might report this to Beauregard. Anderson declined to give it such character, but said it was the fact.195

This information, telegraphed to Montgomery, elicited the reply: “Do not desire needlessly to bombard Fort Sumter. If Major Anderson will state the time at which, as indicated by him, he will evacuate, and agree that in the mean time he will not use his guns against us unless ours should be employed against Sumter, you are authorized thus to avoid the effusion of blood. If this or265 its equivalent be refused, reduce the fort as your judgment decides to be most practicable.”196

A second note from Beauregard was presented that night, and after a conference with his officers of three hours, in which the question of food was the main consideration, Anderson replied, “I will, if provided with proper and necessary means of transportation, evacuate Fort Sumter by noon on the 15th instant ... should I not receive prior to that time controlling instructions from my government or additional supplies.” The terms of the reply were considered by the messengers “manifestly futile,” and at 3.20 A.M. of the 12th the following note was handed by Beauregard’s aides, Chesnut and Lee, to Anderson: “By authority of Brigadier-General Beauregard, commanding the provisional forces of the Confederate States, we have the honor to notify you that he will open the fire of his batteries on Fort Sumter in one hour from this time.”197

Meantime Fox, intrusted with the general charge of the relief expedition, was sent by the President, March 30th, to New York, with verbal instructions to prepare for the voyage but to make no binding engagements. Not having received the written authority expected, he returned to Washington April 2d, and on the 4th the final decision was reached, and Fox was informed that a messenger would be sent to the authorities at Charleston to notify them of the President’s action. Fox mentioned to the President that he would have but nine days to charter vessels and reach Charleston, six hundred and thirty-two miles distant. He arrived at New York April 5th, bearing an order from General Scott to Lieutenant-Colonel H. L. Scott (son-in-law and aide-de-camp to the general-in-chief), embracing all his wants and directing Colonel Scott to give in his name all necessary instructions. Colonel Scott ridiculed the idea of relief,266 and his indifference caused the loss of half a day of precious time, besides furnishing recruits who, Fox complained, were “totally unfit” for the service they were sent on.198

Fox at once engaged the large steamer Baltic for troops and stores, and, after great difficulty, obtained three tugs, the Uncle Ben, Freeborn, and Yankee, the last fitted to throw hot water. The Pocahontas, Pawnee, and the revenue-cutter Harriet Lane, as already mentioned, were to be a part of the force, which thus, with the Powhatan, included four armed vessels, the last being of considerable power. The Pawnee, Commander Rowan, sailed from Washington the 9th; the Pocahontas, Captain Gillis, from Norfolk the 10th; the Harriet Lane, Captain Faunce, from New York the 8th; the Baltic, Captain Fletcher, the 9th. The Powhatan was already far on her way to Pensacola.

The Baltic arrived at the rendezvous, ten miles east of Charleston bar, at 3 A.M. of the 12th, and found there the Harriet Lane; at six the Pawnee arrived; the Powhatan was not visible. The Baltic, followed by the Harriet Lane, stood in toward the land, where heavy guns were heard and the smoke and shells from the batteries which had opened that morning on Sumter were distinctly visible. Fox stood out to inform Rowan, of the Pawnee. Rowan asked for a pilot, declaring his intention of going in and sharing the fate of his brethren of the army. Fox went aboard the Pawnee and informed him that he would answer for it that the government did not expect such a sacrifice, having settled maturely upon the policy in instructions to Captain Mercer and himself. The Nashville, from New York, and a number of merchant vessels off the bar, gave the appearance of the presence of a large naval fleet.

The weather continued very bad, with a heavy sea.267 No tugboats had arrived; the tug Freeborn did not leave New York; the Uncle Ben was driven into Wilmington by the gale; the Yankee did not arrive off Charleston bar until April 15th, too late for any service; neither the Pawnee nor the Harriet Lane had boats or men to carry supplies; the Baltic stood out to the rendezvous and signalled all night for the expected Powhatan. The next morning, the 13th, was thick and foggy, with a heavy ground-swell, and the Baltic, feeling her way in, touched on Rattlesnake Shoal, but without damage; a great volume of black smoke was seen from Sumter. No tugboats had yet arrived, and a schooner near by, loaded with ice, was seized and preparations made to load her for entering the following night. Going aboard the Pawnee, Fox now learned that a note from Captain Mercer of the Powhatan mentioned that he had been detached by superior authority and that the ship had gone elsewhere; though Fox had left New York two days later than the Powhatan, he had no intimation of the change. At 2 P.M., April 13th, the Pocahontas arrived, and the squadron, powerless for relief, through the absence of the Powhatan and the tugs, was obliged to witness the progress of the bombardment.199

“About 4 A.M. on the twelfth,” says Doubleday, “I was awakened by some one groping about my room in the dark and calling out my name.” This was Anderson, who had come to inform his second in command of the information just received of the intention of the Confederates to open fire an hour later.200 At 4.30, the Confederates being able to make out the outline of the fort, a gun at Fort Johnson was fired as the signal to open; the first shotted gun was then fired from Morris Island by Edmund Ruffin, an aged secessionist from Virginia, who had long, in pamphlet and speech, advocated268 separation from the Union. The fire from the batteries at once became general.

The fort began its return at seven o’clock. All the officers and men, including the engineers, had been divided into three reliefs of two hours each, and the forty-three workmen yet remaining all volunteered for duty. It was, however, an absurdly meagre force to work such a number of guns and to be pitted against the surrounding batteries, manned by more than six thousand men. The number of cartridges was so reduced by the middle of the day, though the six needles available were kept steadily at work in making cartridge-bags, that the firing had to slacken and be confined to the six guns bearing toward Moultrie and the batteries on the west end of Sullivan’s Island. The mortar fire had become very accurate, so that, when the 13-inch shells “came down in a vertical direction and buried themselves in the parade-ground, their explosion shook the fort like an earthquake.”201 The horizontal fire also grew in accuracy, and Anderson, to save his men, withdrew them from the barbette guns and used those of the lower tiers only. Unfortunately, these were of too light a caliber to be effective against the Morris Island batteries, the shot rebounding without effect from the face of the iron-clad battery there, as well as from the floating iron-clad battery moored behind the sea-wall at Sullivan’s Island. The withdrawal of the men from the heavier battery could only be justified by the already foregone result, and no doubt this was in Anderson’s mind. The garrison was reduced to pork and water, and, however willing, it could not with such meagre food withstand the strain of the heavy labor of working the guns; to add to the difficulties, the guns, strange to say, were not provided with breech-sights, and these had to be improvised with notched sticks.202

The shells from the batteries set fire to the barracks269 three times during the day, and the precision of the vertical fire was such that the four 8-inch and one 10-inch columbiad, planted in the parade, could not be used. Half the shells fired from the seventeen mortars engaged came within, or exploded above, the parapet of the fort, and only about ten buried themselves in the soft earth of the parade without exploding. Two of the barbette guns were struck by the fire from Moultrie, which also damaged greatly the roof of the barracks and the stair towers. None of the shot came through. The day closed stormy and with a high tide, without any material damage to the strength of the fort. Throughout the night the Confederate batteries threw shell every ten or fifteen minutes. The garrison was occupied until midnight in making cartridge-bags, for which all the extra clothing was cut up and all the coarse paper and extra hospital sheets used.203

At daylight, April 13th, all the batteries again opened, and the new twelve-pounder Blakely rifle, which had arrived but four days before from abroad,204 caused the wounding of a sergeant and three men by the fragments thrown off from the interior of the wall by its deep penetration. An engineer employed was severely wounded by a fragment of shell. Hot shot now became frequent, and at nine o’clock the officers’ quarters were set afire. As it was evident the fire would soon surround the magazine, every one not at the guns was employed to get out powder; but only fifty barrels could be removed to the casements, when it became necessary from the spread of the flames to close the magazine. The whole range of the officers’ quarters was soon in flames, and the clouds of smoke and cinders sent into the casements set on fire many of the men’s beds and boxes, making the retention of the powder so dangerous that all but five barrels were thrown into the sea.205

270 By eleven o’clock the fire and smoke were driven by the wind in such masses into the point where the men had taken refuge that suffocation appeared imminent. “The roaring and crackling of the flames, the dense masses of whirling smoke, the bursting of the enemy’s shells, and our own, which were exploding in the burning rooms, the crashing of the shot and the sound of masonry falling in every direction made the fort a pandemonium.... There was a tower at each angle of the fort. One of these, containing great quantities of shells, ... was almost completely shattered by successive explosions. The massive wooden gates, studded with iron nails, were burned, and the wall built behind them was now a heap of débris, so that the main entrance was wide open for an assaulting party.”206

But however great the apparent damage and the discomfort and danger while the fire lasted, the firing could have been resumed “as soon as the walls cooled sufficiently to open the magazines, and then, having blown down the wall projecting above the parapet, so as to get rid of the flying bricks, and built up the main gates with stones and rubbish, the fort would actually have been in a more defensible condition than when the action commenced.”207

But want of men, want of food, and want of powder together made a force majeure against which further strife was useless; and when, about 1 P.M., the flag-staff was shot away, though the flag was at once flown from an improvised staff, a boat was sent from the commanding officer at Morris Island, bringing Colonel (Ex-Senator) Wigfall and a companion bearing a white flag, to inquire if the fort had surrendered.

Being allowed entrance, Major Anderson was sought for, and Wigfall, using Beauregard’s name, offered Anderson his own terms. Wigfall exhibited a white handkerchief271 from the parapet, and this being noticed brought from Beauregard himself Colonel Chesnut, Colonel Roger A. Pryor, Colonel William Porcher Miles, and Captain Lee, followed soon by Beauregard’s adjutant-general, Jones, Ex-Governor Manning, and Colonel Alston. It transpired that Wigfall had not seen Beauregard for two days, and that his visit was wholly unauthorized. The proper authorities, however, being now at hand, arrangements were concluded at 7 P.M., Anderson surrendering (after some correspondence), with permission to salute the flag as it was hauled down, to march out with colors flying and drums beating and with arms and private baggage.208

Noticing the disappearance of the colors, a flag of truce was sent in from the squadron outside, and arrangements made for carrying the garrison north. Next morning, Sunday, April 14th, with a salute of fifty guns, the flag was finally hauled down. It had been Anderson’s intention to fire a hundred guns, but a lamentable accident occurred in the premature discharge of one, by which one man was killed, another mortally wounded, and four others seriously injured. This accident delayed the departure until 4 P.M., when the little company of some eighty men, accompanied by the forty laborers,209 marched out of the gate with their flags flying and drums beating. The steamer Isabel carried Anderson and his men to the Baltic, and at nightfall they were on their way north.

April 15th, the day after the surrender, the President issued his proclamation calling “forth the militia of the several states of the Union” to the number of seventy-five thousand men, in order to suppress “combinations too powerful to be suppressed by the ordinary course of judicial proceedings or by the powers vested in the marshals by law,” and “to cause the laws to be duly272 executed.” Congress was called to convene July 4th. An immediate effect of the proclamation was the secession of Virginia, April 17th, the conservative elements of the state convention, although in the majority, being overwhelmed by the enthusiasm and impetus of the secession attack. Another prompt result was the formation of the northwestern counties into what is now West Virginia.

Fox’s expedition, however abortive in a physical sense, did much more than attempt to succor Sumter; it was the instrument through which the fort was held to the accomplishment of the fateful mistake of the Confederacy in striking the first blow. It prevented the voluntary yielding of the fort, and was an exhibition of the intention of the government to hold its own. It was thus elemental in its effects. Had Anderson withdrawn and hauled down his flag without a shot from the South, it would have been for the Federal government to strike the first blow of war; and its call for men would have met with a different response to that which came from the electric impulse which the firing upon the flag caused to vibrate through the North. This expectation was the basis of Lincoln’s determination. Almost alone, unmovable by Cabinet or War Department, he saw with the certainty of the seer what holding Sumter meant, and continued on the unchangeable way which from the first he had taken. In his letter of sympathy to Fox, May 1st, he said: “You and I both anticipated that the cause of the country would be advanced by making the attempt to provision Fort Sumter, even if it should fail, and it is no small consolation now to feel that our anticipation is justified by the result.”210

The enthusiastic response of the North to the proclamation was witness to the truth of Lincoln’s view, as well as to the North’s determination that the offended273 dignity of the Union should be avenged, its strongholds regained, its boundaries made intact, and that the United States be proved to be a nation. It was for this the Union fought; the freeing of the blacks was but a natural and necessary incident. The assault upon Sumter was the knife driven by the hand of the South itself into the vitals of slavery.


1861. President Lincoln calls for seventy-five thousand militia to suppress the rebellion of the Southern States. Secession of Virginia, Tennessee, Arkansas, and North Carolina. Formal division of Western Virginia from Virginia. The Massachusetts militia attacked in Baltimore. The Congress of the Confederate States assembles at Montgomery and is later transferred to Richmond. The first battle of Bull Run results in a Federal repulse. Battle of Wilson’s Creek. Repulse of the Federals at Ball’s Bluff. McClellan succeeds Scott as commander-in-chief of the Federal armies. The Federals gain possession of Port Royal. The Confederate commissioners, Mason and Slidell, are intercepted on the British steamer Trent.

1862. Surrender of the Confederate commissioners, Mason and Slidell, to the British government. The Federals capture Roanoke Island. Fort Henry and Fort Donelson surrender to General Grant. Federal victory at Pea Ridge. Engagement between the Monitor and the Merrimac. The French declare war against Mexico.




By James Kendall Hosmer

Obviously the capture of Richmond was the proper objective in the offensive campaign in the East for which McClellan had been so long preparing. The selection of that city by the Confederacy for the seat of government caused all its interests to centre there; the maintenance of its capital, moreover, was essential to the good standing of the Confederacy before Europe, recognition from which was so earnestly desired. If the North could capture Richmond, quite possibly nothing more would be necessary to crush the South. The protection of Washington, too, could not be left at all in doubt. Should that city be lost to the Union, England and France might justly feel that the cause of the North was hopeless, and no longer refrain from intervention.

Before Washington, McClellan and Johnston faced each other throughout the fall of 1861, the latter having, in October, a force of 41,000, which later grew to 57,337.211 Under Johnston at the end of the year were three subordinates—Jackson,275 in the Valley of Virginia; Beauregard, about Leesburg, near the Potomac; and Holmes, below Washington, about Acquia Creek, where Confederate batteries closed the Potomac. McClellan had fully twice as many men, an army well disciplined and equipped, devoted to their leader, and of fine morale. Why could the army not be used? Because the general always imagined before him a host of enemies that greatly outnumbered his own, and insisted on more men and a more perfect training before setting out. Meantime he grew cavalier in his treatment of his superiors. The venerable Scott, who now retired at seventy-five, had his last days embittered by the scant courtesy of the new commander, and even the President was slighted. “I will hold McClellan’s horse for him if he will only win us victories,” said Lincoln, with good-natured patience. In December, McClellan fell ill, and all was in doubt. With the new year, 1862, prospects brightened for the Union. The great successes in the West and South, ending with the capture of New Orleans, brought cheer; at last the army of the Potomac was in motion.

In March, Johnston withdrew southward; and McClellan, his command now restricted to the “Army of the Potomac,” as he had baptized his splendid creation, was ready for the long-delayed advance. Lincoln, whose good sense when applied to warfare often, though not always, struck true, earnestly desired that Richmond should be approached by a direct southward movement, Washington being covered, while at the same time Richmond was threatened. But McClellan judged it better to proceed by the Chesapeake, landing at the end of the peninsula running up between the York and James rivers, and marching against Richmond from the east. Much could be said in favor of this route: troops and supplies could be carried by water to the neighborhood of Richmond without fatigue or danger. Yet the President yielded reluctantly, fearing danger to Washington, laying276 it down as fundamental that the capital must be protected by forty thousand men.

The Peninsular campaign had a dramatic prelude. A necessary condition was a command of the waters, which was secured in early March by an event that startled the world. Among the many disadvantages under which the South labored in her struggle with the North was a painful lack, as compared with her opponent, of factories, machine-shops, ship-yards, and skilled labor; yet determination and ingenuity brought about several wonderful fighting contrivances, of which the most remarkable was the Virginia. The hull of the Merrimac, a frigate of thirty-five hundred tons and forty guns, one of the most formidable vessels of the old navy, partly burned and afterward sunk at the evacuation of Norfolk by the Federals in April, 1861, was raised, and found to be sound enough for further use. Good heads, among whom John M. Brooke, manager of the Tredegar Iron Works at Richmond, was prominent, fitted to the hull a casemate, or box, pierced for cannon, and heavily plated with iron—the first effective armored ship. There was a frank farewell to masts, sails, and other former appliances for motion and management. The winds were superseded by steam, applied for the first time in naval warfare, not as auxiliary, but as the sole motive-power. One appliance of the Virginia was, however, not a new invention, but a revival of a fighting arm common in the days of Salamis and Actium—a ram, projecting from the prow like that of an ancient galley.212 The craft was cumbrous, hard to steer, and provided with engines far too weak for her immense weight, but she had marvellous defensive power and was fast enough to approach and destroy any resisting sailing-ship.


On March 8th, from the direction of Norfolk, the Virginia, a mass low-lying upon the water, suddenly appeared277 before the astonished eyes of the Federal onlookers in Hampton Roads.213 Five stately wooden frigates lay at anchor off Hampton, and they gallantly discharged their broadsides at this strange assailant, but the balls glanced harmless from her impenetrable back. She turned and pierced the Cumberland with her ram, sending the frigate to the bottom; then she assailed the Congress, which presently went up in flames; the brave crews as helpless as if their means of defence were bows and arrows. Mistress of the situation, with three more frigates—Minnesota, Roanoke, and St. Lawrence—aground on the shoals or offering a futile defiance, the Virginia then withdrew for the day; she was certain of her prey and could afford to wait for a few hours, meanwhile making some changes which would render her more effective. Vivid terror overspread the North as the news was despatched278 in the evening; and it was nowhere greater than in the cabinet-room at the White House, where Lincoln anxiously studied upon means to meet the exigency; and Stanton, pacing the room “like a caged lion,” predicted she would come up the Potomac and shell Washington.214

On the forenoon of March 9th, doing all things deliberately, as one that has no reason to hasten, the Virginia again appeared and moved toward the Minnesota, aground and apparently certain to become a helpless victim. Suddenly in the path appeared a little craft scarcely one-fourth the size of the Virginia, “a cheese-box on a raft,” as it will go down in history, the Monitor, an iron-clad of another pattern. This vessel, undertaken as an experiment, and completed in one hundred days, was due to the genius and indomitable zeal of John Ericsson, its designer. That it should have arrived from New York at this moment is one of the fateful accidents of history. A multitude beheld the encounter, from the ships close at hand, from the shores near and far. The superior size and armament of the Virginia were neutralized by her unwieldiness and depth of draught. The Monitor, more active, and passing everywhere over shoal or through channel, could elude or strike as she chose. Neither had much power to harm the other; each crew behind its shield manœuvred and fired for the most part uninjured. Worden, commander of the Monitor, in his pilot-house at the bow, built of iron bars log-cabin fashion, received in the face, as he peered through the interstice, the blinding fire and smoke from a shell that struck within a few inches, but he escaped death. The casualties on the Virginia were few. On the morning of that day both North and South believed that the Confederacy was about to control the sea. The anticipation, whether hope or fear, vanished in the smoke of that day’s battle. With it, too, passed away the traditional beauty and romance of the old sea-service—the oakribbed279 and white-winged navies, whose dominion had been so long and picturesque, at last and forever gave way to steel and steam.215


By Lucius E. Chittenden

Some weeks after the historic battle between the Monitor and the Merrimac in Hampton Roads, on March 9, 1862, the former vessel came to the Washington navy-yard unchanged, in the same condition as when she discharged her parting shot at the Merrimac. There she lay until her heroic commander had so far recovered from his injuries as to be able to rejoin his vessel. All leaves of absence had been revoked, the absentees had returned and were ready to welcome their captain. President Lincoln, Captain Fox, and a limited number of Captain Worden’s personal friends had been invited to his informal reception. Lieutenant Greene received the President and the guests. He was a boy in years—not too young to volunteer, however, when volunteers were scarce, and to fight the Merrimac during the last half of the battle, after the captain was disabled.

The President and the other guests stood on the deck, near the turret. The men were formed in lines, with their officers a little in advance, when Captain Worden ascended the gangway. The heavy guns in the navy-yard began firing the customary salute when he stepped upon the deck. One side of his face was permanently blackened by the powder shot into it from the muzzle of a cannon carrying a shell of one hundred pounds weight, discharged less than twenty yards away. The President280 advanced to welcome him, and introduced him to the few strangers present. The officers and men passed in review and were dismissed. Then there was a scene worth witnessing. The old tars swarmed around their loved captain, they grasped his hand, crowded to touch him, thanked God for his recovery and return, and invoked blessings upon his head in the name of all the saints in the calendar. He called them by their names, had a pleasant word for each of them, and for a few moments we looked upon an exhibition of a species of affection that could only have been the product of a common danger.

When order was restored the President gave a brief sketch of Captain Worden’s career. Commodore Paulding had been the first, Captain Worden the second officer of the navy, he said, to give an unqualified opinion in favor of armored vessels. Their opinions had been influential with him and with the Board of Construction. Captain Worden had volunteered to take command of the Monitor, at the risk of his life and reputation, before her keel was laid. He had watched her construction, and his energy had made it possible to send her to sea in time to arrest the destructive operations of the Merrimac. What he had done with a new crew, and a vessel of novel construction, we all know. He, the President, cordially acknowledged his indebtedness to Captain Worden, and he hoped the whole country would unite in the feeling of obligation. The debt was a heavy one, and would not be repudiated when its nature was understood. The details of the first battle between iron-clads would interest every one. At the request of Captain Fox, Captain Worden had consented to give an account of his voyage from New York to Hampton Roads, and of what had afterward happened there on board the Monitor.

In an easy, conversational manner, without any effort at display, Captain Worden told the story, of which the following is the substance:

281 “I suppose,” he began, “that every one knows that we left New York Harbor in some haste. We had information that the Merrimac was nearly completed, and if we were to fight her on her first appearance we must be on the ground. The Monitor had been hurried from the laying of her keel. Her engines were new, and her machinery did not move smoothly. Never was a vessel launched that so much needed trial-trips to test her machinery and get her crew accustomed to their novel duties. We went to sea practically without them. No part of the vessel was finished; there was one omission that was serious, and came very near causing her failure and the loss of many lives. In heavy weather it was intended that her hatches and all her openings should be closed and battened down. In that case all the men would be below, and would have to depend upon artificial ventilation. Our machinery for that purpose proved wholly inadequate.

“We were in a heavy gale of wind as soon as we passed Sandy Hook. The vessel behaved splendidly. The seas rolled over her, and we found her the most comfortable vessel we had ever seen, except for the ventilation, which gave us more trouble than I have time to tell you about. We had to run into port and anchor on account of the weather, and, as you know, it was two o’clock in the morning of Sunday before we were alongside the Minnesota. Captain Van Brunt gave us an account of Saturday’s experience. He was very glad to make our acquaintance, and notified us that we must be prepared to receive the Merrimac at daylight. We had had a very hard trip down the coast, and officers and men were weary and sleepy. But when informed that our fight would probably open at daylight, and that the Monitor must be put in order, every man went to his post with a cheer. That night there was no sleep on board the Monitor.

“In the gray of the early morning we saw a vessel approaching which our friends on the Minnesota said282 was the Merrimac. Our fastenings were cast off, our machinery started, and we moved out to meet her half-way. We had come a long way to fight her, and did not intend to lose our opportunity.

“Before showing you over the vessel, let me say that there were three possible points of weakness in the Monitor, two of which might have been guarded against in her construction if there had been more time to perfect her plans. One of them was in the turret, which, as you see, is constructed of eight plates of inch iron—on the side of the ports, nine—set on end so as to break joints, and firmly bolted together, making a hollow cylinder eight inches thick. It rests on a metal ring on a vertical shaft, which is revolved by power from the boilers. If a projectile struck the turret at an acute angle, it was expected to glance off without doing damage. But what would happen if it was fired in a straight line to the centre of the turret, which in that case would receive the whole force of the blow? It might break off the bolt-heads on the interior, which, flying across, would kill the men at the guns; it might disarrange the revolving mechanism, and then we would be wholly disabled.

“I laid the Monitor close alongside the Merrimac, and gave her a shot. She returned our compliment by a shell, weighing one hundred and fifty pounds, fired when we were close together, which struck the turret so squarely that it received the whole force. Here you see the scar, two and a half inches deep in the wrought iron, a perfect mould of the shell. If anything could test the turret, it was that shot. It did not start a rivet-head or a nut! It stunned the two men who were nearest where the ball struck, and that was all. I touched the lever—the turret revolved as smoothly as before. The turret had stood the test; I could mark that point of weakness off my list forever.

“You notice that the deck is joined to the side of the hull by a right angle, at what sailors call the ‘plank-shear.’283 If a projectile struck that angle, what would happen? It would not be deflected; its whole force would be expended there. It might open a seam in the hull below the water-line, or pierce the wooden hull, and sink us. Here was our second point of weakness.

“I had decided how I would fight her in advance. I would keep the Monitor moving in a circle, just large enough to give time for loading the guns. At the point where the circle impinged upon the Merrimac our guns should be fired, and loaded while we were moving around the circuit. Evidently the Merrimac would return the compliment every time. At our second exchange of shots, she returning six or eight to our two, another of her large shells struck our ‘plank-shear’ at its angle, and tore up one of the deck-plates, as you see. The shell had struck what I believed to be the weakest point in the Monitor. We had already learned that the Merrimac swarmed with sharpshooters, for their bullets were constantly spattering against our turret and our deck. If a man showed himself on deck he would draw their fire. But I did not much consider the sharpshooters. It was my duty to investigate the effects of that shot. I ordered one of the pendulums to be hauled aside, and, crawling out of the port, walked to the side, laid down upon my chest, and examined it thoroughly. The hull was uninjured, except for a few splinters in the wood. I walked back and crawled into the turret—the bullets were falling on the iron deck all about me as thick as hailstones in a storm. None struck me, I suppose because the vessel was moving—and at the angle, and when I was lying on the deck, my body made a small mark difficult to hit. We gave them two more guns, and then I told the men, what was true, that the Merrimac could not sink us if we let her pound us for a month. The men cheered; the knowledge put new life into all.

“We had more exchanges, and then the Merrimac tried new tactics. She endeavored to ram us, to run us down.284 Once she struck us about amidships with her iron ram. Here you see its mark. It gave us a shock, pushed us around, and that was all the harm. But the movement placed our sides together. I gave her two guns, which I think lodged in her side, for, from my lookout crack, I could not see that either shot rebounded. Ours being the smaller vessel, and more easily handled, I had no difficulty in avoiding her ram. I ran around her several times, planting our shot in what seemed to be the most vulnerable places. In this way, reserving my fire until I got the range and the mark, I planted two more shots almost in the very spot I had hit when she tried to ram us. Those shots must have been effective, for they were followed by a shower of bars of iron.

“The third weak spot was our pilot-house. You see that it is built a little more than three feet above the deck, of bars of iron, ten by twelve inches square, built up like a log-house, bolted with very large bolts at the corners where the bars interlock. The pilot stands upon a platform below, his head and shoulders in the pilot-house. The upper tier of bars is separated from the second by an open space of an inch, through which the pilot may look out at every point of the compass. The pilot-house, as you see, is a four-square mass of iron, provided with no means of deflecting a ball. I expected trouble from it, and I was not disappointed. Until my accident happened, as we approached the enemy I stood in the pilot-house and gave the signals. Lieutenant Greene fired the guns, and Engineer Stimers, here, revolved the turret.

“I was below the deck when the corner of the pilot-house was first struck by a shot or a shell. It either burst or was broken, and no harm was done. A short time after I had given the signal, and, with my eye close against the lookout crack, was watching the effect of our shot, when something happened to me—my part in the fight was ended. Lieutenant Greene, who fought the Merrimac285 until she had no longer stomach for fighting, will tell you the rest of the story.”

Can it be possible that this beardless boy fought one of the historic battles of the world? This was the thought of every one as the modest, diffident young Greene was half pushed forward into the circle.

“I cannot add much to the Captain’s story,” he began. “He had cut out the work for us, and we had only to follow his pattern. I kept the Monitor either moving around the circle or around the enemy, and endeavored to place our shots as near her amidships as possible where Captain Worden believed he had already broken through her armor. We knew that she could not sink us, and I thought I would keep right on pounding her as long as she would stand it. There is really nothing new to be added to Captain Worden’s account. We could strike her wherever we chose; weary as they must have been, our men were full of enthusiasm, and I do not think we wasted a shot. Once we ran out of the circle for a moment to adjust a piece of machinery, and I learn that some of our friends feared that we were drawing out of the fight. The Merrimac took the opportunity to start for Norfolk. As soon as our machinery was adjusted we followed her, and got near enough to give her a parting shot. But I was not familiar with the locality; there might be torpedoes planted in the channel, and I did not wish to take any risk of losing our vessel, so I came back to the company of our friends. But except that we were, all of us, tired and hungry when we came back to the Minnesota at half-past 12 P.M., the Monitor was just as well prepared to fight as she was at eight o’clock in the morning when she fired the first gun.”

