Page images
PDF
EPUB

morning marched back to Bristol, and afterwards they crossed the river above Bristol and marched to Burlington, and crossed, where they rested until the evening before the battle of Trent Town. They had just got into quarters about one hour, at Lamberton, before the alarm gun was fired, and were immediately ordered into the line of battle. He saw the battle at the bridge but was in no danger, a few cannon shot only flying over their heads. Peale had brought a quarter cask of rum with his baggage, and when the army grounded their arms and made up their fires, he supplied each of his men with a gill of rum, and got them a quarter of beef. The Captain left them here, and the whole charge of the company devolved on Peale. The cares and novelty of the scene prevented him from lying down to rest. And he wonderfully escaped going with a surgeon of his acquaintance to assist in cutting off the limbs and dressing the wounds of those unfortunate men of that day, in which case he would have been left behind on the march of the army, which took place at twelve o'clock that night. They took a circuitous march by a road leading to Cranbury, and just got sight of Princeton a little after sunrise. He had some small share in this engagement and kept his men in good order. The battle was soon over and the army, after securing their prisoners, marched on, but not before they heard the firing of the British army in their rear. Very little order was kept after this in the march of the militia to Summerset court house, where they arrived just before night. The men, who before this time would not put up with indifferent quarters, were now so amazingly fatigued, that they were happy in having some old straw in a smoky loft, where the Hessians had lain. Humanity induced Peale to purchase beef, pork and potatoes with his own money, to feed his men, and he saw a large pot put on the fire to dress it, but returning to get his men to eat, the want of sleep and excessive fatigue had so worn them down that not a man would rise to help himself; they declared that they would rather sleep than eat.1

'General Washington passing, saw the men a small distance from the road, called out to know why they were there, and Peale stepped up to him and told the general that he was giving his men something to reiresh them. “Very well, march on as fast as you can.”

“The army was ordered under arms at three o'clock the next morning, and when this provision was boiled to rags (for it had been kept on the fire all night) his men were glad to sup what they esteemed very good broth. In this day's march to Pluckemin many of the company had their shoes quite worn out, and some had their feet cut with the ice. Here Peale's mechanical genius enabled him to administer to their wants; and getting two hides, by making mokasins of raw hides, putting the hair next to their feet, very warm and comfortable coverings they were. Peale was a thin, spare, pale-faced man in appearance, totally unfit to endure the fatigue of long marches, and lying on the cold, wet ground sometimes covered with snow, yet by temperance, and a forethought of providing for the worst that might happen, he endured this campaign better than many others, whose appearance was more robust. He always carried a piece of dryed beef and biscuit in his pocket, and water in his canteen, which he found was much better than rum.

"The army rested here a few days, and then marched to Morris Town, where the company got into good quarters, and where they staid the remainder of their tour of duty.” [This was the latter part of January, 1777.]

After the campaign which included or terminated with the battles of Trenton and Princeton, the militia was very much disorganized. The plan of associated battalions did not stand the test of actual war, and in consequence a militia bill was passed reorganizing the entire force. The constant alarms, many of which were false, had frequently resulted in calling out the entire force when it was needless, entailing hardships upon the members in taking them from their avocations, and finally many did not respond when called. In the reorganization the militia was divided into classes, so that all might not be subject to active service at the same time, and the State and city were divided into definite districts. Under this reorganization Peale was captain of a company in Philadelphia for the district included between? Front and Second streets and reaching from Market to Arch street. His company was in

Archives of Pennsylvania, Vol. XIII, p. 584.

the Second Battalion still commanded by Colonel Bayard. Later it was the Fourth Company of the Fourth Battalion under the same commander.

On June 17, 1777, Peale was commissioned captain of the Fourth Battalion or Regiment of Foot commanded by Colonel William Will' and was in this regiment when at White Marsh.

