Sunday, April 26, 2015
Mrs. Lydia B. Bacon's Journal, 1811-1812 from Boston through Pennsylvania to Indiana & Kentucky & Michigan
In 1811 Lydia Bacon traveled with her husband, a lieutenant in the U.S. Infantry, from Boston through Pennsylvania, then down the Ohio River to Vincennes. She stayed in Vincennes through the winter of 1811-12 while he participated in an Indian campaign in the area. After the battle at Tippecanoe in November 1811 the couple traveled by horseback through Kentucky with his troops, then on toward Detroit. Enroute she and other ladies were taken prisoner by the British.
Mrs. Bacon recorded much of the trip in letters home, and 20 years later used those letters to write a book, which was published as The Biography of Lydia B. Bacon from her original manuscript.
Edited by Mary M. Crawford
Mrs. Lydia B. Bacon's Journal, 1811-1812
1944 Indiana Magazine of History, Volume 40, Issue 4, pp 367-386
Mrs. Lydia Bacons journal, while traveling with her Husband, when he was engaged, in the service of his Country, as Leiut. & Quarter Master, of the 4 Regiment, United States Intry. Written at the oft repeated request of her Nephew James J. Jarves.5
My Dear James, Your Uncle B. having a Military taste, saw fit to enter the Armey, about the commencement of the last War, & he obtain'd a commission, in the 4. U.S. Re. Intry, then commanded by Col John P Boyd, & after being station'd, at Fort Independence for a season, the Regiment was ordered to Pittsburg. Accordingly, on the 9th of May, 1811, we embarked on board Vessels, provided by Government, for the Transportation, of the Troops & prooeded to Philadelphia-from thence we were to cross the Alleghany Mountains to Pittsburg.
May 9th 1811.
Having obtain'd Mothers Consent, that Sister Abby should accompany us as far as Phil,ia, we proceded to the Fort in the Barge, which had been sent, to convey us to the Vessel, which was there waiting for the Troops to embark. We arrived safe on board, about 8 oclock A.M., & commenced our Voyage, with a fair Wind & fine weather, the second day I was very sea Sick, but Sister Abby proved an excellent Sailor, not being affected, at all, by the motion of the Vessel, the 3d day we arrived at Marthas Vineyard, where we were detained several days by head winds, which was not unpleasant to us, as we had acquaintances, with whom we passed our time agreably.
May 16 continued our Voyage which was pleasant, altho my former companion [seasickness] returned, the moment we left the Land, & remained with me till we saw it again, which was several days. I kept on deck, as much as possible, thinking it the best medicene, for Sea Sickness, going up Delaware Bay had a Thunder Gust,
5 James Jackson Jarves was born August 20, 1820, about eight years after Mrs. Bacon returned from Vincennes. He was the son of Mrs. Bacon's sister, Anna Smith Stetson Jarves, and Deming Jarves, a glassmaker at Sandwich, Massachusetts. During his early twenties, Jarves went to the Hawaiian Islands where he founded and published the Polynesian, a weekly newspaper that was made the official state paper of the Hawaiian government. Two years after his return to the United States, in 1849, Jarves went to Europe and after several months settled in Florence where he collected art treasures which he later brought to the United States and placed in museums. From 1879 to 1882 he served as vice-consul and consul for the United States at Florence. He died June 28, 1888, at Tarasp, Switzerland, and was buried in the English Cemetery at Rome. Theodore Sizer, "James Jackson Jarves," Dictionary of American Biography (20 vols., New York, 1928-1936), IX (1932), 618-20.
violent but of short duration, sickness confined me to the Berth but Abby enjoyed the sublimity of the scene very much, being the first Storm she had ever witnessed on the Water, & did not leave the deck till the Capt thought it imprudent for her to expose herself any longer.
(I ought to have mentioned that Uncle B. went by land having business to transact ere the Troops arrived) When we entered Delaware River, I was releived of the Sea Sickness & enjoyed the scenery very much, beautiful Farms, on each side of the river delighted our eyes, with the plenty, & comfort, which they exhibited. The contrast was great with that we had left, for at that early season in New England, vegetation, had just made its appearance, & here all the first fruits were rapidly advancing to Maturity, & when we went ashore at the Lazaretto, where we were to stop a short time, & which is a few miles from the City, we thought it enchantment, every thing looked so luxuriant, we amused ourselves with examining, all that was curious, among which were some old trees that had been wounded in the revolutionary War, & some of the shot remained beded in their trunks. At this place we found other companies of Troops, who had been ordered to meet us there, belonging to the same Regiment, & who had been stationed at New London, & Portsmouth, or at New Castle, below Portsmouth. The Capt of the Company from New Castle, was accompanied by his Wife, a lovely woman, with whom I formed a Friendship, which solaced, many an hour, while our Dear Husbands were on duty, seperated from us, & which continued while life remain'd. She died some years since, preceded by her beloved Husband, only a very short time.
The first night we stoped at the Lazaretto, it not being convenient to go to the City, to see our Friends, as we had anticipated, & being crowded with the additional Troops we were obliged to put up with any accommodations we could get, & for the first time in our lives, Abby & myself reposed or rather tried to repose on the floor of Doctor Heilimans Parlor with a Blanket & pillow, this felt rather hard to those who had been accustomed always to a soft bed, but I was young then &, blest with a share of health, spirits, & enthusiasm which made me surmount many difficulties. The next morning we went to the beautiful City Phillm which I had long wish'd to behold, & was received by our Dear Cousin Penroses, with all that cordialaty which we desired & expected, they did all they could to make our time pass pleasantly, & profitably, the time flew very swiftly, & the Period, too soon arrived, when we must be seperated, from our Dear Sister, & Cousin. The remembrance of those days, will ever be retain'd by me, they were among the few, White days, which fall to the Lot of man. I never saw these dear Cousins again for they paid the debt of nature a few years after, Uncle B saw them once or twice after we were there together. Among many things worthy of observation was the Penia Hospital founded by William Penn. Cousin William was one of the managers, & going with him we had a fine Opportunity, to examine every thing in & about the establishment, as I have keep no account of it, except in my mind, I shall not attempt to describe it, as no doubt you will ere long have the pleasure of vewing this noble edifice yourself. I recollect, the beauty, Order, neatness & convenience, of the establishment, filled me with wonder, & with pleasure.
From this Period I shall give you extracts from letters written at the time, & which your Dear Grand Mother has preserved, & from a journal keep some part of the time. & while reading you must keep in mind, Dear James, that these events, transpired, more than twenty years since.
June 1st 1811.
The Troops took up the line of March from Philia. Mrs. P. [Mrs.] MG. & Myselfe went in the Stage, under the care of a Nephew of the Cols, who was travelling with us for his health, the weather was serene, the roads good, all nature appeared in its richest dress. the Land from Philm to Chambersburg, which is at the foot of the Alleghany Mountains, is rich & highly cultivated, large farms with Barns of spacious dimensions built of stone, meet the eye in all directions, & what particularly attracted our attention was the Hogs up to their backs feeding in rich clover, & the Dutch Girls working in the fields performing the labour of Men. The Hogs appear'd the most favour'd. I had often heard the remarks of Pigs in Clover, & here I saw it, realized.
Pittsburg June 26 We arrived here 10 days since after a tedious yet delightful journey, tedious in consequence of the extreme roughness of the road, but rendered delightful by the beauty of the surrounding landscap. On every side was exhibited, to our admiring eyes, a constant succession, of scenery, at once grand, sublime, awful & sweet. A variety of emotions, fill my mind, at the survey of God works, everything is calculated, for our instruction, comfort, & pleasure, & while we contemplate the wonderful variety, of naturs works, our dependence on the Author, is more firmly fixed in our hearts, could we be sensible of our obligation to him, & of his goodness to us, we should not let a murmuring thought arise, but be wholy resigned, to his will, & pleasure, what ever that should be.
The Stages were very bad, obliged to walk the horses up the Mountains several miles together, & sometimes for a change we would all get out, & walk ourselves, at one time the seats were taken out, plenty of straw put in the Dottom of the Stage, & the Passingers stowed in, like baggage. This did very well for a little while, but to those who wish'd to view, the landscape, as we passed along, it soon became wearisome, & we concluded we should rather endure the pounding than be deprived of this pleasure, just imagine, to yourselfe, Lydia, seated on one side of stage, for the benefit of the view, holding on with both hands, exerting every nerve to maintain my Equilibrium, on one side of me, my neighbours elbow pushing in to my side, on the other, the side of the stage which was not stuffed, rubing against me, till I was black & blue, & then bounce would go my poor head, against the top of the Stage, till my brains were ready to fly. but all this, I could bear, for the sake of beholding, the scenery. at a distance the Mountains would tower to the clouds, on our side & within a foot or two of the Carraige wheels, an awful precipice, at whose base a beautiful river, glided along, unmindfull alike of the danger, or admiration, of. the beholder, after a little, we would ride through this stream, or cross a rude Bridge thrown over it, then again we would see it at a distance, we were obliged to lock the wheels decending the Mountains, & when we came to a very narrow place, the driver would sound a tin horn to warn any who might be approaching to stop in a safe place till we passed. It is 160 miles across these Mountains the way we went, which took us several days to accomplish, there are some pretty & thrifty Villages among the Mountains, we stoped at several, but the one which attracted my attention most, was called Bedford we lodged there the second night, it was situated in a beautiful Valley watered by a very lovely stream called the Junitta [Juniata], it reminded me of Johnsons Eassellas [Rasselas], who was born & educated, in a similar valley, surrounded so entirely by mountains, that he lived, to the age, of man, ere he learnt, there was any other world, beside the spot he inhabited, & then prompted by curiosity he climbed, one of the mountains, when lo, another world, burst upon his view, which he explored, but return'd, (if I recollt fight) not much delighted, with his discovery.
Pittsburg is a pleasant Village surrounded by Mountains. On one side, the Monongahala [Monongahela] river, laves its banks, on the other the pure Waters of the Alleghany unite & mingle with the Majestic & beautiful Ohio This Village is famed for its manufactories, the people appear very industrious & engrossed with the all important business of accumulating wealth, coal is used here which gives the Village a very dirty appearance, & the Children appear neglected, we visited Grants Hill a place, rendered conspicious, and not so much from the loftiness of its summit as from having been the scene of Battle between the enemy & our people in the old War. we have visited, a number of Factorys, & a large flour Mill, which are worth seeing, saw them blow Glass at the Factory, also saw some cut glass, the first I ever saw manufactured in our own country. The first steam boat, ever built on these Western Waters, is now on the stocks, & will soon be launched, if it were ready now, we might have the pleasure of going in her. had a terrible thunder gust to day the thunder was tremendous, accompanied with vivid lightining, & rain, which drenched the street like a flood, the Thunder is always more violent among the mountains than in a level country, the heat is oppressive but does not make me sick, all kinds of provision is cheap & of a good quality.
The Military Quarters are small & do not accommodate all our Regiment, the Col with his staf reside at the quarters, while the rest of us board out, or live in hired houses, Leiut G & wife with Husband & myselfe & some of our Brother Officers have hired a new Brick building in market Street & have one table, Josiah provids & I see that it is cook'd & served up in proper order, which is not much trouble as we have plenty of servents & those that are pretty good. The Military Quarters here resemble an elegant country Seat, they were built by General Wilkinson who no doubt you have heard of, in the rear of the house, which is commodious & elegant, is a large Garden, arranged with much taste, all kinds of Fruit trees, shrubbery, & flowers, regale the eye, & please the palate, while the odours which is emitted from the whole, leave nothing wanting which a person of tast could desire. A Canal runs thro the grounds, over which is a Chinese bridge, with seats round, & about it. the Col has tea parties frequently, & entertains his company, in the Garden while the Band plays at a distance hid from our view. I was highly entertain'd, the other day at one of these Parties. I was siting on the bridge, under the shade of some beautiful trees, conversing with some of the companey, when casting my eye into a walk at a little distance, I saw our gallant Col on his knee presenting a glove to a beautiful damsel, which she had let fall (perhaps on purpose) you recollect he is 50, she I presume was 16. the inhabitants treat us with every attention, our next door neighbours are Irish, we find them all we could wish, they are extremly kind & attentive, they have a family of little Children one of whom is quit a pet with Josiah. Mr. Richardson has a great desire that Josiah should leave the Army & settle here.
