History of Redding
Chapter IV Revolutionary History and Incidents
Two years had passed since the opening of the War of Independence years of alternate victory and defeat to the colonists when a hostile armament of twenty-five vessels bearing two thousand men, the flower of the British army, appeared off Compo, in Westport, on the Connecticut shore. It was the 25th of April, 1777. A few days before news had come to Lord Howe, commanding in New York, that a magazine of munitions of war had been formed by the rebels in Danbury, and which afforded him a pretext for a descent on Connecticut, a step which he had long meditated. The region of country covered by the proposed campaign had been swept of its able-bodied men, who were in the Continental ranks keeping a careful watch on his lordship's regulars; but that there might be no balk in the operations, an overwhelming force of two thousand picked men was detailed for the expedition. For commanders, Howe chose a nondescript genius, one Governor Tryon, and two military men of ability, General Agnew and Sir William Erskine. Tryon had been Governor of New York; he had the further merit of being intimately acquainted with Connecticut, and of being consumed with an inveterate hatred for, and thirst for revenge on, the Yankees; he had a special grudge too against Connecticut, the sturdy little colony having thwarted him in a variety of ways. Her dragoons had scattered the types of his newspaper organ through the strects of New York; her "Sons of Liberty" had plotted against him even in his own city, and she had treated with contempt his proclamations inviting her to return to her allegiance, even printing them in her gazettes as specimens of the governor's pleasant humor.
Furthermore, he was well acquainted with the country to be trayersed. He had been as far inland as Litchfield, had probably visited Danbury, and had been dined and at Norwalk, Fairfield, and New Haven. He seems to have acted as guide to the expedition while his two advisers attended to its miitnry details. The troops disembarked at Compo at four in the afternoon, and the same day marched to Weston, about eight miles distant, where they encamped for the night. To oppose these troops there was only a militia corps of old men and boys, not equal in number to one half the invading force.
Colonel Cook was in command at Danbury with a company of unarmed militia. General Silliman at Fairfield, General Wooster at Stratford, and General Arnold at Norwalk could not muster, all told, more than eight hundred raw, undiseiplined men. Under these circumstances Tryon's expedition can only be viewed as a picnic excursion into the country, and as such no doubt he regarded it. On the morning of the 26th his army was early astir, and reached Redding Ridge, where the first halt was made, about the time that the inhabitants had concluded their morning meal. What transpired here is thus narrated by Mr. Hollister in his admirable "History of Conoectient." vol. ii. chap. 12:
"On the morning of the 26th, at a very seasonable hour, Fryon arrived at Reading Ridge, where was a small hamlet of peaceful inhabitants, almost every one of them patriots, and most of them farmers, who had crowned the high hill, where they had chosen to build their Zion, with a tall, gaunt church, which drew to its aisles one day in seven the people that dwelt upon the sides of the hills, and in the bosom of the valleys, within the range of the summons that sounded from its belfry. By way of satisfying his hunger with a morning lunch, until he could provide a more substantial meal, he drew up his artillery in front of the weatherbeaten edifice that had before defied every thing save the grace of God, and the supplications of his worshippers, and gave it a good round of grape and canister, that pierced its sides through, and shattered its smallpaned windows into fragments. The only spectators to this heroic demonstration were a few women and little children, some of whom ran away at the sight of the red-coats, and others faced the invaders with a menacing stare."
Mr. Hollister is in the main a careful and accurate historian, but a due regard for the truth of history compels us to say that he was misinformed in regard to the above facts. The following account is believed to be correct, our principal informant being an aged inhabitant of Redding, and a competent authority:
During the halt the main body of the troops remained under arms on the green in front of the church. Tryon, Agnew, and Erskine were invited into Esquire Heron's, who lived in the first house south of the church. Here they were hospitably entertained with cake and wine, and with many hopeful prognostications of the speedy collapse of the "rebellion." Across the street from the church, in a house a few yards south of the one now occupied by Daniel Sanford, lived Lieutenant Stephen Betts, a prominent patriot, and at whose house it will be remembered the county convention was held in 1779. A file of soldiers entered the house, seized him, and he was taken with them on their march. James Rogers, another prominent patriot, and Jeremiah Sanford, a lad of ten years, son of Mr. Daniel Sanford, met a like fate. The lad, we may remark, was carried to New York and died in the prison ships, June 28, 1777. Shortly before the army resumed its march, a horseman was observed spurring rapidly down the Couch's Hill road toward them, and approached within musket-shot before discovering their presence; he then turned to fly, but was shot, and severely wounded in the attempt. He proved to be a messenger from Colonel Cook in Danbury, bearing dispatches to General Silliman, by name Lambert Lockwood. Tryon had formerly known him in Norwalk, where Lockwood had rendered him a service, and seems to have acted on this occasion with some approach to magnanimity, as he released him on parole, and allowed him to be taken into a house that his wounds might be dressed.