We were then shown the injury to the pilot-house. The mark of the ball was plain upon the two upper bars, the principal impact being upon the lower of the two. This huge bar was broken in the middle, but held firmly at either end. The farther it was pressed in, the stronger286 was the resistance on the exterior. On the inside the fracture in the bar was half an inch wide. Captain Worden’s eye was very near to the lookout crack, so that when the gun was discharged the shock of the ball knocked him senseless, while the mass of flame filled one side of his face with coarse grains of powder. He remained insensible for some hours.

“Have you heard what Captain Worden’s first inquiry was when he recovered his senses after the general shock to his system?” asked Captain Fox of the President.

“I think I have,” replied Mr. Lincoln, “but it is worth relating to these gentlemen.”

“His question was,” said Captain Fox, “‘Have I saved the Minnesota?’

“‘Yes, and whipped the Merrimac!’ some one answered.

“‘Then,’ said Captain Worden, ‘I don’t care what becomes of me.’”

“Mr. President,” said Captain Fox, “not much of the history to which we have listened is new to me. I saw this battle from eight o’clock until mid-day. There was one marvel in it which has not been mentioned—the splendid handling of the Monitor throughout the battle. The first bold advance of this diminutive vessel against a giant like the Merrimac was superlatively grand. She seemed inspired by Nelson’s order at Trafalgar: ‘He will make no mistake who lays his vessel alongside the enemy.’ One would have thought the Monitor a living thing. No man was visible. You saw her moving around that circle, delivering her fire invariably at the point of contact, and heard the crash of the missile against her enemy’s armor above the thunder of her guns, on the bank where we stood. It was indescribably grand!

“Now,” he continued, “standing here on the deck of this battle-scarred vessel, the first genuine iron-clad—the victor in the first fight of iron-clads—let me make a confession and perform an act of simple justice. I287 never fully believed in armored vessels until I saw this battle. I know all the facts which united to give us the Monitor. I withhold no credit from Captain Ericsson, her inventor, but I know that the country is principally indebted for the construction of this vessel to President Lincoln, and for the success of her trial to Captain Worden, her commander.”




While the West in 1861–62 was alive with marching armies and the sound of strife, the East had been experiencing its share of activity by land and sea, and the navy must first engage us. The blockade became steadily more effective as new ships, purchased, chartered, or built for the purpose, gathered at the various rendezvous. Hatteras Inlet and Port Royal, seized in the fall of 1861,216 became bases for coast and inland expeditions which narrowed the Confederate hold on the shore of the Atlantic. In January, 1862, a fleet and army, braving the mid-winter storms which were more formidable than human opposition, entered by Hatteras Inlet, in order to dominate more completely the North Carolina sounds. The fortifications on Roanoke Island, lying between Albemarle and Pamlico sounds, were easily captured, February 8th. New-Berne and other towns were soon after occupied, and the inlets and river-mouths so occupied and threatened that the outlets to the sea became for the Confederates few and perilous. This successful course was interrupted during the Virginia campaign of the summer; the troops were to a large extent withdrawn to places where reinforcements were demanded. The Roanoke Island expedition is noteworthy, among other reasons, for bringing to the front Ambrose E. Burnside, its289 commander,217 a brave and well-intentioned patriot, quite inadequate, however, for large responsibilities, which later came upon him.

During these same weeks forces farther south were equally busy in expeditions from Port Royal. Fort Pulaski, the strong work which commanded the approaches to Savannah, a post environed by swamps and watercourses, and therefore difficult of access, succumbed rather to the engineering skill than to the bravery of its assailants, April 11, 1862; therefore, most of the littoral of Georgia, in addition to that of North and South Carolina, was in Federal hands.218 These conquests were presently supplemented by the occupation of the Atlantic ports of Florida. On the Gulf side, the retention of Fort Pickens by Union forces from the beginning had put Pensacola Harbor under Federal control. The blockade, at first deemed impracticable, within a year of its establishment was throttling the foreign commerce which was vital to the Confederacy. On the Atlantic scarcely any important ports were left except Charleston and Wilmington; and before the thresholds of these places lay, night and day, the fierce and watchful war-dogs of the Union.219 Nevertheless, up to April, 1862, the Gulf ports of Mobile, New Orleans, Galveston, and Matagorda still remained to the Confederacy. How long could these maintain themselves?

This swift and easy repossession of the southern coastline by the Union, however important, lacked the wholesale excitement of great and bloody battles, and was a game little appreciated. But in the midst of it came an incident dramatic and startling in the highest degree, its hero being a naval officer, David Glasgow Farragut, son of a Spaniard from the island of Minorca, who had married a girl of Scotch strain and settled in the Tennessee290 mountains. After the birth of David the family removed to Louisiana, the father receiving a naval command. David as a boy of thirteen was on the Essex at Valparaiso, in 1814, in her famous fight against the Phœbe and Cherub. He had done good service on the seas and in port for almost fifty years, but his opportunity did not come until he was sixty years old.220


The need of seizing New Orleans, if practicable, was obvious: the place commanded the lower Mississippi, and was the most populous and important city of the Confederacy.291 The government, therefore, early gave thought to its capture, assigning for that end a land force of eighteen thousand men, under General Benjamin F. Butler, and a powerful fleet. It was recognized that the navy must play the larger part in the operations: eighty-two ships, therefore, were assigned to the West Gulf Squadron, ranging from tugs, mortar-schooners, and chartered ferry-boats to the most powerful man-of-war which the nation owned.221 To command this great fleet was chosen Farragut, whose force and capacity had been recognized, especially by Welles, Secretary of the Navy.222 He hoisted his flag on the Hartford, a wooden ship of nineteen hundred tons and twenty-four guns, and February 2, 1862, sailed southward from Hampton Roads to Ship Island, midway between the mouth of the Mississippi and Mobile, the rendezvous for the army and squadron.

Farragut’s ships were all of wood; and, although steam in great part was the motive-power, sails were not superseded. Even as Farragut was concentrating in the Gulf, an event, to be described presently, took place in Hampton Roads which revolutionized naval warfare. But the enterprises in the Gulf were well started, and some triumphs still remained for the old-fashioned sailor and the old-fashioned ship.223 In March the fleet managed to cross the bar and enter the Mississippi, a feat of no small difficulty in the case of the heavier vessels. The Colorado was left outside, the Pensacola was dragged by her consorts through a foot of mud, and the Mississippi was scarcely less embarrassed. At last the squadron of attack was for the most part within the branches of the river; at the head of the passes they stripped like gladiators for a final struggle, and proceeded to attack the main obstructions twenty miles above. Farragut had292 seventeen ships for the attack, mounting one hundred and fifty guns, besides twenty mortar-schooners, with six attendant gunboats, under Commodore David D. Porter.

Fort Jackson and Fort St. Philip, well manned and equipped, guarded the river on the west and east. An enormous chain, supported on anchored hulks, stretched across the half-mile of current to hold any approaching hostile vessels at a point where the fire of the forts could converge. Above the forts, a formidable flotilla of craft variously armed with rams and guns, some heaped with pitch-pine knots to serve as fire-ships, stood ready to take part.224


Unless this boom could be broken the ships could not ascend. Farragut ordered two gunboats to this dangerous task. Stealing up at night, they accomplished it. On the night of April 23d, the ships advanced, a column led by the Cayuga following the eastern bank; Farragut himself, in the Hartford, led the column which was to pass close to Fort Jackson. Now came a rare blending293 of the splendid and the terrible. The night was calm, with starlight and a waning moon; but in the fiercer flashings of the combat the world seemed on fire. In arcs rising far toward the zenith the shells of the mortars mounted and fell; broadsides thundered; from barbette and casemate rolled an incessant reply. Suddenly above the flashes of guns came a steady glare: fire-ships, their pitch-pine cargoes all ablaze, swept into the midst of the struggling fleet. The attacking lines became confused in the volumes of smoke settling down upon the stream. In the blinding vapor friend could scarcely be told from foe. The captain of the Confederate Governor Moore, finding that the bow of his own ship interfered with the aim of his gun, coolly blew the bow to pieces with a discharge, then through the shattered opening renewed the battle. A Confederate tug pluckily pushed a fire-raft directly upon the Hartford. The tug and its crew disappeared and the Hartford ran aground; the sailors, undaunted, stuck to their work; the ship was pulled off by her own engines, while a deluge from the pumps put out the fire. For an hour and a half the roar and the flashings continued; as the dawn came, the battle was hushed. Three Federal gunboats had been driven back and one sunk, but the main fleet was above the forts. The ships in general were scarred and battered in the night’s encounter, but little harmed, and Farragut made ready at once to go on his way.225

The passing of the forts made certain the fall of New Orleans. The small Confederate army under General Mansfield Lovell was at once withdrawn and the city left to its fate. Farragut appeared before it, after passing rapidly up the intervening seventy miles, at noon, April 25th. The population of one hundred and fifty thousand souls, seething with natural mortification and passion, lay under the broadsides of the fleet, and, after294 one outburst, in which a mob trampled on the United States flag, they sullenly submitted. With all possible expedition, the forts having given up, the land forces ascended the river and, on May 1st, took possession.226 Farragut soon ascended the river to Vicksburg with a large part of his fleet.


1862. Battle of Shiloh. Capture of Island No. 10. Battle of Seven Pines and Fair Oaks. “Seven Days’ Battle” between the armies of McClellan and Lee before Richmond. Repulse of the Confederates at Malvern Hill, and a constant succession of battles. Halleck appointed Federal commander-in-chief. Confederate victory at Cedar Mountain. Second battle of Bull Run and defeat of the Federals. Battle of South Mountain. Battle of Antietam Creek. Proclamation of Emancipation. The Confederate cavalry under General Stuart makes a successful raid into Pennsylvania. Burnside succeeds McClellan as commander of the Army of the Potomac. Battle of Fredericksburg and repulse of the Federals.

1863. Definite abolition of slavery in the rebellious states. Hooker commands Army of the Potomac. West Virginia admitted (by proclamation) into the Union. Confederate victory at Chancellorsville. General Grant invests Vicksburg. Lee occupies Winchester, crosses the Potomac, and enters Pennsylvania. Meade appointed commander of the Army of the Potomac. Battle of Gettysburg, July 1–3. Fall of Vicksburg, July 4th.



In the American Civil War, 1861–65, the capture of Vicksburg, on the Mississippi, cut the Confederacy in two, and the battle of Gettysburg proved a Confederate invasion of the North impossible. Out of the many great battles of that war it is historically essential that these two should be emphasized.

After Fort Sumter was fired upon, April 12, 1861, the relative efficiency of the South and the unpreparedness of the North were soon illustrated in the battle of Bull Run, July 21, 1861. In the East, where the main objective point of the Northern attack was Richmond, there followed McClellan’s organization of the Army of the Potomac. In the West were Halleck and Buell, with headquarters at St. Louis and Louisville, and the main end in view in the Western campaign was the control of the Mississippi. February, 1862, brought Northern successes in the Western campaign in Grant’s capture of Forts Henry and Donelson, followed by Shiloh, Corinth, and Memphis, which opened the Mississippi to Vicksburg. At the same time Farragut’s fleet in the South captured New Orleans, a victory which, like the effect of the blockade throughout the war, was a weighty demonstration of the influence of sea power upon history. After Farragut had cleared the lower river, it was practically Vicksburg alone which remained to unite the eastern and western territory of the Confederacy. But in the East there had been a series of Northern disasters, culminating in Chancellorsville.—Editor.

When the defeated Federals recrossed the Rappahannock, May 5, 1863, after Chancellorsville, the fortunes of the North were at the lowest ebb. Then came the turning of the tide, and in an unexpected quarter. General Grant had shot up into fame through his capture of Fort Donelson, early in 1862, but had done little thereafter to confirm his reputation. Though in responsible command in northern Mississippi and southwestern296 Tennessee, the few successes there which the country could appreciate went to the credit of his subordinate, Rosecrans. The world remembered his shiftlessness before the war, and began to believe that his success had been accidental. All things considered, it is strange that Grant had been kept in place. The pressure for his removal had been great everywhere, but his superiors stood by him faithfully, though Lincoln’s persistence was maintained in the midst of misgivings.

In the fall of 1862, Grant, in command of fifty thousand men, purposed to continue the advance southward through Mississippi, flanking Vicksburg, which then must certainly fall. His supplies must come over the Memphis & Charleston road and the two weak and disabled lines of railroad, the Mississippi Central and the Mobile & Ohio. To guard one hundred and fifty miles of railroad in a hostile country the army must necessarily be scattered, as every bridge, culvert, and station needed a detail. From Washington came unwise interference; but he moved on with vigor. As winter approached, he pushed into Mississippi toward Jackson. If that place could be seized, Vicksburg, fifty miles west, must become untenable, and to this end Grant desired to unite his whole force. He was overruled, and the troops divided: while he marched on Jackson, Sherman, with thirty-two thousand, was to proceed down the river from Memphis. Grant’s hope was that he and Sherman, both near Vicksburg, and supporting each other, might act in concert.

Complete failure attended this beginning. Forrest, operating in a friendly country, tore up the railroads in Grant’s rear for scores of miles, capturing his detachments and working destruction. On December 20th, also, Van Dorn, now a cavalry leader, surprised Holly Springs, Grant’s main depot in northern Mississippi, carrying off and burning stores to the amount of $1,500,000.227297 Grant’s movement southward became impossible: the army stood stripped and helpless, saving itself only by living off the country, an experience rough at the time, but out of which, later, came benefit.228 Co-operation with Sherman could no longer be thought of. Nor could news of the disaster be sent to Sherman, who, following his orders, punctually embarked and steamed down to the mouth of the Yazoo; this he entered, and on December 29th, believing that the garrison of Vicksburg had been drawn off to meet Grant, he flung his divisions against the Confederate lines at Chickasaw Bayou, with a loss of eighteen hundred men and no compensating advantage.229

The difficulty and disaster in the Mississippi campaign were increased by a measure which strikingly reveals the effect in war of political pressure at the capital. At the outbreak of the war, John A. McClernand was a member of Congress from Illinois, and later commanded a division at Donelson and Shiloh. Returning to Washington, he stood out as a War Democrat, a representative of a class whose adherence to the administration was greatly strained by the Emancipation Proclamation, and whose loyalty Lincoln felt it was almost vital to preserve. When, therefore, he laid before Lincoln a scheme230 to raise by his own influence a large force in the West, over which he was to have military command, with the intention of taking Vicksburg, Lincoln and Stanton yielded, the sequel showing that McClernand was a soldier of little merit....

McClernand went West, and kept his promise by mustering into the service, chiefly through his personal influence, some thirty regiments, a welcome recruitment in those dark days. With this new army McClernand appeared at the mouth of the Yazoo just at the moment when Sherman emerged from the swamps with his crestfallen298 divisions. McClernand assumed command, Sherman subsiding into a subordinate place; but he had influence enough with his new superior to persuade him to proceed at once to an attack upon Arkansas Post, not far away.231 This measure proved successful, the place capitulating January 11, 1863, with five thousand men and seventeen guns. Though the victory was due in great part to the navy, Sherman alone in the army having rendered conspicuous service, yet before the country the credit went to McClernand, nominally the commander, giving him an undeserved prestige which made the situation worse.

Grant often found Halleck very trying; but in the present exigency the superior stood stoutly by him, and probably saved to him his position. The military sense of the general-in-chief saw clearly the folly of a divided command, and he enlightened the President, who made Grant major-general in command of operations on the Mississippi, McClernand being put at the head of a corps. January 30th, therefore, Grant, suppressing a scheme entertained by McClernand for a campaign in Arkansas, set to work to solve the problem of opening the great river.

Probably few generals have ever encountered a situation more difficult, or one in which military precedents helped so little. The fortress occupied a height commanding on the north and west, along the river, swampy bottom-lands, at the moment largely submerged or threaded with channels. These lowlands were much overgrown with canebrake and forest; roads there were almost none, the plantations established within the area being approached most conveniently by boats. But it was from the north and west, apparently, that Vicksburg must be assailed, for the region south of the city appeared quite beyond reach, since the batteries closed the river, which seemed the sole means of approach for Northern forces.299 The surest approach to the stronghold was from the east; but there Grant had tried and failed; public sentiment would not sustain another movement from that side. There was nothing for it but to try by the north and west, and Grant grappled with the problem.

Besides the natural obstacles, he had to take account of his own forces, and the strength and character of his adversary. In November, 1862, Johnston, not yet recovered from the wounds received at Fair Oaks in May, was ordered to assume command in the West, taking the troops of Kirby Smith, Bragg, and the army defending the Mississippi. The latter force, up to that time under Van Dorn, was transferred to John C. Pemberton, of an old Pennsylvania family, before and after the war a citizen of Philadelphia. Though a Northerner, he had the entire confidence of both Jefferson Davis and Robert E. Lee. His record in the old army was good; he was made lieutenant-general by the Confederacy, and received most weighty responsibilities. He served bravely and faithfully the cause he had espoused; though outclassed in his campaign, he did not lack ability. Pemberton commanded some fifty thousand men, comprising not only the garrison of Vicksburg, but also that of Port Hudson and detachments posted in northern Mississippi. On the watch at such a point as Jackson, the state capital, he could, on short notice, concentrate his scattered command to meet whatever danger might threaten.

Against this alert adversary Grant could now oppose about an equal number of men, comprised in four corps—the Thirteenth (McClernand), Fifteenth (Sherman), Sixteenth (Hurlbut), Seventeenth (McPherson). Hurlbut was of necessity retained at and near Memphis, to preserve communications and hold western Tennessee; the three other corps could take the field with about forty-three thousand. Among Grant’s lieutenants, two were soldiers of the best quality—Sherman and James B. McPherson, the latter a young officer of engineers, who300 during the preceding months had been coming rapidly to the front.232 Besides the army, Grant had a powerful auxiliary in the fleet, which now numbered seventy craft, large and small, manned by fifty-five hundred sailors and commanded by David D. Porter, an indefatigable chief.

Grant at the outset could, of course, have no fixed plan. Throughout February and March his operations were tentative; and though the country murmured at his “inactivity,” never did general or army do harder work. Might not Vicksburg perhaps be isolated on the west, and a way be found beyond the reach of its cannon to that vantage-ground south of it which seemed so inaccessible? Straightway the army tried, with spade, pick, and axe, to complete the cut-off which Williams had begun the previous summer; also to open a tortuous and embarrassed passage far round through Lake Providence and the Tensas and Washita rivers. Might not some insufficiently guarded approach be found through the Yazoo bottom233 to Haines’ Bluff, the height dominating Vicksburg from the northeast, which Sherman had sought to seize at Chickasaw Bayou? Straightway there were enterprises seldom attempted in war.234 The levee at Yazoo Pass was cut, far up the river, so that the swollen Mississippi flooded the wide region below. Through the crevasse plunged gunboat and transport, to engage in amphibious warfare; soldiers wading in the mire or swimming the bayous; divisions struggling to terra firma, only to find that Pemberton was there before them behind unassailable parapets; gunboats wedged in ditches, unable to turn, with hostile axemen blocking both advance and retreat by felling trees across the channel; Porter sheltering himself from sharpshooters within a section of broken smokestack and meditating the blowing-up of his boats; Sherman now paddling in a canoe,301 now riding bareback, now joining the men of a rescue-party in a double-quick—all in cypress forests draped with funereal moss, as if Death had made ready for a calamity that seemed certain.

April came, and nothing had been accomplished on the north or west. To try again from the east meant summary removal for the commander. Was an attack from the south, after all, out of the question, as all his lieutenants urged? Grant resolved to try; the river-bank to the west was so far dried that the passage of a column through the swamp-roads became possible. Porter was willing to attempt to run the batteries, though sure that, if once below, he could never return. The night of April 16th was one of wild excitements. The fleet was discovered as soon as it got under way, and conflagrations, blazing right and left, clearly revealed it as it swept down the stream. The Confederate fire could not be concentrated,235 and hence the injury was small to the armored craft; and even the transports in their company, protected only by baled hay or cotton, escaped with one exception. A few days later transports and barges again passed down.236 The column, toiling along the swampy road, was met, when at last it reached a point well below the town, by an abundance of supplies and ample means for placing it on the other bank. April 29th, Grand Gulf, the southern outpost of Vicksburg, was cannonaded, with ten thousand men on transports at hand for an assault, if the chance came. High on its bluff, it defied the bombardment, as the main citadel had done. Then it was that Grant turned to his last resource.

It requires attention to comprehend how a plan so audacious as that now adopted could succeed. First, the watchful Pemberton was bewildered and misled as to the point of attack. About the time the batteries were run, Grierson, an Illinois officer, starting with seventeen hundred302 cavalry from La Grange, Tennessee, raided completely through Mississippi, from north to south, so skilfully creating an impression of large numbers, so effectively wrecking railroads and threatening incursion now here and now there, that the back-country was thrown into a panic, and Pemberton thought an attack in force from that direction possible. Following close upon Grierson’s raid, Sherman demonstrated with such noise and parade north of the city that Pemberton sent troops to meet a possible assault there. Meantime, the Thirteenth and Seventeenth corps were ferried rapidly across the river below Grand Gulf, and, a footing on the upland having been obtained unopposed, Grant stood fairly on the left bank. He now sent word to Halleck that he felt this battle was more than half won.237


The event proved that Grant was not oversanguine. An easy victory at Port Gibson, over a brave but inferior force, gave him Grand Gulf. Joined now by Sherman, he plunged with his three corps into the interior, cutting loose from his river base, and also from his hampering connection with Washington. The previous fall he had learned to live off the country. Two more easy victories, at Raymond and Jackson, gave him the state capital, and placed him, fully concentrated, between the armies of Pemberton and Johnston. The number of his foes was swelling fast—from Port Hudson, from South Carolina, from Tennessee; but Grant did not let slip his advantage. Johnston, not yet recovered from his Fair Oaks wound, was not at his best. Pemberton, confused by an adversary who could do so unmilitary a thing as to throw away his base, vacillated and blundered. A heavy battle at Champion’s Hill, May 16th, in which the completeness of Grant’s victory was prevented by the bad conduct of McClernand, nevertheless resulted in Pemberton’s precipitate flight. Next day the Federals303 seized the crossing of the Big Black River, after which all the outposts of Vicksburg, from Haines’ Bluff southward, fell without further fighting, and Pemberton, with the army that remained to him, was shut up within the works. The Federals held all outside, looking down from those heights, which for so long had seemed to them impregnable, upon the great river open to the north. Supplies and reinforcements could now come unhindered and were already pouring in. The fall of Vicksburg was certain....

304 The siege once begun, the fortress was doomed without recourse. Pemberton, to be sure, did not lose heart, and drove back the repeated Federal assaults with skill and courage. Johnston, from the rear, mustered men as he could, tried to concert with the besieged army a project of escape, and at last advanced to attack. But within the city supplies soon failed, and outside no resources were at hand for the city’s succor. Johnston’s request for twenty thousand men, lying idle in Arkansas had been slighted;238 there was no other source of supply. Kirby Smith and Dick Taylor attempted a diversion on the west bank of the river; and still later, at Helena, Arkansas, a desperate push was made to afford relief. It was all in vain. The North, made cheerful by long-delayed success, poured forth to Grant out of its abundance both men and means. His army was in size nearly doubled; food and munitions abounded. The starving defenders were inexorably encircled by nearly three times their number of well-supplied and triumphant foes. Grant’s assaults, bold and bloody though they were, had little effect in bringing about the result; the close investment would have sufficed.239 On July 4th came the unconditional surrender. The Confederate losses before the surrender were fully 10,000; now 29,491, became prisoners, while in the fortress were 170 cannon and 50,000 small arms. Grant’s loss during the whole campaign was 9362.240

305 To this triumph, a week later, was added the fall of Port Hudson,241 which, with a depleted garrison, held out stubbornly for six weeks against the Federals. N. P. Banks, who after his tragical Virginia experiences succeeded, in December, 1862, Butler in Louisiana, was set, as in the valley, to meet a difficult situation with inadequate means. With an army of little more than thirty thousand, in part nine-months men, he was expected to hold New Orleans and such of Louisiana as had been conquered, and also to co-operate with Grant in opening the Mississippi. When his garrisons had been placed he had scarcely fifteen thousand men left for service in the field, a number exceeded at first by the Port Hudson defenders, strongly placed and well commanded. West of the river, moreover, was still another force under an old adversary in the Shenandoah country—Dick Taylor, a general well-endowed and trained in the best school. That Banks, though active, had no brilliant success was not at all strange; yet Halleck found fault. He could not extend a hand to Grant; but, risking his communications—risking, indeed, the possession of New Orleans—he concentrated at Port Hudson, which fortress, after a six weeks’ siege, marked by two spirited assaults, he brought to great distress. Its fate was sealed by the fall of Vicksburg—Gardner, the commander, on July 9th, surrendering the post with more than six thousand men and fifty-one guns.

The capture of Vicksburg and Port Hudson was a success such as had not been achieved before during our Civil War, and was not paralleled afterward until Appomattox. In military history there are few achievements which equal it; and the magnitude of the captures of men and resources is no more remarkable than are the unfailing courage of the soldiers and the genius and vigor of the general.242



In the Eastern field of operations in the American Civil War, McClellan’s organization of the Army of the Potomac had given him a well-disciplined force, with which he was facing General Joseph Johnston at the opening of 1862. But the Peninsular Campaign which McClellan entered upon early in the year, with the bloody fighting at Fair Oaks in May, and the Seven Days’ Battles in May and June, resulted in the withdrawal of the Northern forces. There followed Pope’s defeat near Bull Run. The forward movement was a failure. The Northern forces, only four miles from Richmond in June, were practically defending Washington in September. The desperate battle of Antietam checked Lee’s movement into Maryland, but was not decisive. Burnside’s costly defeat at Fredericksburg in December closed a gloomy year in the East, which to many seemed to show that the South could more than hold its own. The new year brought a renewal of disaster to the Northern arms in Hooker’s defeat in the hard-fought battle of Chancellorsville. But the tide was to be turned by one of the crucial events of military history, which was close at hand.—Editor.

The fall of Vicksburg, though a terrible blow to the South, was not a sudden one: to all intelligent eyes it had for some weeks been impending; but that Lee could be defeated seemed a thing impossible. Because so long unconquered, it had come to be accepted that he was unconquerable.

Hooker soon recovered from the daze into which he had been thrown at Chancellorsville. His confidence in himself was not broken by his misfortune. Instead of, like Burnside, manfully shouldering most of the responsibility of his failure, Hooker vehemently accused his307 lieutenants of misconduct, and faced the new situation with as much resolution as if he had the prestige of a victor. The Army of the Potomac, never down in heart except for a moment, plucked up courage forthwith and girded itself for new encounters.

The South, meanwhile, was still rejoicing over Chancellorsville, for the cloud on the southwestern horizon was at first no bigger than a man’s hand. Longstreet joined Lee from Suffolk with two divisions, swelling the Army of Northern Virginia to eighty thousand or more. Never before had it been so numerous, so well appointed, or in such good heart. The numerical advantage which the Federals had heretofore enjoyed was at this time nearly gone, because thousands of enlistments expired which could not immediately be made good; volunteering had nearly ceased, and the new schemes for recruiting were not yet effective.

Lee took the initiative early in June,243 full of the sense of the advantage to be gained from a campaign on Northern soil. War-worn Virginia was to receive a respite; Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York, as well as Washington, might be terrorized, and perhaps captured. If only the good-fortune so far enjoyed would continue, the Union’s military strength might be completely wrecked, hesitating Europe won over to recognition, and the cause of the South made secure.

With these fine and not at all extravagant anticipations, Lee put in motion his three great corps under the lieutenant-generals Ewell (Jackson’s successor), Longstreet, and A. P. Hill. Longstreet was ill at ease. Vicksburg, now in great danger, he thought could only be saved by reinforcing Bragg and advancing rapidly on Cincinnati, in which case Grant might be drawn north. Notwithstanding Longstreet’s urgency, Lee persisted.244 Ewell,308 pouring suddenly down the Shenandoah Valley, “gobbled up,” as Lincoln put it, Milroy and his whole command of some four thousand, June 13th, and presently from Maryland invaded Pennsylvania. Longstreet was close behind: while the head of Ewell’s column had been nearing the Potomac, A. P. Hill, who had remained at Fredericksburg to watch Hooker, as yet inactive on Stafford Heights, broke camp and followed northwestward. Ewell seized Chambersburg a few days later, then appeared at Carlisle, and even shook Harrisburg with his cannon. The North had, indeed, cause for alarm; the farmers of the invaded region were in a panic. “Emergency men,” enlisted for three months, gathered from New York, Ohio, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania to the threatened points. The great coast cities were face to face with a menace hitherto unexperienced. Were they really about to be sacked? What was to be done?

There was no indecision either at Washington or in the Army of the Potomac. Lincoln’s horse-sense, sometimes tripping, but oftener adequate to deal with unparalleled burdens, homely, terse, and unerring in its expression, was at its best in these days. To Hooker, meditating movements along and across the Rappahannock, he wrote: “I would not take any risk of being entangled upon the river like an ox jumped half over a fence, and liable to be torn by dogs in front and rear without a fair chance to gore one way or kick the other.”245 And again: “If the head of Lee’s army is at Martinsburg (near the Potomac), and the tail of it on the plank-road between Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville, the animal must be very slim somewhere. Could you not break him?” “Fret him and fret him,” was the President’s injunction to Hooker, regarding the advance of Lee. Well-poised, good-humored, constant, Lincoln gave no counsel to Hooker in these days that was not sound.

