Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

writes he, "have, with one united voice, appointed you to the high station you possess. The Supreme Director of all events hath caused a wonderful union of hearts and counsels to subsist among us.

"Now, therefore, be strong, and very courageous. May the God of the armies of Israel shower down the blessings of his Divine providence on you; give you wisdom and fortitude, cover your head in the day of battle and danger, add success, convince our enemies of their mistaken measures, and that all their attempts to deprive these colonies of their inestimable constitutional rights and liberties are injurious and vain."

NOTE.

We are obliged to Professor Felton of Cambridge for correcting an error in our first volume in regard to Washington's head-quarters, and for some particulars concerning a house associated with the history and literature of our country.

The house assigned to Washington for head-quarters, was that of the president of the provincial Congress, not of the University. It had been one of those tory mansions noticed by the Baroness Reidesel, in her mention of Cambridge. "Seven families, who were connected by relationship, or lived in great intimacy, had here farms, gardens, and splendid mansions, and not far off, orchards; and the buildings were at a quarter of a mile distant from each other. The owners had been in the habit of assembling every after

Zbe Cragie Ibouse 221

noon in one or other of these houses, and of diverting themselves with music or dancing; and lived in affluence, in good humor, and without care, until this unfortunate war dispersed them, and transformed all these houses into solitary abodes."

The house in question was confiscated by Government. It stood on the Watertown road, about half a mile west of the college, and has long been known as the Cragie House, from the name of Andrew Cragie, a wealthy gentleman, who purchased it after the war, and revived its former hospitality. He is said to have acquired great influence among the leading members of the "great and general court," by dint of jovial dinners. He died long ago, but his widow survived until within fifteen years. She was a woman of much talent and singularity. She refused to have the canker-worms destroyed, when they were making sad ravages among the beautiful trees on the lawn before the house. "We are all worms," said she, "and they have as good a right here as I have." The consequence was that more than a half of the trees perished.

The Cragie House is associated with American literature through some of its subsequent occupants. Mr. Edward Everett resided in it the first year or two after his marriage. Later, Mr. Jared Sparks, during part of the time that he was preparing his collection of Washington's writings; editing a volume or two of his letters in the very room from which they were written. Next came Mr. Worcester, author of the pugnacious dictionary, and of many excellent books, and lastly, Longfellow, the poet, who, having married the heroine of Hyperion, purchased the house of the heirs of Mr. Cragie, and refitted it

[graphic]

Cbapter £1011.

Questions of Military Rank—Popularity of Putnam— Arrangements at Head-quarters—Colonel Mifflin and John Trumbull, Aides-de-camp—Joseph Reed, Washington's Secretary and Confidential Friend— Gates as Adjutant-General—Hazardous Situation of the Army—Strengthening of the Defenses—Efficiency of Putnam—Rapid Changes—New Distribution of the Forces—Rigid Discipline—Lee and his Cane—His Idea as to Strong Battalions—Arrival of Rifle Companies—Daniel Morgan and his Sharpshooters—Washington Declines to Detach Troops to Distant Points for their Protection—His Reasons for so Doing.

THE justice and impartiality of Washington were called into exercise as soon as he entered upon his command, in allaying discontents among his general officers, caused by the recent appointments and promotions made by the Continental Congress. General Spencer was so offended that Putnam should be promoted over his head, that he left popularity of Putnam 223

the army, without visiting the commander-inchief; but was subsequently induced to return. General Thomas felt aggrieved by being outranked by the veteran Pomeroy; the latter, however, declining to serve, he found himself senior brigadier, and was appeased.

The sterling merits of Putnam soon made every one acquiesce in his promotion. There was a generosity and buoyancy about the brave old man that made him a favorite throughout the army ; especially with the younger officers, who spoke of him familiarly and fondly as "Old Put " ; a sobriquet by which he is called even in one of the private letters of the commander-in-chief.

The Congress of Massachusetts manifested considerate liberality with respect to headquarters. According to their minutes, a committee was charged to procure a steward, a housekeeper, and two or three women cooks— Washington, no doubt, having brought with him none but the black servants who had accompanied him to Philadelphia, and who were but little fitted for New England housekeeping. His wishes were to be consulted in regard to the supply of his table. This his station, as commander-in-chief, required should be kept up in ample and hospitable style. Every day a number of his officers dined with him. As he was in the neighborhood of the seat of the Provincial Government, he would occasionally have members of Congress and other functionaries at his board. Though social, however, he was not convivial in his habits. He received his guests with courtesy; but his mind and time were too much occupied by grave and anxious concerns, to permit him the genial indulgence of the table. His own diet was extremely simple. Sometimes nothing but baked apples or berries, with cream and milk. He would retire early from the board, leaving an aide-de-camp or one of his officers to take his place. Colonel Mifflin was the first person who officiated as aide-de-camp. He was a Philadelphia gentlemen of high respectability, who had accompanied him from that city, and received his appointment shortly after their arrival at Cambridge. The second aide-de-camp was John Trumbull,* son of the governor of Connecticut. He had accompanied General Spencer to the camp, and had caught the favorable notice of Washington by some drawings which he had made of the enemy's works. "I now suddenly found myself," writes Trumbull, "in the family of one of the most distinguished and dignified men of the age; surrounded at his table by the principal officers * In after years distinguished as a historical painter.

« AnteriorContinuar »