The statement concerning the firing into the church is a mistake, and I am assured that the reverse is true. It is said that the church was not molested at all (except that a soldier with a well-directed ball brought down the gilded weathercock from the spire), and the fact that the rector, the Rev. John Beach, as well as several of its most prominent members, among them the Squire Heron above referred to, were most pronounced loyalists, strengthens the assertion. The British army, after halting an hour or two in the village, resumed its march to Danbury, with the capture and burning of which the reader is no doubt acquainted.
Meanwhile the patriots in Redding anxiously waited the approach of the Continental army in pursuit. At length it came in view, marching wearily, with dusty and disordered ranks, a little army of five hundred men and boys, led by Brigadier-General Silliman in person. They had marched from Fairfield that day, and were fully twenty-eight hours behind the foe, who was then lying drunken and disorganized at Danbury. A muster-roll of the little band would have shown a most pathetic exhibition of weakness. There were parts of the companies of Colonel Lamb's battalion of artillery, with three rusty cannon, a field-piece, and part of the artillery company of Fairfield, and sixty Continentals; the rest were raw levies, chiefly old men and boys. It was eight o'clock in the evening when the troops arrived at Redding Redge, an evening as disagreeable as a north-east rain-storm with its attendant darkness could make it. Here the troops halted an hour for rest and refreshment. At the expiration of that time a bugle sounded far down the street; then the tramp of horsemen was heard, and presently Major-General Wooster and Brigadier-General Arnold, at the head of a squadron of cavalry, dashed into the village.
On hearing that the British were so far ahead, it is said that Arnold became so enraged that he could scarcely keep his seat, and his terrible oaths fell on his auditors' ears like thunder-claps. Wooster at once assumed command, and the column moved forward through the mud as far as Bethel, where it halted for the night. At Danbury, but three miles distant, Tryon's force was sleeping in drunken security, and might have been annihilated by a determined effort, but the command was too much exhausted for the attempt.
Tryon the next morning was early astir, being aware that the militia were closing in on him on all sides, and commenced a retreat to his ships, taking the circuitous route through Ridgefield. On learning this move, General Wooster at Bethel divided his command, one detachment under Generals Arnold and Silliman marching rapidly across the country and taking post at Ridgefield, while the other, commanded by himself, pressed closely on Tryon's rear. The succeeding fortunes of the patriots--how they met the foe at Ridgefield, how Wooster fell gallantly leading on his men, how Arnold performed prodigies of valor, and how the enemy were pursued and harassed until they gained the cover of their ships--has become a part of our national history, and needs no recounting.
News that the British had landed at Compo, that they were encamped at Weston, and would march through Redding the next day, was conveyed to this town at an early hour, and occasioned the greatest consternation to this town at an early hour, and occasioned the greatest consternation and excitement. Money and valuables were hastily secreted in wells and other places of concealment; horses and cattle were driven into the forests, and the inhabitants along the enemy's probable route held themselves in readiness for instant flight. Herod's emissaries could not have excited livelier emotions of terror in the hearts of Judean mothers than did Tryon's invasion in the bosoms of the mothers of Redding. He seems to have warred pre-eminently on women and boys. The latter especially he made prisoners of, and consigned to the horrible prison-ships, either holding them as hostages, or on the plea that they "would very soon grow into rebels." The women of Redding had heard of this propensity, and at his approach gathered all the boys of thirteen and under the older ones were away under arms hand conveyed them to a secluded place near the hill, with a stream of running water at its base. The same may be said of the camp at Long Ridge.