309 Indeed, at this time, Hooker needed little admonition. Alert and resourceful, he no sooner detected the movement of Lee than he suggested an advance upon Richmond, which was thus left unguarded. Lee, of course, had contemplated the possibility of such a move, and, with a nod toward Washington, had joked about “swapping queens.” The idea, which Hooker did not press, being disapproved, Hooker, turning toward Lee, proceeded to “fret him and fret him,” his conduct comparing well with his brilliant management at the opening of the campaign of Chancellorsville. The cavalry, greatly improved by him, under Pleasonton, with divisions commanded by Buford, Duffie, and Gregg, was serviceable as never before, matching well the troopers of Stuart at Brandy Station, Aldie, and Middleburg. Screened on his left flank by his cavalry, as, on the other hand, Lee was screened by a similar body on his right, Hooker marched in columns parallel to those of his foe and farther east, yet always interposing between the enemy and Washington. As June drew to its end the Confederate advance was near Harrisburg, but the Federals were not caught napping. Hooker stood at Frederick, in Maryland, his corps stretched on either hand to cover Washington and Baltimore, touching hands one with the other, and all confronting the foe.

* * * * *

Lee’s previous campaign had shown with what disregard of military rules he could act, a recklessness up to this time justified by good luck and the ineptitude of his adversaries. Still contemptuous of risks, he made just here an audacious move which was to result unfortunately.246 He ordered, or perhaps suffered, Stuart, whom as he drew toward the Potomac he had held close on his right flank, to undertake with the cavalry a raid around the Federal310 army, after the precedents of the Peninsular and Second Bull Run campaigns. Casting loose from his chief, June 25th, Stuart sallied out eastward and penetrated close to the neighborhood of Washington. He did no harm beyond making a few small captures and causing a useless scare; on the other hand, he suffered terrible fatigue, his exhausted men falling asleep almost by squadrons in their saddles. He could get no news from his friends, nor could he find Ewell’s corps, which he had hoped to meet. Quite worn out with hardship, he did not become available to Lee until the late afternoon of July 2d. A critical battle might have had a different issue247 had the Confederate cavalry been in its proper place. It was almost a chance, through a scout of Longstreet’s, that Lee, at Chambersburg, all uncertain of the Federal movement, heard at last that his enemy was close at hand and threatening his communications. At once he withdrew Ewell southward, so that he might face the danger with his three divisions together.

Meantime a most critical change came about in the camp of his foes. Hooker, on ill terms with Halleck, and engaged in controversy with him over Halleck’s refusal to authorize the withdrawal of the garrison of Harper’s Ferry, rather petulantly asked to be relieved of command, and the President complied at once. Such promptness was to be expected. Hooker had been doing well; but he had done just as well before Chancellorsville; he was generally distrusted; his best subordinates were outspoken as to his lamentable record. The unsparing critic of Burnside had now to take his own medicine. A battle with Lee could not be ventured upon under a commander who could not keep on good terms with the administration, had there been nothing else. It was perilous swapping of horses in the midst of the stream,311 but Lincoln was forced to do it. Some cried out for the restoration of McClellan, and others for that of Frémont. The appointment fell to George Gordon Meade, commander of the Fifth Corps, who, with soldierly dignity, obeyed orders, assuming the burden June 28th, with a pledge to do his best.

Meade, a West-Pointer of 1835,248 was a man of ripe experience, thoroughly trained in war. He had first risen leading a brigade of the Pennsylvania reserves at Mechanicsville, just a year earlier. The good name then won he confirmed at Antietam, and still more at Fredericksburg. He was tall and spare, with an eagle face which no one that saw it can forget, a perfect horseman, and, though irascible, possessed of strong and manly character. In that momentous hour the best men were doubtful on what footing they stood. When Lincoln’s messenger, with a solemn countenance, handed to Meade the appointment, he took it to be an order for his arrest. Placed in command, he hesitated not a moment, building his strategy upon the foundation laid by his predecessor.

Meade had with him in the field seven corps of infantry: the First, commanded temporarily by Doubleday; the Second, by Hancock, recently promoted; the Third, by Sickles; the Fifth, his own corps, now turned over to Sykes; the Sixth, Sedgwick, fortunately not displaced, though so unjustly censured for his noble work on May 3d; the Eleventh, Howard; and the Twelfth, Slocum. The excellent cavalry divisions were under Buford, Kilpatrick, and Gregg; and in the lower places capable young officers—Custer, Merritt, Farnsworth, Devin, Gamble—were pushing into notice. Of field-guns there were three hundred and forty. It was a fault of the Union organization that corps, divisions, and brigades were too small, bringing about, among other evils, too large a number of general and staff officers.249 The Confederates312 here were wiser. Lee faced Meade’s seven corps with but three, and two hundred and ninety-three guns; but each Confederate corps was nearly or quite twice as large as a Union corps; divisions and brigades were in the same relative proportion. The Army of the Potomac numbered 88,289 effectives; the Army of Northern Virginia, 75,000.250


(Federal: hollow bars, Confederate: solid bars)

Meade at once chose and caused to be surveyed a position on Pipe Creek, just south of the Maryland line, as a field suitable to be held should the enemy come that way. He marched, however, northwestward cautiously, his corps in touch but spread wide apart, ready for battle and protecting as ever the capital and cities of the coast.251 His especial reliance in this hour of need was John F. Reynolds, hand in hand with whom he had proceeded in313 his career from the day when, as fellow-brigadiers, they repulsed A. P. Hill at Beaver Dam Creek. This man he trusted completely and loved much. He warmly approved Hooker’s action in committing to Reynolds the left wing nearest the enemy, made up of the First, Third, and Eleventh corps. This made Reynolds second in command. Meade, commander-in-chief, retained the centre and right. So the armies hovered, each uncertain of the other’s exact whereabouts, during the last days of June.


On July 1st, though Stuart for the moment was out of the campaign, the Federal cavalry was on hand. Buford’s division, thrown out from the Federal left, moved well forward north of the town of Gettysburg, and were met by Heth’s division of Hill’s corps, marching forward, it is said, with no more hostile purpose at the time than that of getting shoes.252 Buford held his line valiantly, being presently joined by Reynolds. The two, from the cupola of the seminary near by, studied the prospect hurriedly. A stand must be made then and there, and the First Corps, close at hand, was presently in support of the bold horsemen, who, dismounted, were with their carbines blocking the advance of the hostile infantry.

The most irreparable and lamentable loss of the entire battle now occurred at the very outset. Reynolds fell dead at the front, leaving the left divisions without a leader in the most critical hour. Heth’s advance was roughly handled; one brigade was mostly captured, Doubleday nodding, with a pleasant “Good-morning, I314 am glad to see you,” to its commander, his old West Point chum Archer, as the latter was passed to the rear among the prisoners.253 There were still other captures and much fighting; but Ewell was fast arriving by the roads from the north; and although Howard, with the Eleventh Corps, came up from the south at the same time, the heavier Confederate battalions could not be held. Barlow, thrown out far forward into Ewell’s path, was at once badly wounded, whereupon his division was repulsed. The Eleventh Corps in general gave way before Ewell’s rush, rolling back disordered through the town, where large numbers were captured. Fortunately, on the high crest of Cemetery Hill, Howard had stationed in reserve the division of Steinwehr. What broken brigades and regiments, fleeing through the town, could reach this point were forthwith rallied and reorganized. Thus, at mid-day of July 1st, things were hopeful for Lee. The First Corps, its flank exposed by the retirement of the Eleventh Corps, fell back fighting through Gettysburg to Cemetery Hill during the afternoon. Lee swept the Federals from the town and the fields and ridges beyond. Had Ewell stormed Cemetery Hill at once, Lee might have won a great success.

One of the first marks of a capacity for leadership is the power to choose men, and Meade now showed this conspicuously. He had lost Reynolds, his main dependence, a loss that no doubt affected greatly the fortunes of the first day’s battle; he replaced Reynolds with a young officer whom it was necessary to push over the heads of several seniors; but a better selection could not have been made. Of the splendid captains whom the long agony of the Army of the Potomac was slowly evolving, probably the best as an all-round soldier was Winfield Scott Hancock. Since his West Point training, finished in 1844,254 he had had wide and thorough military experience,315 climbing laboriously from colonel to corps commander, winning out from each grade to the next higher through faithful and able service. He could deal with figures; was diligent over papers and office drudgery; he was a patient drill-master—all these, and at the same time so dashing and magnetic in the field that he early earned the title “The Superb.”255 His vigor, moreover, was tempered by judgment.


Hancock it was whom Meade now sent forward from Taneytown, thirteen miles away, when he was anxiously gathering in his host, to lead the hard-pressed left wing; he was to judge whether the position should be held, as Reynolds had thought, or a retirement attempted toward the surveyed lines of Pipe Creek. The apparition on Cemetery Hill, just before four o’clock, July 1st, of Hancock upon his sweating charger, was equal to a reinforcement by an army corps. Fugitives halted; fragments of formations were welded into proper battle-lines. In the respite given by Ewell, so ill-timed for Lee, the shattered First and Eleventh corps found breathing-space and plucked up heart. At six o’clock they were joined by the Twelfth Corps, that of the steadfast Slocum. Hancock, now feeling that there were troops enough for the present, and resolute leaders, galloped back to report to his chief. Upon his report Meade concentrated everything toward Cemetery Hill, the troops plodding through the moonlit night. Meade himself reached the field an hour past midnight, gaunt and hollow-eyed through want of sleep,256 but clear in mind and stout of heart. At dawn316 of July 2d the Second Corps, at the head of which Gibbon had taken Hancock’s place, and the Third Corps, Sickles, were at hand. At noon arrived the Fifth, and soon after the Sixth, Sedgwick having marched his men thirty-four miles in eighteen hours.

Two parallel ridges, their crests separated by an interval of not quite a mile, extend at Gettysburg north and south. The more westerly of these, called, from the Lutheran College there, Seminary Ridge, was the scene of the first attack on July 1st, but on the second day became the main Confederate position. The eastern ridge, terminated at its northern end by the town cemetery, close to which Howard so fortunately stationed Steinwehr on the first day, became the Federal stronghold. Cemetery Ridge was really shaped like a fishhook, its line curving eastward to the abrupt and wooded Culp’s Hill, the barb of the hook. At the curve the ridge was steep and rough with ledges and bowlders; as it ran southward its height diminished until, after a mile or so, it rose again into two marked elevations—Round Top, six hundred feet high, with a spur, Little Round Top, just north.


On the morning of July 2d the Federals lay along this317 ridge in order as follows: at the extreme right, on Culp’s Hill (the fishhook’s barb), the Twelfth Corps, Slocum; at the bend, near the cemetery, the Eleventh Corps, Howard, reinforced from other bodies; on their left the First, now under Newton, and the Second, Gibbon. The First and Second corps formed, as it were, the shank of the hook, which the Third, Sickles, was expected to prolong. The Fifth, on arriving, took place behind the Third; and the Sixth, when it appeared from the east, helped to make secure the trains and sent aid elsewhere. The convex formation presently proved to be of incalculable value, enabling Meade to strengthen rapidly any threatened point. Fronting their foe, the Confederates lay in a parallel concave line, Ewell close at the curve and in the town, and A. P. Hill on Seminary Ridge; this line Longstreet prolonged southward, his right flank opposed to Round Top. The concave formation was an embarrassment to Lee—no reinforcements could reach threatened points without making a wide circuit.

(From a print of the time)

When Meade, supposing that Sickles had prolonged with the Third Corps the southward-stretching line, reviewed the field, he found the Third Corps thrown out far in advance, to the Emmittsburg road, which here passed along a dominating ridge; the break in the continuity of his line filled the general with alarm, but it was too late to change. Whether or not Sickles blundered will not be argued here. Meade condemned; other good authorities have approved, among them Sheridan, who regarded as just Sickles’ claim that the line marked out by Meade was untenable.257

What happened here will presently be told.

Lee, too, was out of harmony with Longstreet, his well-tried second; and the first matter in dispute was the expediency of fighting at all at Gettysburg. When Longstreet, coming from Chambersburg, took in the situation,318 he urged upon Lee, bent upon his battle, a turning of the Federal left as better strategy, by which the Confederates might interpose between Meade and Washington and compel Meade to make the attack. Longstreet held Lee to be perfect in defensive warfare; on the offensive, however, he thought him “over-combative” and liable to rashness.258 Lee rejected the advice with a touch of irritation; and when Longstreet, acquiescing, made a second suggestion—namely, for a tactical turning of the Federal left instead of a direct assault—Lee pronounced for the assault in a manner so peremptory that Longstreet could say no more. From first to last at Gettysburg, Longstreet was ill at ease, in spite of which his blows fell like those from the hammer of a war-god. The friends of Lee have denounced him for a sluggishness and insubordination that, as they claim, lost for them the battle.259 His defence of himself is earnest and pathetic, of great weight as coming from one of the most able and manful figures on either side in the Civil War.

Of Longstreet’s three divisions, only one, that of McLaws, was on hand with all its brigades on the forenoon of July 2d. At noon arrived Law, completing Hood’s division. Pickett’s division was still behind; but in mid-afternoon, without waiting for him, Longstreet attacked—Hood, with all possible energy, striking Sickles in his far-advanced position and working dangerously around his flank toward the Round Tops. Longstreet’s generals, Hood and afterward Law (Hood falling wounded in the first attack), though men of courage and dash, assaulted only after having filed written protests, feeling sure that the position could be easily turned and319 gained with little fighting. But Lee had been peremptory, and no choice was left.260


Gouverneur K. Warren, then chief-engineer of the Army of the Potomac, despatched by Meade to the left during the afternoon, found the Round Tops undefended. They were plainly the key to the Federal position, offering points which, if seized by the enemy, would make possible an enfilading of the Federal line. Troops of the Twelfth320 Corps, at first stationed there, had been withdrawn and their places not supplied. There was not a moment to lose. Even as he stood, Warren beheld in the opposite woods the gleam of arms from Longstreet’s swift advance. Leaping down from ledge to ledge, he met a brigade of the Fifth Corps, just arrived and marching to the aid of Sickles. These he diverted to the eyrie he had so lately left; a battery, too, was dragged up over the rocks, and none too soon. At that very moment the men of Hood charged out of the valley, and the height was held only by the most obstinate combat.

From the valley, meantime, came up a tumult of arms which, as the sun threw its rays aslant, spread wider and louder. Longstreet and A. P. Hill threw in upon the Third Corps every man available; while, on the other hand, Meade poured in to its support division after division from the Fifth, and at last from the Second and Twelfth.261 About six o’clock Sickles fell wounded; by sunset his line was everywhere forced back, though not in rout. By dusk the Confederates had mastered all resistance in the valley. But the line once reached which Meade had originally designed, running north from Little Round Top to Cemetery Ridge, retreat went no farther. That line was not crossed by foot of foe. When night fell the Round Tops were held firmly, while troops from the Sixth Corps guarded the Union left. Nearer the centre stood the Third and Fifth, much shattered but still defiant. In a way, what had happened was but a rectification of Meade’s line: the Confederates, indeed, had won ground, but the losses they had inflicted were no more appalling than those they had received.

Meantime, fighting no less determined and sanguinary had taken place at the cemetery and Culp’s Hill. Lee’s plan contemplated a simultaneous attack at the north and south; but Ewell, at the north, was late in his321 advance, and the intended effect of distracting the Federals was wellnigh lost. The Louisiana brigade dashed itself in vain against the height just above the town. The Stonewall division fared better; for, the Federal defenders being for the most part withdrawn, they seized intrenchments on Culp’s Hill, penetrating far—for Meade a most critical advance, since they came within thirty rods of the Baltimore turnpike, where lay his trains and reserve ammunition. The South has always believed that, had Stonewall Jackson been there, the Federal rear would have been reached, and rout and capture made certain.

For both sides it had been a day of terrible experiences, and for the Federals the outlook was perhaps more gloomy than for their foes. On each flank the Confederates had gained an advantage, and Lee probably felt a hopefulness which the circumstances did not really justify. Meade gathered his generals at midnight in council. It was in a little room, but ten or twelve feet square, a group dust-covered and sweat-stained, the strong faces sternly earnest. Some sat on the bed; some stood; Warren, wounded, stretched out on the floor, was overcome by sleep. There was no vote but to fight it out on the morrow. In this Meade acquiesced, carefully planning for a retreat, however, should the need arise. To Gibbon, commanding the Second Corps, placed between the wings, he said: “Your turn will come to-morrow. To-day he has struck the flanks; next, it will be the centre.”262

Lee was drawn on by the success of the first day to fight again on the second; his success on the second induced him to try for the third time; but he had exhausted his good-fortune. At earliest dawn of July 3, 1863, began a wrestle for the possession of Culp’s Hill, Ewell heavily reinforcing the Stonewall division which had won footing there the night before, and the Twelfth322 Corps as stubbornly struggling for the ground it had lost. It was a fight of six hours, in which the extreme northern wings of the two armies only were concerned. The Federals won, at a heavy sacrifice of life.


Elsewhere the armies rested, an ominous silence at last reigning on the trampled and bloody field under the mid-day sun. Meade and his soldiers knew that it portended danger, and with a sure intuition the army chief was watching with especial care the centre, as yet unassailed. On the Confederate side, the unhappy Longstreet, at odds with his chief as to the wisdom of the campaign from the start, and disapproving both its strategy and tactics, was now in deeper gloom than ever. Lee had determined to assault the Federal centre, and by a cruel323 turn of fate the blow must be struck by the reluctant Longstreet. Of the three great Confederate corps, it was only in Longstreet’s that a force remained as yet unwrung by the fearful agonies of the last two days. Pickett’s division, solidly Virginian, and in the eyes of Lee a Tenth Legion in its valor, as yet had done nothing, and was to bear the brunt of the attack. “What troops do you design for the assault?” Longstreet had asked. Lee, having indicated Pickett’s division of five thousand, with auxiliary divisions, making an entire number in the charging column of fifteen thousand, the Georgian burst out: “I have been a soldier from the ground up. I have been with soldiers engaged in fights by couples, by squads, companies, regiments, armies, and should know as well as any one what soldiers can do. It is my opinion that no fifteen thousand men ever arrayed for battle can take that position.”263

But Lee was unmoved. Confident of success, he despatched Stuart, arrived at last after his raid, so long and futile, around beyond the Federal right. When the Union centre should be broken and Meade thrown into retreat, Stuart was to seize its only practicable route for retreat, the Baltimore pike, and make the defeat decisive.

Meade, meantime, had managed warily and well. At his centre stood Hancock, his best lieutenant. There were massed the First and Second corps, with reserve troops at hand ready to pour in at the word, with batteries bearing upon front and flank, every approach guarded, every man and horse on the alert. The provost guards, and in the rear of all a regiment of cavalry, formed in line behind, had orders to shoot any faint-hearts who, in the crisis, should turn from the foe to flee.264 At one o’clock two signal-guns were heard on Seminary Ridge, upon which followed a terrible cannonade, appalling but only slightly harmful, for the waiting ranks found cover from324 the missiles. Feeling sure that this was a prelude to something more serious, the Federal chief relaxed his fire to spare his ammunition. It was understood on the other side that the Federal guns were silenced; and that moment having been appointed as the time for the onset, Pickett inquired of Longstreet if he should go forward. Longstreet, convinced that the charge must fail, made no reply, though the question was repeated. “I shall go forward,” said Pickett, to which his general bowed his head. Instantly was heard the footbeat of the fifteen thousand, and the heavy-hearted Longstreet, mounting his horse, rode out to behold the sacrifice. He has recorded that the column passed him down the slope high-hearted, buoyant, hopeful, Pickett riding gracefully, like a holiday soldier, with cap set jauntily on his long, auburn locks.265

The silence of the Federal guns had been for a purpose. As Pickett’s men appeared there was a sudden reopening of their tumult; a deadly sequence from round-shot to canister, and thence to the Minié-balls of the infantry. The defenders now saw before them, as they peered through the battle smoke from their shelter, a solid wedge of men, the division of Pickett, flanked by masses on the right and left commanded by Pettigrew and Wilcox. The column approached, and visibly melted away. Of Pickett’s commanders of brigades every one went down, and their men lay literally in heaps beside them.

“A thousand fell where Kemper led;
A thousand died where Garnett bled;
In blinding flame and strangling smoke
The remnant through the batteries broke,
And crossed the line with Armistead.”

A hundred or so, led by Armistead, his cap held aloft on his sword-point, actually penetrated the Federal line and325 reached the “clump of trees” just beyond, holding for a few moments a battery. Pettigrew and Trimble, just north, struggled also for a footing. But the foothold was only for a moment; on front and flank the Federals converged, and the tide rolled slowly and heavily rearward. For the South all hope of victory was gone.

(From a print of the time)

As the broken and diminished multitude fell back to Seminary Ridge, Lee rode out to meet them. He was alone, his staff being all absent, in that supreme moment, on desperate errands. His face was calm and resolute, his voice confident but sympathetic as he exclaimed, “It was all my fault; now help me to do what I can to save what is left.” It casts a light on his character that even in that hour he chided a young officer near for chastising his horse: “Don’t whip him, captain. I’ve got just such another foolish horse myself, and whipping does no good.”266 Longstreet declares Lee said again that night, about the bivouac-fire: “It was all my fault. You ought not to have made that last attack”; and that still again Lee wrote to him at a later time, “If I had only taken your advice, even on the 3d, and moved around the Federal left, how different all might have been!”267

Longstreet also records that he fully expected a counter-stroke at once, and looked to his batteries, only to find the ammunition exhausted; but they were his only reliance for defence. The Federal cavalry, at that moment attacking his right, occupied troops who might otherwise have been brought to the centre.

Should there have been a counter-stroke? Hancock, lying wounded almost to death in an ambulance, reasoned that, because he had been struck by a tenpenny nail, the Confederate ammunition must be exhausted; he had strength to dictate an approval if the charge should be326 ordered.268 Lincoln always felt that it should have been made, and lamented that he did not go to Gettysburg himself and push matters on the field, as the crisis required.269 We can surmise what Grant would have done had he instead of Meade, as the sun lowered, looked across the valley from Cemetery Ridge. But the case may be put strongly for Meade: with his best lieutenants dead or wounded, worn out himself, whom else could he trust? And, in the disorder of his line, how could he tell how far his own army had been shattered in the desperate fights, or what was Lee’s condition? It was only prudent to let well enough alone. Nevertheless, a little of such imprudence as his adversary was constantly showing might perhaps have led to Lee’s complete destruction.270 During the three fearful days the Federals had lost 3155 killed, 14,529 wounded, 5365 missing—a total of about 23,000; the Confederates, 3903 killed, 18,735 wounded, 5425 missing—a total of about 28,000.271

As it was, Lee stood defiantly on Seminary Ridge full twenty-four hours longer. Then, gathering his army about him, and calling in the cavalry which, during Pickett’s charge, was receiving severe punishment on its own account at the hands of Gregg and his division, he slowly withdrew. Practically undisturbed, he crossed the Potomac, followed with great deliberation by the army that had conquered but failed to crush.

Lincoln’s disappointment was never greater than over the lame outcome of Gettysburg. “We had them within our grasp,” he cried. “We had only to stretch forth our hands and they were ours, and nothing I could say or do327 could make the army move. Our army held the War in the hollow of their hand and they would not close it.” The honor that fell to Meade for his splendid service was deserved. While the criticism was violent he asked to be relieved. But the better nature of the North made itself evident at last, and he was retained. It was felt that he had served his country most nobly, and, though possibly falling short of the highest, deserved to be forever cherished among the immortals.


1863. Surrender of Port Hudson. Conscription riots in New York. The Confederate cavalry leader, General Morgan, makes a raid into Indiana. Confederate victory at Chickamauga. Federal victories of Chattanooga, Lookout Mountain, and Missionary Ridge. Admission of Nevada into the Union. The Archduke Maximilian, of Austria, lands at Vera Cruz and assumes the crown of Mexico, with the support of French troops.

1864. The Red River expedition. Grant supersedes Halleck as commander-in-chief of the Federal armies. Storming of Fort Pillow by the Confederates. General Sherman begins his march on Atlanta. Battle of the Wilderness. Battle of Spottsylvania Court-house. Second battle of Cold Harbor. Siege of Petersburg. Sinking of the Confederate cruiser Alabama by the Kearsarge. Confederate raid into Maryland and Pennsylvania. Federal naval victory of Mobile Bay. The Federals occupy Atlanta. Battle of Winchester and Cedar Creek. Abraham Lincoln re-elected President. Federal occupation of Savannah.

1865. The Federals capture Fort Fisher. General Sherman328 occupies Charleston. Organization of the Freedmen’s Bureau. Battle of Five Forks. Occupation of Petersburg and Richmond by the Federals, April 3rd. Surrender of General Lee at Appomattox Court-House, April 9th. Assassination of Abraham Lincoln, April 14th. Andrew Johnson succeeds to the Presidency. Capture of Jefferson Davis in Georgia. End of the Civil War. Proclamation of amnesty. The Thirteenth Amendment, abolishing slavery in the United States, becomes a part of the Constitution.



When, on the night of the 8th of April, 1865, the cavalry corps of the Army of the Potomac reached the two or three little houses that made up the settlement at Appomattox Depot—the station on the South-side Railroad that connects Appomattox Court-house with the travelling world—it must have been nearly or quite dark. At about nine o’clock or half-past, while standing near the door of one of the houses, it occurred to me that it might be well to try and get a clearer idea of our immediate surroundings, as it was not impossible that we might have hot work here or near here before the next day fairly dawned upon us.

My “striker” had just left me with instructions to have my horse fed, groomed, and saddled before daylight. As he turned to go he paused and put this question, “Do you think, Colonel, that we’ll get General Lee’s army to-morrow?”

“I don’t know,” was my reply; “but we will have some savage fighting if we don’t.”

As the sturdy young soldier said “Good-night, sir,” and walked away, I knew that if the enlisted men of our army could forecast the coming of the end so plainly, there was little hope of the escape of the Army of Northern Virginia.

I walked up the road a short distance, and looked carefully about me to take my bearings. It was a mild spring night, with a cloudy sky, and the soft, mellow smell of earthiness in the atmosphere that not infrequently portends330 rain. If rain came, then it might retard the arrival of our infantry, which I knew General Sheridan was most anxious should reach us at the earliest possible moment. A short distance from where I stood was the encampment of our headquarters escort, with its orderlies, grooms, officers’ servants, and horses. Just beyond it could be seen the dying camp-fires of a cavalry regiment, lying close in to cavalry corps headquarters. This regiment was in charge of between six and eight hundred prisoners, who had fallen into our hands just at dark, as Generals Custer and Devin, at the head of their respective cavalry commands, had charged into the station and captured four railway trains of commissariat supplies, which had been sent here to await the arrival of the Confederate army, together with twenty-six pieces of artillery. For a few moments the artillery had greatly surprised and astonished us, for its presence was entirely unexpected, and as it suddenly opened on the charging columns of cavalry it looked for a short time as though we might have all unwittingly fallen upon a division of infantry. However, it turned out otherwise. Our cavalry, after the first recoil, boldly charged in among the batteries, and the gunners, being without adequate support, sensibly surrendered. The whole affair was for us a most gratifying termination of a long day’s ride, as it must have proved later on a bitter disappointment to the weary and hungry Confederates pressing forward from Petersburg and Richmond in the vain hope of escape from the Federal troops, who were straining every nerve to overtake them and compel a surrender. To-night the cavalry corps was in their front and squarely across the road to Lynchburg, and it was reasonably certain, should our infantry get up in time on the morrow, that the almost ceaseless marching and fighting of the last ten days were to attain their legitimate result in the capitulation of General Lee’s army.

As I stood there in the dark thinking over the work331 of the twelve preceding days, it was borne in upon me with startling emphasis that to-morrow’s sun would rise big with the fate of the Southern Confederacy.


Just before daylight on the morning of the 9th of April, I sat down to a cup of coffee, but had hardly begun to drink it when I heard the ominous sound of a332 scattering skirmish fire, apparently in the direction of Appomattox Court-house. Hastily swallowing what remained of the coffee, I reported to General Sheridan, who directed me to go to the front at once. Springing into the saddle, I galloped up the road, my heart being greatly lightened by a glimpse of two or three infantrymen standing near a camp-fire close by the depot—convincing proof that our hoped-for reinforcements were within supporting distance.

It was barely daylight as I sped along, but before I reached the cavalry brigade of Colonel C. H. Smith, that held the main road between Appomattox Court-house and Lynchburg, a distance of about two miles northeast from Appomattox Depot, the enemy had advanced to the attack, and the battle had opened. When ordered into position late the preceding night, Colonel Smith had felt his way in the dark as closely as possible to Appomattox Court-house, and at or near midnight had halted on a ridge, on which he had thrown up a breastwork of rails. This he occupied by dismounting his brigade, and also with a section of horse-artillery, at the same time protecting both his flanks by a small mounted force. As the enemy advanced to the attack in the dim light of early dawn he could not see the led horses of our cavalry, which had been sent well to the rear, and was evidently at a loss to determine what was in his front. The result was that after the first attack he fell back to get his artillery in position, and to form a strong assaulting column against what must have seemed to him a line of infantry. This was most fortunate for us, for by the time he again advanced in full force, and compelled the dismounted cavalry to slowly fall back by weight of numbers, our infantry was hurrying forward from Appomattox Depot (which place it had reached at four o’clock in the morning), and we had gained many precious minutes. At this time most of our cavalry was fighting dismounted, stubbornly retiring. But the Confederates at last realized333 that there was nothing but a brigade of dismounted cavalry and a few batteries of horse-artillery in their immediate front, and pushed forward grimly and determinedly, driving the dismounted troopers slowly ahead of them.