July 27 Since writting the above, we have received Orders to go to Newport, Kentucky, on the Ohio river, its 500, miles from this place. We go in keel boats covered like Houses, & stope at night if we like, the river is narrow, in most places you can call across & be heard quit plain. We are told it is very pleasant going down the River, but we should prefer stoping here, for the present, we are much pleased with the people, & have just got comfortably fixed, but go we must, the Evenings here are delightful, after the excessive heat of the day. soon as the Sun retires, you see the inhabitants in the Streets, siting at their doors or walking with heads uncovered, that they may enjoy the soft breezes of twilight, sometimes Our Band of Music will play a part of the Eve, they take a Boat & go up the rivers each side the Village, the Music has a fine effect among the Mountains, some beautiful Ec/ios. The whole together reminds me of something I have read but never expected to realize.
The cause of our proceding is this, the Indians are committing depradations upon the White inhabitants who are located on our Frontiers, & the Govener of Indiana has requested some regular Troops to keep them quiet.
August 2d 1811. 10. A.M.
Embarked on board the Boats. The fleet (if I may so term it) consisted of 11 Boats. Our family are Mr & Mrs A. Mr G & wife. Capt S. Husband & selfe, & two little Brothers of Mrs A We went 40 miles to day. Stoped at Custard Island, the ground not being good we sleep in the Boats, Cut a curious figure I assure you, we were obliged to put our beds on the floor of the Cabin, & we females slept together, while our Husbands spread Blanketts on the seats on the sides of the Cabin which answer'd for Sophas & chairs, & thus enjoyed a comfortable repose, after the novelty of the scenic, situations, & circumstances, allowed us composure, to court the drowsey God.
Mrs P & her Husband are in another boat they have a small Cabin to themselves. We are as comfortable as if in a House, it is a very pleasant way of travelling we have our meals as regular as if in a Hotel.
We have just passed a small Villiage on the Banks of the river. it is very pretty, this is a beautiful River but extremely crooked, in some of the bend it appears as if we were enclosed in a Pond, & I can not help the association in my mind of the Indians with their Tomahawks, & scalping knives, peeping at us, from behind the bushes, & yet Admiration & astonishment seize the mind on beholding the wonderful works of an Almighty hand.
We were awake at day light by the revualle. left Custard Island at 5 oclock AM. passed the Towns of Stubenville & Charlestown, both are handsome, fair weather, & a fine breeze on the water. 8 oclock, PM. Stoped at the foot of a beautiful bank on which are several Log Houses, with large famlies of Children happy as they need be, it is a lovely Eve the Moon is as bright as day, tents are pitched on the side of the river, & fires made for the Soldiers to prepare their suppers, plenty of business going on-Mrs A is making up her Husbands bed, & reprimanding Mrs G. who being a little offended will not do the same for hers. I wish you could take a peep at us.
August 4th we were aroused this morning by the Drums beating the tune which accompanies these words, "Dont your hear your General say strike your Tents & march away." Our Pilot has a Bugle Horn on which he plays some good tunes, which echo & reecho among the Hills & sound more delightful than you can possibly imagine. One Infant has died to day-happy Child, taken from this scene of sin & sorrow-
Our boat is 70 feet long, 12 wide, 7 high & without Sails, it is propeled by 22 oars, the top is boarded & shingled like a House, the sides are tow cloth which we can put up & down at our pleasure, the river is perfectfully smooth, & we are going with the Stream, of course we pass along very rapidly.
1 oclock PM. Obliged to stop, Squal coming on, it-looks rather gloomy. It is past, and no damage done. We are under way again. 7. PM. It has been delightful weather since the shower. I wish you was with us, I can not express my feelings better than in these lines I have just been reading. "On such a blessed night as this I often think, if Friends were near, How we should feel, & gaze, with bliss, upon the moon bright scenery here." There are many small Islands in this River which adds much to its beauty.
5th August Stoped at Marietta, it lies on the Ohio & Muskimgum, the Inhabitants are principally New Englanders, whose employment was building Vessels, which they found very lucrative but the embargo put a stop to this business, & injured the place in walking about the Town which I did this morning accompanied by my Husband, we struck with the stillness that prevail'd, it is now so thinly inhabited that the clover is quit high in some of the principal Streets, indeed in some of them, there is hardly a foot path, it reminded us of Goldsmiths deserted Villiage. It is well laid out & beautifully situated, I walk'd till fatigue compelled me to return to the Boat, then Josiah with some Brother Officers, went to examine some Indian Mounds, which were at a little distance.
We are passing some beautiful places, to look at which, I must put away my writing.
The weather is unpleasant & the rain prevents my going ashore on Blannerhassetts Island, which I regret excedingly, for it must be worth examining, if the description, which I will give in an extract, taken from the Western Tour if it be correct.
On ascending the bank, from the landing, a quarter of a mile, below the eastern end, we entered a handsome double Gate, with hewn Stone Piliaster. A gravel walk lead us about 150 paces to the House, With a Meadow on the left a Shrubbery on the right, seperated by a low hedge of Privy Sally, thro which, innumerable Columbins, & various, other hardy flowers were displaying, themselves, to the Sun. The House is handsome & large, the Shrubbury, well stocked with flowering Shrubs, & all the variety of evergreens, natural to this Climate, as well as several exotics, surround the Garden, & has gravel walks, Labyrinth fashion, winding through it. the Garden is not large, but seems to have had, every delicacy, of fruit, vegetables, & flowers, which this fine Climate, & luxurious soil produces, in short Blannerhassetts Island, is a most charming retreat, for any man of fortune fond of retirement, & it is a situation perhaps not exceeded for beauty in the world, it wants however, the variety of Mountains-precipice-Cataract-distant prospect, & ccc [sic] which constitute, the grand, & sublime.6 This description was given several years ago. Since then Blannerhassett was concerned with Burr, in his attempt to sever the Union, and was obliged to abscond from this charming retreat, at present its inhabitants are a few Slaves who raise hemp, the entrance is choked with bushes & the whole has a romantic appearance.
The farther we procede down the river, the Country grows more cultivated, & more level, we have almost lost sight of the Mountains.
August 6th 6. AM. Last night the boats were locked together, the current drifted us 40 miles, dark drizly night, but the Col, being anxious, to reach Newport, thought it best to continue on through the night. Went over Letarts falls, which I did not see, for Morphus had taken posession of me. us females suffered no inconvenience from this arrangement but our Husbands were obliged to take their watch on deck & got wet to their skins, We are this moment opposite to a log House situated in a corn feild, the corn is rather higher than the House. A dozn Children are playing about the yard.
Aug.st 7 A M7 Drifted last night. Stoped this morning a halfe hour, found a Boston man settled on the Banks of the Ohio, his name is Gardener
6 Mrs. Bacon's statement that she is including an "extract" from Western Travel is the only indication she gives that the preceding part of this paragraph is a direct quotation from that book.
7Biography of Mrs. Lydia B. Bacon (Boston, 1856), 19, gives the following paragraph in this form:
"August 7th. We drifted much last night, and this morning stopped half an hour and landed at a thrifty farm. Here we found a son of old Justice G-, of Boston. In early life he married a
dener (a Son of old Justice Gardener of Boston) he married a young Lady in Saint Domingo, & was residing there when the Slaves rebelled & massacred a great part of the White Population, Mr G with his Wife & her Mother, escaped & came to this country, & has lived here 12 years, We took him & two interesting Children in our boat 30 miles to a School where he left the Children we found him an intelligent pleasant Man.
Last Night lashed the boats, two together, & drifted all night, two boats run ashore, in consequence of the fog, A Soldier sleeping on deck fell over & was drowned, poor fellow summon'd, in an unexpected moment, into an unknown world he had a thick watch Coat & a blanket round him which weighed him down. Our boat got on to what they call a Sawyer which are trees blown down, the freshets take them into the river, they catch in the bottom of the river, & when the Water is low, (which is generally the case, at this season of the Year) they are very dangerous, the tops are just above the waters, & if the Boat is not very strong, these Sawyers split holes in the bottom, & they sink, the jar and noise awoke, us out of a sound sleep, & alarmed us considerably, you may well imagine, but a kind providence preserved us from danger & damage.
Aug.si 8 PM. Stoped this Eve at a beautiful place, took a walk on the bank, & went into a House to purchase butter, & on enquiring of the Lady if she had any to spare, she very carlessly observed, that they had been making soap that day & not having quit grease enough, had made up the deficiency, by putting in Butter, fine Country thought I where people take butter for soap grease, we are in the habit of buying Eggs butter &ccc as we go along, we get them cheap & good.
9th Augst A M. Arrived at Newport, found decent qua[r]ters in a beautiful place, this is a Military depot. Cincinnati lies directly opposite, it is a flourishing town, I intend going to see it today the view of it from this side reminds me of Boston more than any place I have seen yet. 30 years ago it was almost a wilderness, but you will the more readily account for its rapid growth, when I tell you the settlers are principally Yankeys.
Thus, you see Mr Dear Mother, & Sisters, I have endeavoured, to give you an account, such as it is, of our proceedings thus far, & if it contributes to your ammusment I shall be amply repaid. Altho I wish much to see you yet as my Husband was obliged to come, I never have for a moment regretted accompanying him, It is a great
young lady in St. Domingo, and they were happily residing on that island when an insurrection among the blacks obliged him to flee with his wife and mother. They succeeded in reaching this country with a remnant of their property, and settled upon the Ohio. Here they have remained twelve years; they work hard but sleep sound. Their greatest trouble is the want of educational privileges for their children, who are very intelligent and promising. Having heard of a good school about twenty miles from their location, (this was the nearest within their reach,) the father with two of his children accompanied us in our boat. We found him a very intelligent and agreeable companion."
source of happiness that we can be together, & I have the satisfaction of knowing I am performing my duty.
At Newport we became acquainted with a very interesting family by the name of Taylor, who treated us with great hospitality, often sending us the most delicious fruit, they owned a beautiful plantation a little distance from the Military Quarters on the bank of the river, very pleasant is the recollection of the hours passed in their society, when in the brilliant twilight, we seated ourselves on the Piazza, which overlooked, the lovely Lawn, in front of the House, that spread its verdant Carpet, to the edge of the river, while the trees loaded with fruit, not only delighted the eye but refreshed the Palate.8
Newport, Kentucky August 11th 18119
In my last I mentioned our being ordered here. We arrived the 9th, & are now waiting further Orders, which I hope will be to stay here or return to Pittsburg, we hope for the best, & expect the worst, Our journey so far has been very pleasant, do not Dear Mother make yourself uneasy on our account, the place is healty & we are well, the season is delightful, all kinds of fruit in abundance & very cheap, This is the Country for poor people, there are a great many Yankeys here. I think of you & my Sisters often & with the thought the wish arises, that I may behold you once more, but I dare not flatter myselfe
September 2d 1811 Well My Dear Mother here we are again on the Ohio, speeding our way, further & further, from the place of our Nativity, we have much to engage our time & attention, but amid all the variety & bustle incident, to our present situation, my thoughts dwell much, with you, & I trust time nor place will ever diminish, the affection I have for you. I have no Lady Companion, with me* in the Boat this time, Our family consists of Ct S Husband. & myselfe. Our Cabin is quit large, we are very well accommodated, we stope every night, & those who chose sleep in Tents on shore. The lowness of the Water renders it dangerous to procede in the night.
8Biography of Mrs. Lydia B. Bacon, 21-22, gives this paragraph as follows:
"At Newport, Capt. and Mrs. Bacon formed the acquaintance of a family by the name of Taylor. The gentleman was a brother of General Taylor, afterwards President of the United States. He owned a beautiful plantation a short distance from the military quarters, upon the bank of the river, and treated Mr. and Mrs. B. with the utmost attention and hospitality. He often sent them delicious fruit, aud [sic] frequently invited them to his house. Years afterward, Mrs. Bacon writes, 'Very pleasant is the recollection of the hours passed in their society. Sweet was our social converse when seated in the calm twilight, on the front piazza, overlooking the splendid lawn which spread its green carpet to the edge of the river. The; fruit trees on either side of the mansion were loaded with their rich treasures which not only delighted the eye but regaled the palate.'"
9 In Mrs. Bacon's manuscript, the following letter was copied after the entry in her journal for July 29. To avoid confusion for the reader, it has been omitted from its original position and given here instead.