As to the exact location of Putnam's headquarters at this time, authorities differ, but all agree in placing it on Umpawaug Hill. Mr. Barber, in his "Historical Collections," says it was the old house that stood until recently on the corner of the road leading down to Sanford's Station, a short distance north of Andrew Perry's present residence. Mr. Lossing, in his "Field Book of the Revolution," makes the same statement; but I am informed by an aged residem, whose father was an officer in the Revolutionary army, and visited General Putnam at his headquarters, that they were in an old house that then stood between the residence of the late Burr Meeker and that now occupied by Mr. Ephraim Barlow, and that the first-named was his guard-house. The question is one of little importance perhaps, except to those who demand the utmost possible accuracy in the statement of fact.
Some of the officers were quartered in the house now occupied by Mrs. Seth Todd. then owned by Samuel Gould; others in a house that stood on the site of the one formerly occupied by Sherlock Todd. General Parson's headquarters were on Redding Ridge.While the army lay at Redding several events of importance occurred, which are worthy of narrating with some degree of particularity. The troops went into winter quarters this year in no pleasant humor, and almost in the spirit of insubordination. This was peculiarly the case with the Connecticut troops. They had endured privations that many men would have sunk under--the horrors of battle, the weariness of the march, cold, hunger, and nakedness. What was worse, they had been paid in the depreciated currency of the times, which had scarcely any purchasing power, and their devoted families at home were reduced to the lowest extremity of want and wretchedness.
The forced inactivity of the camp gave them time to brood over their wrongs, until at length they formed the bold resolve of marching to Hartford, and presenting their grievances in person to the Legislature then sitting. The two brigades were under arms for this purpose before news of the revolt was brought to Putnam. He, with his usual intrepidity and decision of character, threw himself upon his horse and dashed down the road leading to his camps, never slacking rein until he drew up in the presence of the disaffected troops. "My brave lads," cried he, "whither are you going? Do you intend to desert your officers. and to invite the enemy to follow you into the country? Whose cause have you been fighting and suffering so long in is it not your own? Have you no property, no parents, wives, or children? You have behaved like men so far all the world is full of your praises, and postenty will stand astonished at your deeds; but not if you spoil all at last. Don't you consider how much the countryis distressed by the war, and that your officers have not been any better paid than yourselves? But we all expect better times, and that the country will do us ample justice. Let us all stand by one another then, and fight it out like brave soldiers. Think what a shame it would be for Connecticut men to run away from their officers." When he had finished this stirring speech, he directed the acting major of brigades to give the word for them to shoulder, march to their regimental parades, and lodge arms, which was done; one soldier only, a ringleader in the affair, was confined in the guard-house, from which he attempted to escape, but was shot dead by the sentinel on duty himself one of the mutineers. Thus ended the affair, and no further trouble was experienced with the Connecticut troops.
Nothing had so much annoyed Putnam and his officers during the campaign of the preceding summer on the Hudson than the desertions which had thinned his ranks, and the Tory spies, who frequented his camps, under every variety of pretext, and forthwith conveyed the information thus gathered to the enemy. To put a stop to this it had been determined that the next offender of either sort captured should suffer death as an example, and according to the usages of war. The time for putting this determination into execution soon arrived. One day some scouts from Putnam's outposts in Westchester County captured a man lurking within their lines, and as he could give no satisfactory account of himself he was at once haled over the borders, and into the presence of the commander-in-chief. In answer to his queries, the prisoner said that his name was Jones, that he was a Welshman by birth, and had settled in Ridgefield a few years before the war commenced; that he had never faltered in his allegiance to the king, and that at the outbreak of hostilities he had fled to the British army, and had been made a butcher in the camp; a few weeks before, he had been sent into Westchester County to buy beeves for the army, and had been captured as above narrated. He was remanded to the guard-house and a court-martial at once ordered for his trial. The result is given in the following document found among the papers of the late Lieutenant Samuel Richards, paymaster in Colonel Wylly's regiment:*
"Feb. 4, 1779. Was tried at a General Court Martial Edward Jones for Going to and serving the enerny, and coming out as a spy--found guilty of each and every charge Exhibited against him, and according to Law and the Usages of Nations was sentenced to suffer Death. "The General approves the sentence and orders it to be put in Execution between the hours of ten and eleven A. M. by hanging him by the neck till he be Dead." Two days after another court-martial was held for a similar offence, as the following proves:
"Feb. 6, 1779. At a Gen'l Court Martial was tried John Smith of the 1st Connecticut Regiment for desertion and attempting to go to the Enemy, found guilty, and further persisting in saying that he will go to the Enemy if ever he has an opportunity, Sentenced to be shot to death, and orders that it be put in Execution between the hours of ten and twelve A. M."