I had gone to the left of the road, and was in a piece of woods with some of our cavalrymen (who by this time had been ordered to fall back to their horses and give place to our infantry, which was then coming up), when a couple of rounds of canister tore through the branches just over my head. Riding back to the edge of the woods in the direction from which the shots came, I found myself within long pistol range of a section of a battery of light artillery. It was in position near a country road that came out of another piece of woods about two hundred yards in its rear, and was pouring a rapid fire into the woods from which I had just emerged. As I sat on my horse quietly watching it from behind a rail fence, the lieutenant commanding the pieces saw me, and, riding out for a hundred yards or more toward where I was, proceeded to cover me with his revolver. We fired together—a miss on both sides. The second shot was uncomfortably close, so far as I was concerned, but as I took deliberate aim for the third shot I became aware that in some way his pistol was disabled; for using both hands and all his strength I saw that he could not cock it. I had him covered, and had he turned I think I should have fired. He did nothing of the sort. Apparently accepting his fate, he laid his revolver across the pommel of his saddle, fronted me quietly and coolly, and looked me steadily in the face. The whole thing had been something in the nature of a duel, and I felt that to fire under the circumstances savored too much of murder. Besides, I knew that at a word from him the guns would have been trained on me where I sat. He, too, seemed to appreciate the fact that it was an individual fight, and manfully and gallantly forbore to call for aid; so, lowering334 and uncocking my pistol, I replaced it in my holster, and shook my fist at him, which action he cordially reciprocated, and then, turning away, I rode back into the woods.

About this time the enemy’s artillery ceased firing, and I again rode rapidly to the edge of the woods, just in time to see the guns limber up and retire down the wood road from which they had come. The lieutenant in command saw me and stopped. We simultaneously uncovered, waved our hats to each other, and bowed. I have always thought he was one of the bravest men I ever faced.

I rode back again, passing through our infantry line, intending to go to the left and find the cavalry, which I knew would be on the flank somewhere. Suddenly I became conscious that firing had ceased along the whole line.

I had not ridden more than a hundred yards when I heard some one calling my name. Turning, I saw one of the headquarters aides, who came galloping up, stating that he had been hunting for me for the last fifteen minutes, and that General Sheridan wished me to report to him at once. I followed him rapidly to the right on the wood path in the direction from which he had come.

As soon as I could get abreast of him I asked if he knew what the general wanted me for.

Turning in his saddle, with his eyes fairly ablaze, he said: “Why, don’t you know? A white flag.”

All I could say was, “Really?”

He answered by a nod; and then we leaned toward each other and shook hands; but nothing else was said.

A few moments more and we were out of the woods in the open fields. I saw the long line of battle of the Fifth Army Corps halted, the men standing at rest, the standards being held butt on earth, and the flags floating out languidly on the spring breeze. As we passed them I noticed that the officers had generally grouped themselves in front of the centre of their regiments, sword in335 hand, and were conversing in low tones. The men were leaning wearily on their rifles, in the position of parade rest. All were anxiously looking to the front, in the direction toward which the enemy’s line had withdrawn, for the Confederates had fallen back into a little swale or valley beyond Appomattox Court-house, and were not then visible from this part of our line.

We soon came up to General Sheridan and his staff. They were dismounted, sitting on the grass by the side of a broad country road that led to the Court-house. This was about one or two hundred yards distant, and, as we afterward found, consisted of the court-house, a small tavern, and eight or ten houses, all situated on this same road or street.

Conversation was carried on in a low tone, and I was told of the blunder of one of the Confederate regiments in firing on the general and staff after the flag of truce had been accepted. I also heard that General Lee was then up at the little village awaiting the arrival of General Grant, to whom he had sent a note, through General Sheridan, requesting a meeting to arrange terms of surrender. Colonel Newhall, of our headquarters staff, had been despatched in search of General Grant, and might be expected up at almost any moment.

It was, perhaps, something more than an hour and a half later, to the best of my recollection, that General Grant, accompanied by Colonel Newhall, and followed by his staff, came rapidly riding up to where we were standing by the side of the road, for we had all risen at his approach. When within a few yards of us he drew rein, and halted in front of General Sheridan, acknowledged our salute, and then, leaning slightly forward in his saddle, said, in his usual quiet tone, “Good-morning, Sheridan; how are you?”

“First-rate, thank you, General,” was the reply. “How are you?”

General Grant nodded in return, and said, “Is General336 Lee up there?” indicating the court-house by a glance.

“Yes,” was the response, “he’s there.” And then followed something about the Confederate Army, but I did not clearly catch the import of the sentence.

“Very well, then,” said General Grant. “Let’s go up.”

General Sheridan, together with a few selected officers of his staff, mounted and joined General Grant and staff. Together they rode to Mr. McLean’s house, a plain two-story brick residence in the village, to which General Lee had already repaired, and where he was known to be awaiting General Grant’s arrival. Dismounting at the gate, the whole party crossed the yard, and the senior officers present went up onto the porch which protected the front of the house. It extended nearly across the entire house and was railed in, except where five or six steps led up the centre opposite the front door, which was flanked by two small wooden benches, placed close against the house on either side of the entrance. The door opened into a hall that ran the entire length of the house, and on either side of it was a single room with a window in each end of it, and two doors, one at the front and one at the rear of each of the rooms, opening on the hall. The room to the left, as you entered, was the parlor, and it was in this room that General Lee was awaiting General Grant’s arrival.

As General Grant stepped onto the porch he was met by Colonel Babcock, of his staff, who had in the morning been sent forward with a message to General Lee. He had found him resting at the side of the road, and had accompanied him to Mr. McLean’s house.

General Grant went into the house, accompanied by General Rawlins, his chief of staff; General Seth Williams, his adjutant-general; General Rufus Ingalls, his quarter-master-general; and his two aides, General Horace Porter and Lieutenant-Colonel Babcock. After a little time General Sheridan; General M. R. Morgan, General Grant’s337 chief commissary; Lieutenant-Colonel Ely Parker, his military secretary; Lieutenant-Colonel T. S. Bowers, one of his assistant adjutant-generals; and Captain Robert T. Lincoln and Adam Badeau, aides-de-camp, went into the house at General Grant’s express invitation, sent out, I believe, through Colonel Babcock, who came to the hall-door for the purpose, and they were, I was afterward told, formally presented to General Lee. After a lapse of a few more minutes quite a number of these officers, including General Sheridan, came out into the hall and onto the porch, leaving General Grant and General Lee, Generals Rawlins, Ingalls, Seth Williams, and Porter, and Lieutenant-Colonels Babcock, Ely Parker, and Bowers, together with Colonel Marshall, of General Lee’s staff, in the room, while the terms of the surrender were finally agreed upon and formally signed. These were the only officers, therefore, who were actually present at the official surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia.

After quite a length of time Colonel Babcock came to the door again, opened it, and glanced out. As he did so he placed his forage-cap on one finger, twirled it around, and nodded to us all, as much as to say, “It’s all settled,” and said something in a low tone to General Sheridan. Then they, accompanied by General E. O. C. Ord, the commanding-general of the Army of the James, who had just ridden up to the house, entered the house together, the hall-door partly closed again after them, leaving quite a number of us staff-officers upon the porch.

While the conference between Generals Grant and Lee was still in progress, Generals Merritt and Custer, of the Cavalry Corps, and several of the infantry generals, together with the rest of General Sheridan’s staff-officers, came into the yard, and some of them came up on the porch. Colonel Babcock came out once more, and General Merritt went back to the room with him at his request; but most, if not all, of the infantry generals left338 us and went back to their respective commands while the conference was still in progress and before it ended.

Just to the right of the house, as we faced it on entering, stood a soldierly looking orderly in a tattered gray uniform, holding three horses—one a fairly well-bred-looking gray, in good heart, though thin in flesh, which, from the accoutrements, I concluded belonged to General Lee; the others, a thoroughbred bay and a fairly good brown, were undoubtedly those of the staff-officer who had accompanied General Lee and of the orderly himself. He was evidently a sensible soldier, too, for as he held the bridles he baited the animals on the young grass, and they ate as though they needed all they had a chance to pick up.

I cannot say exactly how long the conference between Generals Grant and Lee lasted, but after quite a while, certainly more than two hours, I became aware from the movement of chairs within that it was about to break up. I had been sitting on the top step of the porch, writing in my field note-book, but I closed it at once, and, stepping back on the porch, leaned against the railing nearly opposite and to the left of the door, and expectantly waited. As I did so the inner door slowly opened, and General Lee stood before me. As he paused for a few seconds, framed in by the doorway, ere he slowly and deliberately stepped out upon the porch, I took my first and last look at the great Confederate chieftain. This is what I saw: A finely formed man, apparently about sixty years of age, well above the average height, with a clear, ruddy complexion—just then suffused by a deep-crimson flush that, rising from his neck, overspread his face and even slightly tinged his broad forehead, which, bronzed where it had been exposed to the weather, was clear and beautifully white where it had been shielded by his hat—deep-brown eyes, a firm but well-shaped Roman nose, abundant gray hair, silky and fine in texture, with a full gray beard and mustache,339 neatly trimmed and not over-long, but which, nevertheless, almost completely concealed his mouth. A splendid uniform of Confederate gray cloth, that had evidently seen but little service, was closely buttoned about him and fitted him to perfection. An exquisitely mounted sword, attached to a gold-embroidered Russia-leather belt, trailed loosely on the floor at his side, and in his right hand he carried a broad-brimmed, soft, gray felt hat, encircled by a golden cord, while in his left he held a pair of buckskin gauntlets. Booted and spurred, still vigorous and erect, he stood bareheaded, looking out of the open doorway, sad-faced and weary—a soldier and a gentleman, bearing himself in defeat with an all-unconscious dignity that sat well upon him.

The moment the open door revealed the Confederate commander, each officer present sprang to his feet, and as General Lee stepped out onto the porch every hand was raised in military salute. Placing his hat on his head, he mechanically but courteously returned it, and slowly crossed the porch to the head of the steps leading down to the yard, meanwhile keeping his eyes intently fixed in the direction of the little valley over beyond the Court-house in which his army lay. Here he paused and slowly drew on his gauntlets, smiting his gloved hands into each other several times after doing so, evidently utterly oblivious of his surroundings. Then, apparently recalling his thoughts, he glanced deliberately right and left, and, not seeing his horse, he called, in a hoarse, half-choked voice, “Orderly! Orderly!”

“Here, General, here!” was the quick response. The alert young soldier was holding the general’s horse near the side of the house. He had taken out the bit, slipped the bridle over the horse’s neck, and the wiry gray was eagerly grazing on the fresh young grass about him.

Descending the steps, the general passed to the left of the house and stood in front of his horse’s head while he was being bridled. As the orderly was buckling the340 throat-latch, the general reached up and drew the fore-lock out from under the brow-band, parted and smoothed it, and then gently patted the gray charger’s forehead in an absent-minded way, as one who loves horses but whose thoughts are far away might all unwittingly do. Then, as the orderly stepped aside, he caught up the bridle-reins in his left hand, and, seizing the pommel of the saddle with the same hand, he caught up the slack of the reins in his right hand, and placing it on the cantle he put his foot in the stirrup and swung himself slowly and wearily, but nevertheless firmly, into the saddle (the old dragoon mount), letting his right hand rest for an instant or two on the pommel as he settled into his seat, and as he did so there broke unguardedly from his lips a long, low, deep sigh, almost a groan in its intensity, while the flush on his neck and face seemed, if possible, to take on a little deeper hue.

Shortly after General Lee passed down the steps he was followed by an erect, slightly built, soldierly looking officer, in a neat but somewhat worn gray uniform, a man with an anxious and thoughtful face, wearing spectacles, who glanced neither to the right nor left, keeping his eyes straight before him. Notwithstanding this, I doubt if he missed anything within the range of his vision. This officer, I was afterward told, was Colonel Marshall, one of the Confederate adjutants-general, the member of General Lee’s staff whom he had selected to accompany him.

As soon as the colonel had mounted, General Lee drew up his reins, and, with the colonel riding on his left and followed by the orderly, moved at a slow walk across the yard toward the gate.


Just as they started, General Grant came out of the house, crossed the porch, and passed down the steps into the yard. At this time he was nearly forty-two years of age, of middle height, not over-weighted with flesh, but, nevertheless, stockily and sturdily built, with light complexion,341 mild, gray-blue eyes, finely formed Grecian nose, an iron-willed mouth, brown hair, full brown beard with a tendency toward red rather than black, and in his manner and all his movements there was a strength of purpose, a personal poise, and a cool, quiet air of dignity, decision, and soldierly confidence that were very good to see. On this occasion he wore a plain blue army blouse, with shoulder-straps set with three silver stars equidistant, designating his rank as lieutenant-general commanding the armies of the United States; it was unbuttoned, showing a blue military vest, over which and under his blouse was buckled a belt, but he was without a sword. His trousers were dark blue and tucked into top-boots, which were without spurs, but heavily splashed with mud, for, once he knew that General Lee was waiting for him at Appomattox Court-house, he had ridden rapidly across the country, over road and field and through woods, to meet him. He wore a peculiar, stiff-brimmed, sugar-loaf-crowned, campaign hat of black felt, and his uniform was partly covered by a light-weight, dark-blue, waterproof, semi-military cloak, with a full cape, unbuttoned and thrown back, showing the front of his uniform, for while the day had developed into warm, bright, and beautifully sunny weather, the early morning had been damp, slightly foggy, and presaged rain.

As he reached the foot of the steps and started across the yard to the fence where, inside the gate, the orderlies were holding his horse and those of several of his staff-officers, General Lee, on his way to the gate, rode across his path. Stopping suddenly, General Grant looked up, and both generals simultaneously raised their hands in military salute. After General Lee had passed, General Grant crossed the yard and sprang lightly and quickly into his saddle. He was riding his splendid bay horse Cincinnati, and it would have been difficult to find a firmer seat, a lighter hand, or a better rider in either army.

As he was about to go out of the gate he halted, turned342 his horse, and rode at a walk toward the porch of the house, where, among others, stood General Sheridan and myself. Stopping in front of the general, he said, “Sheridan, where will you make your headquarters to-night?”

“Here, or near here; right here in this yard, probably,” was the reply.

“Very well, then; I’ll know where to find you in case I wish to communicate. Good-day.”

“Good-day, General,” was the response, and with a military salute General Grant turned and rode away.

As he rode forward and halted at the porch to make this inquiry, I had my wished-for opportunity, but my eyes sought his face in vain for any indication of what was passing in his mind. Whatever may have been there, as Colonel Newhall has well written, “not a muscle of his face told tales on his thoughts”; and if he felt any elation, neither his voice, features, nor his eyes betrayed it. Once out of the gate, General Grant, followed by his staff, turned to the left and moved off at a rapid trot.

General Lee continued on his way toward his army at a walk, to be received by his devoted troops with cheers and tears, and to sit down and pen a farewell order that, to this day, no old soldier of the Army of Northern Virginia can read without moistening eyes and swelling throat.

General Grant, on his way to his field headquarters on this eventful Sunday evening, dismounted, sat quietly down by the roadside, and wrote a short and simple despatch, which a galloping aide bore at full speed to the nearest telegraph station. On its reception in the nation’s capital this despatch was flashed over the wires to every hamlet in the country, causing every steeple in the North to rock to its foundation, and sending one tall, gaunt, sad-eyed, weary-hearted man in Washington to his knees, thanking God that he had lived to see the beginning of the end, and that he had at last been vouchsafed the assurance that he had led his people aright.



1866. The Civil Rights Bill is passed over President Johnson’s veto. Adoption of the Fourteenth Amendment granting political rights to the negro. (This amendment was proclaimed part of the Constitution in 1868.) Successful establishment of ocean telegraphy between Europe and America. Fenian raid into Canada.

1867. Admission of Nebraska into the Union. Passage of the Reconstruction Act. Purchase of Alaska from Russia. Dominion of Canada constituted. Maximilian, abandoned by the French in Mexico, is captured and shot.

1868. Impeachment and trial of President Johnson. The impeachment fails. Ulysses S. Grant elected President. Outbreak of Cuban insurrection.

1869. Adoption of the Fifteenth Amendment prohibiting the States from denying the right to vote to any citizen of the United States on account of race or color. (This amendment was proclaimed a part of the Constitution in 1870.) Completion of the Pacific Railway.

1870. Completion of reconstruction in the Southern States. Death of Lee and Farragut.

1871. Treaty of Washington for the settlement of the “Alabama” Claims. Great Fire in Chicago. Hall’s Arctic Expedition reaches lat. 82° 16´.

1872. The Geneva Tribunal makes an award to the United States on account of the “Alabama” Claims. The Emperor of Germany decides San Juan boundary question. Ulysses S. Grant re-elected President. Outbreak of the Modoc War.

1873. Surrender of the Modocs. Capture of the American344 steamer Virginius by a Spanish gunboat. Surrender of the Virginius. Financial Panic.

1874. President Grant vetoes Inflation Bill. Race riots in the Southern States.

1875. Supplementary Civil Rights Bill passed.

1876. The Custer Massacre by the Sioux Indians. Admission of Colorado into the Union. Disputed Presidential Election (Hayes, Republican, and Tilden, Democrat). The Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia. Invention of the Telephone.

1877. The Electoral Commission awards the Presidency to Rutherford B. Hayes. Great Labor Strike throughout the United States. Campaign against the Nez Percé Indians.

1878. End of the Ten Years’ War in Cuba. China sends a minister to Washington for the first time.

1879. Resumption of Specie Payment in the United States.

1880. James A. Garfield elected President. Treaty with China relative to the restriction of Chinese Immigration.

1881. Assassination of James A. Garfield. Chester A. Arthur succeeds to the Presidency. Construction of the Panama Canal begun by the French.

1882. Verdict in the Star Route case.

1883. Passage of the Civil Service Bill. Northern Pacific Railroad opened.

1884. Grover Cleveland elected President.

1885. United States government guarantees transit across Isthmus of Panama threatened by insurgents, and enforces this with troops.

1886. Extensive Labor Strikes in the United States. The “Haymarket” Anarchists’ riot at Chicago. Earthquake at Charleston. Anti-Chinese riots in Seattle. Railroad riots in the West. United States troops ordered to St. Louis. Act passed to increase navy.

1887. Interstate Commerce Bill passed. Centennial Celebration345 of the Constitution. Execution of the Chicago “Haymarket” Anarchists. Blizzard throughout the northwestern section of the United States.

1888. Blizzard in the East. Benjamin Harrison elected President. Dakota divided into North and South Dakota.

1889. Wreck of the U. S. steamers Trenton, Vandalia, and Nipsic at the Samoan Islands. The territory of Oklahoma opened for settlement. Flood at Johnstown, Pennsylvania. Centennial celebration of Washington’s inauguration. Admission of North and South Dakota into the Union; also of Montana and Washington. Department of Agriculture created.

1890. The McKinley Tariff Bill passed. Admission of Wyoming into the Union. The Mormon Church formally abandons Polygamy.

1891. The Pine Ridge Indian outbreak. Seizure of the Chilian insurgent steamer Itata. Assault upon sailors of the U. S. Cruiser Baltimore at Valparaiso.

1892. An Ultimatum submitted to Chili; the latter country makes an apology and pays an indemnity. The Homestead Labor Riots in Pennsylvania. Railroad riots at Buffalo. National Guard ordered out. Grover Cleveland elected President.

1893. Opening of the World’s Columbian Exposition at Chicago. Admission of Utah and Arizona into the Union.

1894. Great Railway Strike at Chicago. President Cleveland recognizes the new Republic of Hawaii. Kearsarge lost on Roncador Reef.

1895. Steamship Alliance fired upon by a Spanish Cruiser. Spain apologizes. Spain declares martial law in Cuba. Cuban revolutionists proclaim independence, adopt a constitution, establish a republican government, and unfurl the flag of the revolution of 1868–78. Message of President Cleveland regarding the boundary dispute between Great Britain and Venezuela.

1896. William McKinley elected President. President346 Cleveland issues a proclamation against the Cuban Filibusters. International Arbitration Congress meets at Washington.

1897. The United States recognizes the belligerency of the Cuban insurgents. Venezuela boundary treaty ratified. Hawaii annexed to the United States.

1898. The U. S. battle-ship Maine is blown up in Havana Harbor, with great loss of life, on the night of February 15th. On April 20th Congress directs the President to intervene between Spain and Cuba. On April 23d the President issues a call for one hundred and twenty-five thousand volunteers, and on April 26th Congress authorizes an increase of the regular army to 61,919 officers and men. On April 25th Congress declares war between Spain and the United States as existing since April 21st.



For more than a century the island of Cuba had been an object of peculiar interest and concern to the United States.272 During the first part of the nineteenth century the fear was that Cuba might be acquired by Great Britain or France, and thus a strong European power would be established at the very gate of the American republic. Manifestly, it was then the policy of the United States to guarantee the possession of the island to Spain. But after the Mexican War the idea of exterritorial expansion entered more and more largely into American statesmanship. The South looked upon Cuba as a desirable addition to slave-holding territory, and it was apparent to every eye that the island occupied an all-important strategic position in relation to the proposed canal routes across the Isthmus of Panama.

In 1822 propositions for annexation came from Cuba to the United States, and Monroe sent an agent to investigate. Later, annexation was a recurrent subject favored by the South, which saw a field for the extension of slavery. In 1848 the American minister at Madrid was instructed by President Polk to sound the Spanish government upon the question of sale or cession. But Spain declined even to consider such a proposition. In 1854 the so-called “Ostend Manifesto,” drawn up by348 James Buchanan, John Y. Mason, and Pierre Soulé (respectively United States ministers to England, France, and Spain), declared in plain language that the “Union can never enjoy repose nor possess reliable security as long as Cuba is not embraced within its boundaries.” It went on to advise the seizing of the coveted territory in case Spain refused to sell. The administration of President Pierce never directly sanctioned the proposition advanced in such extraordinary terms, and Marcy, the Secretary of State, repudiated it unqualifiedly. So the matter fell again into abeyance until in 1873 the Virginius, an American schooner suspected of conveying arms and ammunition to the Cuban insurgents, was captured by a Spanish gunboat and taken to Havana. As a result of the trial, many insurgents, together with six British subjects and thirty American citizens, were executed. For a time international complications seemed certain, but finally Spain made proper apologies and surrendered the Virginius and the survivors of her crew.

The Cuban “Ten Years’ War,” from 1868 to 1878, was characterized by great cruelty and destructive losses of life and property in which American interests were now deeply involved. President Grant seriously considered and even threatened intervention, which would have meant annexation; but Spain promised definite reforms, and the old conditions were continued.

When the insurrection of 1895 began, American citizens owned at least fifty millions of property in the island, and American commerce amounted to a hundred millions annually. Both on the Spanish and Cuban side outrages were of daily occurrence, and the situation quickly became intolerable. The McKinley administration ventured upon a mild remonstrance against the inhumanities of Captain-General Weyler, and the Spanish authorities replied evasively. Finally the United States formally offered its good offices for the adjustment of Cuban affairs, presumably on a basis of independence. Spain declared349 that it was her intention to grant autonomy to the island, and the decree was actually published on November 27, 1897. But it was now too late, and the unhappy conditions grew worse day by day.

There had been riots at Havana itself, and it was thought advisable to send the United States cruiser Maine on a friendly visit to that port. The Maine arrived at Havana on January 25, 1898. On the night of February 15th the Maine was blown up while lying at her harbor moorings, with a ghastly loss of life. The American Court of Inquiry found that the ship was destroyed from the outside; the Spanish inquiry resulted in a verdict that the ship was destroyed from causes within herself. At the time there was an outburst of passion throughout the United States, and Spain was held guilty of an atrocious crime. While the exact cause of the disaster has never been finally determined, it is the verdict of calmer and more distant consideration that official Spain must be acquitted, although the belief remains on the part of the American naval authorities that the Maine was blown up from outside. At the time, however, this tragedy powerfully reinforced the efforts of Cubans and the pressure of financial interests to secure American support. When Senator Redfield Proctor, of Vermont, a man of peculiarly dispassionate temperament, made public his account of the suffering which he had witnessed among the reconcentrados (collections of native Cubans, particularly women and children, herded together by Spanish troops), the sympathies of Americans were stirred even more deeply. Ministers preached intervention from their pulpits. Many newspapers demanded intervention. Yellow journals clamored for an ultimatum backed by arms. Congress was carried away by the wave of intense feeling, although President McKinley thought that a solution could be reached without an appeal to arms—a belief in which the final verdict of history will probably agree, although it was inevitable that Spain should resign control350 of Cuba. But the President was powerless against the popular sentiment.

On April 25th war with Spain was formally declared, and for the first time in over three-quarters of a century the republic of the West found itself arrayed in arms against a European nation.

The situation had its peculiar features. It had been assumed that the principal theatre of conflict would be the island of Cuba, and consequently the American campaign must be one of invasion. But the Spaniards, owing to the civil war in the colony, were in virtually the same position—fighting at a distance from their base of supplies.

In material resources the United States ranked immeasurably superior. True, the numerical strength of the regular army was small, but behind it stood thousands of State militia and millions of available reserves. Moreover, the United States was classed among the richest of nations and Spain among the poorest. So far as the land operations were concerned, the final issue could not be doubtful.

In naval strength, however, there was less disparity. On paper the United States ranked sixth among the world powers, while Spain occupied eighth place. But the United States, with its thousands of miles of coast on both the Atlantic and the Pacific seaboards, was unquestionably vulnerable. Coast defences were admittedly inadequate, and it was conceivable that one swift dash by a Spanish squadron might endanger millions of property at Boston, New York, and Baltimore; at San Francisco, Portland, and Seattle.

The situation on the Pacific coast seemed even more delicate than that on the Eastern seaboard. There was a formidable Spanish squadron at Manila in the Philippine Islands, and all depended upon the fighting ability of the American Pacific fleet; if Dewey failed, the Western States of America were absolutely at the mercy of the enemy.

For more than a month Commodore Dewey had lain with his fleet in the harbor of Hong-Kong, waiting for351 events to shape themselves. In anticipation of the coming strife, and the consequent declaration of neutrality on the part of Great Britain, the American commander had purchased two transport steamers, together with ten thousand tons of coal. He was thus prepared for prompt and decisive action.

War had been declared on April 25th, and the American squadron immediately left Hong-Kong for Mirs Bay, some thirty miles away. On April 26th Commodore Dewey received the following despatch:

Washington, April 26.

Dewey, Asiatic Squadron,—Commence operations at once, particularly against the Spanish fleet. You must capture or destroy them.


On April 27th the American fleet sailed for Manila, six hundred and twenty-eight miles away, and on the morning of Saturday, April 30th, Luzon was sighted, and the ships were ordered to clear for action.

Under Commodore George Dewey were the Olympia, the Boston, the Petrel, the Concord, the Raleigh, and the Baltimore. The only armored vessel in the squadron was the Olympia, the protecting belting, four inches thick, being around the turret guns. The auxiliary force was made up of the revenue-cutter McCulloch and two transports, the Vaughan and the Zafiro. Altogether, the American fighting force included four cruisers, two gunboats, fifty-seven classified big guns, seventy-four rapid-fire and machine guns, and 1808 men. On the other side, Rear-Admiral Montojo commanded seven cruisers, five gunboats, two torpedo-boats, fifty-two classified big guns, eighty-three rapid-fire and machine guns, and 1948 men. It will thus be seen that the Americans mounted a few more heavy guns, but the Spanish had several more ships and over a hundred more men. Moreover, the Spanish ships were assisted by the fort and land batteries352 at Manila, and they also possessed the great advantage of range-marks. Finally, the ship-channels were supposed to be amply protected by mines and submarine batteries. After satisfying himself that the ships of the enemy were not in Subig Bay, Commodore Dewey resolved to enter Manila Bay the same night. It was known that the channel had been mined, but that risk must be taken. With all lights except the stern ones extinguished, the American vessels steamed steadily onward; finally, Corregidor Island, with its lofty light-house, came into view, and the fleet swept into the main ship-channel known as the Boca Grande.

Up to this point no sign had been made by the enemy that the approach of the American ships had been discovered, although the night was moonlit and it was only a little after eleven o’clock. Then a fireman on the McCulloch threw some soft coal in the furnace and a shower of sparks flew from the cutter’s funnel. A solitary rocket ascended from Corregidor, and there was an answering light from the mainland. At a quarter-past eleven a bugle sounded, and from the shore batteries came a blinding glare, followed by the boom of a heavy gun—the first shot of the Spanish-American War.

The Raleigh had the honor of replying for the American side, and the Boston followed quickly. A well-aimed six-inch shell from the Concord plumped into the Spanish fort; there was a crash and a cry, and all was still. The forts had been silenced.

At slow speed the squadron moved onward, for Commodore Dewey did not wish to arrive at Manila before dawn. Some of the men managed to get a little sleep, but the ever-present danger of torpedoes and the excitement of the approaching battle were not conducive to peaceful slumbers.

The morning of Sunday, May 1st, dawned clear and beautiful, although the day promised to be hot. The squadron found itself directly across the bay from the353 city of Manila; and there, under the guns of Cavité, lay the Spanish fleet.


