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vided with bayonets) were now the only means left us to escape. The conflict, which was a sharp and severe one, is still fresh in my memory, and cannot be forgotten by me while the scars of the wounds which I then received, remain to remind me of it. Fortunately for me, at this critical moment I was armed with a cutlass, which although without an edge and much rust-eaten, I found of infinite more service to me than my musket. In one instance, I am certain, it was the means of saving my life--a blow with a cutlass was aimed at my head by a British officer, which I parried and received only a slight cut with the point on my right arm near the elbow, which I was then unconscious of; but this slight wound cost my antagonist at the moment a much more serious one, which effectually disarmed him, for with one well-directed stroke I deprived him of the power of very soon again measuring swords with a Yankee rébel! We finally, however, should have been mostly cut off, and compelled to yield to a superior and better equipped force, had not a body of three or four hundred Connecticut men formed a temporary breastwork, with rails, etc., and by this means held the enemy at bay until our main body had time to ascend the heights, and retreat across the neck. In this retreat I was less fortunate than many of mỹ comrades—I received two 'musket-ball. wounds, one in my hip and the other near the ankle of my left leg I succeeded, however, without any assistance in reaching. Prospeot -Hill, where the main body of the Americans had made a stand and commenced fortifying: From thence I was soon after conveyed to the hospital in Cambridge, where my wounds were dressed and the bullet extracted from my hip by one of the surgeons ; the house was nearly filled with the poor fellows who, like myself, had received wounds in the late engagement, and presented' a melancholy spectacle.
I suffered much pain from the wound which I received in my ankle; the bone was badly fractured and several pieces were extracted by the surgeon, and it was six weeks before I was sufficiently recovered to be able to join my regiment quartered on Prospect Hill, where they had thrown up intrenchments within the distance of little more than a mil thrown camp, which was. in full view; they having intrenched themselves on Bunker Hill after the engagement.
On the 3d July, to the great satisfaction of the Americans, General Washington arrived from the south to take command: I was then confined in the hospital, but as far as my observations could extend, he met with a joyful reception, and his arrival was welcomed by every one throughout the camp.
The British quartered in Boston began soon to suffer much from the scarcity of provisions, and General Washington took every precaution to prevent their gaining a supply. From the country all supplies could be easily cut off, and to prevent their receiving any from tories and other disaffected persons by water, the general found it necessary to equip two or three armed vessels to intercept them; among these was the brigantine Washington of ten guns, commanded by Capt. Martindale. As seamen, at this time, could not easily be obtained, most of them having enlisted in tho land service, permission was given to any of the soldiers who should be pleased to accept of the offer, to man these vessels --consequently myself with several others of the same regiment went on board of the Washington, then lying at Plymouth, and in complete order for a cruise.
We set sail about the 8th December, and had been out but three days when we were captured by the enemy's ship Foy, of twenty guns, who took us all out and put a prize crew on board the Washington--the Foy proceeded with us immediately to Boston Bay, where we were put on board the British frigate Tartar, and orders given to convey us to England. When two or three days out, I projected a scheme (with the assistance of my fellow prisoners, seventy-two in number) to take the ship, in which we should undoubtedly have succeeded, as we had a number of resolute fellows on board, had it not been for the treachery of a renegade Englishman, who betrayed us. As I was pointed out by the fellow as the principal in the plot, I was ordered in irons by the officers of the Tartar, in which situation I remained until the arrival of the ship at Portsmouth, England, when I was brought on deck and closely examined; but protesting my innocence, and what was very fortunate for me in the course of the examination, the person by whom I had been betrayed, having been proved a British deserter, his story was discredited and I was relieved of my irons.
The prisoners were now all thoroughly cleansed and conveyed to the marine hospital on shore," where many of us took the small-pox the natural way from some whom we found in the hospital affected with that disease, which proved fatal to nearly one half our number. From the hospital those of us who survived were conveyed to Spithead, and put on board a guard-ship, where I had been confined with my fellow prisoners about a month, when I was ordered into the boat, to assist the bargemen (in consequence of the absence of one of their gang) in rowing the lieutenant on shore. As soon as we reached the shore and the officer landed, it was proposed by some of the boat's crew to resort for a few moments to an ale-house, in the vicinity, to treat themselves to a few pots of beer; which being agreed to by all, I thought this a favorable opportunity, and the only one that might present, to escape from my floating prison, and felt determined not to let it pass unimproved ; accordingly, as the boats crew were about to enter the house, I expressed a necessity of my separating from them a few moments, to which they, not suspecting any design, readily assented. As soon as I saw them all snugly in and the door closed, I gave speed to my legs, and ran, as I then concluded, about four miles without once halting. I steered my course toward London, as when there by mingling with the crowd I thought it probable that I should be least suspected.