Last Might Our Boats were anchored under a very high bank whose Summit presented nothing very inviting, so much so, that we hardly thought of taking the trouble to ascend it, but our minds were soon changed by the report of some whose curiosity had led them to reconnoiter a little distance, they returned with some beautiful straw Hats, which they purchased of a Swiss family, whom they found settled a short distance from the River, About 30 families had taken up their residence here, being driven from their own country by the troubles in France they fled to our peaceful shores, & purchasing some land of Government have planted Vineyards, the produce of which, enables them to realize what they had fondly anticipated in an exchange of Countries, their Wine made from the Maderia & Clarret Grapes is excellent. We purchased some. This place is called Veva, it is in New Swiss.10
We went into one of the Vineyards, it was a delightful sight, the House appertaining to this Vineyard, was sweetly situated, the yard fronting the House was laid out with taste, we approached the House through rows of Grape vines, supported, by poles about 5 or 6 feet high loaded with ripe grapes. While the peach and nectrine trees swept the ground with their branches notwithstanding many had been proped up to prevent their breaking so loaded were they with the most delicious fruit, the family were dressed in their best, it being the Sabbath, a number of fine healthy Children ornamented, the yard, the Grass had been newly mown, & perfumed the air with its fragrance, It was twilight, & one of the most brilliant, I ever beheld, we tarried till the full Orbed Moon, arising in Mild Majesty, reminded us it was time to depart, which we did with much reluctance, & like Our Mother Eve, on leaving Eden, we cast a long a lingering look behind. I had often read of such places, & thought they existed only in the Authors brain, but my eyes have been gratified with a sight, equal to anything I ever read.
Septb 4 Read by L.A. B in 1841 Arrived at Jeffersonville this morning at 9 oclock, the boats are preparing to go through the rapids, the water is very low which makes it necessary to take all the Bagage out & send it by land, the distance is Three miles & takes 13 Minutes to go by Water. Leiut. Gs boat has gone safe with his Wife, & Mr and Mrs A. We could go by land, as Josiah has charge of all the Bagage, but we had a desire to go the same way as the rest, of the Officers & their wives, each Boat obliged to have two Pilots one at the bowes and the other at the stern.
4.th PM. we are safe through the rapids, it is frightful indeeed it seemed like being at sea, in a storm, surrounded by breakers, the Clouds heavy, the wind high, threatening a thunderstorm which actually took place just as we got in to port, No person in our Boat but Capt P & Lady & ourselves. The Soldiers went by land, we stood, while passing this tremendous place with our eyes stretched to their utmost width, & hardly daring to fetch a long breath, expecting
10 This was the settlement now known as Vevay, Indiana.
every moment when we should dash against a rock. We wished to see the whole, in perfection & we did. We have laid below the falls these two days, & have been highly entertain'd viewing the Petrifactions which are abundant, & extremely curious, we took some peices with us in, hopes you might have the pleasure, of seing them, some future day, I often wish I could transport you here to behold with me the wonderful works of Nature.
We are fast approaching the lowland from Pittsburg so far, there has been a constant succession, of Hills & dales, in a few hours more a vast extent of level country will open to our view-We have come to the lowlands, the contrast is great, now not a Hill or mountain meets the eye.
This is a pleasant way for traveling, every thing goes on as regular is [as] if at housekeeping, We had to dismiss Brown for misconduct, & in his place, have got an excellent waiter, who cooks well & washes admirably. We drink the river water it is very good, but I have some qualms when I see the dirt that is thrown in to it. I have endeavoured to give you some idea of the Boats we are in, in a rude sketch I have drawn in this letter, No doubt, you will laugh, at the elegance of the drawing, & I don't think you can very well help it.
Mrs Weir, one of the Soldiers wives, had a daughter last night, it was born in a tent, on the Banks of the Wabash.11
We have left the Ohio & are assending the Wabash, It is very difficult to assend these rivers, the current is against us & is very strong, We make as much progress with the current in our favour, in two days, as we do against it in twelve, & what makes it more difficult the river Wabash, is full of snags, sawyers & Sandbars. The night air is very damp & if exposed to it we are in danger of fever Ague.
October 1st, 1811 We have arrived at Vincennes, Indiana Tery all are engaged in preparation for a Campaign against the Indians. Our health is very good at present but we have been quit sick, I with the dreadful fever-Ague, & Josiah has been burnt with powder, which might have destroyed his life, but a kind providence, preserved him, he was priming his gun for the purpose of shooting some wild fowl which are plenty on the river, the flint of the gun being rather long-the powder in the pan took fire from the flint coming in contact by shutting & the Flask which held a half pound & which was nearly full, exploded, & the contents went immediatly into his face, he shrieked & putting his hands to his face took the skin entirely off, his eye brows & lashes burnt close & he could not see for a fortnight, & we sometimes fear'd he never would see again but a simple curd made of new milk & Vinegar cured his eyes, the application to his face was oil & brandy
11Biography of Mrs. Lydia B. Bacon, 25, gives the following paragraph in this form:
"Last night we had a recruit added to our number, in the shape of a bit of female mortality born in a tent on the banks of the Wabash, which river we are now ascending."
In the original manuscript at this point appears a rude sketch of the boat. It is omitted here.
alternatly, which healed it very rapidly. I took cold, viewing the Comet, which has just made its appearance, We were two pitiable objects I assure you, neither able to wait on the other & both needing assistance, When we arrived at Vinncennes both of us had to be led to the house, as for myselfe I was hardly able to step, from debility &
poor Josiah could not see at all, & no carraige could be procured, the night was dark, the weather very unpleasant, amid all these difficulties we reached our lodgings, which for the present we engaged, in the only Tavern the Villiage could furnish, it is keept by a Mr Jones12 & proves to be a very good House, at present we are rather crowded but shall be better accommodated when the other Officers are gone, there are a number from Ohio & Kentuckey who put up here We share our sleeping appartment which is a large Hall, with the family-I find this fever Ague, a tedious painful desease, have lost flesh, they gave me some medicene to vomit me, mixed in a pint bowl, I put it by my bed side, & did not find it necessary to tast it, for the sight & smell had the desired effect, Governer Harrison called on me today, equiped for the March, he had on what they call a hunting Shirt, made of calico & trimed with fringe & the fashion of it resembled a woman Short gown, only the ends were pointed instead of square & tied in a hard knot to keep it snug around him, on his head he wore a round beaver hat ornamented with a large Ostrich feather, he is very tall & slender with sallow complexion, & dark eyes, his manners are pleasing, he has an interesting family,
October 5th The Troops have left Vincennes. It was a sad sight to see them depart, a great many fine young men, a number of Volunteers from Ohio & Kentuckey, some very young, left their studies at Colledge, to go on this Campaign, my Husbands sight continuing weak it was not thought prudent or proper for him to go with the troops, the charge of Fort Knox is assigned him with the care of the Invalied Soldiers.13
8 October, What a changing scene is my life at present, here we are at Fort Knox, a stockade or military depot on the Wabash, not a female to associate with, no companion but my Husband, I walk sometimes outside the Picketts, but altho a Soldiers wife dare not venture far, for I do not like the thought of being scalped by our red Brethern, I read write & think of you my Dear Mother & Sisters, Josiahs eyes are getting strong fast, & he is determin'd to
12 Peter Jones, the owner of the Tavern, was a member of the House of Eepresentatives of Indiana Territory and at one time acted as judge of common pleas and quarter sessions at Vincennes. His shop at the ferry was patronized by the gentry. John B. Dillon, A History of Indiana (Indianapolis, 1859), 448; Logan Esarey (ed.), Messages and Letters of William Henry Harrison (2 vols., Indiana Historical Collections, VII and IX, Indianapolis, 1922), I, 256.
13 On September 26, 1811, Governor William Henry Harrison, accompanied by members of the Militia of Indiana Territory, troops and officers of the 4th U.S. Regiment of Infantry, and volunteers from Ohio and Kentucky, left Vincennes to scatter the hostile Indians who gathered at a village known as the Prophet's Town located on the Wabash River near the mouth of the Tippecanoe River.
join the Troops, as soon as the Physician will permit him, he has written the Col requesting Mm, to order him to join his regiment. Josiah has received orders to join the Regiment very much to his satisfaction, tho not to mine, we have been here just a week, what a charming variety, now must Pack up our goods, & go back to Vincennes,
Vincennes, October 10. My Husband is gone & I am boarding with Mrs Jones, here I have a very pleasant companion, an Officers wife by the name of Whitlock, she is extremely kind to me, we chum together for the sake of company.14 I have had a return of feverAgue & she has waited on me like a Sister.
The Troops are 80 miles from here, building a Fort, the Indians as yet, have not manifested any hostility towards our Troops, but they are deceitful in the extreme, the British furnish them with Arms, ammunition & rations.15
Col Miller has been very ill, but is better, was obliged to lie in a tent on the ground, I assure you they see service now, if they never did before, I want very much to ask them how they like their new situation.
We have had no cold weather till within a few days, have not set by a fire for the last six months. I expect we shall stay here all Winter, which will be very disagreable to me, for I do not like the place or people much-Dear New England I love the better then ever, 0 that I may be so happy, as to visit thy blessed land once more, for blessed it is, endeed. The land in this Western Country needs but little labour compared with ours, & the produce does not command so good a price. This place was first settled by the French, one hundred years ago, but from the appearance of it, & its original inhabitants, they never had much interprise or industry, they are Roman Catholic in their religion, but in their habits & appearance not much superior to the Indians, the local situation of the place is very pleasant, lying on a clean stream of Water which affords them a variety of fish & facilitates their intercourse with the Neighbouring States & Territories. it is perfectly level, with the exception of three Mounds, situated in the back of the Villiage, supposed to be raised by the Indians some Centuries ago, they are quit Ornamental, the Center one is the highest & easy of access, having a smooth foot path at the Back of it. 1 rode to the tope on horse back, doubtless future generations may see this a flourishing place, there are some American families here, emigrants, chiefly from Kentuckey, & Virginia, slavery is tolerated here.
Adieu My Abby! nev'r forget, that far beyond the Western Sea, is one, whose heart remembers thee.
14 This was probably the wife of Lieutenant Ambrose Whitlock, Virginian and an old acquaintance of Governor Harrison. In 1811, Governor Harrisson recommended that Lieutenant Whitlock be placed in command of Fort Knox. Esarey, Messages and Letters of William Henry Harrison, I, 341, 355.
15 This fort was called Fort Harrison. It was built on the east bank of the Wabash River at a point about two miles above the old Wea village where the city of Terre Haute now stands. Dillon, A History of Indiana, 461.
I am anxiously expecting news, from, My Dear Josiah, may he be protected from danger.
November 30th 1811 Still new mercies, call for our loudest, songs, of praise & gratitude, to him, who is our constant Benefactor & presever. My Husband has returned in safty after being exposed in the most horrid of all Battles, an Indian one, Oh my Mother, could I describe my feelings I would, but words cannot do it. I hope this great mercy may be a means, of raising my thoughts to God, who has watched over us ever since we have had a being, is it not strange that Beings so dependent should have so little Idea of their own weakness. We live, constantly recipients of the divine bounty, but it makes often no impression on our hard unfeeling hearts, could we be made sensible of our own frailty & the immutability of him, who died for our redemption, we should be happy here & hereafter.
I do not regret that Josiah was in this Battle, for I trust the kindness of God in thus sparing his life, has left impressions on his mind, that will not readily be effaced, His duty as Quarter Master is particularly ardious on a March, of course he was not attached to any company, but equally exposed to danger with those who were. While bridling his Horse a Ball hit his hoof & his own boot & at another time his hat, the Army was encamped in a Hollow Square on a rising piece of ground the tents all facing out-ward beyond which a guard was placed. The Indians attacked them a little before day which is their usual method. The Regular Troops not being accustomed to Indians & being assured by Govr. H. that there was no danger, had retired to, rest but not without some suspicions of the hostile intentions of the Enemy & taking the precaution to lay down already to start, with their Weapons of War by their side. their slumbers not very sound you may well suppose. The Indians do not fire regularly like well traind troops, the first gun was heard, & the regulars at their Post in a moment, the enemy, had their faces painted black, as is their custome, this our troops could only see by the light caused by the flashing of the guns, & this added to the tremendous war hoop with the groans of the wounded rendered the scene terrific endeed. our troops answered the war-Hoop with 3 cheers, the Battle lasted till day light, when the Indians were compeled to retire with great loss.16 Leiut Peters relates an affecting circumstance. Among the Malitia from Kentuckey was a Capt Spencer who had been in 12 Indian Campaigns, he had a Son 12 years old which he had suffered to accompaney him on the present expedition, he had a gun adapted to his size, he behaved extremely well, went on guard in his turn & fought in the Battle as well as a man, the darkness of the night prevented anyone from knowing who had fallen in the contest, each one fear'd for his fellow.17 This poor Boy soon as the Battle was over sought his
16 The Battle of Tippecanoe was fought on the border of Burnett's Creek about seven miles northeast of the present site of Lafayette, Indiana.