General Putnam having two prisoners under sentence of death determined to execute them both at once, or as he expressed it, "make a double job of it," and at the same time make the spectacle as terrible and impressive as the circumstances demanded. The lofty hill dominating the valley and the camps (known to this day as Gallows Hill) was chosen as the scene of the execution, the instrument of death being erected on its highest pinnacle. The details of the execution, for reasons which will appear, I prefer to give in the words of the three different historians who have chronicled it. Mr. Barber, in his "Historical Collections of Connecticut," p. 399, says:"The scene which took place at the execution of these men is described as shocking and bloody. The man on whom the duty of hangman devolved left the camp, and on the day of execution could not be found. A couple of boys about the age of twelve years were ordered by General Putnam to perform the duties of the absconding hangman. The gallows was about twenty feet from the ground. Jones was compelled to ascend the ladder, and the rope around his neck was attached to the cross-beam. General Putnam then ordered Jones to jump from the ladder. 'No. General Putnam,' said Jones, 'I am innocent of the crime laid to my charge; I shall not do it.' Putnam then ordered the boys before mentioned to turn the ladder over. These boys were deeply affected by the trying scene; they cried and sobbed loudly, and earnestly entreated to be excused from doing any thing on this distressing occasion. Putnam, drawing his sword, ordered them forward, and compelled them at the sword's point to obey his orders. The soldier that was shot for desertion was but a youth of sixteen or seventeen years of age. Three balls were shot through his breast: he fell on his face, but immediately turned over on his back; a soldier then advanced, and putting the muzzle of his gun near the convulsive body of the youth, discharged its contents into his forehead. The body was then taken up and put into a coffin; the soldiers had fired their pieces so near, that they set the boy's clothes on fire, which continued burning. An officer with a drawn sworn stood by, while every soldier of the three brigades who were out on the occasion was ordered to march by and look at the mangled remains."
Mr. Barber says in a foot-note that the above particulars were derived Historie Houses. II The Old Col Aaron Barlow House. from an aged inhabitant of Reading, who was present on the occasion, and stood but a few feet from Jones when he was executed. Mr. Hollister, in his "History of Connecticut," takes exception to the above account. In Vol. ii, page 375, of his work, he has the following note:
"The Rev. Nathaniel Bartlett, who was pastor of the Congregational church in Redding for a period of fifty years, officiated as chaplain to the encampment during the winter, and was present at the execution. He interceded with General Putnam to defer the execution of Smith until Washington could be consulted--the offender being a youth of seventeen years; but the commander assured him that a reprieve could not be granted. Mr. Bartlett was an earnest and fearless Whig, and openly talked and preached 'rebellion'--so much so, that the Tories, who were numerous in the eastern part of the town, threatened to hang him if they could catch him. In consequence of these threats he often carried a loaded musket with him when on his parochial visits. His son and successor in the ministry at Redding--the Rev. Jonathan Bartlett, now (1855) in his ninety-first year--well remembers the Revolutionary encampment at Redding and frequently visited it. He is sure that the story in Barber's 'Historical Collections' about Putnam's inhumanity at the execution of Smith and Jones is incorrect. Though not present himself, he has often heard his father relate the incidents of the occasion; and furthermore he once called the attention of Colonel Asahel Salmon (who died in 1848, aged ninety-one), who was a sergeant in attendance upon the execution, to the statement, and he declared that nothing of the kind took place."
Another historian, Rev. Thomas F. Davies, in an historical sermon delivered at Green's Farms in 1839, also takes exception to Mr. Barber's statement. He says: "Mr. Barber must have been misinformed. Reading is my native town, and from my boyhood I have heard the history of the proceedings on the occasion referred to, and was much surprised at the statements in the 'Historical Collections.' The Rev. Mr. Bartlett, whose father was chaplain on that occasion, informs me that General Putnam could not have been guilty of the acts there charged. "That Mr. Barber may have something to substitute for the narrative to which I object, I give the following:
"When General Putnam occupied the house of which Mr. Barber has given an engraving, a scene occurred which presents the General in a very amiable light. A poor man with a family needing support, and who lived in the neighboring town of Ridgefield, was told by one acquainted with his wants, that if he would visit General Putnam and hold a conversation with him, he would on his return, and on proof of the fact, give him a bushel of wheat. The temptation in that time of scarcity and taxes was great, and so also was the fear of intruding upon so distinguished an individual; but the stern necessities of his condition at length induced the poor man to venture. He accordingly presented himself at headquarters, and requested the servant to solicit for him an interview with the General. Putnam promptly summoned the man to his presence, directed him to be seated, and listened with interest while the man with great trepidation gave the statement which accounted for the liberty he had taken. The General directed the servant to bring some wine, conversed for a time very pleasantly with his needy visitor, and then calling for pen and ink, wrote a certificate in which he gave the name of the individual, and stated that he had visited and conversed with General Putnam, who signed it in his official character. Thus furnished with the means of giving bread to his family, the distressed individual returned to his humble roof; and this anecdote, which I have on the very best authority, is proof that Putnam was not destitute of those kind and gentle affections which are so desirable an ornament of the most heroic character."