According to Commodore Dewey’s report, the shore batteries began firing at a quarter-past five. The Olympia, flying the signal “Remember the Maine,” led the American column, followed closely by the Baltimore, Raleigh, Petrel, Concord, and Boston in the order named. The ships came on in a line approximately parallel to that of the enemy, reserving their fire until within effective range. As the fleet advanced two submarine mines were exploded, but neither did any damage. At twenty minutes to six Commodore Dewey shouted to Captain Gridley in the conning-tower of the flag-ship: “Fire as soon as you get ready, Gridley.” Instantly the Olympia discharged her broadside, the Baltimore followed the lead, and each successive ship in turn discharged every gun that could be brought to bear. The Spanish returned the fire with great energy, but with inconclusive results. Several of354 the American ships were struck, but no casualties followed. Lieutenant Brumby, of the flag-ship, had the signal halliards shot out of his hands; a shot passed clean through the Baltimore, and another smashed into the foremast of the Boston. Incessantly firing, the battle-line steamed past the whole length of the stationary Spanish fleet, then swung slowly around and began the countermarch. Once Montojo’s flag-ship, the Reina Cristina, made a desperate attempt to leave the line and engage at close quarters, but she was quickly driven back.

A little after half-past seven the American commander ordered the firing to be stopped, and the fleet headed for the eastern side of the bay for breakfast and a redistribution of ammunition for the big guns. The Spaniards, seeing the withdrawal of the American vessels, rashly concluded that the enemy had been repulsed and raised a feeble cheer. In reality they were hopelessly beaten: several of their ships were on fire, the decks of all were covered with dead and dying men, and ammunition was running low.

At a quarter-past eleven the battle was renewed. Several of the Spanish ships were now disabled and on fire, and Admiral Montojo had been forced to transfer his flag to the Isla de Cuba.

A few minutes later the Reina Cristina, his former flag-ship, was blazing from end to end, and the explosion of her magazine completed the destruction of the vessel. One after another the Spanish ships succumbed under the storm of shot and shell, and either surrendered or were cut to pieces. The Don Antonio de Ulloa, riddled like a sieve and on fire in a dozen places, refused to acknowledge defeat, and went down with colors flying. Finally, Admiral Montojo hauled down his flag, and, leaving the Isla de Cuba, escaped to the shore. The arsenal building at Cavité ran up the white flag, and at half-past one Commodore Dewey signalled to his ships that they might anchor at discretion.


Never was victory more decisive. Not a man had355 been killed on the American side, and but four men were wounded—this through the explosion of a Spanish shell on the Baltimore. None of the American ships received any material damage. On the other hand, the following Spanish ships were completely destroyed: Reina Cristina (flag-ship), Castilla, Don Antonio de Ulloa, Don Juan de Austria, Isla de Luzon, Isla de Cuba, Marquiz del Duero, General Lezo, Correo, Velasco, and Isla de Mandanao. The casualties on the Spanish side amounted to about four hundred men. Moreover, the water-batteries of Cavité had been demolished, the arsenal had been captured, and the city of Manila lay defenceless under the guns of the American fleet.

But Commodore Dewey’s difficulties were by no means at an end. He had immediately proclaimed a blockade of the port. The German Pacific squadron, under Vice-Admiral von Diederich, had arrived at Manila shortly after the battle, and were, of course, in the position of neutrals, having access to the harbor merely on the ground of international courtesy. This privilege the Germans quickly began to abuse, disregarding Commodore Dewey’s regulations at will, and committing various acts inconsistent with the neutrality laws. Their attitude was both annoying and insolent, and it was evident that it must be promptly and effectually checked if the American supremacy were to be maintained.

At last the opportunity came. Commodore Dewey learned, on unquestionable authority, that one of the German vessels had been landing provisions at Manila, thereby violating neutrality. He immediately sent a vigorous protest to Admiral von Diederich—a message that ended with these significant words: “And, Brumby, tell Admiral von Diederich that if he wants a fight he can have it right now.”

That was enough. The German admiral was not quite ready to involve his country in a war with the United States; he made an apology, and the incident was closed.

356 On June 30th the first army expedition from the United States arrived at Manila, and Commodore Dewey’s long vigil was at an end, the succeeding operations in the Philippines being almost exclusively military, and consisting of the capture of the city of Manila by the Americans and subsequent warfare with Aguinaldo and insurgent Filipinos.

Such, in large outline, was the battle of Manila Bay. Foreign critics have derided American enthusiasm on the ground that the American fleet was far superior, that the Spanish vessels, many of them mere gunboats, lacked armor and adequate guns, and that they were imperfectly manned. Yet the same critics ranked the naval forces of Spain as quite equal to the American at the outset of the war. Furthermore, the action of Dewey, without a single battle-ship or torpedo-boat under his command, in entering a mined harbor without waiting to countermine, and in attacking a fleet whose strength was not accurately known, under the guns of land batteries, must be classed among the distinctive achievements of naval history. The battle was decisive in its immediate outcome, far-reaching in its ultimate consequences. Dewey’s victory but presaged the final triumph of American arms. The Battle of Manila Bay meant the expulsion of Spain from the Pacific and the succession of the United States to Spain’s heritage of Asiatic power. Politically, therefore, in its establishment of the United States as a power in the Orient, Manila Bay is to be placed among the decisive battles of history.273




Ex-President Roosevelt once said that the most striking thing about the war with Spain was the preparedness of the navy and the unpreparedness of the army. For fifteen years the United States had been building up a navy, and for months preceding the war every effort was made, with the resources at the command of the Navy Department, to put it in a state of first-class efficiency. As early as January 11, 1898, instructions were sent to the commanders of the several squadrons to retain in the service men whose terms of enlistment were about to expire. As the Cuban situation grew more threatening, the North Atlantic Squadron and a torpedo-boat flotilla were rapidly assembled in Florida waters; and immediately after the destruction of the Maine the ships on the European and South Atlantic stations were ordered to Key West....

Both from a political and a military point of view the blockade of Cuba was the first step for the American government to take, and the surest and quickest means of bringing things to an issue. Cuba was the point in dispute between the United States and Spain, and a blockade would result in one of two things—the surrender of the island or the despatch of a Spanish naval force to its358 relief. The Navy Department had very little apprehension of an attack on our coast, as no squadron could hope to be in condition after crossing the Atlantic for offensive operations without coaling, and the only places where Spain could coal were in the West Indies. The public, however, took a different view of the situation, and no little alarm was felt in the Eastern cities. A few coast-defence guns of modern pattern would have relieved the department of the necessity of protecting the coast, and enabled it to concentrate the whole fighting force around Cuba. To meet popular demands, however, a Northern Patrol Squadron was organized April 20th, under command of Commodore Howell, to cover the New England coast; and a more formidable Flying Squadron, under Commodore Schley, was assembled at Hampton Roads, and kept there until the appearance of the Spanish fleet in the West Indies. The main squadron was stationed at Key West under Rear-Admiral William T. Sampson, who had just been promoted to that grade, and given command of the entire naval force in North Atlantic waters. His appointment over the heads of Schley and other officers of superior rank and longer service created a great deal of criticism, although he was everywhere conceded to be one of the most efficient and progressive officers of the new navy.274

One hundred and twenty-eight ships [steam merchantmen, revenue-cutters, light-house tenders, yachts, and ocean liners] were added to the navy, and the government yards were kept busy transforming them. To man these ships the number of enlisted men was raised from 12,500 to 24,123, and a number of new officers appointed.275 The heavy fighting force consisted of four first-class battle-ships, the Indiana, Iowa, Massachusetts, and Oregon; one second-class battle-ship, the Texas; and two armored cruisers, the Brooklyn and the New York. As against359 these seven armored ships Spain had five armored cruisers of modern construction and of greater reputed speed than any of ours except the Brooklyn and the New York, and one battle-ship of the Indiana type. Spain had further a type of vessel unknown to our navy and greatly feared by us—namely, torpedo-boat destroyers, such as the Furor, Pluton, and Terror. It was popularly supposed that the Spanish navy was somewhat superior to the American.

As soon as the Spanish minister withdrew from Washington, a despatch was sent to Sampson at Key West directing him to blockade the coast of Cuba immediately from Cardenas to Bahia Honda, and to blockade Cienfuegos if it was considered advisable. On April 29th, Admiral Cervera’s division of the Spanish fleet left the Cape de Verde Islands for an unknown destination, and disappeared for two weeks from the knowledge of the American authorities. This fleet was composed of four armored cruisers, the Infanta Maria Teresa, Cristobal Colon, Oquendo, and Vizcaya, and three torpedo-boat destroyers. Its appearance in American waters was eagerly looked for, and interest in the war became intense....

[In the next two weeks Sampson’s patrol of the Windward Islands and adjacent waters, and his visit to San Juan, Porto Rico, produced no discoveries, and he started to return to the blockade of Havana. At midnight, May 12th–13th, thirty-six hours after the event, the Navy Department learned that Cervera had appeared off Martinique. Sampson, with his fleet, and Schley, with the Flying Squadron, were ordered to Key West, which they reached on May 18th.]

The department had heard that Cervera had munitions of war essential to the defence of Havana, and that his orders were to reach Havana, Cienfuegos, or a port connected with Havana by rail. As Cienfuegos seemed the only place he would be likely to choose, Schley was ordered there with the Brooklyn, Massachusetts, and Texas, May360 19th. He was joined later by the Iowa, under Captain Evans, and by several cruisers. The Spanish squadron slipped into Santiago, unobserved by the cruisers on scouting duty, May 19th, two days before Schley arrived at Cienfuegos, so that had Cervera known the conditions he could easily have made the latter port. On the same day the department received from spies in Havana probable information, conveyed by the cable which had been allowed to remain in operation, that Cervera had entered Santiago. As we now know, he had entered early that morning. Several auxiliary cruisers were immediately ordered to assemble before Santiago in order to watch Cervera and follow him in case he should leave.

At the same time the department “strongly advised” Sampson to send Schley to Santiago at once with his whole command. Sampson replied that he had decided to hold Schley at Cienfuegos until it was certain that the Spanish fleet was in Santiago. Later he sent a despatch to Schley, received May 23d, ordering him to proceed to Santiago if satisfied that the enemy were not at Cienfuegos.276 The next day277 Schley started, encountering on the run much rain and rough weather, which seriously delayed the squadron. At 5.30 P.M., May 26th, he reached a point twenty-two miles south of Santiago, where he was joined by several of the auxiliary cruisers on scouting duty. Captain Sigsbee, of the St. Paul, informed him that the scouts knew nothing positively about the Spanish fleet. The collier Merrimac had been disabled, which increased the difficulty of coaling. At 7.45 P.M., a little over two hours after his arrival, Schley without explanation signalled to the squadron: “Destination, Key West, via south side of Cuba and Yucatan Channel, as soon as collier is ready; speed, nine knots.”361 Thus began the much-discussed retrograde movement which occupied two days. Admiral Schley states in his book that. Sigsbee’s report and other evidence led him to conclude that the Spanish squadron was not in Santiago; hence the retrograde movement to protect the passage west of Cuba.278 But he has never yet given any satisfactory explanation why he did not definitely ascertain the facts before turning back. Fortunately the squadron did not proceed very far; the lines towing the collier parted and other delays occurred. The next morning Schley received a despatch from the department stating that all the information at hand indicated that Cervera was in Santiago, but he continued on his westward course slowly and at times drifting while some of the ships coaled. The next day, May 28th, Schley returned to Santiago, arriving before that port about dusk, and established a blockade.279

Admiral Sampson arrived off Santiago June 1st, and assumed direct command of the squadron. The blockade, which lasted for over a month, was eagerly watched by the whole American people. The most thrilling incident was the daring but unsuccessful attempt made by Lieutenant Richmond Pearson Hobson to sink the collier Merrimac across the entrance to Santiago harbor, undertaken by direction of Admiral Sampson. Electric torpedoes were attached to the hull of the ship, sea-valves were cut, and anchor chains arranged on deck so that she could be brought to a sudden stop. Early on the morning of June 3d, Hobson, assisted by a crew of seven seamen, took the collier into the entrance of the harbor under heavy fire and sunk her. The unfortunate shooting away of her steering-gear and the failure of some of the torpedoes to explode kept the ship from sinking at the place selected, so that the plan miscarried. Hobson362 and his men escaped death as by a miracle, but fell into the hands of the Spaniards.280


As soon as Cervera was blockaded in Santiago and the government was satisfied that all his ships were with him, it was decided to send an army to co-operate with the navy. Hitherto the war had been a naval war exclusively, and the two hundred thousand volunteers who had responded to the calls of the President in May had been kept in camp in different parts of the country. Most of the regular infantry and cavalry, together with several volunteer regiments, had been assembled at Tampa and organized as the Fifth Army Corps, in readiness to land in Cuba as soon as the navy had cleared the way. Conspicuous among these troops was the First Volunteer Cavalry, popularly known as Roosevelt’s Rough Riders, a regiment which through the energetic efforts of Dr. Leonard Wood, an army surgeon, who became its colonel, and Theodore Roosevelt, who resigned the position of assistant secretary of the navy to become its lieutenant-colonel, had been enlisted, officered, and equipped in fifty days. It was recruited largely from Arizona, New Mexico, and Oklahoma, and had in its ranks cowboys, hunters, ranchmen, and more than one hundred and sixty full-blooded Indians, together with a few graduates of Harvard, Yale, and other Eastern colleges.

Tampa was ill-suited for an instruction camp, and the preparations made by the department for the accommodation and provisioning of such large bodies of men were363 wholly inadequate. One of the main difficulties was the inability of the Commissary and Quartermaster departments, hampered by red tape, senseless regulations, and political appointees, to distribute the train-loads of supplies which blocked the tracks leading to Tampa; so great was the congestion that the soldiers could not even get their mail. This condition continued for weeks. The great majority of the troops were finally sent to Santiago to fight under a tropical sun in heavy woollen clothes; lighter clothing was not supplied to them until they were ready to return to Montauk Point, where they needed the woollen. The sanitation of the camp was poor and the water-supply bad; dysentery, malaria, and typhoid soon made their appearance. Similar conditions prevailed at the other camps. The administrative inefficiency of the War Department was everywhere revealed in striking contrast with the fine record of the Navy Department. Secretary Alger had been too much occupied with questions of patronage to look after the real needs of the service. Although war had been regarded for months as inevitable, when it finally came the department was found to be utterly unprepared to equip troops for service in Cuba. As the result of this neglect, for which it should be said Congress was partly responsible, it was necessary to improvise an army—a rather serious undertaking!

It had been the original intention to land the Fifth Army Corps at Mariel, near Havana, and begin operations against the capital city under the direct supervision of General Miles; but the bottling-up of Cervera at Santiago caused a change of plan, and General Miles, who still expected the heavy fighting to take place at Havana, selected Major-General William R. Shafter for the movement against Santiago. By June 1st the battle-ship Indiana, under Captain Henry C. Taylor, with a dozen smaller vessels, was ready to convoy the expedition. The army was very slow in embarking, and it364 was not until June 8th that the force was ready to depart. Further delay was caused by the unfounded rumor that a Spanish cruiser and two torpedo-boat destroyers had been sighted off the north coast of Cuba.281 In order to ascertain whether all the Spanish ships were at Santiago, Lieutenant Victor Blue, of the navy, landed, and by personal observation from the hills back of the city located Cervera’s entire division in the harbor. On June 14th the transports, about thirty in number, sailed from Tampa with their convoy. They were crowded and ill-provided with supplies, the whole movement showing lack of experience in handling large bodies of men. The expedition consisted of 815 officers and 16,072 enlisted men, regulars except the Seventy-first New York, Second Massachusetts, and the First Volunteer Cavalry.282

The expedition under Shafter began disembarking at Daiquiri on the morning of June 22d, and by night six thousand men had with great difficulty been put ashore. No lighters or launches had been provided, and the only wharf, a small wooden one, had been stripped of its flooring: the War Department expected the navy to look after these matters. In addition, the troops had been crowded into the transports without any reference to order, officers separated from their commands, artillery-pieces on one transport, horses on another, harness on a third, and no means of finding out where any of them were. By the aid of a few launches borrowed from the battle-ships, the men were put ashore, or near enough to wade through the surf, but the animals had to be thrown into the sea, where many of them perished, some in their bewilderment swimming out to sea instead of to shore.

General Lawton advanced and seized Siboney next day, and Kent’s division landed here, eight miles nearer Santiago. General Wheeler pushed on with part of365 Young’s brigade, and on the morning of the 24th defeated the Spanish force at Las Guasimas, with a loss of one officer and fifteen men killed, six officers and forty-six men wounded.283 During the next week the army, including Garcia’s Cuban command, was concentrated at Sevilla. These were trying days. The troops suffered from the heavy rains, poor rations, and bad camp accommodations. No adequate provision had been made for landing supplies or for transporting them to the camps, so that with an abundance, such as they were, aboard the transports, the soldiers were in actual want.

On June 30th it was decided to advance. San Juan Hill, a strategic point on the direct road to Santiago, could not be taken or held while the Spaniards occupied El Caney, on the right of the American advance. The country was a jungle, and the roads from the coast little more than bridle-paths. Lawton moved out to a position south of El Caney that afternoon, so as to begin the attack early next morning. Wheeler’s division of dismounted cavalry and Kent’s division of infantry advanced toward El Poso, accompanied by Grimes’ battery, which was to take position early in the morning and open the way for the advance toward San Juan. The attack at this point was to be delayed until Lawton’s infantry fire was heard at El Caney. After forcing the enemy from this position, Lawton was to move toward Santiago and take position on Wheeler’s right. Little was known of the ground over which the troops were to move or the position and strength of the forces they were to meet, consequently they went into battle without knowing what they were about and fought without any generalship being displayed. General Shafter was too ill to leave his headquarters in the rear.

At El Caney, which was surrounded by trenches and block-houses, the Spaniards developed unexpected366 strength, and held Lawton in check until late in the afternoon, when he finally carried the position. In this fight about thirty-five hundred Americans were engaged, and not more than six hundred or one thousand Spaniards. The American loss was four officers and seventy-seven men killed, and twenty-five officers and three hundred and thirty-five men wounded. About one hundred and fifty Spaniards were captured, and between three hundred and four hundred killed and wounded.284


Meanwhile there had been a desperate fight at San Juan Hill. As soon as Lawton’s musket-fire was heard at El Caney, Grimes’ battery opened fire from El Poso on the San Juan block-house. This fire was immediately returned by the enemy’s artillery, who had the range, and a number of men were killed. The Spaniards used smokeless powder, which made it difficult to locate them, while some of the Americans had black powder, which quickly indicated their position. The road along which the troops had to advance was so narrow and rough that at times they had to proceed in column of twos. The progress made was very slow, and the long-range guns of the enemy killed numbers of men before they could get into position to return the fire. By the middle of the day the advance had crossed the river, the cavalry division under Sumner deploying to the right in front of Kettle Hill, and Kent’s division of infantry deploying to the left directly in front of San Juan Hill. During this movement the troops were exposed to a galling artillery and rifle fire and suffered greatly, especially the third brigade of Kent’s division, which lost three commanders in fifteen minutes, General Wikoff being killed and Colonels Worth and Liscum disabled. The suffering of the wounded,367368 many of whom lay in the brush for hours without succor, was the most terrible feature of the situation.

Finally the long-expected order to advance was given. The First Regular Cavalry, the Rough Riders, and the Negro troopers of the Ninth and a part of the Tenth advanced up Kettle Hill and drove the Spaniards from the ranch-house, while the infantry division with the Sixth and Sixteenth regiments under Hawkins in the lead charged up San Juan Hill in the face of a destructive fire and captured the block-house. Then the cavalry under Sumner and Roosevelt advanced from Kettle Hill and occupied the trenches on San Juan Hill north of the block-house. The Spaniards fled to their second line of trenches, six or eight hundred yards in the rear.


After occupying San Juan Hill, the cavalry were still exposed to a constant fire, and many were discouraged and wanted to retire, but General Wheeler, who, though ill, had come to the front early in the afternoon, put a stop to this and set the men to work fortifying themselves. The next day Lawton came up and advanced to a strong position on Wheeler’s right. The fighting was resumed on the two following days, but about noon, July 3d, the Spaniards ceased firing. The losses in the three days’ fight were eighteen officers and one hundred and twenty-seven men killed, sixty-five officers and eight hundred and forty-nine men wounded, and seventy-two men missing.285 The condition of the troops after the battle was very bad; many of them were down with fever, and all were suffering from lack of suitable equipment and supplies. General Shafter cabled to the secretary of war, July 3d, that it would be impossible to take Santiago by storm with the forces he then had, and that he was “seriously considering withdrawing about five miles and taking up a new position on the high ground between369 the San Juan River and Siboney.”286 The destruction of Cervera’s fleet the same day materially changed the situation.


The advance made by the American troops around Santiago on July 1st and 2d forced the Spanish authorities to come to a decision in regard to Cervera’s fleet. Captain-General Blanco insisted that the fleet should not be captured or destroyed without a fight. Cervera refused to assume the responsibility of leaving the harbor, and when ordered to do so went out with consummate bravery, knowing that he was leading a forlorn-hope. Sampson seems to have been under the impression all along that the Spanish squadron would attempt to escape at night, but the American ships kept in so close to the shore, with dazzling search-lights directed against the entrance of the harbor, as to render it almost impossible to steer a ship out. On the morning of July 3d, at 8.55, Sampson started east to meet General Shafter in conference at Siboney, signalling to the fleet as he left: “Disregard movements commander-in-chief.” The Massachusetts had also left her place in the blockade to go to Guantanamo for coal. The remaining ships formed a semicircle around the entrance of the harbor, the Brooklyn to the west, holding the left of the line, then the Texas, next the Iowa in the centre and at the south of the curve, then, as the line curved in to the coast on the right, the Oregon and the Indiana. The Brooklyn and the Indiana, holding the left and the right of the line, were about two miles and one and a half miles respectively from the shore, and near them, closer in, lay the converted gunboats Vixen and Gloucester.

370 At 9.35 A.M., while most of the men were at Sunday inspection, the enemy’s ships were discovered slowly steaming down the narrow channel of the harbor. In the lead was the Maria Teresa, followed by the Vizcaya, the Colon, the Oquendo, and the two torpedo-boat destroyers. The Iowa was the first to signal that the enemy were escaping, though the fact was noted on several ships at almost the same moment, and no orders were necessary. The American ships at once closed in and directed their fire against the Teresa. For a moment there was doubt as to whether the Spanish ships would separate and try to scatter the fire of our fleet or whether they would stick together. This was quickly settled when Cervera turned west, followed by the remainder of his command. At this point Commodore Schley’s flag-ship, the Brooklyn, which was farthest west, turned to the eastward, away from the hostile fleet, making a loop, at the end of which she again steamed westward farther out to sea but still ahead of any of the American vessels. The sudden and unexpected turn of the Brooklyn caused the Texas, which was behind her, to reverse her engines in order to avoid a collision and to come to a standstill, thus losing position, the Oregon and the Iowa both passing her. The two destroyers, which came out last, were attacked by the Indiana and the Gloucester, the commander of the latter, Wainwright, dashing toward them in utter disregard of the fragile character of his vessel. The Furor was sunk and the Pluton was run ashore. The Teresa, struck by several shells which exploded and set her on fire, turned to the shore at 10.15 and was beached about six miles west of the Morro. The Oquendo was riddled by shell and likewise soon on fire. She was beached about half a mile west of the Teresa at 10.20. The Vizcaya and Colon were now left to bear the fire of the pursuing American ships, which were practically uninjured. In this running fight the Indiana dropped behind, owing to the defective condition of her machinery, but kept up her371372 fire. At 11.05 the Vizcaya turned to run ashore about fifteen miles west of the Morro. The Brooklyn and the Oregon, followed at some distance by the Texas, continued the chase of the Colon. The Indiana and the Iowa, at the order of Sampson, who had come up, went back to guard the transports. At 1.15 P.M. the Colon turned to shore thirty miles west of the Vizcaya and surrendered.287


Abbreviations:—N. Y., New York; B., Brooklyn; Tx., Texas; A., Iowa; I., Indiana; O., Oregon; G., Gloucester; Vx., Vixen; H., Hist.; E., Ericsson; T., Teresa; V., Vizcaya; C., Colon; Oq., Oquendo; P., Pluton; F., Furor.


The fight was over, one of the most remarkable naval battles on record. On the American side, though the ships were struck many times, only one man was killed and one wounded. These casualties both occurred on Commodore Schley’s flag-ship, the Brooklyn. The Spaniards lost about six hundred in killed and wounded. The American sailors took an active part in the rescue of the officers and crews of the burning Spanish ships.

Only one hundred and twenty-three out of about eight thousand American projectiles hit the Spanish ships.


On July 3d, General Shafter demanded the surrender of the Spanish forces in Santiago. This being refused, he notified General Toral that the bombardment of Santiago would begin at noon of the 5th, thus giving two days for the women and children to leave the city. Nearly twenty thousand people came out and filled the villages and roads around. They were in an utterly destitute condition, and had to be taken care of largely by the American army—a great drain on their supplies. On the 10th and 11th the city was bombarded by the squadron. At this point General Miles arrived off Santiago with additional troops intended for Porto Rico. He and Shafter met General Toral under a flag of truce and arranged terms for the surrender, which took place on the 17th. Shafter’s373 command was by this time in a serious state of health and anxious to return home. Malarial fevers had so weakened the men that an epidemic of yellow-fever, which had appeared sporadically throughout the command, was greatly feared. The situation was desperate, and the War Department apparently deaf to all representations of the case. Under these circumstances the division and brigade commanders and the surgeons met at General Shafter’s headquarters early in August and signed a round-robin addressed to the secretary of war urging the immediate removal of the corps to the United States. This action was much criticised at the time, but it had the desired effect, and on August 4th orders were given to remove the command to Montauk Point, Long Island. The movement was begun at once and completed before the end of the month.

(The Colon’s final effort)

The surrender of Santiago left General Miles free to carry out plans already matured for the invasion of Porto Rico. He left Guantanamo, July 21st, with 3415 men, mostly volunteers, convoyed by a fleet under the command of Captain Higginson, and landed at Guanica on the 25th. Early next morning General Garretson pushed forward with part of his brigade and drove the Spanish forces from Yauco, thus getting possession of the railroad to Ponce. General Miles was reinforced in a few days by the commands of Generals Wilson, Brooke, and Schwan, raising his entire force to 16,973 officers and men. In about two weeks they had gained control of all the southern and western portions of the island, but hostilities were suspended by the peace protocol before the conquest of Porto Rico was completed. The American losses in this campaign were three killed and forty wounded.288

The last engagement of the war was the assault on Manila, which was captured August 13, 1898, by the forces under General Merritt, assisted by Admiral Dewey’s374 squadron. This occurred the day after the signing of the peace protocol, the news of which did not reach the Philippines until several days later.


Two controversies growing out of the war with Spain assumed such importance that they cannot be passed by. The first related to the conduct of the War Department, which was charged with inefficiency resulting from political appointments and corruption in the purchase of supplies. The most serious charge was that made by Major-General Miles, commanding the army, who declared that much of the refrigerated beef furnished the troops was “embalmed beef,” preserved with secret chemicals of an injurious character. In September, 1898, President McKinley appointed a commission to investigate these charges, and the hearings held were sensational in the extreme. Commissary-General Eagan read a statement before the commission which was so violent in its abuse of the commanding general that he was later court-martialled and sentenced to dismissal for conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman, though this sentence was commuted by the President to suspension from rank and duty, but without loss of pay. The report of the commission289 failed to substantiate General Miles’ charges, but it was not satisfactory or convincing. In spite of its efforts to whitewash things, the commission had to report that the secretary of war had failed to “grasp the situation.” Many leading newspapers demanded Alger’s resignation, but President McKinley feared to discredit the administration by dismissing him.375 Nevertheless, a coolness sprang up between them; and several months later, when Alger became a candidate for the Michigan senatorship, with the open support of elements distinctly hostile to the administration, the President asked for his resignation, which was tendered July 19, 1899.290

The other controversy, which waged in the papers for months, was as to whether Sampson or Schley was in command at the battle of Santiago. As a reward for their work on that day, the President advanced Sampson eight numbers, Schley six, Captain Clark of the Oregon six, and the other captains five. These promotions were all confirmed by the Senate save those of Sampson and Schley, a number of senators holding that Schley should have received at least equal recognition with Sampson. The controversy was waged inside and outside of Congress for three years. The officials of the Navy Department were for the most part stanch supporters of Sampson, while a large part of the public, under the impression that the department was trying to discredit Schley, eagerly championed his cause. Finally, at the request of Admiral Schley, who was charged in certain publications with inefficiency and even cowardice, a court of inquiry was appointed July 26, 1901, with Admiral Dewey as president, for the purpose of inquiring into the conduct of Schley during the war with Spain. The opinion of the court was that his service prior to June 1st was “characterized by vacillation, dilatoriness, and lack of enterprise.” Admiral Dewey differed from the opinions of his colleagues on certain points, and delivered a separate opinion, in the course of which he took up the question as to who was in command at Santiago, a point which had not been considered by the court. His conclusion was that Schley “was in absolute command and is entitled to the credit due to such commanding officer for376 the glorious victory which resulted in the total destruction of the Spanish ships.” This made matters worse than ever. Secretary Long approved the findings of the majority of the court, and disapproved Dewey’s separate opinion. Schley appealed from the findings of the court to the President. February 18, 1902, President Roosevelt’s memorandum, in which he reviewed the whole controversy, was made public. He declared that the court had done substantial justice to Schley. As regards the question of command at Santiago, he said that technically Sampson commanded the fleet, and Schley the western division, but that after the battle began not a ship took orders from either Sampson or Schley, except their own two vessels. “It was a captains’ fight.”291

The Spanish war revealed many serious defects in the American military system, some of which have been remedied by the reorganization of the army and the creation of a general staff.292 It demonstrated the necessity of military evolutions on a large scale in time of peace, so as to give the general officers experience in handling and the Quartermaster and Commissary departments experience in equipping and supplying large bodies of troops; it showed the folly and danger of appointing men from civil life through political influence to positions of responsibility in any branch of the military or naval service; it showed the value of field-artillery, of smokeless powder, and of high-power rifles of the latest model; it also showed the necessity of having on hand a large supply of the best war material ready for use. While every American is proud of the magnificent record of the navy, it must not be imagined that the war with Spain was a conclusive test of its invincibility, for, however377 formidable the Spanish cruisers appeared at the time, later information revealed the fact that through the neglect of the Spanish government they were very far from being in a state of first-class efficiency.