17 For a more detailed account of Captain Spencer's death, see Dillon, A History of Indiana, 471.
Father & found him among the slain, Lt Peters meet A Gentleman leading the Dear Child by the hand both were in tears, he enquired the cause, the Gentleman answered that in searching among the slain he had found this afflicted Child weeping Over the mangled body of his Father. The situation of his Mother is truly distressing being left poor, with a great number of Children to support. Many Widows, & Orphans, are made so, by this dreadful fight, when will Brother cease to lift his hand against his Brother, & learn War no more, there were but two married men killed from the 4th & those were soldiers, only one married Officer wounded. O what a day was that, we heard of the Battle, hearing only the report without receiving any Official communication, our feelings were harrowed to the quick, each one expecting to hear sad news from their dearest Friend, At length the express arrived, with letters for many of us, but his feelings were so wrought up that he could not compose himselfe sufficiently, to select the different letters, but put them all into my hand, & I could neither see, nor read, and passed them into the hands of a Lady who stood by me, & who not having her Husband among the Troops felt a little more composed & was enabled to find mine, & when I saw the writting & held the letter in my hand I could hardly believe my own eyes. My bodily weakness was great, being just recovered from another attack of the fever ague, & my anxiety so intense respecting my Dear Husband, that I could hardly keep from fainting. I sunk down on the first chair I could find and with Mrs G, kneling on one side & Mrs W, on the other & Mrs J, before me, I opened the letter & began to read, but proceded only to the third or fourth line, when we all burst into tears which relieved our aching hearts & I was enabled to read my letter, & to my great joy, found that my beloved Husband & others, whom I valued, had escaped without injury, how often have I read, & heard of Indian fights, till my blood chilled, in my viens, & little thought I should ever be so personally interested in one. Our situation was very exposed while the Troops were absent, for every thing went that could carry a musket & left us Women & Children without even a guard, Mrs W. & myselfe had loaded Pistols at our bedside but I some doubt if we should have been able to use them had we found it necessary, had the Indians known our situation a few of them could have Massacred the Inhabitants & burnt the Village, but was not permitted, a kind providence prevented.
Capt Bain whom no doubt you reccallect, was tomahawked in a most shocking maner.18 It was thought by the distance, in which he was found from Camp, that the Indians attempted to take him Prisoner, & he chose death rather than submit to them, he was a fine man & is much lamented by his Brother Officers, he was buried on or near the scene of action, & his grave disguised, that he may not be disentered & his bones left to bleach upon the plains, this has been done to the rest, they being all consigned to one grave, the Indians have dug up the bodies, & left them exposed to the wild animals who roam in that region.
18 This may have been Captain Baen wose activities are described by Dillon, A History of Indiana,468, 471.
The 4 Regiment acquited themselves with much honor, & from what I can learn, it seems to be the general opinion, but for them, the Indians would have conquered-I refer you, to the last chapter, of the 3 Vol. of Washingtons life for a more distinct Idea of Indians & their treachery. My Husband was gone 4 weeks & in that time only took of his clothes to put on clean ones,
Some Indian Cheifs have been to the Governer, desirous of peace, they are much exasperated with one, whom they style their Prophet & who urged them to fight, assureing them they would be victorious, the event proved he was but a mere Man, & their confidence in him is shaken.19
We are keeping house with Mr & Mrs Whitlock, & are very comfortably & pleasantly situated, as much so, as is possible, among intire strangers, they are excellent people, we eat together, but have our seperate Parlors with fires, of course shall not fatigue each other with being too much in each others company,
A number of Soldiers have died of their wounds since their return, funerals often, sometimes two a day, very solemn is the sight & sound, for the coffins are followed by Soldiers, with their Arms reversed, marching to the tune of Roslin Castle beat upon Muffled drums, poor fellows, thou hast paid the debt of nature, with no kind Mother, or Sister to alleviate thy distress, or wipe the cold sweat from thy brow, strangers have performed the last sad offices for thee, & among them, thy bones shall rest, till sommoned, by the last trump, to stand before the judge, of quick & dead.
January 29th 1812 Vincennes I cannot discribe to you my Dear Mother, how anxiously I look forward, to the time, when I shall once more, behold you, God grant that your precious life may be spared, & that we may be permitted to pass many happy hours together, it is 9 months since I left you, this is a long time to be seperated from those we love, but the variety of scenes through which we have passed, has of course made it appear to fly with rapidity. I long to be in a place where some respect is paid to the Sabbath, There is an excellent Preacher here, of the Presbyterian Order, we attend his preaching, & are much pleased with him he is an excellent Man & has an interesting family, but few keep holy time here, the generality are intirely engrossed with the world, Our Friends with whom we reside attend with us & are pleased with going.
19 The Prophet, a brother of the Shawnee warrior Tecumseh, preached against drunkenness, witches, and the type of civilization that the white men had brought to the frontier. Both he and Tecumseh urged the Indians to return to the customs of their forebears rather than adopt the white man's culture. Their influence on the Indians in the Indiana Territory, especially on those at the Prophet's Town, was believed by Governor Harrison and others to be in a large part responsible for the hostility and violation of treaties of the Indians in the area. The Battle of Tippecanoe resulted in the breaking up of the Indian settlement of Prophet's Town and a decline in the prestige and influence of the Prophet among the more important northwestern tribes. It temporarily relieved the frontier settlements from the threat of hostile Indians and defeated Tecumseh's plan.
We were very much alarmed the other night with a violent shock of an earth quake. We were awoke out of a sound sleep by the House shaking in a most strange maner, at first we could not imagine what it was, my first impression was that the Indians were trying to get into the house, for I never thought of an Earth quake, but we soon discovered what it was, it was truely alarming, they have continued since, some times two a day, a few chimineys have been thrown down & the ceiling of some houses cracked considerably the feelings excited by them are different from any thing I ever experienced. The judgments that are abroad in the world all tend to shew us the falibility, of earthly enjoyments, & the nescessity of religion, to make us happy, & enable us to veiw these judgments, as we ought, how mild are they compared with what our sins deserve. Dear Abby youth is the time for preparation, Piety in youth is delightful, the Poet says, "religion never was designed to make our pleasures less."
I felt a little vexed, with those wives you mentioned, in your letter, who would prefer, staying at home, rather than suffer a little inconvenience, what did they get married for. Never, no never, for a single instant, have I been sorry that I came with mine, on the contrary, I feel grateful to him who is the Author of all our blessings, that I was enable to accompaney him, to take care of him when he is sick, & to console him under the various ills incident to human nature, some might say this was enthusiasm, but I do think we have been married long enough to find out whether the attachment, that grow, with our growth, & strengthed with our strength is real or imaginary.
Vincennes March 11, 1812 We expect to leave this place soon, but where our destination is, we know not yet, we hope it will be towards you, the boats are reparing to convey us hence, We continue to feel repeated shocks of the Earth, I often rise in the night & go to the door to examine the Weather, for the most severe ones have been felt in calm lowering weather.
There was an Indian Counsel here last week which curiosity prompted me to attend, there were about 70, painted & ornamented in various ways & no doubt to their own admiring eyes, appeared very beautiful, one, had one side of his face, red, the other green, with nose and ear jewels, Some with silver Bands on their arms, & meddles suspended from their necks, one had a pair of cows horns on his head, they are good Orators but all they said, had to be interpreted, after the council the Calmut of peace was smoked, which is a long pipe made especally for this purpose, each one smoking the same, in turn, Mrs G smoked with them, but I keept out of sight in a small room adjoing, as I felt not the least inclination to taste it, after so many red Brethern, before they left the Village, they gave the inhabitants a specimen of their agility, in danseing before each house, their music is a keg, with deers skin drawn over it, it makes a direful humdrum noise, they wear nothing, on such occasions, but a peice of cloth round their waist, their squaws & papposes came with them, the Ladies ride astride, they are perfect slaves to the Men, When will their condition be ameliorated by their becoming subjects to the meek & lowly Jesus.
I visited a sugar Camp as it is called, last week, & was gratified with viewing the process, holes are bored in large trees, called the Sugar Maple, with which this part of the country abounds, & tubes put in, which conveys the liquor into a trough, it is very clear, & pleasant, to the taste, those who take pains with it, make very excellent sugar suitable for any use, the labor is performed by blacks and superintended by their Mistress, the person whom we saw, was a Lady of great respectability & very rich, it was a beautiful after noon, all nature smiled, the air was soft & sweet, delightful riding horseback. This climate is mild, have put on no extra clothing this Winter, except when walking or riding, & then a coat or large shawl, was sufficient, in the coldest weather, a very little snow has fallen, which disappeared, as soon as it touched the ground, trees blossom in Febuary, & the gardens are quit forward at present, lettuce, Radishes, & asparagus, we have now without the assistance of hot beds.
March 31. We have received orders to procede to Detroit I shall go the rounds, ere I am permitted to see My Dear Mother & Sisters, I understand the place is gay & dissapated, this makes it objectionable to us. the Climate is like New England, The troops are to go by land & not by Water as was first thought, they will have to march 600 Miles, this being the distance, from Vincennes, to Detroit, & sleep on the ground, in tents every night, it will take us some days to accomplish it, we shall procede to Newport Ke'ny from thence cross the river to Cincinnati & through Ohio to Michigan, a part of the way will be thro woods & Praries where as yet none but the Indians foot has penetrated. Mrs F Mrs G, & myself will perform our journey on horse back, & my Husband being in the Staf will have this privilege also, so I shall be spared the distress of seeing him encounter difficulties, which those who march must nescessariely endure, I have been learning to ride horse back, & like it much, but how I shall succede in going through swamps & fording rivers experience will alone determine.
In the first part of her manuscript, Mrs. Bacon told of her journey from Fort Independence on Castle Island in Boston Harbor to the Wabash Country and of her stay at Vincennes. The author, who accompanied her husband, Lieutenant Josiah Bacon, a quartermaster of the Fourth Regiment of the United States Infantry, described in detail their boat trip down the Ohio from Pittsburgh, their stops along the way, and her experiences at Vincennes while she waited for her husband to return from the Tippecanoe campaign led by Governor William Henry Harrison against hostile Indians along the Wabash.
The concluding portion of Mrs. Bacon's manuscript which is presented below tells of her journey back to Massachusetts and her experiences along the way which included being made a prisoner of war twice and witnessing the siege of Detroit and General Hull's surrender to the British. When Mrs. Bacon left Vincennes on horseback to go with her husband's regiment to Detroit, she carried in a bag on the pommel of her saddle a Bible, a copy of Homer's Illiad, and a "huge Spunge cake."
When within eighteen miles of Detroit, British officers stopped the boat in which Mrs. Bacon was traveling, seized the hospital supplies and officers' baggage, and declared the occupants prisoners of war. That night, Mrs. Bacon slept on a British prison ship near Maiden where earlier in the day some hostile Indians who had taken part in the Battle of Tippecanoe hovered around her and her companions when they went to the tavern. The next day, she and all the others who had come with her, except the officer in charge of their boat and his wife who preferred to remain with him, were
1 While in the West, Mrs. Bacon kept a journal and wrote letters to her mother and sister Abby in Massachusetts. Some twenty years later, she arranged these records of her trip in chronological order and added a few paragraphs to cover the parts of her trip not mentioned in her letters or journal. This manuscript is now owned by the New York Historical Society from which permission was obtained to publish it. Permission was also obtained from the Pilgrim Press, the present representative of the Massachusetts Sabbath School Society, which published the Biography of Mrs. Lydia B. Bacon (Boston, 1856).
permitted to go on to Detroit, There, Mrs. Bacon waited for her husband at the home of General Hull. When serious fighting began at Detroit, she witnessed it first from the fort and, later, from a root house. Following General Hull's surrender to General Brock, Mrs. Bacon and two other officers' wives boarded the British ship, Queen Charlotte, with the other prisoners bound for Quebec by way of Niagara and Montreal. After one night on the ship, the other women were moved to another vessel and Mrs. Bacon continued on the journey as the sole woman occupant of the Queen Charlotte.
After crossing Lake Erie, the ship stopped at Fort Erie in Canada. At that place General Hull, who was on the Queen Charlotte, was provided with a carriage and escort for the thirty-six mile overland drive to Newark on the Niagara River, and he invited Lieutenant Bacon and his wife to ride with him. At Newark, General Brock, who was at that place on his way to Montreal, at General Hull's request paroled Lieutenant Bacon because he was accompanied by his wife. Anxious to get back to the United States, the couple hurried across the river to Fort Niagara where they obtained funds and engaged a cart to take them toward their home in Massachusetts. The last lap of their long, hazardous journey was made from Batavia, New York, by stagecoach.