This diversity of statements led the writer to investigate the matter more thoroughly than he would otherwise have done; from the testimony of several persons who were present it would seem that Mr. Barber was misinformed, and that no such scenes took place. Mr. James Olmstead of Redding, who died in 1882, aged eighty-nine years, and whose father was an officer in the continental army and present on the occasion, gives an entirely different version. In an article published in the Danbury News, he says:
"My father being an officer himself and well known to some of the officers on duty, was one of the few who were admitted within the enclosure formed by the troops around the place of execution and able to witness all that there took place. After prayer by the Rev. Mr. Bartlett, the younger prisoner, Smith, was first brought forward to his doom. After he had been placed in position and his death warrant read, a file of soldiers was drawn up in line with loaded muskets, and the word of command given. The firing was simultaneous, and he fell dead on the spot. After the smoke had cleared away it was found that his outer garment, a sort of frock or blouse, had been set on fire by the discharge, and which was extinguished by a soldier who had fired. He was within a few feet of the scaffold when Jones, pale and haggard, was next brought on, his death warrant was read and he seemed to recognize some few of his old friends, but said very little except to bid farewell to all, and his last words, which were, 'God knows I'm not guilty,' and he was hurried into eternity.
"My father had a pretty good general knowledge of General Putnam and his eccentricities, and had there been any unnecessary hardships or severity used in the treatment of the prisoners, he most certainly must have seen and known something of it, but in all I ever heard from him or anyone else, no allusion was made to anything of the kind, and in view of all the circumstances I think it may be safe to infer that no such thing ocurred on that occasion."
As was to be expected, the citizens of Redding felt quite honored by the selection of their town for the army's winter quarters, and welcomed heartily the dusty battalions as they filed into camp; but a few months' acquaintance opened their eyes to some of the ways of soldiers, and caused them to speed the army in the spring as heartily as they had welcomed it in the autumn. The soldiers argued that as they were fighting the country's battles it devolved on the latter to furnish the sinews of war, and plundered the neighboring farmers, whether Whig or Tory, with the utmost impartiality. To them a well-stocked poultry yard or a pen of fat porkers offered irresistible inducements. A milch cow never failed of a circle of devoted admirers, while bands of merry reavers occasionally stole over the borders into the neighboring towns, and harried in under cover of night droves of fat cattle, which were killed and eaten with as little formality as they were taken. With the morning would come the owner complaining of these little peccadilloes, but as he could never prove property nor identify the rogues, they usually escaped punishment. After a time, however, the wary farmers foiled the depredators by herding their live-stock over night in the cellars of their houses and in other secure places.
The ringleader in all these forays was Tom Warrups, an Indian, grandson of the chief Chickens, whose story is given in the earlier pages of this work, and one of Putnam's most valued scouts and messengers. Tom possessed a great deal of individuality, and impressed himself on a succeeding generation to the extent that numberless anecdotes are remembered and told about him to this day. Some of these, illustrating the Indian character, are worthy the attention of the grave historian. Tom had a weakness for liquor, which would have caused his expulsion from the camp had it not been for his services as scout and guide. One day he was seen deplorably drunk, and the officer of the day in disgust ordered him to be ridden out of the camp. A stout rail was brought, Tom was placed astride of it, four men hoisted it upon their shoulders, and the cavalcade started. On their way they met General Putnam with his aids, making the rounds of the camp. "Tom," said the General sternly, "how's this? Aren't you ashamed to be seen riding out of camp in this way?" "Yes," replied Tom, with drunken gravity. "Tom is ashamed, vera mooch ashamed, to see poor Indian ride and the Gineral he go afoot." Tom had a house on the high ridge back of Captain Isaac Hamilton's, now owned by John Read. It was built, it is said, in primitive Indian style, of poles set firmly in the ground, then bent and fastened together at the top. This framework was covered with bark, and roofed with reeds and rushes. Its furniture consisted of framework bedsteads, with bedding of skins, wooden bowls fashioned from pepperage knots, huge wooden spoons, baskets made of rushes or long grass, pails of birch bark, and an iron pot and skillet begged or borrowed from the settlers. His sister Eunice was his housekeeper. Except in war he was a worthless, shiftless fellow, and lived chiefly by begging; hunting and trapping were his recreations. He would often absent himself from his hut for weeks at a time, sleeping in barns or in the forest. A huge overhanging rock about a mile north of Georgetown often sheltered him on these occasions, and is still known as Warrups' Rock.