The spring and summer of 1777 was an active one politically in Philadelphia, and feeling ran high between those who wished to revise the Constitution and those who were opposed to any action. Numerous town meetings were held and a Whig Society, of which C. W. Peale was president, was organized. Many persons who were willing to take the oath of allegiance to the United States, refused to subscribe to the State oath. The Assembly was asked to revise the Constitution or to recommend a new election for members to a Constitutional Convention. The Whig Society, in opposition, prepared an agreement which was taken around for signatures, pledging the signers to a cordial support to the authority of Congress and the several States for the promotion of peace and good order. The discussion became very bitter, but the pressure of other public events prevented any definite action. It was at this time that Peale entered the political life of Philadelphia, in which he was destined to take part for several years. The following is his account of his action at this time:

"Another kind of cares had intruded on the active Whigs. This was to take the necessary precautions to keep under the now dangerous internal enemies, many of whom were too open in avowing their attachment to the British interest. Also to consider what ought to be done respecting the Constitution of Government just framed. Out of mere curiosity, Peale attended at one of these meetings of the people, in the School house belonging to Christ's Church. After the room was full of people, a chairman was proposed, and two or three persons named, and approved, yet each of them severally excused themselves from taking the chair. This produced a remark from Peale, to a gentleman standing by him, that he wondered why gentlemen should be so unwilling to take the trậuble of only keeping order in an assembly of their fellow-citizens. Archives of Pennsylvania, Vol. XIII, p. 677. 'Scharf and Westcott's History of Philadelphia, Vol. I.

This private conversation meeting the approbation of the person it was addressed to, produced the cry, Mr. Peale in the Chair, which was supported by several others. After what had been said, a refusal to take the chair would have been wrong. And from this accidental affair, the launching out into that dangerous and troublesome political sea, subjected to troubles by every blast, and very often in contrary diections. And this, viz: embarking in politics (to which he was much a stranger) Peale considered as the most disagreeable part of his life. For the difference of opinion here made him enemies, in those whom before, he considered his best friends.

"It apearing clearly to Peale that the great majority of the people of Pennsylvania (at least the Whigs) were desirous to support the existing) form of Government, until the time prescribed by the Constitution for taking the same again into consideration, and which was always so determined at every public meeting of the citizens, which were in those times pretty frequent; and as under this now existing Constitution, the means of defense against the Common Enemy, were provided; and as it is an undoubted fact that the greatest opposition was waged against this form of Government at the Identical time the Enemy was making hasty strides, with a large army into Pennsylvania, the motive of action with Peale was on a clear idea, that to attempt alterations at that time was equal to taking from the Whigs the means of defense; and in several of those meetings of the free assembling of people, of which Peale was a moderator, (altho' their numbers were small in comparison of the whole people) the question respecting the exceptional parts of this Constitution were put, and freely debated, and in every instance carried in favor of the then existing form of Government, by a large majority, and often unanimously. Under these circumstances, will candour declare he is wrong? Certainly not.'

“Having now unfortunately become popular, he is appointed by Government, one of the Committee of 50, for the purpose of removing the stores out of the City, to prevent them from falling into the Enemies' hands. In short he was called on, in almost every instance where personal service was wanted -which obliged him to be a busy active character."

(To Be Continued.)

WHAT WE ARE DOING AND

CHAPTER WORK.

QUEQUECHAN CHAPTER.

The fourth annual meeting of Quequechan Chapter, of Fall River, for the election of officers, occurred Tuesday, October 11th, at the residence of Mrs. C. E. Mackenzie. The Regent, Miss Mary L. Holmes; Vice-Regent, Mrs. Mary P. Hartley; Registrar, Miss Berthea M. Nixon; Treasurer, Mrs. C. E. Mackenzie, and Historian, Mrs. C. W. L. Davol, were reēlected. Mrs. E. J. T. Coburn was appointed Secretary, and Mrs. Louise D. Horton, Corresponding Secretary. Mrs. James Henry and Mrs. Clarence Brown were elected to fill two vacancies on the Advisory Board.

The principal business of the meeting was the third Massachusetts State Convention to be held in Fall River, for which further arrangements had to be made. During the summer the Chapter has lost by death two of its charter members, and now numbers seventy-one.

Fifty dollars has been contributed to the "Volunteer Aid Association." Twenty-five families, whose supporting members had enlisted on land or sea in the service of their country, have been given aid by the Volunteer Aid Association, through members of our Chapter. Many became members of the Association and aided both at home and at the rooms of our local Grand Army of the Republic, in sewing or contributions. Our Vice-Regent, Mrs. Hartley, raised $442.72 by chain letters, for the use of the Massachusetts Hospital Ship, "Bay State.” The Chapter has also contributed its mite for various good causes and deems itself fortunate and glad to be one of the great army of Chapters formed of such patriotic women of revolutionary ancestors.

The Convention was held in Music Hall, Franklin street, Thursday, October 20th, the morning session opening at 10.45.

« PreviousContinue »