The most significant part of Mrs. Bacon's letters and journal which follow is her account of General Hull's behavior at Detroit. Although she witnessed his surrender to the British, the author gives no indication of any feeling of criticism of General Hull's action, by herself or by any of his officers or men.
May 14. 1812.
Left Vincennes, our Friends manifested much grief at parting with us, & altho thankful to leave the place, I was not so to leave those kind companions, with whom we had passed our time so agreably. Their affectionate attentions has made an indelible impression on my heart, that time or distance never can efface, may you beloved Mr & Mrs W. never need a Friend, but if you should, may you find those, who will be as ready, to administer to your necessities as you have been to mine.
6. o'clock P M.
I seated myself with the other Ladies on a trunk of a tree, & was much amused with seeing the Soldiers pitch the tents, a business, which is performed by them, with much alacrity & order, our tea table was the ground,
15. P M.
Went 15 miles today the roads were bad, our progress, of course was slow, the weather is beautiful, fine moon light night. I like travelling on horse back, & slept finely on the ground last night, for the first time in my life, with a bear skin for our bedstead & a Buffaloe Robe for our Bed, Col M, begs us not to break our Bedstead down for there is danger of falling into the cellar, the mosquitoes are very troublesome.
16. P M. Went on before the Troops, Stoped in the woods, & had a fire made to keep the Musquitoes off, spread blankets on the ground & had a fine nap, & felt refreshed thereby, had a detachment of troops for A guard. Am now seated on a bed in a log house, fire place large enough for a room, the chimney is built of logs & mud, & I am sure those who sleep in the House when it rains must get wet to their skins, this is one of the best Houses between Vin-es [and] Louisville.
May 17. A M. It rain'd hard all day, never sleept better than last night—We are now ready to start, I wish you could see us, it is really laughable to witness the comical scenes that are acted— I have a large bag on the Pomell of My saddle containing some necessary articles, a Bible, Homers Illiad, & A huge Spunge cake presented by one of our kind Friends the morning of our departure. I enjoy myself very much, & one great source of pleasure is, anticipating yours if I should ever be permitted to relate in person the many curious circumstances that occur.
18. A M.
The General is beating, I must put away my pen & turn out to have my House packed for marching. We have stoped for the night, it has rain'd all day, I got wet through, we stoped in the woods & had a large fire made, no scarcity of wood here, have brilliant fires, the Waiters gather heaps of dry sticks & place them against a large green tree, the branches of which served for a shelter while we dried ourselves, rather uncomfortable drying wet garments in this maner—After this used an umbralla & went on nicly, the fatigue of the day has given me a fine appetite, our supper is ready, & Josiah is beging me to eat good [to] night, we rode through some beautiful forests, ground enamelled with flowers.
19th bright Sun, all going on in good health & spirits, but my feelings are somewhat tried seeing the poor Soldiers wives trudging on foot, some of the way mud up to their knees, & a little Child in their arms, only 4 or 5 Waggons allowed to carry the baggage, the poor women of course have to suffer, I should think it would kill them, saw two Houses one of them deserted, afraid of the Indians. We understand a camp of them are near us, hunting, they subsist in this way. I suppose you will be anxious to know what we have to eat, how we carry conveniences to eat out of, & how we cook —we live very well as to the quality of our victuals & have enough, plenty of elegant Bacon (nothing better) in this part of the world they smoke the whole Hog, you would laugh to see our waiters roast chickens, they take a green stick & put the fowel on it & put the stick in the ground before a good fire, & they roast to a charm, & when they roast a joint of meat, two sticks are put in the ground, opposite the fire cut like a fork at the top, & another put across resting on the two with the meat suspended from the center, meat cooked in this way is very good endeed, we have a pack horse who carries a pair of mess Boxes made with separate apartments to hold cups plates & cccc & our tea & sugar in canisters, & our table is the hind board of a waggon set on a portable cricket made like a cot bedstead, our candlestick is a bayonet reversed with the point in the ground, the part which goes on to the gun, serves admirably for a socket to put the candle in. tonight we have encamped near a House, the Land Lady is very Patriotic & very large, weighs 300, she gave all the Soldiers plenty of Milk.
20 & 21,
Rainy weather, one poor man was taken sudenly ill with the Choira Morbus & breathed his last in a waggon, he is buried in the woods, in a bark Coffen, the only one, the times would admit of.
23d Every step fetches us nearer home, yet it is a roundabout way to get there, I think could I see you once more I could sit & look at you for A month at least, dul wet weather, ground in a bad condition to lie on, when we have straw we put some between the ground & buffaloe robe, which serves for our bed, & when straw is scarce, we substitute the leaves of trees, & cover them with bark which makes an excellent carpet for our tent, & renders it very comfortable, with a fire at the door, to keep the Musquitoes from devouring us, we are in good health eat hearty & sleep Sound.
Have Omitted several days, having nothing pleasing to relate, bad weather, our Men get sick, two buried one morning, I have never mentioned my Poney, & as she is a character of some consequence at least to me, shall just observe that she is very clever, has been on a campaign ere this, steps to the sound of a Drum, equal to any regular & minds the fireing of guns, no more than you would the singing of Birds, I sit on her while the Men discharge their guns.
We have arrived at LouisvilleKentucky, A very handsome flourishing Town situated on the Ohio, the Citiezens gave the Officers a splendid diner, you will recollect that the Kentuckians were associated with the 4th Regiment at the Battle of Tipacanoe, We have had a delightful ride these two days, the State of Kentucky is like a perfect garden, but slavery is tolerated here, which is a great evil.
May 29. 1812. had green peas & Strawberries, great respect is paid to the Regiment as they pass through Kentucky—it is realy amusing, to see what a muster, it makes in the different places that we pass, one old Gentlemen ask'd Capt Brown if these young Women came from yonder meaning Mrs F & myselfe, the Capt said one came from yonder, the other had been [in] the whole Campaign. Well said the old man, some how, the Garls will go with Soldiers. We have passed thro Frankfort, another flourishing town in Kentucky the inhabitants treated us with every possible attention here a dinner was given to the Officers, & refreshment to the Soldiers, on leaving the Town a salute was fired accompanied with 3 cheers.
June 7, Newport. We have once more arrived at this place with feelings far different, from those we felt, when we left here last Summer, then we were going from home, now we trust we shall see you ere long.
June. 10, 7 oclock P M. 5 miles from Cincinnata
Cross'd the Ohio at 2 oclock this afternoon, The American Banner, & Regimental colors, ornamented the Boats, which conveyed the Troops across the River, at Cin—ti, two Companies of Artillery waited on its bank to receive them fired a salute & escorted them through an Arch erected for the purpose (with this inscription To the Heroes of Tippecanoe.) to the encamping ground where a handsome Colation was prepared by the hospitality of the good people of this delightful town, previous to this the Officers of the 4th had been invited to General Ganos (the Brother of Docter Gano of Providence) & treated with every attention they could desire.
The other Eve we encamped on dry Ridge, in Franklin County, near a Tavern, where a puppet show had drawn together all the Lads and Lasses for twenty Miles round, after they had examined the show sufficiently, & the day not spent, the remainder of it was passed in dancing, some of us went to the Tavern, not to see the puppet Show, but to see the dancing, & were much amused, it was intensly warm & they danced with all there strength, dressed in their best, of course, peticoats of the present fashionable length, leather shoes with sharp toes, the Lads took of their Coats & Jackets, & thus disencumbered of a part of their clothing performed feats of activity, while the perspiration flowed copiously down their blooming faces.
We have at last reached Urbana where we found General Hull with 1500 Militia waiting for the Regiment, which was received with great respect by them some distance from the Town giving the 4th the Right & escorting them into Urbana through an Arch ornamented with Oak branches & Laurel, from the forest, in the center the American Eagle spread her broad pinions, on one side was inscribed Tippecanoe on the other Glory—We take up the line of March tomorrow for Detroit, A party has gone on to cut roads, General Hull & Governer Meigs called on the Ladies, of the Regiment, immediately on our arrival, they are both very courtly, in their maners, particularly General Hull.
After travelling 3 or 4 days raining incessantly accompanied oft with most tremendous Thunder & lighting, through dreadful roads, intire swamp, some of the way, repeatedly wet through, the clouds have disappeared, & the bright Luminary of day has at last condescended to shine upon us, O how: cheering are its rays after so long an absence, & in such a situation, our tent was on the Battle ground at Tippecanoe, & many a shot tells its storry, these Holes admit the air & rain too, & at night we have to sleep with an open umbralla over us, to keep the rain from disturbing our repose, we shall stop here a day to prepare cartridges, the troops are expecting an attack from the Indians ere we reach Detroit, God only knows our fate, but my fervent Prayer is that such a calamity may be averted from us, it would be dreadful, such a number of Women & Children along. We understand a large number of Indians are at Fort Maiden, the English have been holding a counsel with them, & no doubt every thing will be done, on their part, to instigate them to hostilities, breast works are made every night round the encampment by felling trees & heaping them on each other, it seems as if the very ground trembled beneath us as the mighty Oak falls. Officers & men sleep with their cloths on & their implements of War by their side, let me ask Dear Sisters how should you feel in such a situation, no doubt while you read you shudder at the Idea of a female being so exposed, it is a fact I believe that people in perrilous situations do not realize their danger for I feel somewhat composed & those around me appear so too, endeed they wish for a fight, but I am too much of a Quaker, to think it nescessary, except on the defensive, I think I should die with fright, but I hope my courage will not be put to the test.
June 18th 1812. 63, miles, north of Dayton, & 5, beyond, the Indian Boundary, Amid the noise & bustle of a camp the almost continual sound of Drums & firing of guns, my heart like the needle true to the magnet flies to you far quicker than the swiftest winged bird, & with delight contemplates the virtues of her who gave me birth, with your image are associated numerous others, dear to me by the ties of consanguinity & friendship, I think of you all with the livliest pleasure, & cherish the fond hope, of seeing you all once more, in the full enjoyment, of all the common blessings of life.
We are encamped on a spot of ground where once stood an Indian Village, very little remains to show, that human beings ever inhabited this place, the ground is covered with strawberry vines full of fruit, wild roses and various other flowers very beautiful, it looks like a perfect garden without the aid of art, in one corner of my tent is a very sweet wild rose, looking almost concious of the pleasure it bestows upon the Pilgrims, who have taken up their abode here, for the night, could you travel with us, through our American Wilderness, astonishment would seize your mind, in viewing the wonderful works, of our Almighty Father, & praises would voluntarily flow from your heart to him, who has been so bountiful to his sinful children.
The Malitia are very different from regulars, most of them have no Idea of order & dicipline, they think they can do as they please, one man for mutinous conduct, has been tried & sentenced to have half his head shaved, Torry written on his back, & drumed out of camp, with the Rogues March. I thought the poor fellow would have fainted, when he heard the sentence, he fell on his knees, & beg'd for pardon, if this was impossible, he beged, they would shoot him, (it would have melted your heart could you have seen him) he said he had a wife & Child, & had voluntered to serve his country, & not understanding Military law, had been led to commit this fault, /I looked at the General & my heart wispered be ye merciful as ye expect mercy to be shown you from above, he was led through all the Regiments with his hands tied behind, & the sentence was read, the Barber stood ready to shave his head, when the General pardoned him, It made the Soldier happy, and contributed not a little to the pleasure of many, when I saw Him on his knees imploring pardon, my mind reverted to his wife & my imagination portrayed her distress (had the sentence been executed) in lively colors, it was almost too much, I do not like to witness such scenes, but I trust should they be oft repeated, that they will not harden my heart, We have been Six weeks on our journey four of which has been damp with a great deal of rain, I find it difficult to guide my Horse some times, the new roads cut by the Soldiers are rather narrow, & the boughs of the small trees & large bushes come in contact with our faces, & when it rains, I have to hold the reins, & Umbralla, with one hand, & with the other endeavor, to keep the bushes from scratching my eyes out, & tearing my bonnet of my head, not long since I was riding along musing, & the first thing I knew, I felt a violent jerk, which almost threw me of my Horse, but the kind creature stoped instantly or I know not, but like the rebellous Son of David I should have been left hanging to the tree by the hair of my head,—
Fort Finly, Blanchards Creek.