Tom's neighbor and landlord before the war was Colonel John Read, son of the early settler of that name. On one occasion the colonel had a company of gentlemen from Boston to visit him, and planned a grand hunt in their honor. Tom was always master of the revels at such times, and piloted the party on this occasion. In their rambles through the forests they came to a spring, and being thirsty one of the party lamented that they had left their hunting cups behind. Tom at once slipped off his shoe, and filling it with water offered it to the guest to drink; whereupon Colonel Read reproved him sharply for his ill-breeding. Tom drank from the vessel while the homily was being delivered, and then replaced the shoe, observing with the haughtiness of a king, "Good enough for Indian, good enough for white man too."
After the war Captain Zalmon Read and Tom were near neighbors, and the former had a cornfield in dangerous proximity to Tom's cabin; he missed the corn and suspected Tom, and watching, not only discovered him to be the thief, but also his ingenious plan of procedure. About midnight the Indian would come, basket in hand, and seated on the top rail of the fence would thus address the field: "Lot, can Tom have some corn?" "Yes, Tom," the lot would reply, "take all you want"; whereupon Tom would fill his basket with ears and march off. The next night, as the story goes, the captain armed himself with a grievous hickory club and lay in wait behind the fence. Presently Tom came, repeated his formula, and proceeded to fill his basket, but when he returned with it to the fence, it was occupied by the captain, who proceeded to repeat Tom's formula with a variation. "Lot, can I beat Tom?" "Yes," the lot replied, "beat him all he deserves"; whereupon the fun-loving captain fell upon the culprit and gave him the thorough beating which his roguery deserved.
One more anecdote of Tom must suffice. One day he went to a neighbor's house and demanded whiskey. No, the neighbor was of the opinion that whiskey was bad for Tom. "Rum, then." "No." "Cider." "No, cider was bad too; food he might have to keep him from starving, but no fire-water." Tom ruminated. "Well," said he at length, "give me toast and cider"--a favorite dish in those days--and in this way won the desired stimulant.
Some years after, when age was creeping on, Tom and his sister removed to the Indian reservation at Schaticook, in Kent, whither his tribe had preceded him, and the time and manner of his death was unknown to his white brethren in Redding. This is a long digression, pardonable in this connection only because its subject was one of the brave defenders of his country. Among the papers in the "Richards Collection" are some that are interesting as detailing little episodes of camp life, as well as some that possess considerable historic value. They are as follows:
"Headquarters, Reading, May, 28, 1779.
"Daniel Vaughn and Jonath'n Gore of the 8th Connecticut Regt. Tryed by a Brigade C. M. whereof Lt. Col. Sumner was President, For Stealing a Cup from Capt. Zalmon Read of Reading, The Court are of Opinion the charges against Vaughn and Gore are not supported.
"Camp, 2nd Hill, Nov. 14, 1778.
"The General having obtained permission of the Commander In Chief to be Absent a few days from the Division, the Command will devolve upon Brigadier Gen'l Huntington. Gen'l McDougal is happy that it falls upon a Gentleman in whose care for and attention to the Troops he has the utmost Confidence. The Orders will be issued as usual at the Headquarters of the Division."
General Putnam's Orders. "Reading, Dec. 18, 1778.
"Lieut. Col. Butler of Wylly's Reg. is promoted to the command of the 2nd Company Battalion and is to be obeyed as such. Col. Meigs is appointed Inspector of the Division and to do the duty of Adj. General for the same until further Orders--Quartermaster Belding of the First Conn. Brigade is appointed Quartermaster of the Division and is to do that duty until further Orders. David Humphrey Esq. late Brigade Major to Gen'l Parsons is appointed aide de camp to Gen'l Putnam till further Orders."