When I had reached the distance of about ten miles from where I quit the bargemen, and beginning to think myself in little danger of apprehension should any of them be sent by the lieutenant in pursuit of me, as I was leisurely passing a public house, I was noticed and hailed by a naval officer at the door with "Ahoy, what ship ?"-"No ship,” was my reply, on which he ordered me to stop, but of which I took no other notice than to observe to him, that if he would attend to his own business I would proceed quietly about mine. This rather increasing than diminishing his suspicions that I was a deserter, garbed as I was, he gave chase. Finding myself closely pursued and unwilling again to be made a prisoner, if possible to escape, I had now once more to trust my legs, and should have succeeded
had not the officer, on finding himself likely to be distanced, set up a cry of "Stop thief !!! which brought numbers out of their houses and workshops, who, joining in the pursuit, succeeded after a chase of nearly a mile in overhauling me.
By the officer I was conveyed back to the inn, and left in custody of two soldiers--the former (previous to retiring) observing to the landlord, that believing me to be a true blooded Yankee, requested him to supply me at his expense with as much liquor as I should call for. The house was thronged early in the evening by many of the “ good and faithful subjects of King George," who had assembled to take a peep at the “ Yankee rebel” (as they termed me), who had so recently taken an active part in the rebellious war, then raging in his majesty's American provinces. As for myself
, I thought it best not to be reserved, but to reply readily to all their inquiries ; for while my mind was wholly employed in devising a plan to escape from the custody of my keepers, so far from manifesting a
me, or my country, to prevent any suspicions of my designs, I feigned myself not a little pleased with their observations and in no way dissatisfied with my situation. As the officer had left orders with the landlord to supply me with as much liquor as I should be pleased to call for, I felt determined to make my keepers merry at his expense, if possible, as the best: means that I could adopt to effect my escape.
The evening having become now far spent and the company mostly retiring, my keepers (who, to use a sailor's phrase, I was happy to discover “ half seas over”) having much to my dissatisfaction furnished mo with a pair of handcuffs, spread a blanket by the side of their bed on which I was to repose for the night. I feigned myself very grateful to them for having humanely furnished me with so comfortable a bed, and on which I stretched myself with much apparent unconcern; and remained quiet about one hour, when I was sure that the family had all retired to bed.
I then intimated to my keepers that I was under the necessity of requesting permission to retire for a few moments to the back yard ; when both instantly arose and reeling toward me seized each an arm, and proceeded to conduct me through a long and narrow..entry to the back door, which was no sooner unbolted and opened by one of them, than I tripped up the heels of both and laid them sprawling, and in a moment was at the garden wall seeking a passage whereby I might gain the public road. A new and unexpected obstacle now presented, for I found the whole garden inclosed with a smooth brick wall, of the height of twelve feet at least, and was prevented by the darkness of the night from discovering' an avenue leading therefrom. In this predicament, my only alternative was either to scale this wall, handcuffed as I'was, and without a moment's hesitation, or to suffer myself to be made a captive of again by my keepers, who had already recovered their feet and were bellowing like bullocks for assistance. Had it not been a very dark night, I must certainly have been discovered and retaken by them. Fortunately, before they had succeeded in rallying the family, in groping about I met with a fruit tree situated within ten or twelve feet of the wall which I ascended as expeditiously as possible, and by an extraordinary leap from the branches reached the top of the wall, and
was in an instant on the opposite side. The coast being now clear, I ran to the distance of two or three miles, with as much speed as my situation would admit of. My next object now was to rid myself of my handcuffs, which fortunately proving none of the stoutest, I succeeded in doing after much painful labor.