Block Houses are erected every 20 Miles to keep open the road for provission, to pass from Ohio to Detroit as we have no Vessels (should their be a war with great Britain) to keep open our communication by the Lake, it is very tedious travelling through roads that are cut as you procede, sometimes the Horse is in danger of Mireing, than of Breaking his legs going over log bridges, & in fording the rivers, the current is so strong, oft times, it is almost impossible to gain the opposite shore, & many a one has a fine bath ere they reach terea firma, but as yet I have been exempt from this disaster which would take all my Phillosophy to bear, I assure you it takes all my strength, & prowes, to maintain my equilibrium, sometimes the rivers are so deep, I am obliged to put my feet on the Horses neck to keep out of water & she has pretty long legs too—
This moment a man has brought us a beautiful fish caught in the creek, which we shall have for our Supper, with a short cake made by our cook, & if we chose we can have a dish of garlics, for we are encamped on ground that is ful of them, my tent smells like a French cook shop, its not quit as agreable as when we encamped on ground covered with strawberries & roses, An express has just reached us from Washington, hastening the Troops to Detroit—War is to be declared, with far different feeling shall we celebrate this 4 of July, from any ever experienced by us, You inhabitants, of Boston will not suffer like those on the Frontiers, the latter are exposed to the merciless Tomahawk—
This Eve we have encamped on a delightful spot of ground on the bank of Miama river, which empties in to Lake Eri, about a mile from where General Wayne defeated the Indians, you have particulars of the Battle in the life of Washington, in the last Vol—
We have had dreadful roads today several horses gave out, two droped dead, one wagon left in the mud,—
Today we have passed through some handsome Pararies coverd with wild fruit & flowers, the weather is very pleasant—
We pass from the Indian Boundary to the Michigan Territory, 70 miles more & we reach Detroit, which seems a short distance. I could ride it in two days dare I leave the Army, good health & spirits pervade the Troops.
Took up the line of March to day & passed thro a small Village called Miama, it was situated in a fine Pararia 3 or 4 miles in length, the Army appeared very well, the Ladies rode on to the edge of the Woods, which terminated the Paraia,—had a fine view of the whole, This Eve have encamped at the foot of the rapids, in crossing the river, the water got into the mess Boxes, & wet our Sugar, a few evenings since as I was setting in the door of our Tent enjoying the beautiful twilight & thinking of Friends far away—I heard the report of a gun, & felt the wind of something, pass close to my ear, presently an Officer came along with a ramrod in his hand which he said had just fallen on their tea table as they sat around it, this is what I felt as it passed, only think what an escape, one inch closer, & it would have gone directly through my head, & death would have been my portion, not in the field of Battle but thro the carelessness of a Malitia Soldier, who in discharging his gun forgot the Ramrod was in it & did not elevate it, thus I am constantly preserved through dangers seen & unseen. Accompanied by my Husband visited an old fort that formerly belonged to the British, rode into the Fort Horse back, it must have been a very good one for the times. At this place it was thought best to send the Baggage & sick & feeble of the Army by water to Detroit, in a small unarmed Vessel, which had been sent from D. …. t for this purpose, Mrs G, Mrs F, & myselfe being much fatigued concluded to take this water conveyance, as Mrs Gs, Husband who was an invalide was to have charge of the baggage & Property & would be our Protector, it was fine weather & a few hours pleasant sailing would land us safe at the place of our destination,1 We embarked, & enjoyed the sail very much, after riding Horseback nearly 600 miles & sleeping on the ground 50 nights. We were in high spirits anticipating the pleasure we should receive, in resting awhile, but when within 18 miles of D. …. t opposite Maiden on the Canada side, which is a thrifty Village, with a fort & military depot—We saw a large Boat coming from thence towards us with all possible speed, & when near enough to be heard, ordered our Capt to lower his sails, he not knowing why he should do this, had a mind to run from them, but a second thought convin'ed him this would be endangering the Vessel & the lives of those on board, as we were so near their fort (the channel is near the Canada side) that they could with ease blow us out of water, even while this was passing in the Capts mind, those in the Boat fired twice at us, & as the Shot whistled
1 Lieutenant George Gooding was injured during the Battle of Tippecanoe. See Logan Esarey (ed.), Messages and Letters of William Henry Harrison (2 vols., Indiana Historical Collections, VII and IX, Indianapolis, 1922), I, 631, 639-640, 709.
above our heads, it caused a sensation not easily described, for excepting the ramrod, I had never come in contact with shot & balls before. The sails was lowered & the English Capt with his Men jumped on board deligh'ed with their prieze, most of the Hospital stores were on board & all the Officers baggage. Leiut G enquired the cause of this conduct & was informed that War was declared, & we had taken two of their Vessels, we could hardly believe it, but it was too true, General Hull received the intelligence, after we started, & sent immediately to stope us, but we had got beyond their reach— Mrs G, & F, flew into the Cabin soon as they heard the shot whistle, but a love of novelty, spiced with curiosity, overcame my fears, & I continued on deck for a while, The Capts name was Rulet, a very gentlemanly young man, he took the Helm & in a short time we were anchored at Maiden Prisoners to His Majesty King George 3d, on honor, I little thought would ever be my lot, but one, I should have most cheerfully dispensed with, The Quarter Master, came on board, Leiut G—introduced us Ladies to him, observing we were Officers Wives, he assured us we should be treated as such, politely invited us to his Quarters till we procured a room at the Public House, Mrs G. & F. Leiut G, & myselfe, accompanied him, to his habitation, & was introduced to his wife, a very pleasant Lady, & their only Child, a Babe in her Arms, Cake &ccc was offered us, & for a time we almost forgot our real situation.
A number of Indians were at Maiden, some of whome were in the Battle of Tippecande, they soon learnt that some of the fourth had been taken prisoners, & when we went to the Tavern they hovered around us, with an expression of countenance truly terrific. We dined at the tavern, after dinner, several British Officers called upon us, & I requested them to let Mrs F & myselfe go to Detroit the next day certainly said he, & added, we have not made war upon the Ladies, Leiut G could not be paroled, of course his wife chose to stay with him, this night we slept on board a prison ship, but as we were the first prisoners, it had not got dirty & was comparitively comfortable, I slept pretty well, considering the novelty of my situation, & awoke right early in the morning having a strong desire (it beind the 3d of July) to set my feet on Republican ground ere the fourth arrived. Agreable to his promise the Quarter Master procured us a pass from the Commanding Officer, & a Chaise & driver for us and a Cart to carry our baggage—he also permitted at my request, two small Boys, sons of Malitia Officers, & a Soldiers Wife, who had an infant with her to go to Detroit, also, & now behold Mrs F & myselfe in a Chaise without a top with a man seated in front to drive, & the Cart with a Canadian to guide it, in our rear, Loaded with the Woman & her Child, the two Boys & our baggage, it was a beautiful day & we very happy in the prospect of seeing our Dear Husbands once more, the road very excellent, directly on the bank of the River Detroit, this river is wide & deep enough for Vessels of any Dimensions to sail upon, the person who drove us lived halfway between Maiden & Detroit, say 9 miles, we stoped here, to rest the Horse a few moments, which I spent in reconnoitering his garden and found it a very good one, with some nice fruit in it, we resumed our seat in the Chaise & soon found ourselves at the Ferry opposite Detroit, here a boat was furnished by the Gentleman, to whom I presented our pass, & who politely voluntered his services to see us across the river, which we accepted & in a short time we were seated in the Boat on our way to Detroit, it was a long Canoe made out of the trunk of a tree, & had been lyeing exposed to the sun out of water, which had caused it to crack, the Gentleman took the Helm in one hand, & his cane in the other, with my white Pockethandkerchief tied on it, for a flag of Truce, the only way we dare approach, the enemys shores, in such troublous times, we could hardly keep our feet dry, the boat leaked so badly, in consequence of the cracks I mentioned, that we were actively employed all the way across, in bailing the water out, As we approached our American shore, we observed a number of men, on Horse back, riding quit down to the waters edge, & when we came near enough to hear them call to us, they ordered us not to advance any nearer, & we saw they had large Pistols pointing directly at us, this was in consequence of all communication being prohibited between Detroit & the places opposite, but we had a flag of truce which is always respected & which they must have seen, & I never learnt the reason of their improper conduct, on the wharf a guard of regulars waited to receive us commanded by an Officer, who demanded, who we were, I replied we are Officers Wives of the 4th Regiment, upon which we were immediately suffered to land, and Ct, H waited on us to General Hs Quarters, the Gentleman who escorted us in the Boat, I had promised at his request, should return immediately without molestation, this I made known to the Officer commanding adding, I hoped it would be performed without delay, he assured me it should, At the Generals Quarters we were cordially received by his Daughter who was keeping his House, the rest of his family excepting his Son, were in New England, & with this Lady I tarried while in Detroit, & received from her all that attention, which a refined mind could bestow, her Husband had a commission in the Army, & she had two Dear little girls & the care and attention they required helpd to pass pleasantly, some of the other wise tedious hours incident to our situation, for from this time till our capture one continued din of War caused us anxious days & sleepless nights, no Sabbaths, no sanctuary, privileges blest, us with their return, but all days were alike merged in a continual preparation, for Brother to shed his Brothers blood, for here had been such a friendly intercourse keept up, & been cemented by marrying with each other, that it seemed like families taking up arms against their fellows, do not be uneasy on our account, I trust we shall be protected, our cause is good, & let us hope that the same kind Providence who fought our Battles in the revolution will still succour & protect this highly favour'd people.
The Army has just arrived, all in good health & spirits, this is a beautiful part of our Country, good gardens in the Village, & fine farms in the vicinity, had a delightful ride horseback on the bank of the river above Detroit.
Some parties from our Troops, have had several skirmishes with the British & Indians, an english Officer dresed & painted like the Indians, lead the Savages on to Battle, is it not surprising that a white man of any refinement can do such a thing, after one of the Skirmishes they suffered some Indians to take a scalp which came of a Yankey Soldiers head, & carry it 12 miles for the purpose of shewing it to Leiut G. on board the Prison Ship, this was done in the most insulting maner, since this took place, they have been obliged to move the Prison Ship out in the stream some distance, to prevent the Indian fireing into her, which they did once, but injured no one. poor Mrs Gooding must be very unpleasantly situated no female companion to speak to, & in constant terror, the 12 of July General H crossed to Sandwich oppisite Detroit with his troops, & took possession, the Inhabitants either quiting the place, or stoping under American jurisdiction. A detachment of Troops have gone to Browns-town & My Husband among them we have heard, that an ingagment had commenced between the English & Americans, the thought is almost too much to bear, that it is possible my beloved Josiah may be among the Slain. We have just heard that our troops are victorious, no Officers killed & only one wounded, Col Miller commanded, my Dear Josiah has returned in safty.
Our Troops have vacated Sandwich & returned to this place, since then the Enemy have been very buisy on the opposite shore building a battery we suppose, as the ends project beyond a large building, which covers them while they work, & at night we can hear them throw their cannon balls from a boat on to the land—
one of our Physicians Docter F is very sick we fear he will die, he is a very particular Friend of Josiah & myself, a most excellent young man unblemished morals & posessing a refined mind, higly cultivated.
Today received a message from the Docter requesting I would favour him with an interview, obeying the summons, with all possible dispatch, I hastened to his room, & found him very near his end, in replying to my enquiry how he was, he observed, Mrs B, I have sent for you to converse about dying, my male Friends are not willing to converse on this subject, but thinking you are a rational woman, I feel as if you would not object to hear me, I assured him, it would give me pleasure to alleviate his sufferings all in my power, he then informed me what his desease was, said it was hereditary that his Mother & several of his family had died with the same, Spoke with the greatest calmness of his immediate dissolution which he thought must take place ere tomorrows sun sunk in the West, as there was an abscess forming which on breaking would in all probability terminate his existance, he appeared to feel perfectly confident of his acceptance with God on the score of his own merits, he acknowledged no Savior, he needed none his own righteousness was all sufficient, I knew, I felt, he was altogether wrong, that he was building on the Sand, but I was so struck with finding him so near his end, & with the calmness & resignation he discovered, & feeling my incompetency to direct him aright, that it took from me almost the power of utterance, & I left him without Saying one word to undeceive him. O how culpable was I thus to see the fellow creature just on the verge of eternity & not say one word to endeavour, to convince him, of the sandy foundation, on which he was building, My feelings on leaving him were indiscribable, for I could not indulge the hope that he would survive, after hearing his explanation & the certainty he felt that he must die, & he was correct, for the next day as the Sun gain'd its Meridian he yielded his spirit to him who gave it. he observed to me while conversing, that he felt very grateful to God, that he had no Mother, to mourn his loss,—he was buried the next day with Military honors, he was much esteemed & respected.