"Feb. 13, 1779.
"The Gen'l Directs that no person be permitted to visit the Prisoners under sentence of Death Unless at their Request as frequent Complaints have been made that they are interrupted in their Private Devotions by persons who came for no other Purpose but to Insult them."
"At a Gen'l Court Martial held at Bedford Oct. 3, 1778, By order of Gen. Scott whereof Lt. Col. Blaisden was President.
"Elisha Smith a private in Capt. Stoddard's Co. 2d Regt. Light Dragoons was tryed for Deserting to the Enemy last August and Piloting them into and against the troops of this State Defrauding the publick, by selling his horse and Accouterments in a Treasonable Manner to the Enemy and for Menacing and Insulting his officers while a Prisoner, found Guilty, and Sentence Him to Suffer the pains of Death--His Excellency the Commander in Chief Approves the Sentence and Orders s'd Elisha Smith to be Executed next Monday the 12th Inst. at 11 O'Clock A. M. at or near Bedford as Gen. Scott shall Direct."
No date: "Divine Service will be performed to morrow at the Church, to begin at 11 O'Clock A. M. Those off Duty are to March from Camp so as to be at the Church by that time." The "Church" was the Congregational at the Centre, and the preacher the Rev. Nathaniel Bartlett.
"Headquarters, May 27, 1779"
"Major General Putnam being (about) to take command of one of the Wings of the Grand Army, before he leaves the Troops who have served under him the winter past, thinks it his Duty to Signify to them his entire approbation of their Regular and Soldier like Conduct, and wishes them (wherever they may happen to be out), a Successful and Glorious Campaign."
Hazen's command seems to have been the first to break camp in the spring, as the following proves:
"Head Quarters, Reading, March 21, 1779.
"Col. Hazen's Regt. will march to Springfield in 3 Divisions by the shortest notice: the first Division will march on Monday next, and the other two will follow on Thursday and Friday next, Weather permitting, and in case the detached parties join the Regt. Col. Hazen will take with him one peice of Cannon and a proportionable Number of Artillery men."
April 11th, the following order was issued:
"Head Quarters, Apr. 11, 1779.
"The officers are Requested to lose no time in preparing for the field, that they may be ready to leave their present Quarters at the Shortest Notice. The Q. M. Gen'l as far as it is in his power will supply those with Portmanteaus, who have not been furnished before, and those who have or shall be provided are on no account to carry chests or Boxes into the field. The portmanteaus are given by the publick to Supersede those of such Cumbersome articles in order to contract the Baggage of the Army and lessen the Number of Waggons, which besides saving the Expense, is attended with many obvious and most Important Military Advantages. The General also thinks it necessary to give explicit notice in time with a View to have the army as little Encumbered as possible in all its movements, and to prevent burthening the public and the farmers more than can be avoided. No officer whose Duty does not Really require him to be on horseback--will be permitted to keep horses with the Army--It ought to be the pride of an officer to share the fatigues, as well as the Dangers to which the men are exposed on foot. Marching by their sides he will lessen every inconvenience and Excite in them a spirit of patience and perserverance. Inability alone can justify a Deviation from this necessary practice. Gen. Washington strongly recommends to the officers to Divest themselves as much as possible of Every thing Superfluous--Taking to the field only what is Essential for Dining and Comfort. Such as have not particular friends within reach with whom they would choose to confide their Baggage, will apply to the Q. M. Gen'l who will appoint a place for their Reception and furnish Means of Transportation."
"Reading, May 24, 1779
"Gen. Parsons orders the Brigade to be Ready to March to Morrow at 6 o'Clock A. M. Complet for Action."
This brigade seems to have returned to the Highlands via Ridgefield and Bedford, as General Parsons dates his next order at Ridgefield, May 30:
"That Col. Wyllys furnish a Sergt. Corp. and 12 privates to be posted as a Guard this Night one quarter of a Mile in front of where his Regt. is quartered on the road leading to Bedford. That Col. Meigs furnish a Guard of the Same Number and Distance on the road leading to Norwalk. The Revielle to be beat to-morrow morning at the Dawn of Day, the troops to parade at 4 o'clock half a mile below the meeting house, on the road leading to Bedford, for which place they will march immediately after in the same order as this day."