1 Bourne, Spain in America (Am. Nation, III), 31; Hart, Contemporaries, I, 40.

2 Andrews, Colonial Self-Government (Am. Nation, V), chap. v.

3 Mahan, Influence of Sea Power upon History, chaps. iv–viii.

4 Cf. Howard, Preliminaries of the Revolution (Am. Nation, VIII), chap. i.

5 Ibid., 229.

6 Cf. Hart, Foundations of Am. Foreign Policy, 18.

7 McLaughlin, Confederation and Constitution (Am. Nation, X). chaps. vii, viii.

8 Texts in Am. Hist. Leaflets, No. 32.

9 Federalist (Lodge ed.), No. 14.

10 Cf. Channing, Jeffersonian System (Am. Nation, XII), chap. v.

11 Garrison, Westward Extension (Am. Nation, XVII), chap. v.

12 Ibid., chap. xi.

13 Ibid., chap. vii.

14 Turner, New West (Am. Nation, XIV), 114–122.

15 See chap. iii, below.

16 Bourne, Essays in Historical Criticism, No. 9.

17 Dunning, Reconstruction (Am. Nation, XXII), chap. x.

18 Ibid.

19 Dewey, National Problems (Am. Nation, XXIV), chap. xviii.

20 Official order addressed to Spanish commanders authorizing the conversion, enslavement, or slaughter of the natives.

21 “The shot from Champlain’s arquebus had determined the part that was to be played in the approaching conflict by the most powerful military force among the Indians of North America. It had made the confederacy of the Iroquois and all its nations and dependencies the implacable enemies of the French and the fast friends of the English for all the long struggle that was to come.” [This quotation is from Senator Elihu Root’s eloquent address at the Champlain tercentenary celebration in 1909. Influential as Champlain’s act proved to be, it is well to remember that it was the Dutch treatment of the Iroquois that gained the latter’s friendship for the English, the successors of the Dutch, and also that the Iroquois, as Doctor Thwaites points out in his France in America, did in subsequent years negotiate with the French. But the historic consequence of Champlain’s act is of course obvious, although it is not necessary to accept unreservedly one tercentenary dictum to the effect that “Few decisive battles from Marathon to Waterloo had larger consequences.” Cartier’s first voyage to the St. Lawrence decided the immediate association of the French with their Algonquian neighbors. It would have been impossible for them to be friends of both Algonquians and Iroquois. The consequences of immediate and prolonged hostility on the part of the Algonquians invite curious speculation.—Editor.]

22 Clowes, Royal Navy, III, 186–189.

23 Ibid., 210–214, on Boscawen’s victory; 216–222, on Hawke’s.

24 Clowes, Royal Navy, III, 196–201.

25 Ibid., 201–203.

26 Parkman, Montcalm and Wolfe, II, 80.

27 For biographical details of Wolfe’s early career, see Wright, Life, and Doughty and Parmelee, Siege of Quebec, I, 1–128; in ibid., II, 16, is a portrait of Wolfe’s fiancée.

28 Text in Doughty and Parmelee, Siege of Quebec, VI, 87–90.

29 Lists in Doughty and Parmelee, Siege of Quebec, II, 22, 23.

30 Wood, Fight for Canada, 166, 167, 173.

31 “Journal of the Expedition up the River St. Lawrence,” by a sergeant-major of grenadiers, in Doughty and Parmelee, Siege of Quebec, V, 1–11.

32 Doughty and Parmelee, Siege of Quebec, II, 51–53.

33 Wood, Fight for Canada, 152.

34 Authorities cited in Parkman, Montcalm and Wolfe, II, 233, 234. For details, consult Doughty and Parmelee, Siege of Quebec, II, chap. vi.

35 See Bougainville’s correspondence, in Doughty and Parmelee Siege of Quebec, IV, 1–141.

36 September 22, 1759, quoted in Parkman, Montcalm and Wolfe, II, 249.

37 Official journal of Amherst, in London Magazine, XXVII, 379–383.

38 Stanwix to Pitt, November 20, 1759, MS. in Public Record Office.

39 [There was one regular regiment of American origin with Wolfe, the “Royal Americans,” represented by their second and third battalions. One battalion was left to guard the landing. The superior officers of this regiment were English. There seem to have been also some provincial rangers, although the famous Robert Rogers was not present.—Editor.]

40 Doughty and Parmelee, Siege of Quebec, II, 237.

41 Ibid., II, 332, with detailed British returns; Wood, Fight for Canada, 262.

42 Greene, The Provincial Governor, passim.

43 Barry, Hist. of Mass., I, 288–295.

44 For a detailed study of this subject, see Howard, Preliminaries of the Revolution (American Nation, VIII).

45 5 George III., chap. xii, given in Macdonald, Select Charters, 281.

46 Beer, Commercial Policy of England, 10–13.

47 For details and exact references to laws, see Channing, The Navigation Laws, in Amer. Antiq. Soc., Proceedings, new series, VI. For discussion, see Andrews, Colonial Self-Government, chap. i; Greene, Colonial Commonwealths (American Nation, V, VI).

48 Beer, Commercial Policy of England, chap. vii.

49 6 George II., chap. xiii.

50 Macdonald, Select Charters, 259.

51 Lecky, American Revolution (Woodburn’s ed.), 48.

52 J. Adams, Works, II, 523–525.

53 4 George III., chap. xv.

54 Osgood, in Political Science Quarterly, XIII, 45.

55 Lecky, American Revolution (Woodburn’s ed.), 64.

56 Dulany, in Tyler, Lit. Hist. of Amer. Rev., I, 104–105.

57 Life, Correspondence, and Speeches of Patrick Henry, I, 84–89.

58 Hart, Contemporaries, II, 402.

59 Walpole’s Letters, February 12, 1765.

60 Franklin, Works (Sparks’ ed.), IV, 161–198.

61 6 George III, chap. xii.

62 Morley, Burke, 146.

63 Franklin, Works (Sparks’ ed.), IV, 169.

64 Walpole, Memoirs of George III., II, 275, III, 23–27.

65 7 George III., chaps. xli, xlvi, lvi. See Macdonald, Select Charters, 320–330.

66 Samuel Adams, Writings (Cushing’s ed.), I, 184.

67 Hutchinson, Hist. of Massachusetts Bay, III, 494.

68 Junius (ed. of 1799), II, 31.

69 Collins, Committees of Correspondence (Amer. Hist. Assoc., Report, 1901), I, 247.

70 Va. Cal. of State Pap., VIII, 1–2.

71 R. I. Col. Records, VII, 81, 108.

72 Farrand, “Taxation of Tea,” in Amer. Hist. Review, III, 269.

73 Macdonald, Select Charters, 337–356; Force, Am. Archives, 4th series, I, 216.

74 “Quebec Act and the American Revolution,” in Yale Review, August, 1895.

75 Force, Am. Archives, 4th series, I, 421.

76 Macdonald, Select Charters, 356, 362.

77 Wells, Samuel Adams, I.

78 Franklin, Works (Sparks’ ed.), IV, 41.

79 Franklin’s Plan, in Works (Sparks’ ed.), III, 26, 36–55.

80 Van Tyne, Loyalists, 5.

81 Van Tyne, Loyalists, chap. i.

82 Force, Am. Archives, 4th series, II, 365–368.

83 Hatch, Administration of the Revolutionary Army, 1.

84 Frothingham, Siege of Boston, 100–102.

85 Ibid., 99–101.

86 Bolton, The Private Soldier Under Washington, 90; Force, Am. Archives, 4th series, III, 2.

87 Hatch, Administration of the Revolutionary Army, 13, 14.

88 Frothingham, Siege of Boston, 105, 106.

89 “Bunker Hill Monument celebrates a fact more important than most victories—namely, that the raw provincials faced the British army for two hours, they themselves being under so little organization that it is impossible to tell even at this day who was their commander; that they did this with only the protection of an unfinished earthwork and a rail fence, retreating only when their powder was out.... The newspapers of England, instead of being exultant, were indignant or apologetic.”—Thomas Wentworth Higginson.

90 Later Bemis.

91 “The surrender of Burgoyne turned the scale in favor of the Americans so far as the judgment of Europe was concerned.... The first treaty with France—which was also the first treaty of the United States with any foreign government—was signed February 6, 1778, two months after the news of Burgoyne’s surrender had reached Paris.”—Higginson’s History of the United States.

92 For the text of the articles of capitulation, and the general return of the officers and privates surrendered, see Harper’s Encyclopædia of United States History, X.

93 A detailed description of the topography and events of the Yorktown campaign is afforded in Lossing’s Pictorial Field-Book of the Revolution, II, chap. xii. An elaborate and authoritative study from a military point of view is provided in The Yorktown Campaign, by Henry P. Johnston. Both histories are published by Harper & Brothers.

94 Annual Register, XXV, 252–257.

95 Two Centuries of Irish History, 91.

96 Treaties and Conventions, 370, 375.

97 Journals of Congress, January 13, 14, 1784.

98 For the complete history of the American struggle for independence, see Professor Van Tyne’s The American Revolution, IX, in The American Nation. Harper & Brothers.

99 “The destruction of the British fleet gave the United States supremacy on Lake Erie and compelled the abandonment of Malden and Detroit; it recovered Michigan, and made a real invasion of Canada once more a possibility, for by means of the control of the lakes thus given Harrison was enabled to enter at once upon an aggressive campaign on the Canadian side of Lake Erie. His men were easily transported to the north side, and his line of communication was no longer threatened by a British fleet. Its effect, too, upon the American people was decidedly important; for the first time an American fleet had met a British fleet and defeated it. Nor was it fair to discount the significance of the victory by saying that the vessels were small and of hasty construction. The charm of British invincibility had been broken in the great ship duels which made the names of Decatur, Bainbridge, and Hull household words. To this list was now added the name of Perry, who was looked upon by the Americans as a hero of the same class as Nelson.”—Prof. Kendric Charles Babcock in The Rise of American Nationality.

100 “The decisiveness of this battle was evident at once to the British. Hardly was the result known, when measures were taken for the retreat of Prevost’s army into Canada. At best, Prevost’s assault upon the land forces had been so poor as to give little aid to the fleet; and for this failure and his prompt retreat Prevost was ordered to trial by court-martial, but died before the trial could take place. The war was practically ended by this retreat of the British army from Plattsburg into Canada. It would seem as though the persistent mismanagement of the American forces in northern New York, the incompetency of Dearborn and Wilkinson, the strange interference of Secretary Armstrong, the diversion of the forces of Izard from the front of Prevost’s army, were all atoned for by the brilliancy of the accomplishment of Commodore Macdonough and his handful of sailors and soldiers on Lake Champlain.”—Prof. Kendric Charles Babcock in The Rise of American Nationality.

101 For the whole correspondence beginning with this letter, see Senate Docs., 28 Cong., 1 Sess., I, No. 1, pp. 25–48.

102 Senate Docs., 28 Cong., 1 Sess., I, No. 1, p. 28.

103 Senate Docs., 28 Cong., 1 Sess., I, No. 1, pp. 38, 41.

104 Ibid., pp. 42–48.

105 Niles’ Register, LXVIII, 84.

106 Ibid., 135; Von Holst, United States, III, 80, nn. 3, 4.

107 Dublán y Lozano, Legislatión Mexicana, V, 19–22.

108 Taylor’s successive orders, in House Exec. Docs., 30 Cong., 1 Sess., VII, No. 60, pp. 7, 79–82.

109 House Exec. Docs., 30 Cong., 1 Sess., VII, No. 60, p. 99.

110 Ibid., pp. 102–109.

111 House Exec. Docs., 30 Cong., 1 Sess., VII, No. 60, p. 90.

112 House Exec. Docs., 30 Cong., 1 Sess., VII, No. 60, p. 140.

113 Ibid., p. 141.

114 See Polk, MS. Diary, entry for May 9, 1846.

115 Richardson, Messages and Papers, IV, 442.

116 Cong. Globe, 29 Cong., 1 Sess., 795.

117 [John Slidell, of New Orleans, appointed a commissioner to Mexico in 1845 to endeavor to adjust the boundary and re-establish relations.]

118 Polk, MS. Diary, February 17, 1846.

119 Senate Docs., 30 Cong., 1 Sess., I, No. 1, p. 39.

120 Ripley, War with Mexico, I, 149; Polk, MS. Diary, May 14, 16, 1846.

121 Hittell, California, II, bk. vi., chaps. ii–v, passim.

122 Niles’ Register, LXX, 310; Cong. Globe, 29 Cong., 2 Sess., 298; Polk, MS. Diary, August 18, 19, 1847.

123 House Exec. Docs., 30 Cong., 1 Sess., VII, No. 60, pp. 324, 353, especially Taylor to Adjutant-General, July 2, 1846, ibid., pp. 329–332; cf. Polk, MS. Diary, September 15, 1846.

124 Taylor to Adjutant-General, October 15, 1846, in House Exec. Docs., 30 Cong., 1 Sess., VII, No. 60, pp. 351–354.

125 Polk, MS. Diary, November 14, 1846.

126 Taylor to Adjutant-General, January 27, 1847, in House Exec. Docs., 30 Cong., 1 Sess., VII, No. 60, pp. 1100–1102.

127 Taylor to Adjutant-General, March 6, 1847, in Senate Docs., 30 Cong., 1 Sess., I, No. 1, pp. 132–141.

128 Scott to Marcy, March 29, 1847, ibid., 229.

129 Ripley, War with Mexico, II, 153–155; Polk, MS. Diary, December 28, 1847.

130 Senate Docs., 30 Cong., 1 Sess., VII, No. 52, p. 345.

131 Buchanan to Trist, October 6, 1847, ibid., pp. 91–93; Polk, MS. Diary, October 5, 1847.

132 See official reports of these operations, in Senate Docs., 30 Cong., 1 Sess., I, No. 1, pp. 354–471.

133 U. S. Treaties and Conventions, 683.

134 Gen. Lew Wallace, who reached Buena Vista two days after the battle, furnishes a vigorous defence of the Indiana volunteers in his Autobiography, vol. I, chaps. xviii and xix.—[Editor.]

135 Cf. Am. Nation, XIV; XVI-XVIII, passim.

136 Stephens, War between the States, II, 32.

137 Davis, Confederate Government, I, 80.

138 Adams, New England Federalism, 144–146.

139 Buchanan, Administration on Eve of Rebellion, chap. v; National Intelligencer, January 18, 1861.

140 Secretary of War, Report, 1860, Senate Exec. Docs., 36 Cong., 2 Sess., No. 1, pp. 214, 216.

141 Secretary of Navy, Report, 1860, ibid., 383.

142 Secretary of War, Report, 1860, ibid., 209, 213.

143 Buchanan, Administration on Eve of Rebellion, 104.

144 National Intelligencer, January 11, 1861.

145 War Records, Serial No. 1, p. 68.

146 Ibid., p. 69; Crawford, Fort Sumter, 57, 58.

147 Trescot MS., quoted by Crawford, Fort Sumter, 58, 59.

148 War Records, Serial No. 1, p. 70.

149 War Records, Serial No. 1, pp. 74, 75.

150 Ibid., 76.

151 Ibid., 80.

152 Crawford, Fort Sumter, 64.

153 War Records, Serial No. 1, pp. 79–82.

154 Ibid., p. 82.

155 Crawford, Fort Sumter, 67.

156 War Records, Serial No. 1, p. 89.

157 Ibid., 103.

158 War Records, Serial No. 1, pp. 96–100; Crawford, Fort Sumter, 77.

159 Trescot MS., quoted by Crawford, Fort Sumter, 78.

160 War Records, Serial No. 1, p. 101.

161 Crawford, Fort Sumter, 81–83.

162 Ibid., 85, 86.

163 Curtis, Buchanan, II, 385. The emphasis is Buchanan’s.

164 Governor’s message to legislature, quoted by Crawford, Fort Sumter, 87.

165 War Records, Serial No. 1, p. 111.

166 Crawford, Fort Sumter, 91.

167 Crawford, Fort Sumter, chap. x.

168 War Records, Serial No. 1, p. 2.

169 Crawford, Fort Sumter, 112.

170 Crawford, Fort Sumter, 110, 111.

171 War Records, Serial No. 1, p. 3.

172 Ward H. Lamon, a former law partner of President Lincoln, who visited Charleston at this time and assumed to be a representative of the President.—[Editor.]

173 War Records, Serial No. 1, p. 222.

174 War Records, Serial No. 1, p. 230.

175 Ibid., 228.

176 Ibid., 284, 285.

177 War Records, Serial No. 1, p. 285.

178 Crawford, Fort Sumter, 377.

179 War Records, Serial No. 1, p. 283.

180 War Records, Serial No. 1, p. 241.

181 Doubleday, Sumter and Moultrie, 98.

182 War Records, Serial No. 1, p. 235.

183 Nicolay and Hay, Abraham Lincoln, IV, 31, 32.

184 War Records, Serial No. 1, p. 294.

185 Ibid., 249–251.

186 Talbot’s report, in War Records, Serial No. 1, p. 251.

187 Roman, Beauregard, I, 33.

188 War Records, Serial No. 1, pp. 12–25, 213–216.

189 War Records, Serial No. 1, pp. 25–58.

190 Statement of Ex-Confederate Secretary of War to writer; Crawford, Fort Sumter, 421.

191 War Records, Serial No. 1, p. 297.

192 War Records, Serial No. 1, p. 297.

193 Crawford, Fort Sumter, 422.

194 War Records, Serial No. 1, p. 13.

195 Ibid., 59; Crawford, Fort Sumter, 424.

196 War Records, Serial No. 1, p. 301.

197 Crawford, Fort Sumter, 425, 426.

198 Naval War Records, IV, 248.

199 Fox’s report, in Naval War Records, IV, 245–251.

200 Doubleday, Sumter and Moultrie, 142.

201 Doubleday, Sumter and Moultrie, 147.

202 Ibid.

203 Foster’s report, in War Records, Serial No. 1, pp. 20, 21.

204 War Records, Serial No. 1, p. 293.

205 Ibid., 22.

206 Doubleday, Sumter and Moultrie, 158.

207 Foster’s report, in War Records, Serial No. 1, p. 24.

208 Foster’s report, in War Records, Serial No. 1, pp. 23, 24.

209 Doubleday, Sumter and Moultrie, App., where the names appear.

210 Naval War Records, IV, 251.

211 J. E. Johnston, Narrative, 84.

212 Commander J. M. Brooke, in Battles and Leaders, I, 715; Scharf, Navy of the Confederate States, 145 et seq.

213 Battles and Leaders, I, 692 et seq.

214 Nicolay and Hay, Abraham Lincoln, V, 226.

215 Soley, Blockade and Cruisers, 54.

216 See The Appeal to Arms, by Dr. J. K. Hosmer, p. 74.

217 Poore, Burnside, 132.

218 War Records, Serial No. 6, pp. 133–167.

219 Soley, Blockade and Cruisers, 82 et seq.

220 Farragut, Farragut, chaps. i, ii.

221 Naval War Records, XVIII, pp. xv, xvi.

222 Farragut, Farragut, 207.

223 Naval War Records, XVIII (West Gulf Blockading Squadron); Mahan, Gulf and Inland Waters, 52.

224 Beverly Kennon, a Southern officer, in Battles and Leaders, II, 76, criticises severely the management of the Confederate ships.

225 Naval War Records, XVIII, 134 et seq.; Mahan, Gulf and Inland Waters, 52 et seq.

226 Parton, Butler in New Orleans, chap. xii.

227 War Records, Serial No. 24, p. 511.

228 Grant, Personal Memoirs, I, 411.

229 Sherman, Memoirs, I, 319.

230 Nicolay and Hay, Abraham Lincoln, VII, 135.

231 Sherman, Memoirs, I, 324.

232 Cullum, Register of Mil. Acad., art., “McPherson.”

233 War Records, Serial No. 36, pp. 371–467.

234 Mahan, Gulf and Inland Waters, 110 et seq.

235 Johnston, Narrative, 152.

236 War Records, Serial No. 36, pp. 565 et seq.

237 War Records, Serial No. 36, p. 32.

238 Johnston, Narrative, 153.

239 Admiral Porter’s fleet kept up a continuous bombardment for forty days. Seven thousand mortar shells and forty-five hundred shells from the gunboats were discharged at the city. As Grant drew his lines closer, his cannonade was kept up day and night. The people of Vicksburg had taken shelter in caves dug in the clay hills on which the city stands. In these caves families lived day and night, and children were born. Famine attacked the city, and mule-meat made a savory dish. Grant mined under some of the Confederate works, and one of them, Fort Hill Bastion, was blown up on June 25th with terrible effect.—Harper’s Encyclopædia of United States History.

240 War Records, Serial No. 37, pp. 146–424.

241 War Records, Serial No. 41, pp. 41–181 (Port Hudson).

242 Greene, The Mississippi.

243 War Records, Serial Nos. 43 and 44, pp. 1–775 (all on Gettysburg campaign).

244 Longstreet, Manassas to Appomattox, 331.

245 War Records, Serial No. 45, p. 31.

246 F. H. Lee, Robert E. Lee, 265. For R. E. Lee’s report of Gettysburg, see War Records, Serial No. 44, pp. 293 et seq.; Long, Lee, 280.

247 But see controversy between Mosby and Robertson as to management of the Confederate cavalry, Battles and Leaders, III, 251.

248 Cullum, Register of Mil. Acad., art. “Meade.”

249 Hunt, in Battles and Leaders, III, 258.

250 Livermore, Numbers and Losses, 102.

251 War Records, Serial No. 43, pp. 104–119 (Report of Meade).

252 F. H. Lee, Robert E. Lee, 270.

253 Doubleday, Chancellorsville and Gettysburg, 132.

254 Cullum, Register of Mil. Acad., art. “Hancock.”

255 Walker, Hancock, in Mass. Mil. Hist. Soc. Papers, “Some Federal and Confederate Commanders,” 49.

256 Doubleday, Chancellorsville and Gettysburg, 156.

257 A tradition at Gettysburg.

258 Mrs. Longstreet, Lee and Longstreet at High Tide, 83, 84.

259 For criticisms by the friends of Lee, see Davis, Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government, II, 447; F. H. Lee, Robert E. Lee, 299; William Allan, in Battles and Leaders, III, 355. Able and impartial is G. F. R. Henderson, Science of War, 280 et seq.

260 Hood, Advance and Retreat, 57 et seq.

261 For Meade’s good judgment and activity, see Walker, in Battles and Leaders, III, 406.

262 Gibbon, in Battles and Leaders, III, 313.

263 Mrs. Longstreet, Lee and Longstreet at High Tide, 48.

264 Pennypacker, Meade, 194.

265 Longstreet, Manassas to Appomattox, 385 et seq.

266 Fremantle, Three Months in the Southern States, 274 et seq. Confirmed to the writer by General E. P. Alexander, who heard the rebuke.

267 Battles and Leaders, III, 349.

268 Committee on Conduct of the War, Report, pt. i (1864–1865), 408 et seq.

269 Nicolay and Hay, Abraham Lincoln, VII, 278.

270 For a minute discussion of Meade’s management, and much testimony, see Committee on Conduct of the War, Report, pt. i (1864–1865), 295–524.

271 Livermore, Numbers and Losses, 102.

272 See the chapter on the Monroe Doctrine in The Rise of the New West, by Prof. F. J. Turner, and also chaps. i and xi of America as a World Power, by Prof. G. H. Latané. (The American Nation, Harper & Brothers.)—[Editor.]

273 The War with Spain, by Henry Cabot Lodge, and The Spanish War, by General Russell A. Alger, may be consulted with advantage. Both are published by Harper & Brothers. Harper’s Encyclopædia of United States History, VI, affords a picturesque account of the battle of Manila Bay, by Ramon Reyes Lala, a Filipino author and lecturer. Professor Latané’s account of the war, in his America as a World Power (Harper & Brothers), offers an excellent example of judicial historical treatment.—Editor.

274 Long, New American Navy, I, 209.

275 Messages and Docs., Abridgment, 1898–1899, II, 921.

276 Sec. of the Navy, Annual Report, 1898, App., pp. 465, 466.

277 It was on this date, May 24th, that the Oregon, Captain Clark, appeared off Jupiter Inlet, Florida, ready for action, after a voyage of fourteen thousand miles from San Francisco.—[Editor.]

278 Schley, Forty-five Years Under the Flag, 276.

279 Sec. of the Navy, Annual Report, 1898, App., p. 402; Long, New Am. Navy, I, 258–287.

280 Sec. of the Navy, Annual Report, 1898, App., p. 437.

281 Sec. of the Navy, Annual Report, 1898, App., p. 667.

282 Major-General commanding the army, Report, 1898, p. 149.

283 Major-General commanding the army, Report, 1898, p. 162.

284 Major-General commanding the army, Report, 1898, pp. 152, 169, 171, 319, 366, 381. [General Vara el Rey, one of the bravest of the Spanish officers, was the leader in this desperate resistance, and was killed while rallying his men in the village.—Editor.]