I was much mortified while a prisoner, to hear a British Officer say, the New England states will not take up arms against his Majesty, & then add, you have federal governers, nothing would delight them so much as a disunion, & they are strengthened in the Idea by reading so many improper pieces in the paper, but I know the vile productions which I see in the papers are not the sentiments of a majority of the people in the place which ranked among the first to achieve our independence. O may the bright flame of patriotism, which glowed in the bosom of Our Washington, & his compatriots, animate the breasts of their decendents, that while one drop of blood, flows in the veins of Americans, they may remember the dying injunction of the Father of his Country, to unitedly maintain that Independence which (under Heaven) their Fathers so gloriously obtained—
A summons has been sent to day, from General B. [Isaac Brock] Commander of the English forces in Canada, to General H. [Hull], to surrender Detroit with the Army to him, this the general has not seen fit to comply with, & every preperation is making for a Bombardment, the British Soldiers are very busy puling down the, large House which conceals their Battery, if I did not feel halfe frightened out of my wits, I could laugh, to see what quick work, they make of it, never did a building come down quicker, all the Women & Children are to go into the Fort as the only secure place against the Indians, & the Bombs, & 24 pound shot of the English, the Officers who came with the summons have returned & as soon as they arrive on the Opposite shore the fireing will commence.
Amidst the horrors of War I have not been able to compose myself sufficiently to write a line, but as the carnage has ceased with us for the present, & I with my Dear Husband & many others, are prisoners of war, seated very quietly in his Majestys Ship the Queen Charlotte, I will now endeavour to give an account of some of the very interesting events which have transpired within these five days past. While the bearers of the summons were returning with a negative to their demand, I took Mrs Hs oldest girl, a Child about three years old & went into the Fort which was some distance from our House, & I did not tarry by the way I assure you, but when I arrived I found many had got there before me. it was not long, before the fireing of cannon commenced on both sids, & continued without effecting anything, till the enemy about midnight discontinued, & we ceased allso, some of us females & Children had not been able to eat anything all day, & feeling very faint concluded to make some tea, this meal we might call an early breakfast as it was one in the Morning when we partooke of it, after this we endeavoured to get some sleep. Captin Sn. had been married only 'two days previous to this dismal event, & his Bride a sweet little Girl of 14 years of age, was with us. She with her nephew a Child of 5 or 6 years old, cried themselves to sleep, as children often do. In vain I tried to court the drowsey God, Sleep was banished from my eyes, & many others found it as difficult as myself to get a moments rest—it was a night long to be remembered & a scene never to be forgotten,
16 August Soon as auroras beautiful rays adorned the east, the Cannon began to roar apparently with tenfold fury, to do execution, the enemys shot began to enter the Fort, & as some Ladies were making cylinders, (bags to hold the powder) & scraping lint in case it should be wanted, a 24 pound shot entered the next door to the one they were in, & cut two Officers who were standing in the entry directly in two their bowels gushing out, the same ball passed through the Wall into a room where a number of people were & took the legs of one man off & the flesh of the thigh of another the person who had his legs shot off died in a short time, thus one of these angry Messengers destroyed the lives of three & wounded a fourth in a moment of time, one of the Gentlemen who was killed in the entry, was a Capt in the regular Army, & had been taken prisoner at Chicago, and was in the Fort for safty, as he was not allowed, to take up Arms till he was exchanged, soon after this, another ball of equal size, entered the Hospital room, & a poor fellow who lay sick on his bed, had his head severed, from his body instantly, & his attendant was likewise killed, the shot striking him in his breast, the enemy had got the range of the Fort so completely, that it was considered dangerous for the Woman & Children to stay any longer in the Quarters, & we all hurried to a root House (on the opposite side of the Fort) which was bomb proofe. never shall I forget my sensation as I crossed the Parade ground to gain the place of safty, you must recollect, my feelings had been under constant excitement for many weeks, & now were wrought up to a high pitch, weep I could not, complain I would not, & I felt as if my nerves would burst, my hair felt as if it was erect upon my head, which was not covered, & my eyes raised upward to catch a glimpse of the bombs shells & balls that were flying in all directions, in the midst of all this, I saw the little Boy whose Father was tomahawked by Indians at Tippecanoe, runing about on the parapets exposed to the fire of the enemey as fearlessly as if in play—on gaining the root House, I found it nearly full of Woman & Children, one Lady so sick obliged to be carried there in a bed. What a scene was here presented, such lamentation, & weeping, I never heard before, & I sincerely hope I never shall again, among all this number but three appeared composed, & they felt more than can be described, the Wife of one of the Officers who had been shot as above mentioned, was in an agony of grief as you may well suppose, & amidst her lamentation, asking what she had done to deserve this sore trouble. O thought, I, what have any of us done to diserve any thing else, one Child too young to realize danger, was screaming most violently for its attendent to walk with her on the Parapet, on looking out of the door of the root House, opposite, I saw a Ball take a chiminy down & was told the same ball killed some one on the Parapet, the other side of the House, who was stationed there on duty—
About this time, the Enemy landed on our side, under cover of their armed Vessels, of which they had a sufficiency to demolish Detroit if they chose, & we had not a boat in order to carry a single gun. & General Brock's effective force was double, the number of ours— The Indians were let lose upon the inhabitants in all directions, & but a very small supply of Provision & Ammunition, under such circumstances the General after counciling Col Miller saw fit to2 surrender under the best terms he could, for in addition to what I have already stated a part of the Generals more efficient force, were some distance from Detroit where they had been sent on duty previous to the summons. A white flag was accordingly displayed upon the Parapet the common signal for a cessation of hostilities, & the Cannon ceased to roar, all was still. Immediatly the Enemy sent to ascertain, for what purpose the white flag was exhibited, & learnt the determination of the General to surrender.
Our Soldiers were then marched on to the Parade ground in the Frot, w[h]ere they stacked their arms, which were then deliver'd to the Enemy, the American colors were taken from the Stafe on the Fort & immediatly replaced by the English colors, & a royal salute fired, from the very cannon, taken from them in the revolutionary war — while their music played God save the King, their national tune, in the most livily maner. A thousand emotions struggled in my breast, too numerous for utterance, & too exquisitly painful to be described, — the poor fellows that were shot in this contest were buried in one common grave. After the Surrender those who had fled to the Fort for safty, returned to their respective abodes, the little Girl of whom I had charge in the begining, was with me all the time, & when she saw the fine uniform of the British Soldier expressed her delight in Broken accents, for she could not speak plain, calling them pretty—poor Child she little thought or realized, the sorrow, the transactions of that day might bring upon her family, & did actually, cloud their happiness for a long time afterwards.
The prisoners were put on board his Majestys Vessels to be sent to Niagria & from thence to Montreal on their way to Quebec thus a second time in the short space, of less then six weeks I was
2 On August 16, 1812, the town of Detroit was surrendered to General Brock by General Hull. Esarey, Messages and Letters of William Henry Harrison, II, 92. At this point of the manuscript, Mrs. Bacon had written, "call a council, of Officers, and the result was to," but she scratched over it and inserted, "after counciling Col Miller."
a prisoner & feared I should not be so easily released this time as I was with my Husband & he being of more consequence to the enemy, than a woman, might not get paroled, & I felt determin'd not to leave him unless obliged to. we were put on board the Queen Charlotte a fine Armed Ship of 300 tons, in the same Vessel were a number of others among whom were General H, & his son, Capt H, a number of 4th Regiment Officers, with their Soldiers, & several public Civil Officers, & only three Ladies Mrs F, Mrs S. & myself, Mrs F & S—only staid' on board our Vessel one night, the next day they were put in to another Vessel, ours being very crowded, & I was left intirely without a female to communicate a thought to, but I think notwithstanding our being prisoners, you would have laughed heartily, could you have seen us, when we laid ourselves down for the night. I am sure I never felt in a merrier mood, & the same feeling seemed to pervade all, except the General who was not in our Cabin, there was but one stateroom in the Cabin allotted for the Prisoners, & this had been taken possession of by Mrs F ere Mrs S and I arrived, Capt S, was much offended that a stateroom had not been provided for his beautiful Bride, who had been so hardly a week. To be sure we was led to expect more from British Officers whose politeness to the Ladies is proverbial, than their monopolizing all the Staterooms for their own use, but as we had been accustomed for many months to make the best of every thing, we thought it the best Policy to do so on the present occasion, & therefore proceded to arrange our beds as well as we could, consulting comfort & decency, as much as the times would possibly admit. Capt S, put his bed next the State room where Capt F & his wife were, we put ours next his, he took his place next the door his wife next him, I laid down by her & my husband the other side of me. thus he & Capt S formed a guard for their wives, while the rest, all gentlemen, covered the rest of the floor completely, altho nothing but variety had been our portion for many a month, I must confess the unpresedented novelety of our present situation intirely excluded sleep from our eyes, tho every thing in the Ship was quiet but ourselves, one Officer passing through our Cabin observed we were a merry set of prisoners, Mrs S requested him to give her some water to drink, which he politely complied with We were wind bound several days, which was very tedious being crowded & our fare not very good, one day at table a gentleman observed to me if I could eat such bread as this, (breaking as he spoke, a biscuit which he held in his hand), I was a better Soldier than he, for as he broke the bread, the hairs & Sticks shewed to great advantage, I was the best Soldier if eating the bread without thinking of the dirt made one, for untile my attention was called to it I had not thought of it, & was eating it with a very good relish, one day I made a huge apple pudding, which the Gentlemen enjoyed very much endeed, sewing, reading, & conversation, made the time pass talerably pleasant. When we went on board the Charlotte I had A bundle in my hand containing some work, with all my sewing apparratus a very handsome pearl breast Pin (the Gift of Brother John Bacon) & some money, this bundle as I was assending the side of the Vessel from a boat which conveyed us to it I put into the hand of one of the men who rowed the boat, & never saw the man or bundle again, this was a serious evil I thought at the time as I should be deprived the pleasure of sewing, my favorite employment, but a young Officer (Brittish) learning my misfortune went ashore & purchased, needles, pins, scisors, & thread & presented them to me—we were 14 days before we reached Buffaloe, 11 of which we lay waiting for a fair wind, & only 3 days going across Lake Eri, it was a pleasant sail, when we landed at Eri on the Cannada side, the Commanding Officer gave General Hull the liberty to fill the Carraige which was provided for him & his Aid & the only one which could be procured at the place. My Husband had been long acquainted with the General, which I suppose was the reason of his offering us the vacant seats in preferance to others, & as my Husbands duties ceased when the Soldiers were prisoners, he could avail himselfe of this comfortable conveyance. Officers of the line were obliged to be with their Men—& I after wards understood their wives had a very uncomfortable time in geting to Newark 36 miles from Eri, without protecters or proper carraiges to ride in, & now behold us seated with the General & his Aid guarded by Officers of suitable rank on horse back, 2 each side the Carraige, & 2 behind & the same number preceeding us, going just as fast as they could make the Horses go,3 which to be sure was not the best, but mean as they were I am inclined to think it was at the risk of our necks, we were hurried along with such velocity, the reason for their so doing I presume was, they feared our getin a view of their fortifications, which were erected at short distances from Eri to New Ark—In descending Queenstown Heights, I expected we should be precipitated into the abyss below, my head whirl'd as I endeavoured to catch a view as we flew along, We dined at a Tavern near the Falls of Niagra, These Falls, of which I had heard so much, I had a great desire to see, & oft times had said when speaking of returning home, we must see Niagra Falls before we return, & now I could be gratifyed, but how strangly brought about, I observed to the Officer in command that altho a prisoner I hoped to be permitted to view the Falls, he immediatly answered in the affirmative, immediatly after dinner General, & Capt H, Husband, & myself, escorted by the Guard, proceeded to the Falls, which answered our expectations, as far as we had time to examine them, but this was not as long as we could have wished as we must reach our destined Haven that afternoon, but since then, under more propitious circumstances, we have been astonished and delighted with the stupendous & sublime work of nature.