"Bedford, May 31st, 1779
"The troops of Gen. Parson's Brigade to have two Days....per man from Capt. Townsend....refresh themselves, and be ready to march in two hours to Parade near the Meeting house."
"Fishkill, June 2, 1779
"Gen. Parsons orders that Com'sr Sturm deliver one gill of Rum per man, and two Days provision to the troops of his Brigade, this Day.--The Qr. master to make return for the sam."
Hd. Qr., June 7, 1779
"General McDougal Orders a Detachment of 150 Men Properly Officered from Gen. Parson's and Huntington's Brigades to parade at 12 o clock, with arms, ammunition, accouterments, Blankets and three days Provisions in front of Gen. Hn. Bd." (Huntington's Brigade.)
"Hr. Qr. June 7, 1779.
"The Grand Parade in front of Gen. Hn. Bd. 100 men properly Officered from Hn. Bd. will parade for piquet at 3 o'clock for the future. The Relief will parade at 8 o'clock in the morning. No persons will pass the piquet who cannot give a Good Ac'ct. of himself."
"The Signal of Alarm will be three cannon fired Distinctly by the Artillery in the front line." The following orders show the route taken by the army in the fall of 1778 from the Highlands to Redding:
"Head Quarters, Fredericksburg, Oct. 16, 1778
"Tomorrow being the Anniversary of the Surrender of Gen'l Burgoyne and his Troops to the Arms of America under the Command of Major Gen'l Gates, it will be Commemorated by the firing of thirteen cannon from the Park of Artillery at 12 o:Clock."
"Head Quarters, Oct. 22, 1778
"Nixon's, Parson's and Huntington's Brigades are to march tomorrow morning at 7 'o'clock from the Line under the command of Major Gen'l McDougall--Orders of March--Gen'l Nixon's Brigade leads, Huntington's follows, Parson's brings up the Rear, Commanding Officers of Corts will be answerable for the conduct of their men while on the March. Artillery to March in Centre of each Brigade--the Baggage of Gen'l Officers to March in Rear of the Troops, the other Baggage will march in the same order. Forage and Commissary Waggons in the rear of the Whole."
"New Milford, Nov. 5, 1778
"The Honorable, the Continental Congress having on the 12th of October passed a Resolution to discourage prophaneness in the Army it is inserted in this Division for the information of Officers, and Gen. McDougall hopes for their aid and Countenance in Discouraging and Suppressing a Vice so Dishonorable to human Nature, to the commission of which there is no Temptation enough."
"Camp, New Milford, Oct. 26, 1778
"His Excellency the Commander in Chief has Directed the troops to remain here till further orders--and be in Readiness to March at the shortest Notice as Circumstances shall require. While the Division is Reposed, two days bread will be on store Continually, Baked."Main Entrance, Putnam Camp.
These interesting extracts might fitly conclude the story of the army's encampment in Redding; there are, however, some entries in the parish records, proving that amid the horrors of war sly Cupid found a chance to inflict his wounds, that are worthy of insertion. They are given as entered by the Rev. Nathaniel Bartlett:
"Feb. 7, 1779. I Joined together in marriage James Gibbins a soldier in the army and Ann Sullivan."
"March 18, 1779. I joined together in marriage John Lines, a soldier in the army, and Mary Hendrick."
"March 30, 1779. I joined in marriage Daniel Evarts a soldier, and Mary Rowland."
"Apr. 15, 1779. I joined in marriage Isaac Olmsted a soldier, and Mary Parsons."
"Apr. 28, 1779. I joined in marriage Jesse Belknap an artificer in the army, and Eunice Hall."
"May 4, 1779. I joined in marriage William Little, Steward to Gen. Parsons, and Phebe Merchant."
"May 23, 1779. I joined in marriage Giles Gilbert an artificer in the army, and Deborah Hall."
"March 9, 1780. I joined in marriage William Darrow a soldier, and Ruth Bartram."
In the month of June, 1781, Count de Rochambeau and the Duke de Lauzun marched a column of French troops across Connecticut and took post in Ridgefield, within supporting distance of Washington's army on the Hudson. They passed through Redding on the march, and encamped over night, it is said, on the old parade-ground. Their supply-train numbered eight hundred and ten wagons, most of them drawn by two yoke of oxen and a horse leading.
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