285 Major-General commanding the army, Report, pp. 167, 173.

286 Messages and Docs., Abridgment, 1898–1899, I, 270.

287 Sec. of the Navy, Annual Report, 1898, App., pp. 505–602; Long, New Am. Navy, II, 28–42.

288 Major-General commanding the army, Report, 1898, pp. 138–147, 226–243, 246–266.

289 Senate Docs., 56 Cong., I Sess., No. 221, 8 vols.

290 Nation, LXIX, 61.

291 Proceedings of the Schley Court of Inquiry, House Docs., 57 Cong., I Sess., No. 485.

292 Act of February 14, 1903, U. S. Statutes at Large, XXXII, pt. i, p. 830.



  • Abercrombie, James, killed at Bunker Hill, 115.
  • Adams, John, elected President, 154.
  • Adams, John Quincy, interested in western exploration, 9;
  • elected President, 180;
  • Texas, 184.
  • Adams, Samuel, circular letter, 90;
  • “committees of correspondence,” 92;
  • on independence, 96;
  • outlawed, 102.
  • Aguinaldo, Emilio, insurrection, 356.
  • Alabama, admitted into the Union, 180;
  • secession, 231.
  • Alabama and the Kearsarge, 327;
  • Claims, 343.
  • Alaska, purchase, 11, 343.
  • Alger, R. A., Spanish War, 363;
  • resignation, 374, 375.
  • Alien acts, passage, 154.
  • Alliance fired upon, 345.
  • Almonte, J. N., annexation of Texas, 184, 185;
  • demands his passports, 185.
  • Alston, Charles, at surrender of Sumter, 271.
  • Amendment, Thirteenth, 328;
  • Fourteenth, 343;
  • Fifteenth, 343.
  • America, territorial history, 1–12.
  • American, flag adopted, 143;
  • victory at Cowpens, 144;
  • Embargo Act, 155;
  • Anti-Slavery Society, 181.
  • Americans, at Bunker Hill, 102–108;
  • at battle of Long Island, 119;
  • at White Plains, 119;
  • at Bennington, 119;
  • at Saratoga, 120;
  • at Valley Forge, 143;
  • storm Stony Point, 144;
  • at Yorktown, 145;
  • invade Canada, 155;
  • at Chippewa, 156;
  • occupy California, 182;
  • New Mexico, 182.
  • Amherst, Jeffrey, commander-in-chief in America, 66;
  • advance down Lake Champlain, 73.
  • Ampudia, Pedro de, at Buena Vista, 200, 203, 205.
  • Anderson, Robert, commands Charleston forts, 243;
  • fitness, 243;
  • urges reinforcements and occupation of Pinckney and Sumter, 243, 244;
  • state enrollment of fort laborers, 245;
  • instructions, 246–247;
  • removal to Sumter, 251–253;
  • refuses to return, 254, 255;
  • Lamon’s statements, 256;
  • Beauregard, 256;
  • defensive instructions repeated, 253;
  • scarcity of provisions, 258;
  • fears he has been abandoned, 260;
  • informed of Fox expedition, 260;
  • isolated, 260;
  • refuses to evacuate, 264;
  • offer on evacuation refused, 265;
  • bombardment, 267;
  • surrenders, 271.
  • André, John, capture and execution, 144.
  • Andros, Sir Edward, Governor of New England, 59.
  • Anne, Fort, 126, 127.
  • Anti-Slavery Society, formation, 181.380
  • Ariel at Lake Erie, 163, 170.
  • Arizona, admission into the Union, 345.
  • Arkansas, admission into the Union, 181;
  • secession, 273.
  • Arnold, Benedict, to the relief of Fort Schuyler, 129, 132;
  • at Behmus’ Heights, 132;
  • deprived of command, 135;
  • wounded, 137;
  • treason, 144.
  • Arthur, C. A., succeeds to the Presidency, 344.
  • Appleton, Major, in King Philip’s War, 52.
  • Appomattox campaign, 329–342;
  • map, 331;
  • meeting between Grant and Lee, 336;
  • Lee’s surrender, 337;
  • Lincoln, 342.
  • Appomattox Court-House, Lee’s surrender, 328.
  • Ashburton treaty, on northeastern boundary, 181.
  • Babcock, Colonel, at Appomattox, 336, 337.
  • Babcock, Prof. Kendric Charles quoted, 172, 180.
  • Badeau, Adam, at Appomattox, 337.
  • Baltimore in Spanish War, 351.
  • Balboa, Vasco Nunez de, discovers Pacific Ocean, 12.
  • Banks, N. P., expedition against Port Hudson, 305.
  • Barclay, Commodore, at Lake Erie, 160.
  • Baum, Colonel, at Bennington, 130.
  • Beauregard, P. G. T., pledge from Anderson, 256;
  • reports readiness to attack Fort Sumter, 258;
  • order to attack, 263;
  • demands evacuation, 264;
  • Anderson’s offer, 265;
  • bombardment, 267;
  • terms of surrender, 271.
  • Behmus’ Heights, battle, 133;
  • map, 136.
  • Behring’s Strait, discovery, 61.
  • Bennington, battle, 130.
  • Bissell, Colonel, at Buena Vista, 201.
  • Blue, Victor, at Santiago, 364.
  • Black Hawk War, 181.
  • Blanco, Ramon, and Cervera’s fleet, 369.
  • Bocanegra, J. M. de, on United States and Texas, 183, 184.
  • Bonaparte, Napoleon, recaptures Toulon, 154;
  • Emperor of France, 155.
  • Boone, Daniel, settlement of Kentucky, 119.
  • Boston in Spanish War, 351.
  • Boston, founded, 30;
  • Liberty riots, 91;
  • arrival of troops, 92;
  • massacre, 92;
  • tea-party, 93;
  • port closed, 93;
  • aid for, 94;
  • military possession, 95;
  • siege, 99;
  • British forces in, 102.
  • Bougainville, at Quebec, 71, 72.
  • Bowers, T. S., at Appomattox, 337.
  • Boxer taken by the Enterprise, 156.
  • Bradford, Major, in King Philip’s War, 52.
  • Breed’s Hill, height, 104;
  • fortified, 105;
  • redoubt on, 106;
  • anxious moments, 108;
  • battle, 112–116.
  • Brener, Colonel, at Bunker Hill, 113.
  • Breyman, Colonel, at Bennington, 130, 131.
  • Bridge, Colonel, at Bunker Hill, 104, 108.
  • British, at Bunker Hill, 102–118;
  • evacuate Boston, 119;
  • repulsed at Charleston, 119;
  • at the battle of Long Island, 119;
  • occupy New York, 119;
  • enter Philadelphia, 119;
  • at Behmus’ Heights, 133–137;
  • burn Esopus, 142;
  • evacuate New York, 143;
  • occupy Philadelphia, 143;
  • enter Savannah, 144;
  • defeated at King’s Mountain, 144;
  • evacuate Savannah and Charleston, 153;
  • evacuate New York, 153;381
  • “Order in Council,” 155;
  • at Frenchtown, 156;
  • at Sackett’s Harbor, 156;
  • fleet at Lake Erie, 163;
  • surrender, 167;
  • losses, 171.
  • Bragg, Braxton, at Buena Vista, 202, 206.
  • Brooke, J. R., in Porto Rico, 373.
  • Brooke, John M., and the Virginia, 276.
  • Brooklyn in Spanish War, 358, 369–372.
  • Brooks, John, at Bunker Hill, 104;
  • at Behmus’ Heights, 137.
  • Brown, Colonel, at Ticonderoga, 135.
  • Brown, John, execution, 231.
  • Buchanan, James, elected President, 230;
  • reinforcement of Charleston forts, 237, 238;
  • instructions to Anderson, 246;
  • Picken’s demand for Sumter, 248;
  • policy of delay, 250.
  • Buckminster, Colonel, at Bunker Hill, 113.
  • Buell, D. C., instructions to Anderson, 246, 247.
  • Buena Vista, battle, 198–207.
  • Buford, John, cavalry in Gettysburg campaign, 311, 313.
  • Bunker Hill, battle, 78, 102–118;
  • topography, 103, 104;
  • intrenchments, 106, 107;
  • deserters, 107;
  • losses, 117;
  • forces engaged, 118;
  • no victory, 118;
  • monument, 118, 180.
  • Burgoyne, John, arrival at Boston, 102;
  • in Canada, 121, 123;
  • takes Ticonderoga, 124;
  • proclamation, 124, 127;
  • route (map), 125;
  • at Skenesborough, 127;
  • Bennington, 130;
  • Indian allies, 131, 132;
  • St. Leder’s failure, 132;
  • crosses the Hudson, 133;
  • difficulties, 135;
  • news from Clinton, 136;
  • perplexity at Fort Edward, 138;
  • surrender, 139, 142;
  • Clinton’s advance, 142;
  • effects, 143.
  • Burnside, Ambrose E., Roanoke Island, 288;
  • commands Army of the Potomac, 294.
  • Burr, Aaron, arrest, 155.
  • Butler, Benjamin F., New Orleans expedition, 291.
  • Cabot, John, reaches North America, 12.
  • Cadwalader, George, at Contreras, 212, 214.
  • Caledonian at Lake Erie, 160, 161, 163, 170.
  • California, coast explored, 9, 10;
  • annexation, 10;
  • discovery of gold, 10, 230;
  • occupation (1847), 192.
  • Callender, Captain, at Bunker Hill, 111;
  • cowardice, 111.
  • Campbell, Major, at the siege of Yorktown, 148.
  • Canada restored to France, 31.
  • Canonchet, death, 54.
  • Carolina, purchased, 61.
  • Cartier, Jacques, voyage to the St. Lawrence, 12.
  • Cass, Lewis, resigns, 231.
  • Cassin, Lieutenant-Commandant, at the battle of Lake Champlain, 176.
  • Castilla in Spanish War, 355.
  • Castro, José, faction in California, 190.
  • Cervera, Pasquale, squadron, 359;
  • at Santiago, 360;
  • battle, 369–372.
  • Champlain, Samuel, defeats Mohawks, 13;
  • attacks Iroquois, 27, 28;
  • founds Quebec, 63.
  • Chapin, Cyrenus, at Lake Erie, 162.
  • Chapultepec, storming of, 182.
  • Charles I. executed, 42.
  • Charleston Harbor forts, Scott advises reinforcement, 236;
  • available force, 237;
  • Buchanan’s passive attitude, 238;
  • condition, 239;
  • Moultrie repaired, 240;
  • Gardner asks for reinforcements, 241;
  • attempted removal of ammunition, 241;
  • Porter’s report, 242;382
  • Anderson advises reinforcement and occupation of Pinckney and Sumter, 244;
  • state enrollment of fort laborers, 245;
  • Buell’s instructions to Anderson, 246;
  • Pinckney occupied, 247;
  • state demands Sumter, 248;
  • demand withdrawn, 249;
  • state patrol, 251;
  • removal to Sumter, 252;
  • consequent excitement, 254;
  • Anderson refuses to return, 255;
  • state occupies other forts, 255;
  • Star of the West, 256;
  • Anderson promised support, 257;
  • food problem at Sumter, 258;
  • map of, 259;
  • demand for surrender of Sumter, 264;
  • Fox’s expedition to relieve, 265;
  • Scott ridiculed plan of relief, 265;
  • bombardment of Sumter, 267;
  • surrender, 271;
  • effect of relief expedition, 272.
  • Chauncey, Isaac, command, 159;
  • at Lake Ontario, 160.
  • Chesapeake captured by the Shannon, 156.
  • Chestnut, James, at Fort Sumter, 264, 265, 271.
  • Chicago fire, 343.
  • Childs, Colonel, at Puebla, 210.
  • Chippeway at Lake Erie, 163.
  • Choiseul, French premier, 64.
  • Chubb at Lake George, 175.
  • Churubusco, battle, 215–220.
  • Civil Rights Bill passed, 343, 344.
  • Clark, Charles Edgar, in Spanish War, 360.
  • Clark, George Rogers, conquest of Northwest, 7, 144.
  • Clay Compromise adopted, 230.
  • Clayton-Bulwer Treaty concluded, 230.
  • Cleveland, Grover, annexation of Hawaii, 11;
  • elected President, 344, 345;
  • Venezuela boundary dispute, 345, 346;
  • Cuban Filibusters, 346.
  • Clinton, Fort, 139, 140.
  • Clinton, James, at New York, 122;
  • attacks Forts Clinton and Montgomery, 140.
  • Clinton, Sir Henry, arrival at Boston, 102;
  • at Bunker Hill, 114, 117;
  • Putnam, 140;
  • attacks Forts Clinton and Montgomery, 140;
  • captures Charleston, 144.
  • Colorado, admission into the Union, 344.
  • Columbia River, mouth discovered, 8;
  • Lewis and Clark expedition, 8.
  • Columbus discovers Western World, 12.
  • Committee of Correspondence in Boston, 92.
  • Committee of Safety in Massachusetts, 103.
  • Concord in Spanish War, 351.
  • Confederate States, congress assembles, 273.
  • Confiance at Lake George, 175, 176, 178, 179.
  • Connecticut, settlement, 31;
  • constitution adopted, 42;
  • conscription, 120.
  • Conner, David, before Vera Cruz, 194.
  • Conscription riots, 327.
  • Constellation captures L’Insurgente, 154.
  • Constitution, Fort, 139, 140.
  • Constitution captures the Guerrière, 155;
  • Java, 156.
  • Contreras, battle, 211–214.
  • Continental Congress, adopts Declaration of Independence, 119.
  • Continental Village, burned, 141.
  • Cook, James, pathfinder, 68, 69.
  • Cornwallis, Lord Charles, defeats Gates at Camden, 144;
  • defeats Greene at Guilford Court-house, 144;
  • at Yorktown, 147;
  • situation, 148;
  • surrender, 149.
  • Correo, in Spanish War, 355.
  • Cortez enters city of Mexico, 12.
  • Cristobal Colon in Spanish War, 359, 370–372.383
  • Cuba, insurrection, 343, 348;
  • desires annexation, 347;
  • southern desire for, 347;
  • Polk’s attempted purchase, 347;
  • “Ostend Manifesto,” 347;
  • Marcy’s attitude, 348;
  • Virginius affair, 348;
  • Grant and, 348;
  • McKinley’s protest, 348;
  • Spain’s reply, 349;
  • blowing up of the Maine, 349;
  • Proctor’s speech, 349;
  • war with Spain declared, 350;
  • blockade, 359;
  • Santiago campaign, 362–368;
  • naval battle off Santiago, 369–372;
  • Spanish surrender, 372.
  • Cubans proclaim independence, 345.
  • Culp’s Hill, battle, 320–322.
  • Cushing, Caleb, visit to Pickens, 250.
  • Custer, G. A., in Gettysburg campaign, 311;
  • at Appomattox, 330, 337.
  • Custer massacre by Sioux, 344.
  • Davis, Jefferson, elected President of the Confederate States, 231;
  • capture, 328.
  • Davis, Jefferson C., occupies Castle Pinckney, 247.
  • Decatur, Stephen, destroys the Philadelphia, 155;
  • imposes terms upon the Dey of Algiers, 180.
  • Declaration of Independence adopted by Continental Congress, 119.
  • Deerfield Massacre, 48, 49, 60.
  • Delaware River occupied by Swedes, 4.
  • De Ramezay at Quebec, 69.
  • De Riedesel, Baroness, at Behmus’ Heights, 138, 142.
  • De Soto, Fernando, reaches the Mississippi River, 12.
  • Detroit at Lake Erie, 160, 163.
  • Deuxponts, William, Count de, at the siege of Yorktown, 148.
  • Devin, T. C, in Gettysburg campaign, 311;
  • at Appomattox, 330.
  • Dewey, George, preparations for Spanish War, 350;
  • forces, 351;
  • battle in Manila Bay, 352–354;
  • German fleet, 355;
  • capture of Manila, 356;
  • Sampson-Schley controversy, 375, 376.
  • Dickinson, John, on taxation, 90.
  • Diederich, Admiral von, in Manila Bay, 355.
  • Dix, Major, at Buena Vista, 204.
  • Don Antonio de Ulloa in Spanish War, 354, 355.
  • Don Juan de Austria in Spanish War, 355.
  • Donelson, Fort, surrender, 273, 295.
  • Doniphan, A. W., expedition against Mexico, 192.
  • Doubleday, Abner, and removal to Sumter, 252;
  • in Gettysburg campaign, 311, 313.
  • Dred Scott decision, 230.
  • Dundas, Lieutenant-Colonel, Commissioner at the surrender of Cornwallis, 149.
  • Duquesne, Fort, captured, 63.
  • Dutch, founded New Amsterdam, 4;
  • relations with Indians, 25, 26;
  • West India Company, 30.
  • Eagan, C. P., court-martial, 374.
  • Eagle at Lake George, 175, 176, 177, 179.
  • East Florida, Spain cedes claim, 9.
  • Edward, Fort, 126, 127, 128.
  • El Caney, battle, 365.
  • Elliott, Lieutenant, at Lake Erie, 160, 161, 166;
  • prize-money, 171.
  • Endicott, John, avenges Oldham, 35, 36.
  • England, expansion in America, 4, 5;
  • and France in America, 5;
  • and Spain in America, 6;
  • declares war against Spain, 77.
  • Enterprise captures the Boxer, 156.384
  • Erie, Fort, 160.
  • Ericsson, John, designs Monitor, 278.
  • Essex surrenders to the Phoebe and Cherub, 156.
  • Ewell, R. S., at Gettysburg, 307, 308.
  • Farragut, David Glasgow, on the Essex at Valparaiso, 290;
  • commands New Orleans expedition, 291;
  • passing of the forts, 293;
  • on to Vicksburg, 294;
  • death, 343.
  • Farnsworth, E. J., in Gettysburg campaign, 311.
  • Faunce, John, Sumter relief expedition, 266.
  • Febiger, Christian, at Bunker Hill, 115, 116.
  • Fillmore, Millard, succeeds to Presidency, 230.
  • Finch at Lake George, 175.
  • Fisher, Fort, captured, 327.
  • Fish, Major, at the siege of Yorktown, 148.
  • Flag, American, adopted, 143.
  • Fletcher, Captain, Sumter relief expedition, 266.
  • Florida, admission into the Union, 181.
  • Florida ceded to England, 5;
  • secession, 231.
  • Floyd, J. B., and transfer of ammunition, 241, 242;
  • removes Gardner, 243;
  • on removal to Sumter, 255.
  • Forrest, Dulaney, at the battle of Lake Erie, 170, 171.
  • Forrest, N. B., raids on federal communications, 296.
  • Foster, J. G., reports progress on Sumter, 240;
  • forty-muskets episode, 241;
  • exposes “excitement” fake, 248.
  • Fox, G. V., expedition to relieve Fort Sumter, 265, 266, 272.
  • France, settlements in America, 4, 5;
  • and England in America, 5;
  • driven from Guinea coast, 64;
  • progress of discoveries (map), 65;
  • lack of sea power, 66;
  • Quebec campaign, 68–76;
  • independence of United States, 143;
  • declares war against England, 144.
  • Francis, Colonel, at Ticonderoga, 126.
  • Franklin, Benjamin, Stamp Act, 89;
  • on colonial jealousy, 97.
  • Fraser, General, at Ticonderoga, 124;
  • attacks St. Clair, 126;
  • at Behmus’s Heights, 137, 138.
  • Freedmen’s Bureau, organization, 328.
  • French, begin settlement of Louisiana, 60;
  • at Yorktown, 145–150;
  • at Quebec, 68–70;
  • declare war against Mexico, 273.
  • Frolic captured by the Wasp, 155.
  • Frontenac, Fort, captured, 63.
  • Frye, Colonel, at Bunker Hill, 104.
  • Gage, Thomas, governor of Massachusetts, 95;
  • seizes munitions of war, 96;
  • reinforced, 100;
  • council of war, 106.
  • Gamble, Peter, at the battle of Lake Champlain, 178.
  • Gamble, William, in Gettysburg campaign, 311.
  • Gardner, Colonel, at Bunker Hill, 108;
  • mortally wounded, 115.
  • Gardner, J. L., commands Charleston forts, 241;
  • attempts to secure ammunition, 241;
  • removed, 242.
  • Garfield, J. A., elected President, 344;
  • assassinated, 344.
  • Garretson, G. A., in Porto Rico, 373.
  • Garrison, William Lloyd, and the Liberator, 181.
  • Gaspee commission, 92, 93.
  • Gates, Horatio, supersedes Schuyler, 131;
  • at Behmus’s Heights, 133;385
  • increase of army, 134;
  • deprives Arnold of command, 134;
  • terms proposed to Burgoyne, 139, 142;
  • reputation, 143;
  • defeated at Camden, 144.
  • General Lezo in Spanish War, 355.
  • George I., King of England, 60.
  • George II., accession, 61.
  • George III., accession, 77.
  • Georgia, charter, 5;
  • secession, 231.
  • Germaine, Lord George, and loyalists, 120.
  • Germany, result of Thirty Years’ War, 4.
  • Gerrish, Colonel, at Bunker Hill, 112, 115.
  • Gettysburg campaign, Lee’s northward march, 307;
  • Federal movements, 309;
  • Federal cavalry, 309;
  • misuse of Confederate cavalry, 309, 310;
  • Meade displaces Hooker, 310, 311;
  • forces, 311;
  • map, 312;
  • battle first day, 313;
  • topography of field, 316;
  • second day, position of forces, 317;
  • Longstreet and Lee, 317, 318, 322;
  • Round Top and Valley, 319, 320;
  • Culp’s Hill, 321;
  • Federal council, 321;
  • third day, 321;
  • Pickett’s attack, 324;
  • Lee confesses error, 325;
  • question of counter-charge, 325;
  • losses, 326;
  • Lincoln’s disappointment, 326.
  • Gibbon, John, in Gettysburg campaign, 316.
  • Gilbert, Sir Humphrey, takes possession of Newfoundland, 13.
  • Gillis, J. P., Sumter relief expedition, 266.
  • Gimat, Colonel, at the siege of Yorktown, 148.
  • Gloucester in Spanish War, 369.
  • Gosnold, Bartholomew, attempts settlement on Massachusetts coast, 13.
  • Grant, U. S., proposed annexation of Santo Domingo, 11;
  • Fort Donelson, Lincoln’s faith in, 296;
  • destruction of Holly Springs depot, 296;
  • in command before Vicksburg, 298;
  • opposing force, 299;
  • naval auxiliary, 300;
  • futile operations, 300–301;
  • crosses river below Vicksburg, 302;
  • Port Gibson, 302;
  • abandons his base, 302;
  • victories in rear of Vicksburg, 302;
  • siege of Vicksburg, 304;
  • receives surrender of Vicksburg, 304;
  • commander-in-chief, 327;
  • at Appomattox, 335–342;
  • meeting with Lee, 336;
  • appearance, 340, 341;
  • elected President, 343;
  • Cuba, 348.
  • Grasse, François Joseph Paul, Count de, visited by Washington, 146;
  • blockades mouth of York River, 147.
  • Graves, Admiral, in command of British fleet at the Battle of Bunker Hill, 106.
  • Greene, Christopher, at the battle of Guilford, 144.
  • Greene, Lieutenant, account of fight with the Virginia, 284–287.
  • Greene, Lieutenant-Colonel, at Fort Monroe, 251.
  • Greene, Nathaniel, joins army, 99;
  • at Jamaica Plains, 103.
  • Gregg, D. M., cavalry in Gettysburg campaign, 311.
  • Grenville, George, premier, 81;
  • colonial policy, 82;
  • Stamp Act, 84;
  • fall, 88.
  • Gridley, Charles Vernon, Manila Bay battle, 353.
  • Gridley, Richard, at Bunker Hill, 103, 104, 105, 111, 116.
  • Gridley, Samuel, at Bunker Hill, 104.
  • Grierson, B. H., raid, 302.
  • Guadalupe-Hidalgo, treaty of ratified, 196, 197.
  • Guadeloupe captured, 66.
  • Guerrière captured by the Constitution, 155.
  • Halleck, H. W., commander-in-chief, 294;386
  • Grant, 298, 302;
  • Hooker, 310.
  • Hamilton, Alexander, at the siege of Yorktown, 148.
  • Hancock, John, sloop Liberty seized, 91;
  • riots, 92;
  • outlawed, 102.
  • Hancock, W. S., in Gettysburg campaign, 311, 314, 315, 325.
  • Hardin, Colonel, at Buena Vista, 205.
  • Harmar, Josiah, expedition, 154.
  • Harrison, Benjamin, elected President, 345.
  • Harrison, W. H., and Tecumseh, 155;
  • elected President, 181.
  • Harvard College, foundation, 31.
  • Harvey, John, governor of Virginia, 34.
  • Hawaii, annexation, 11;
  • republic, 345;
  • annexed to the United States, 346.
  • Hawke, Sir Edward, sea-fight off Quiberon Bay, 64.
  • Hayes, Rutherford B., awarded Presidency, 344.
  • Henry, Fort, surrender, 273.
  • Henry, Patrick, Stamp Act, 87.
  • Herkimer, General, at the siege of Fort Schuyler, 129.
  • Herrera, J. J. de, against annexation of Texas, 185.
  • Higginson, Captain, Porto Rico campaign, 373.
  • Higginson, Thomas Wentworth, quoted, 118.
  • Highlands of the Hudson, defences, 139, 140.
  • Hill, A. P., in northern invasion, 307, 308;
  • at Beaver Dam Creek, 313;
  • at Gettysburg, 317, 320.
  • Hill, Fort, bastion blown up, 304.
  • Hobson, R. P., sinking of Merrimac, 361.
  • Holdup, Thomas, at Lake Erie, 167.
  • Holly Springs, destruction of federal depot, 296.
  • Honduras, English settlement, 4.
  • Hooker, Joseph, commands Army of the Potomac, 294;
  • after Chancellorsville, 306;
  • Lee’s invasion, 308;
  • pursuit of Lee, 309;
  • use of cavalry, 309;
  • relieved of command, 310, 311.
  • Hornet captures the Peacock, 156.
  • House of Commons, membership, 85, 86.
  • Howard, O. O., in Gettysburg campaign, 311, 314, 317.
  • Howell, J. A., in Spanish War, 358.
  • Howe, Sir William, arrival at Boston, 102;
  • in command at Bunker Hill, 106;
  • at Moulton’s Point, 107;
  • moves on Breed’s Hill, 111, 113, 115, 116;
  • repulsed, 112, 113;
  • bravery, 113;
  • wounded, 115;
  • Philadelphia campaign, 122.
  • Hubberton, battle at, 126, 130.
  • Hudson Bay Company, incorporated, 43.
  • Hudson, Henry, ascends the Hudson River, 30.
  • Hunter at Lake Erie, 163.
  • Illinois, admitted to the Union, 180.
  • Independence, Fort, 140, 141.
  • India, British possession, 66.
  • Indiana, admitted into the Union, 180.
  • Indiana in Spanish War, 358, 369–372.
  • Indians, American, treatment of, 14, 15, 17, 18;
  • distribution of (map), 16;
  • land purchases from, 15, 17;
  • early warfare with, 17, 21;
  • price on heads, 20;
  • massacre in Virginia, 21, 22, 24, 30;
  • period of peace, 21, 22;
  • King Philip’s War, 22, 23;
  • treatment of prisoners, 23;
  • relations with the Dutch, 25;
  • with the English, 26;
  • with the French, 27, 28, 29;
  • praying, 45, 49, 50.
  • Infanta Maria Teresa in Spanish War, 359.387
  • Inflation Bill vetoed, 344.
  • Ingalls, Rufus, at Appomattox, 336.
  • Iowa, admission into the Union, 181.
  • Iowa in Spanish War, 358, 369–372.
  • Iroquois (Five Nations), tribes, 25;
  • friendship for Dutch, 25;
  • origin of hostilities to French, 27;
  • French expedition against, 28;
  • raids in Canada, 29;
  • weakened, 30.
  • Isla de Cuba in Spanish War, 354, 355.
  • Isla de Luzon in Spanish War, 355.
  • Isla de Mandanao in Spanish War, 355.
  • Jackson, Andrew, and Creek Indians, 156;
  • seizes Pensacola, 179;
  • captures Spanish fort, St. Mark’s, 180;
  • elected President, 180, 181.
  • Jackson, Fort, Farragut passes, 293;
  • surrenders, 294.
  • Jackson, Major, at Bunker Hill, 116.
  • James I. grants patent to London and Plymouth companies, 13.
  • James II., King of England, 59.
  • Jamestown, settlement, 4, 13.
  • Jefferson, Thomas, and Louisiana purchase, 8;
  • Lewis and Clark Expedition, 8;
  • interest in western exploration, 9;
  • elected President, 154, 155.
  • Jeffries, Doctor, at Bunker Hill, 113.
  • Johnson, Andrew, succeeds to the Presidency, 328.
  • Johnson, Colonel, at Ticonderoga, 135.
  • Johnson, President, impeachment, 343.
  • Johnson, Sir William, captures Fort Niagara, 73, 74.
  • Johnston, western command, 299;
  • Vicksburg campaign, 302, 304.
  • Johnstown flood, 345.
  • Jones, D. R., and surrender of Sumter, 271.
  • Kansas, civil war, 230;
  • admission into the Union, 231.
  • Kearny, S. W., occupies New Mexico, 192.
  • Kearsarge and the Alabama, 327;
  • lost, 345.
  • Kentucky, admission into the Union, 154.
  • Kilpatrick, H. J., cavalry in Gettysburg campaign, 311.
  • King George’s War, beginning, 61, 63.
  • King Philip (Pometacom), chief of the Wampanoags, 45;
  • attack on Swanzey, 46;
  • at Pocasset, 47;
  • returned to Mount Hope, 55;
  • death, 56.
  • King Philip’s War, 22, 23, 44–58.
  • King William’s War, 59, 60, 63.
  • Kossuth, Louis, arrival in United States, 230.
  • Knowlton, Thomas, at Bunker Hill, 104, 109, 116;
  • killed at Battle of Harlem Heights, 104.
  • Knox, Henry, at Bunker Hill, 115;
  • at Yorktown, 147, 148.
  • Lady Prevost at Lake Erie, 163.
  • La Fayette, Marquis de, at Yorktown, 145.
  • Lake Champlain, battle, 173–179;
  • losses, 179.
  • Lake Erie, battle, 158–172;
  • Perry victorious, 169;
  • losses, 170;
  • prize money, 171.
  • Lamon, W. H., visit to Charleston, 256n;
  • unauthorized statements, 256.
  • Lane, Henry S., at Buena Vista, 200.
  • Langdon, Samuel, President of Harvard College, at Cambridge, 104.
  • Las Guasimas, battle, 365.388
  • La Salle, explorations, 59, 63.
  • Lathrop, Captain, in King Philip’s War, 48, 49.
  • Laub, Henry, at the battle of Lake Erie, 170.
  • Laurens, John, at the siege of Yorktown, 148;
  • Commissioner at the surrender of Cornwallis, 149.
  • Lauzun, Duke de, at the siege of Yorktown, 147.
  • Lawrence, at Lake Erie, 163, 164, 168, 169, 170.
  • Lawton, H. W., in Spanish War, 364, 365.
  • Learned, General, at Behmus’ Heights, 134.
  • Lee, Captain, and surrender of Sumter, 271.
  • Lee, R. E., occupies Winchester, 294;