It was now, as I judged, about twelve o'clock, and I had succeeded in reaching a considerable distance from the inn, from which I had made my escape, without hearing or seeing anything of my keepers, whom I had left staggering about in the garden in search of their “Yankee captive!" It was indeed to their intoxicated state, and the extreme darkness of the night, that I imputed my success in evading their pursuit. I saw no one until about the break of day, when I met an old man tottering beneath the weight of his pick-ax, hoe and shovel, clad in tattered garments, and otherwise the picture of poverty and distress ;. he had just left his humble dwelling, and was proceeding thus early to his daily labor ;-and as I was now satisfied that it would be very difficult for me to travel in the daytime, garbed as I was, in a sailor's habit, without exciting the suspicions of his royal majesty's pimps, who (I had been informed) were constantly on the lookout for deserters, I applied to the old man, miserable as he appeared, for a change of clothing, offering those which I then wore for a suit of inferior quality and less value. - This I was induced to do at that moment, as I thought that the proposal could be made with perfect safety, for whatever might have been his suspicions as to my motives in wishing to exchange my dress, I doubted not that with an object of so much apparent distress, self-interest would prevent his communicating them. The old man however appeared a little surprised at:my: offer, and after a short examination of my pea-jacket, trowsers, etc., expressed a doubt whether I would be willing to exchange them for his ' church suit,” which he represented as something worse for wear, and not worth half so much as those I then wore. Taking courage however from my assurances that a change of dress was my only object, he deposited his tools by the side of a bedge, and invited me to accompany him to his house, which we soon reached and entered, where a scene of poverty and wretchedness presented, which exceeded everything of the kind that I had ever before witnessed. There was but one room, in one corner of which was a bed of straw covered with a coarse sheet, and on which reposed his wife and five small children. The first garment presented by the poor old man, of his best, or “church suit,” as he termed it, was a coat of very coarse cloth, containing a number of patches of almost every color but that of the cloth of which it was originally made. The next was a waistcoat and pair of small clothes, which appeared each to have received a bountiful supply of patches to correspond with the coat. The coat I put on without much difficulty, kat the two other garments proved much too small for me, and when I had succeeded with considerable difficulty in putting them on, they set so tight as to cause me some apprehension that they might even stop the circulation of blood! My next exchange was my buff cap for an old rusty large-brimmed hat.
The old man appeared very much pleased with his bargain, and represented to his wife that he could now accompany her to church much more decently clad. He immediately tried on the pea-jacket and trowsers, and
seemed to give himself very little concern about their size, although I am confident that one leg of the trowsers was sufficiently large to admit his whole body--but, however ludicrous his appearance, in his new suit, I am sure that it could not have been more so than mine, garbed as I was,
like an old man of seventy! From my old friend I learned the course that I must steer to reach London, the towns and villages that I should have to pass through, and the distance thereto, which was between seventy and eighty miles. He likewise represented to me that the country was filled with soldiers, who were on the constant lookout for deserters from the navy and army, for the apprehension of whom they received a stipulated reward.
After enjoining it on the old man not to give any information of me, should he meet on the road any one who should inquire for such a person, I took my leave of him, and again set out with a determination to reach London, thus disguised, if possible. I traveled about thirty miles that day, and at night entered a barn in hope of. finding some straw or hay on which to repose for the night for I had not money sufficient to pay for a night's lodging at a public house, had I thought it prudent to apply for one.
In my expectation to find either hay or straw in the barn, I was sadly disappointed, for I soon found that it contained not á particle of either, and after groping about in the dark in search of something that might serve for a substitute, I found nothing better than an undressed sheep-skin. With no other bed on which to repose my wearied limbs, I spent: a... night, cold, hungry and weary, and impatient for the arrival of the morning's dawn, that I might be enabled to pursue my journey.
By break of day, I again set out and soon found myself within the suburbs of a considerable village, in passing which I was fearful there would
to guard myself as much as possible against suspicion, I furnished myself with a crutch and feigning myself a cripple, hobbled through the town without meeting with any interruption. In two hours afterward, I arrived in the vicinity of another still more considerable village; but fortunately for.me, at the moment, I was overtaken by an empty baggåge wagon, bound" to Lợndon. Again feigning myself very lame, I begged of the driver to grant a poor cripple the indulgence to ride a few miles, to which he asșenting, I concealed myself by lying prostrate on the bottom of the wagon, until we had passed quite through the village ; when, finding the wagoner disposed to drive much slower than I wished to travel, after thanking him for the kind disposition which he had manifested to oblige me, I quit the wagon, threw away my crutch and traveled with a speed, calculated to surprise the driver with so sudden a recovery of my legs. The reader will perceive that I had now become almost an adept at deception, which I would not however have so frequently practiced, had not self-preservation demanded it.
As I was passing through the town of Staines within a few miles of London, about eleven o'clock in the forenoon; I was met by three or four British soldiers, whose notice I attracted, and who unfortunately for me, discovered by the collar, which I had not taken the precaution to conceal, that I wore a shirt which exactly corresponded with those uniformly worn by his majesty's seamen. Not being able to give satisfactory account of myself, I I was made a prisoner, on suspicion of being a deserter from his majesty's
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