We found in conversing with these Gentleman that they were well acquainted, with Mrs Gooding, & her Husband, they admired her, they informed us they had a short time previous been sent to Montreal, & that on their way there had stoped at New Ark some weeks, he was closely confined in consequence of some terms he made use of in speaking of his Majesty which they thought improper, he had the liberty of the Village before this, I afterwards learnt from herself,
3 Between the lines and nearly erased are the words, "poor old worn out creatures gallop."
that she was treated by the British Officers & their wives with great respect being often invited to visit them, & found them very pleasant & refined.4
We resumed our seats in the Carraige & about 5. P M arrived at NewArk, a very pleasant Village, directly opposite Fort Niagra, here we found good Quarters, the same Leiut G, & Wife occupied, we found their names written on the Wall, we were not detain'd at Newark long, for very providentially for us, General Brock was at this place on his way to Montreal, & at General H-s request paroled My Husband, because his wife was with him, & ere the other Officers arrived who desired the same privilege, the General had left, & they had to proceed to Montreal, where All who had wives were immediatly liberated, this provoked some of the Batchalors very much, & made them almost promise, they would get married directly, if they could find anyone to have them, all those who were carried to Montreal were marched through the Streets & round Nelsons Monument to the tune of Yankey Doodle, before they were allowed to put up, this display of prisoners was something like the conquests of old.
My Dear Josiah having obtained his parole, was anxious to depart, & the next day we left his Majestys dominions with heatt felt joy altho we had but 25 cts to travel 500 miles with. The Troops had not received any pay for a long time, the communication being so hazardous at Detroit, prevented the Money being sent, & all the money we had was in the Bundle, I lost, when climbing into the Queen Charlotte, but this did not trouble us, so delighted were we with the thought of being once more in our own Country—The river between Niagra & NewArk is quite narrow, & in a few moments we were safely landed in our beloved United States, & our respiration became more free, at least we thought so, We went immediatly to the Fort attended by our Brother Officers, who had seen the Boat approching & came to the wharf to receive us, The Stone building in this Fort was erected by the French more than a Century ago, it is situated directly on the Bank of Lake Ontario, the distance between the building & the Water hardly admitting a foot path—in its rear—its high Windows, lofty walls, strong doors, & wide stair case, all denoted the object for which it was designed, we visited different parts of it, & well do I recollect the Magezine, which many years after, (while our Country reposed in peace, & we would feign have flattered ourselves the angry passions of men had Subsided also) became the prison of the Unfortunate Morgan, & I also remember how lovely the beautiful Lake appeared to me, which was undoubtdly his grave,5—After dinner we proceeded by invitation to the House of Docter West, a phycisian in the Army, who had purchased a farm on the Lake & whose family, consisting of a Wife, a Sister, & several Children, resided there, we passed through some woods near the Fort, & the recollection that this same woods, had been consecrated, by the prayers of that beloved Saint, Mrs Isabelle Graham, made
4 This comment may have been added when Mrs. Bacon copied her diary and letters.
5 This section was probably added when the diary and letters were copied.
them pecularily interesting I had been for so long a time uncos-tomed to walk, that in going the distance of a mile & half, my feet became blistered, & with pleasure I haild the appearance of the habitation through the trees which was to be our resting place for the night, we were received with hospitality by the Docters family, who expressed much interest for us, & endeavoured in every possible way to make us comfortable, & happy, once more a witness to the happiness of the domestic circle, we for a season almost forget the perils we had passed through, & felt there was something yet to enjoy, the Sister when I retired for the night followed me into the room, assigned us, & insisted on bathing my blistered feet, (an office which had never been performed for me when I had strength to do it myselfe) & all the objections I could offer, did not deter her, from her benevolent purpose, surely if any one ought to remember the stranger it is us, so many acts of kindness have been shewn us by them, that the knowledge of anyones being a Stranger seems to be a claim upon us, refreshed & invigorated by our short stay with this kind family, & anxious once more to behold our Dear Parents & relatives, Josiah obtain'd funds of the Pay Master at Niagra, & the next day we proceeded on our journey towards the place of our nativity, the Stage at this time did not run farther than Buffaloe, 36 miles from where we then were, & we hired a Cart the best vehicle the times would afford in this Cart, we put our trunks, & on a trunk we put our Mattrass & thus made a tolerable comfortable seat, but the roads were dreadful, logs most of the way slightly covered with earth, we bore the jolting till our limbs seemed almost dislocated & then, tried how walking would affect us, this was some reliefe, but fearing to blister my feet which were hardly well, we had recourse to our miserable conveyance again, & about 9 at night arrived at a wretched tavern the only one we could reach, & with in a few rods of the Falls, the distance we had travel'd was only 18 miles The badness of the roads, & the frequent interruptions occasioned by the Officers Stationed all along the road, calling on Josiah to give them an account of the Surrender, of which they had as yet heard only imperfectly related, detained us very much, & wearied exceedingly with our days travel we gladly avail'd ourselves of a shelter for the night however mean, on entering the House I was immediatly struck with the Paucity of everything that could be called comfortable, & feared we had not exchanged our situation for the better, the event proved we had not, the only female we saw prepared us a miserable supper, which after we had tried to eat, I sat till I thought I should have fallen on to the floor, so fearful was I of seeing the room where we were to sleep, while waiting for our repast we heard a groan, & on enquiring if anyone was sick, in the House, was answered in the affirmative, on asking who it was, they said it was a young Soldier sick with the camp fever—at last I told Josiah I must go to bed, & we were shown up a ladder into an appartment where the poor young man, whom I should not think more than 18 years old lay very ill endeed, so ill they thought he must die, he looked dreadfully, the head of his bed was close to the door of the room we were to occupy, which was off its hinges & set up as well as it could be without them, it containd two beds which almost came in contact with each other the room was so small, a window consisting of Six panes of glass mostly broken, admitted the full moon which shone with uncommon brilliancy, & helped to make more visible the extreme filth of the place, one traveler seemingly unconscious of the weal or Woe that surrounded him was in one of the beds, the other was for us, the pillow cases was the color of coal & on turning down the cloths they were worse if possible, & emitted such an efluvia that with difficulty I was kept from being sick. O said I, soon as I recovered power to articulate, dont let us stay here, do go into the barn, or outdoor, or anywhere rather than pass the night in such a place as this, it appeared to me it was more dreadful than any place I had been in through the whole Campaign, (one reason I presume for this was, my having been so much in the open air) that dirt & confinement appeard terrific)—but Josiah with his prevailing desire to make the best of every thing observed, dont say a word, they have given us the best they could, I told him if we must stay, we would not undress, but spread our pocket handkerchief on the Pillows, & lay down on the out side of the bed, this he agreed too, which we accordingly did, but sleep had fled, & the bugs which begun their repast soon as we got warm & from the voraciousness with which they regaled upon our poor wearied bodies, evinced they had not made a meal for a long time, combined with the piercing groans of the dying man & the stench which came from his bed, precluded even the possibility of such a thing— besids the thundering of the mighty Cataract would have been sufficient to have banished sleep, with this combination of circumstances you can form some faint Idea of what a dreadful night we passed, & it can be but faint either, for I have not the command of language sufficient to give you any adequate conception of the scenee. As soon as the day dawned we arose, & looking at the young Man as we passed, we saw he was near his end, A person apparently his own age attended him, perhap he was his Brother, but I asked no questions & hasted away fearing we had imbibed the disease. In reviewing this scene I have often thought how supremely selfish I was, instead of passing the night, in useless regrets, that we were so situated, it was my duty to have endeavoured to alleviate the sufferings of the sick stranger, possibly I might have rendered him some service that would have been beneficial, at any rate my own reflections would not have been so painful at the retrospect. While the man who drove us was attending to his horse & preparing to depart, we visited the Falls for a few momments, & bid them Adieu as we thought forever, & once more taking possession of our splendid Vehicle, we proceeded on our journey & like the day previous Josiah had to answer, innumerable questions, at every place we stopped, respecting the surrender, some of which amused, & others provoked us exceedingly, it rain'd part of the day & the only shelter we had was an unbralla, which prevented us from being intirely wet through. We arrived at Batavia about 6, AM, found a good House & had a comfortable nights rest, which refreshed, & prepared us, for taking the stage the next morning. We found the stage a good one, fine roads & what was better than either, very delightful companions, one Officer in the American Service, two Gentlemen from New York, & a Lady who was going to Detroit but hearing of the Surrender, was on her way back to the City, she had two Children & two Servants with her, this Lady & the Gentleman all proved to be very sociable & interesting, minds highly cultivated & maners very refined, we enjoyed their Society as far as Albany, & have never seen them since, except the Officer who dined with us once, at Sacketts Harbor, As I am now relating incidents intirely from memory, which took place twenty years since, I cannot remember at what place we slept the first night, we travell'd in the Stage nor is it of consequence, as, but little occured that I can insert here, except we had to Share our room which contain'd two Beds with our Friend the Officer, the House tho large was crowded, we passed the second day th[r]o several delightful Villages Cannadagua, Skeeniatless [Skeneateles], Auburn & Geneva, & others, crossing Lakes & rivers with which that part of the Country abounds, all tending to charm the eye exhilerate the Spirits, & raise our thought to that great & good being, who hath made all things for the comfort & growth of grace, in his intelligent creation if improved aright, Arrived at Uttica a very beautiful Village at the Head of the Mohawk, a very pretty river, which only a few years Since wafted the light canoe of the Aboriginies on its bosom, & their Wigwam adorned its Banks, but now how changed, beautiful farms, regale the eye of the beholder, & a Canal passes through them, fed by the Mohawk which conveys beautiful Boats loaded with property, & thousands of people engaged in different persuits find it, a safe and delightful conveyance, We put up at Mr Baggs Hotel renowned for its elegant accommodations as its LandLord is, for his attention & sauvety of manners to all those who are so fortunate as to make this their resting place, refreshing repose prepared us anew to enjoy the scenery around us, as well as the very interesting remarks of our travelling companions, & we arrived at Albany congratuling ourselves on having such an agreable journey so far, & regretting exceedingly that we must now separate from those who appeard so worthy of our regard, but we were now near our dear Friends from whom we had been seperated 17 months, two more days, & we should without accident behold them, the thought was pleasant indeed, but we found on enquiry that if we continued directly on to Boston the next day, being Saturday, we must Stop over Sabbath in Northampton, & we concluded to stay in Albany As General Dearborn was at the Military depot near there, with a number of Officers, whom Josiah wished to see, Saturday Morning we sleep till past the breakfast hour, & had our morning meal sent into the Parlor where we were sitting, in one corner of which sat a Quaker Lady of very pleasing aspect, who informed us as a peice of news, that the Eve previous, An Officer, & his Wife, had arrived directly, from Detroit, who had been taken Prisoners by General Brock, & added, have you heard any thing about them? We observed we were the Persons, upon which she expressed her pleasure at seeing us, & made many enquiries, respecting the transactions, which had excited such commotions, throughout the United States, Soon as it was known we were at Albany, A number of the Military called on us, & my Husband was dilligently employed in answering innumerable Questions, which every new comer wished to have answered. In the Eve, the stage arrived from Bolston Springs, & a Gentleman & Lady came into the room where I sat, who in a few moments I recognized to be Lawyer Thurston & Wife whom I had often seen at Aunt Smiths, Mrs T, being an intimate Friend, of my Aunts, & associated with her, as managers of the female Orppan Asylum, I longed to speak to her, but thought it best to wait, & see if she recollected me, & it was not long before I found she remembered me perfectly, they appeared much interested in us, & we passed the ensuing Sabbath together, & for the first time for many a long month, we enjoyed the means of Grace, with none to molest or make us afraid, & altho I could not estimate this great privilege, then as Ihope I have since, yet the recollection of that season is very sweet. Monday Morn, we started for our beloved home cheered with the prospect of soon seeing our Dear Friends, & delighted, that we had such agreable companions, for the rest of our journey, for Mr & Mrs T. occupyed seats in the same stage for Boston with ourselves, we have generally been very fortunte, in meeting good companey, in all most every situation where our lot has been cast, which we considered a blessing, for nothing is more unpleasant than disagreable travelling companions we had a great deal of pleasant conversation, which made the time pass swiftly, & we arrived at Northampton at rather a late hour in the Evening, A good supper & bed invigorated our bodies, & early in the morning we persued our journey with all that intensity of feeling which our situation was calculated to produce, we went on very pleasantly till about 11 o clock, when our stage gave way & we were obliged to take open waggons as far as where the stage exchanged, here we found a good carraige, & proceeded without further accident to Boston where we arrived about 10 at night, Our Dear Mother with a shout of joy received us with open Armes, & My Dear Sisters Abby & Annah who had retired for the night, hearing the stage stop & the exclamation of joy that followed, soon made their appearance & I once more had the pleasure of embracing those I dearly loved.