  • enters Pennsylvania, 294;
  • considered unconquerable, 306;
  • army at its best, 307;
  • northern invasion, 307;
  • misuse of cavalry, 309;
  • force in Gettysburg campaign, 312;
  • battle, first day, 313;
  • second day, position, 317;
  • rejects Longstreet’s advice, 317, 318;
  • third day, 321;
  • Pickett’s charge, 324;
  • confesses error, 325;
  • retreat, 326;
  • at Appomattox, surrender, 328, 335–341;
  • death, 343.
  • Lewis and Clark expedition, 8, 155.
  • Lincoln, Abraham, elected President, 231;
  • Sumter, 272;
  • call for militia, 273;
  • protection of Washington, 275;
  • Virginia, 279;
  • faith in Grant, 296;
  • Lee’s invasion, 308;
  • Hooker, 308, 310;
  • failure to crush Lee, 326, 327;
  • Lee’s surrender, 342;
  • re-elected President, 327;
  • assassinated, 328.
  • Lincoln, Benjamin, and Stark, 130;
  • at Behmus’ Heights, 135;
  • wounded, 138;
  • surrenders Charleston to Clinton, 144;
  • at Yorktown, 147.
  • Lincoln, Captain, at Buena Vista, 202.
  • Lincoln, Robert T., at Appomattox, 337.
  • Linnet at Lake George, 175, 176.
  • L’Insurgente captured by the Constellation, 154.
  • Little Belt at Lake Erie, 163.
  • Locomotive, first, 181.
  • Lombardini, Manuel, at Buena Vista, 201.
  • Long Island, battle, 119.
  • Longstreet, James, rejoins Lee, 307;
  • disapproves of northern invasion, 307;
  • dispute with Lee, 317, 318, 322;
  • at Gettysburg, 318, 320;
  • expected counter-stroke, 325.
  • Louis XIV. attempted consolidation of Spain and France, 5, 8.
  • Louis XVI. execution, 154.
  • Louisiana, purchase, 8, 155;
  • settlement, 60;
  • retrocession of, to France, 154;
  • admission into the Union, 155;
  • secession, 231.
  • Loyalists, views, 97;
  • persecuted, 98;
  • at Boston, 106;
  • in British army, 120;
  • in Tryon County, 129.
  • McClellan, G. B., commander-in-chief, Federal armies, 273;
  • force, 274;
  • his superiors, 275.
  • McClernand, John A. B., in command before Vicksburg, 298;
  • placed under Grant, 298;
  • in Vicksburg campaign, 302.
  • McCulloch in Spanish War, 354.
  • Macdonough, Thomas, Jr., at Lake Champlain, 173;
  • account of battle, 176–178;
  • testimonials, 179.
  • Macedonian captured by the United States, 155.
  • McKee, Colonel, at Buena Vista, 205.
  • McKinley Tariff Bill, passed, 345.389
  • McKinley, William, elected President, 345;
  • Spain, 346;
  • Cuba, 348;
  • declares war, 350.
  • McLaws, Lafayette, in Gettysburg campaign, 318.
  • McPherson, James B., Vicksburg campaign, 299.
  • McRea, Jenny, murdered, 131, 132.
  • Madison, James, elected President, 155, 156.
  • Maine admitted into the Union, 180.
  • Maine blown up, 346, 349.
  • Manhattan Island purchased, 15, 30.
  • Manila, naval battle, 351–355;
  • Dewey’s command, 351;
  • Montojo’s, 351;
  • first shot, 352;
  • map, 353;
  • Spanish surrender, 354;
  • capture of city, 356, 373.
  • Manning, J. L., and surrender of Sumter, 271.
  • Marcy, W. L., plan of operations against Mexico, 189.
  • Marie Antoinette, execution, 154.
  • Marquette, Jacques, on Mississippi, 43, 63.
  • Marquis de Duero in Spanish War, 355.
  • Maryland, settlement, 31.
  • Mason, John, in Pequot War, 38, 39, 40, 42.
  • Mason, J. M., confederate commissioner, captured, 273.
  • Massachusetts in Spanish War, 358, 369.
  • Massachusetts, war with Pequots, 32–42;
  • King Philip’s War, 45–58;
  • charter annulled, 93;
  • military government, 95;
  • conscription, 120.
  • Maximilian, Archduke, assumes crown of Mexico, 327;
  • captured and shot, 343.
  • Meade, George Gordon, commands Army of Potomac, 294, 311;
  • character and appearance, 311;
  • forces under, 311;
  • reliance in Reynolds, 312;
  • at Gettysburg, first day, 313;
  • second day, position of forces, 316, 317;
  • midnight council, 321;
  • third day, Culp’s Hill, 322;
  • Pickett’s attack, 324;
  • question of counter-charge, 325;
  • Lee’s retreat, 326;
  • losses, 326;
  • Lincoln’s disappointment, 326.
  • Meade, R. K., and removal to Sumter, 252.
  • Mercer, Samuel, on Sumter relief expedition, 267.
  • Merrimac, construction, 276;
  • attack on Federal vessels, 277;
  • fight with Monitor, 278.
  • Merrimac, sinking of, 360, 361.
  • Merritt, Wesley, in Gettysburg campaign, 311;
  • at Appomattox, 337;
  • at Manila, 373.
  • Mexican War, causes, 183;
  • popular movement, 185, 186;
  • Taylor in Texas, 186;
  • advances to Rio Grande, 187;
  • first skirmish, 188;
  • Polk’s war message, 188;
  • war legislation, 188;
  • Polk’s sincerity, 189;
  • Slidell’s mission, 189;
  • purchase of California, 189;
  • map (1846–1848), 191;
  • occupation of New Mexico and California, 192;
  • Wool’s expedition, 192;
  • Doniphan’s expedition, 192;
  • friction, 192;
  • Taylor’s campaign, 193;
  • plan against city of Mexico, 194;
  • Vera Cruz, 194;
  • advance on City of Mexico, 195;
  • first mission, 195;
  • bribe to Santa Anna, 195;
  • armistice, 195;
  • futile negotiations, 196;
  • recall of Trist, 196;
  • City of Mexico occupied, 196;
  • treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo, 196;
  • ratified, 197;
  • Buena Vista, 198–207;
  • Vera Cruz, 208, 209;
  • Cerro Gordo, 209–211;
  • Contreras, 211–214;
  • Churubusco, 215–220;
  • Molino Del Rey, 220–225;
  • Chapultepec, 225–229;390
  • City of Mexico occupied, 229.
  • Mexico, City of, occupied, 182, 229;
  • campaign against, 190, 193;
  • captured, 196.
  • Miami Indians, defeat St. Clair, 154;
  • defeated by General Anthony Wayne, 154.
  • Michigan, admission into the Union, 181.
  • Miles, N. A., in Spanish War, 363, 372;
  • Porto Rico campaign, 373;
  • charges of maladministration of army, 374.
  • Miles, N. P., and surrender of Sumter, 271.
  • Minnesota, admission into the Union, 230.
  • Minuit, Governor, purchased the island of Manhattan, 15.
  • Mississippi, admitted into the Union, 180;
  • secession, 231.
  • Missouri Compromise, 180;
  • repealed, 230.
  • Molasses Act, in effect, 82;
  • aim, 83.
  • Molino Del Rey, battle, 220–225.
  • Monitor fight with the Virginia, 278, 281–287.
  • Monmouth, battle, 144.
  • “Monroe Doctrine” announced, 180.
  • Monroe, James, elected President, 180.
  • Montana, admission into the Union, 345.
  • Montcalm, Marquis de, capture of Fort William Henry, 63;
  • stand at Quebec, 69;
  • forces, 69, 70;
  • policy of defence, 72, 73;
  • meets Wolfe, 76;
  • defeat and death, 76.
  • Monterey, capture, 193, 198.
  • Montgomery, Fort, 139, 140.
  • Montojo, Admiral, Manila Bay battle, 351, 354.
  • Montreal, captured, 77.
  • Moore, Major, killed at the battle of Bunker Hill, 113.
  • Morgan, Daniel, at Behmus’ Heights, 133, 137.
  • Morgan, M. R., at Appomattox, 336.
  • Moseley, Captain, in King Philip’s War, 49.
  • Moultrie, Fort, condition, 240;
  • guns spiked, 254;
  • occupied by state forces, 255.
  • Napoleon I. sells Louisiana, 8.
  • Narraganset Indians, and Pequot war, 32–35;
  • King Philip’s War, 45, 51–54, 57.
  • Nebraska, admission into the Union, 343.
  • Nevada, admission into the Union, 327.
  • New Amsterdam founded, 4.
  • Newhall, Colonel, at Appomattox, 335, 342.
  • New Hampshire, settlement, 30;
  • conscription, 120.
  • New Haven purchased, 17.
  • New Jersey established, 43.
  • New Orleans, settlement, 60;
  • Farragut’s expedition against, 290–294.
  • New York in Spanish War, 358.
  • Niagara, Fort, captured, 73, 74.
  • Niagara at Lake Erie, 163, 170.
  • Nixon, John, at the battle of Bunker Hill, 113.
  • Noailles, Viscount de, at the siege of Yorktown, 149.
  • North Carolina, secession, 273.
  • North Dakota, admission into the Union, 345.
  • Norton, Doctor, discovery of anæsthetics, 182.
  • O’Brien, Lieutenant, at Buena Vista, 200.
  • Ohio, admission into the Union, 155.
  • Oklahoma opened, 345.
  • Oldham, John, killed, 34, 36.
  • Olympia in Spanish War, 351.
  • Oquendo in Spanish War, 359, 370–371.
  • Ord, E. O. C, at Appomattox, 337.
  • Oregon, admission into the Union, 231.391
  • Oregon, in Spanish War, 358;
  • voyage around the Horn, 360;
  • in battle off Santiago, 369–370.
  • Oregon, Spain cedes claim, 9;
  • joint occupation, 9;
  • annexation, 10.
  • Ostend manifesto, draw up, 347.
  • Otis, James, and “writs of assistance,” 83.
  • Palo Alto, battle of, 193.
  • Panama Canal, construction, 344.
  • Parker, Ely, at Appomattox, 337.
  • Parsons, Usher, at the battle of Lake Erie, 168.
  • Paterson, General, at Prospect Hill (1775), 103;
  • at Bunker Hill, 108.
  • Peacock captured by the Hornet, 156.
  • Pemberton, J. C., Vicksburg campaign, 299;
  • besieged, 304;
  • surrenders, 304.
  • Penn, William, purchases East Jersey, 59.
  • Pequots, war with Massachusetts colony, 32;
  • killing of Stone, 33, 34, 36;
  • murder of Oldham, 34, 36;
  • Narraganset alliance, 35, 36;
  • settlements attacked, 37;
  • capture of forts, 39, 41;
  • exterminated, 41.
  • Perry, Oliver Hazard, battle of Lake Erie, 156;
  • boyhood, 158;
  • at Lake Erie, 160;
  • command, 163;
  • shifts flag, 164;
  • victory, 167;
  • message, 169;
  • losses, 170;
  • treatment of prisoners, 171;
  • promotion, 171;
  • prize money, 171.
  • Petersburg, siege of, 327.
  • Petrel in Spanish War, 351.
  • Pettigrew, J. J., and Anderson, 254;
  • Pickett’s charge, 324.
  • Philadelphia, meeting of colonial delegates (1774), 94.
  • Philippine Islands, United States’ possession, 11.
  • Pickens, F. W., request for Sumter, 248;
  • removal to Sumter, 254.
  • Pickett, G. E., charge at Gettysburg, 318, 323, 324.
  • Pico, Pio, faction in California, 190.
  • Pierce, Franklin, elected President, 230.
  • Pigot, Sir Robert, at Bunker Hill, 106.
  • Pillow, Fort, storming, 327.
  • Pillow, Gideon J., at Vera Cruz, 208;
  • at Contreras, 211;
  • at Churubusco, 215.
  • Pinckney, Castle, condition, 239;
  • occupied by Anderson, 247;
  • occupied by state forces, 255.
  • Pitcairn, Major, shot at Breed’s Hill, 116.
  • Pitt, Fort, built, 74.
  • Pitt, William, in British cabinet, 63;
  • naval activity, 64, 66;
  • demands enforcement of restrictive laws in the colonies, 83.
  • Pizarro, conquest of Peru, 12.
  • Plains of Abraham, battle, 75.
  • Plassey, battle of, 64.
  • Pleasonton, Alfred, in Gettysburg campaign, 309.
  • Pocanokets. See Wampanoags.
  • Polk, James K., elected President, 181;
  • war message, 188;
  • Texas boundary, 188;
  • Slidell’s mission, 189;
  • aggressiveness, 189;
  • policy of conquering a peace, 189;
  • plan of operations, 189, 190, 194;
  • friction, 192;
  • Trist, 196;
  • accepts treaty, 197;
  • Cuba, 347.
  • Ponce de Leon, Juan, voyage to Florida, 12.
  • Pomeroy, Seth, at Bunker Hill, 108, 117.
  • Pometacom. See King Philip.
  • Poor, Enoch, at Behmus’ Heights, 136.
  • Porter, David D., at the battle of New Orleans, 292;
  • Vicksburg campaign, 300, 304n392
  • Porter, Fitz-John, report on Charleston harbor forts, 242.
  • Porter, Horace, at Appomattox, 336, 337.
  • Port Gibson, battle, 302.
  • Port Hudson, Banks’ expedition against, 305.
  • Port Royal, in Acadia, foundation, 63.
  • Port Royal, Nova Scotia, captured, 63.
  • Preble at Lake George, 176, 179.
  • Prescott, Lieutenant, nephew of Colonel Prescott, killed at battle of Bunker Hill, 115.
  • Prescott, William, at Bunker Hill, 103;
  • fortifies Breed’s Hill, 105;
  • bravery, 107;
  • reinforced, 107;
  • offers command to Warren, 109;
  • repulses Howe, 112, 113;
  • retreat, 116.
  • President, fight with Little Belt, 155.
  • Prevost, Sir George, at Lake Champlain, 175, 178.
  • Prideaux, Brigadier, expedition to Niagara, 72, 73.
  • Proctor, Redfield, speech on Cuba, 349.
  • Pryor, R. A., and surrender of Sumter, 271.
  • Putnam, Israel, joins army, 99;
  • at Cambridge, 103;
  • at Bunker Hill, 104, 107, 108, 112, 115, 117;
  • at the Highlands, 121;
  • at Peekskill, 140.
  • Quebec, settled, 4, 13, 63;
  • act, 6;
  • taken by English, 30;
  • Wolfe’s expedition against, 66;
  • Montcalm at, 69;
  • stronghold, 70;
  • river protection, 70, 71;
  • defensive force, 71;
  • progress of siege, 72;
  • plains of Abraham, 75;
  • losses, 76;
  • surrender, 76.
  • Queen Anne, accession, 60.
  • Queen Anne’s War, 60, 63.
  • Queen Charlotte at Lake Erie, 163.
  • Quitman, John A., at Vera Cruz, 208.
  • Raleigh in Spanish War, 351.
  • Raleigh, Sir Walter, expedition to North Carolina, 13.
  • Rawlins, General, at Appomattox, 336, 337.
  • Reconstruction Act, passage, 343.
  • Reed, James, at Bunker Hill, 107, 116.
  • Reina Cristina in Spanish War, 354, 355.
  • Resaca de la Palma, battle, 193.
  • Revolution, American, primary causes, 79;
  • Samuel Adams as factor, 95;
  • outbreak, 99;
  • military preparations, 100.
  • Reynolds, John E., in Gettysburg campaign, 312;
  • death, 313.
  • Rey, Vara el, at El Caney, 366n.
  • Rhett, R. B., Jr., and Anderson’s removal to Sumter, 252.
  • Rhode Island, purchased, 17;
  • settlement, 31;
  • battle of, 144.
  • Riedesel, General, at Ticonderoga, 124, 126.
  • Roanoke Island, English settlement, 13;
  • captured, 288.
  • Rochambeau, Count de, at Williamsburg (1781), 146.
  • Roosevelt, Theodore, and the navy, 357;
  • Rough Riders, 362;
  • Sampson-Schley controversy, 376.
  • Ross, Major, commissioner at the surrender of Cornwallis, 149.
  • Rowan, S. C., and Sumter relief expedition, 266.
  • Ruffin, Edmund, opens fire on Sumter, 267.
  • St. Augustine, founded, 13.
  • St. Clair, Arthur, at Ticonderoga, 123;
  • defeat, 124;
  • pursued by British, 126;
  • defeat by Miami Indians, 154.
  • St. Leger, Colonel, siege of Fort Schuyler, 129;393
  • retreat, 132.
  • St. Marks captured, 180.
  • St. Paul in Spanish War, 360.
  • St. Simon, Marquis de, at the siege of Yorktown, 147.
  • Salem, settlement, 30.
  • Sampson, W. T., command, 358;
  • search for Cervera’s squadron, 359;
  • blockade of coast of Cuba, 359;
  • battle off Santiago, 369–371;
  • Schley controversy, 375.
  • San Juan d’Ulloa, Fort, 208.
  • San Juan Hill, battle, 365.
  • Santa Anna, at Buena Vista, 194, 198–207;
  • bribe, 195;
  • abdicates, 196;
  • at Cerro Gordo, 209;
  • at Contreras, 211–214;
  • at Churubusco, 215–220;
  • at Molino Del Rey, 220–225;
  • Chapultepec, 225–229.
  • Santiago de Cuba, Cervera’s squadron at, 360;
  • blockade, 361;
  • sinking of Merrimac, 361;
  • preparations of army against, 362;
  • voyage and landing of army, 363–364;
  • Las Guasimas, 365;
  • El Caney, 365;
  • San Juan Hill, 366–368;
  • map, 367;
  • naval battle, 369–372;
  • surrender, 372;
  • condition of army 373;
  • return of troops, 373.
  • Santo Domingo, proposed annexation with United States, 11.
  • Saratoga battle (1777), 120–143.
  • Saratoga at Lake George, 175, 176, 178, 179.
  • Saunders, Admiral, at siege of Quebec, 66, 67, 68, 69, 71, 74.
  • Savannah, founded, 61.
  • Saybrook, Fort, beleaguered, 37, 38, 40.
  • Schley, W. S., flying squadron, 358;
  • search for Cervera’s squadron, 359–361;
  • battle off Santiago, 370;
  • Sampson controversy, 375.
  • Schuyler, Fort, relief, 129.
  • Schuyler, Philip, command, 120;
  • at Fort Edward, 126;
  • prejudices against, 127;
  • proclamation, 128;
  • superseded by Gates, 131;
  • at Stillwater, 128;
  • and Arnold, 129;
  • exonerated, 143.
  • Schwan, Theodore, in Porto Rico, 373.
  • Scott, Winfield, plan of operations against Mexico, 189;
  • commands Mexican expedition, 194;
  • bribe to Santa Anna, 195;
  • proposed armistice, 195, 196;
  • captures Vera Cruz, 195, 208, 209;
  • Cerro Gordo, 209;
  • Contreras, 211–214;
  • Churubusco, 215–220;
  • Molino del Rey, 220–225;
  • Chapultepec, 225–229;
  • occupies the City of Mexico, 229;
  • advises reinforcement of Charleston Harbor forts, 236;
  • inaccurate statement of forces 237;
  • Fox’s plan of relief, 265;
  • succeeded by McClellan, 273.
  • Sedgwick, John, in Gettysburg campaign, 311, 316.
  • Sedition Act, passage, 154.
  • Seminole War, beginning, 180;
  • termination, 181.
  • Seven Years’ War, beginning, 63.
  • Seward, W. H., purchase of Alaska, 11;
  • Danish West India Islands, 11.
  • Shafter, W. R., Santiago campaign, 363, 364, 365, 369, 372.
  • Shannon captures the Chesapeake, 156.
  • Shays’ Rebellion in Massachusetts, 153;
  • suppression, 154.
  • Sheridan, P. H., at Appomattox, 330, 332, 334, 335, 336, 342.
  • Sherman, William T., at Buena Vista, 202, 204, 206;
  • and McClernand, 298;
  • in Vicksburg campaign, 299, 302;
  • march on Atlanta, 327;
  • occupies Charleston, 327.
  • Shields, James, at Vera Cruz, 208;
  • at Contreras, 212;394
  • at Churubusco, 217.
  • Sickles, D. E., in Gettysburg campaign, 311, 317.
  • Sigsbee, C. D., in Spanish War, 360.
  • Simmons, Colonel, at Bennington, 131.
  • Six Nations (Indians), in council, 124, 132.
  • Skene, Philip K., Council at Castleton, 127.
  • Slavery, introduced into Virginia, 30;
  • enlistment, 121;
  • importation prohibited, 155.
  • Slidell, John, mission to Mexico, 189;
  • captured, 273.
  • Slocum, H. W., in Gettysburg campaign, 311, 317.
  • Small, Major, at Bunker Hill, 113.
  • Smith, C. H., at Appomattox, 332.
  • Smith, General, at Contreras, 213, 214.
  • Smith, Persifer, at Contreras, 212.
  • Smith, John, on American Indians, 17.
  • Smith, Kirby, at Molino del Rey, 221;
  • at Vicksburg, 299, 304.
  • South Carolina, secession, 231.
  • South Dakota, admission into the Union, 345.
  • Spain, territorial growth in America, 2, 3, 4;
  • loss of territory, 5;
  • and England in America, 6;
  • colonial revolution, 9;
  • cedes claim to Oregon, 9;
  • in Cuba, 345.
  • Spanish War, causes, 347–349;
  • war declared, 350;
  • Dewey at Manila, 351–356;
  • naval preparation, 357;
  • comparative naval forces, 358, 359;
  • blockade of Cuba, 359;
  • Santiago campaign, 360–369;
  • maps, 367, 371;
  • naval battle, 369–372;
  • surrender, 372;
  • Porto Rico campaign, 373;
  • capture of Manila, 373, 374;
  • army investigation, 374;
  • Sampson-Schley controversy, 375, 376.
  • Specie Payment, resumption, 344.
  • Speedlove, Major, killed at Bunker Hill, 115.
  • Spottsylvania Court-house, battle, 327.
  • Stamp Act, proposed, 84;
  • first reception of proposal, 85;
  • resistance, 88;
  • repeal urged, 89;
  • repealed, 89.
  • Stanwix, Fort, siege, 129.
  • Stanwix, John, sent to succor Pittsburg, 73;
  • built Fort Pitt, 74.
  • Stark, John, joins army, 99;
  • at Medford, 103;
  • at Bunker Hill, 107, 116;
  • insubordination, 130;
  • at Bennington, 130, 131;
  • censured by Congress, 134;
  • promoted, 135.
  • Star of the West expedition, 256.
  • Stillwater, battle of, 119.
  • Stockton, R. F., in California, 192.
  • Stuart, J. E. B., and Lee’s northward march, 309;
  • raid during Gettysburg campaign, 309, 310;
  • Gettysburg, 323.
  • Stuyvesant, Peter, and Swedish settlers, 42.
  • Sumter, Fort, condition, 240, 244;
  • state demands, 248;
  • Anderson removes to, 251–253;
  • flag-raising, 254;
  • Star of the West expedition, 256;
  • armament, 262;
  • bombardment, 267;
  • surrenders, 271.
  • “Swamp Fight,” King Philip’s War, 52, 56.
  • Swedes occupy the Delaware River, 4.
  • Sykes, George, in Gettysburg campaign, 311.
  • Tarenteens (Eastern Indians), and King Philip’s War, 50.
  • Tarleton, Banastre, at the siege of Yorktown, 147.
  • Taylor, Dick, at Vicksburg, 304.
  • Taylor, H. C., in Spanish War, 363.395
  • Taylor, Zachary, at Buena Vista, 182;
  • in Texas, 186;
  • advances to Rio Grande, 187;
  • first skirmish, 188;
  • captures Monterey, 193;
  • plans against City of Mexico, 194;
  • at Buena Vista, 194, 198–207;
  • elected President, 229;
  • death, 230.
  • Telephone, invention, 344.
  • Tennessee, admission into the Union, 154;
  • secession, 273.
  • Territory, European claims in America, 2, 4, 5, 6;
  • map of growth, 3;
  • of the United States, 7–12.
  • Texas in Spanish War, 358, 370, 371.
  • Texas, rival claims, 9;
  • annexation, 10;
  • republic proclaimed, 181;
  • revolution, 181;
  • admission into the Union, 181;
  • annexation, 183;
  • cause of Mexican War, 184;
  • secession, 231.
  • Thirty Years’ War, result, 4.
  • Thomas, John, at Bunker Hill, 102, 111.
  • Thompson, Waddy, and annexation of Texas, 183, 184.
  • Thomson, Charles, and Washington’s letter on the capitulation of Cornwallis, 150.
  • Ticonderoga, battle of, 124.
  • Ticonderoga, Fort, defence, 123.
  • Ticonderoga at Lake George, 175, 176, 179.
  • Tilghman, Lieutenant-Colonel, bearer of despatches to Congress on surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown, 149.
  • Toral, José, surrenders Santiago, 372.
  • Tories. See Loyalists.
  • Townshend, Charles, revenue scheme, 90, 93;
  • tax measures repealed, 91.
  • Treat, Major, and King Philip’s War, 49, 52.
  • Treaty of Ghent, 179.
  • Treaty of Paris, 77.
  • Treaty of Utrecht, 60, 63.
  • Treaty of Washington, 343.
  • Trescot, W. H., on Floyd and reinforcement of forts, 241, 242;
  • demand for Sumter, 249;
  • removal to Sumter, 255.
  • Trist, N. P., mission, 195;
  • Scott, 195;
  • first negotiations, 196;
  • recalled, but negotiates a treaty, 196, 197.
  • Tryon, William, burns Continental Village, 141.
  • Twiggs, David Emanuel, at Cerro Gordo, 209;
  • at Churubusco, 215.
  • Tyler, John, succeeds to the Presidency, 181.
  • United States, territorial power, 7–9;
  • buys Louisiana, 8;
  • occupies West Florida, 8;
  • territorial rivalry with Great Britain, 9;
  • acquires Spanish possession, 11;
  • independence recognized, 143, 153;
  • dispute with Spain (1785), 153;
  • declares war with Great Britain, 155;
  • with Tripoli, 155;
  • supremacy on Lake Erie, 172;
  • treaty with Spain, 180;
  • war with Mexico, 181;
  • treaty with Great Britain, 182;
  • war with Spain (1898), 350.
  • United States captures the Macedonian, 155.
  • Upham, A. P., and Mexico, 184, 185.
  • Utah, admission into the Union, 345.
  • Van Buren, Martin, elected President, 181.
  • Van Dorn, Earl, destruction of Holly Springs depot, 296.
  • Vane, Sir Henry, Governor of Massachusetts, 32.
  • Velasco in Spanish War, 355.
  • Venezuela boundary dispute, 345, 346.
  • Vera Cruz captured, 195.
  • Versailles, Peace of, 153.
  • Vicksburg, and destruction of Holly Springs depot, 296;
  • Sherman’s failure, 297;396
  • McClernand’s command, 297;
  • Grant’s command, 298;
  • topography, 298, 299;
  • Confederate force, 299;
  • Federal force, 299;
  • tentative operations, 300;
  • running the batteries, 301;
  • Grant crosses river below, 302;
  • Federal victories in rear, 302;
  • siege, 303, 304;
  • surrender, 304;
  • losses, 304;
  • bombardment, 304n.
  • Villamil, Ignacio de Mora y, at Buena Vista, 202.
  • Ville de Paris, De Grasse’s flag-ship, 146.
  • Virginia admitted (by proclamation) into the Union, 294.
  • Virginia affair, 348.
  • Virginia. See Merrimac.
  • Virginia, slavery introduced, 30;
  • crown colony, 30;
  • secession, 273.
  • Virginius captured, 343.
  • Vixen in Spanish War, 369.
  • Vizcaya in Spanish War, 359, 371, 372.
  • Wadsworth, Captain, ambushed, 54.
  • Walker, Captain, at the battle of Bunker Hill, 111.
  • Wampanoags (Pocanokets) and King Philip’s War, 44–58.
  • Ward, Artemas, in command, 99;
  • at Bunker Hill, 103, 107, 108, 115.
  • Warner, Colonel, at Ticonderoga, 126, 128.
  • Warren, Gouverneur K., at Gettysburg, 319, 321.
  • Warren, James, joins army, 99;
  • President of the Provincial Congress of Massachusetts, 108;
  • a volunteer at the battle of Bunker Hill, 109;
  • killed, 116.
  • Washington, admission into the Union, 345.
  • Washington, George, siege of Boston, 119;
  • at Trenton, 119;
  • at Princeton, 119, 121;
  • at battle of the Brandywine, 119;
  • at Germantown, 119;
  • at Morristown, 121;
  • Philadelphia campaign, 121, 122;
  • confers with Congress, 123;
  • confidence in Schuyler, 127;
  • loss of Philadelphia, 143;
  • at Williamsburg, 145;
  • at Yorktown, 147–149;
  • elected President, 154;
  • death, 154.
  • Washington, D. C., seat of government, 154.
  • Wasp captures the Frolic, 155.
  • Wayne, Anthony, defeats Miami Indians, 154.
  • Weedon, George, at the siege of Yorktown, 147.
  • Welles, Gideon, Secretary of the Navy, 291.
  • West, Captain, bought the site of Richmond, Va., 15.
  • West Indies, France, Spain, and England, in, 5.
  • Weyler y Nicolau, Valeriano, in Cuba, 348.
  • Wheeler, Joseph, in Spanish War, 364.
  • Whiskey Insurrection in Philadelphia, 154.
  • Wigfall, L. T., at the surrender of Sumter, 270, 271.
  • Wilcox, C. M., and Pickett’s charge, 324.
  • Wilderness, battle of the, 327.
  • Wilkinson, James, commissioner 143.
  • Willett, Marinus, at the siege of Fort Schuyler, 129.
  • William Henry, Fort, captured, 63.
  • William III., death, 60.
  • Williams, Major, killed at Bunker Hill, 115.
  • Williams, Gen. Seth, at Appomattox, 336, 337.
  • Williams, Roger, purchase of Rhode Island, obtains patent from Parliament, 42.
  • Winslow, Josiah, Governor of Plymouth, 52.
  • Wisconsin, admitted into the Union, 229.397
  • Wolfe, James, expedition against Quebec, 66;
  • career and character, 66, 67;
  • forces, 67, 68;
  • advance, 68, 69;
  • progress of siege, 72;
  • illness, 74;
  • on Plains of Abraham, 75;
  • death, 76.
  • Wood, Leonard, and Rough Riders, 362.
  • Wool, J. E., expedition against Mexico, 192;
  • at Buena Vista, 200.
  • Worden, J. L., Monitor-Virginia fight, 278;
  • story of the fight, 281–284.
  • “Writs of assistance,” right of search, 83;
  • legalized, 90.
  • Wyoming, admission into the Union, 345.
  • Wyoming Valley massacre, 144.
  • Yarnell, Lieutenant, courage of, at the battle of Lake Erie, 169, 170.
  • Yorktown, siege of, 145–150;
  • British forces, 146;
  • allied forces, 147;
  • Cornwallis’s surrender, 149;
  • results, 150–153.