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river shore. Hour after hour passed, -no boat approached. At length the day broke and the major retired to his party, and with his led horses returned to camp, when he proceeded to head-quarters to inform the general of the disappointment, as mortifying as inexplicable.
In a few days, Major Lee received an anonymous letter from Champe's patron and friend, informing him that on the day previous to the night fixed for the execution of the plot, Arnold had removed his quarters to another part of the town, to superintend the embarkation of troops, preparing (as was rumored) for an expedition to be directed by himself; and that the American legion, consisting chiefly of deserters, had been transferred from their barracks to one of the transports ; it being apprehended that if left on shore until the expedition was ready, many of them might desert. Thus it happened that John Champe, instead of crossing the Hudson that night, was safely deposited on board one of the fleet of transports, from whence he never departed until the troops under Arnold landed in Virginia. Nor was he able to escape from the British army until after the junction of Lord Cornwallis at Petersburgh, when he deserted ; and proceeding high up into Virginia, he passed into North Carolina near the Saura Towns, and keeping in the friendly districts of that State, safely joined the army soon after it had passed the Congaree in pursuit of Lord Rawdon.
His appearance excited extreme surprise among his former comrades, which was not a little increased when they saw the cordial reception he met with from Lieutenant-Colonel Lee. His whole story soon becamo known to the corps, which reproduced the love and respect of officer and soldier, heightened by universal admiration of his daring and arduous attempt.
Champe was introduced to General Greene, who cheerfully complied with the promises made by the commander-in-chief, as far as in his power; and having provided the sergeant with a good horse and money for his journey, sent him to General Washington, who munificently anticipated every desire of the sergeant, and presented him with a discharge from further service, lest he might in the vicissitudes of war, fall into the enemy's hands; when, if recognized, he was sure to die on a gibbet.
When General Washington was called by President Adams to the command of the army, prepared to defend the country from French hostility, he sent to Lieutenant-Colonel Lee to inquire for Champe; being determined to bring him into the field at the head of a company of infantry. Colonel Lee sent to Loudon county, Virginia, where Champe settled after his discharge from the army, but learned that the gallant soldler had removed to Kentucky, where he soon after died.
LAND AND SEA PERILS
IN THE WAR OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION, INCLUDING HIS SUFFERINGS IN OLD MILL
PRISON, ENGLAND, AND AFTERWARD IN THE OLD JERSEY PRISON SHIP AT THE WALLABOUT, BROOKLYN, NEW YORK. WRITTEN FOR THIS WORK BY ANDREW DICKINSON.
ANDREW SHERBURNE was born at Rye, once a part of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, September 30, 1765. He describes his childhood as dotted over with misfortunes. He was about twelve years old, at that period of our revolutionary history, when the American spirit was fully developed by the battles of Bunker Hill and Lexington. He caught the spirit of the times; yet he owns that he was influenced, at first, more by a love of excitement and heroic adventure, than any rational feeling of patriotism. He longed to be old enough to take part in the conflict. The discipline of military drills, in those troublous times, was not lost upon boys of even seven or eight years. They would form into companies, with plumes and wooden guns, and their martial exercises were as exact as those of the men. When two or three boys happened to meet in the street, their military powers were tested by pitching into each other with sticks, instead of wooden guns. Meanwhile ships were building, privateers fitting out, prizes brought in, standards waving on forts and batteries; while the exercising of soldiers, the roar of cannon, the sound of martial music, and the call for volunteers, completely infatuated him. His brother Thomas had returned from a cruise in the General Mifflin, which had taken thirteen prizes : this was another temptation. Our young hero was so much excited, that he was often heard talking in his sleep by his mother. Such are some of the dreams of glory and riches that infatuate youth, and, alas ! too many children of a larger growth. His parents were in continual fear of his wandering away and getting on board a vessel without their consent; for it was a common thing for country lads to step on board of a privateer, and sometimes return home from a cruise; their friends being ignorant of their fate till they heard it from themselves. Others would pack up their clothes, and with a cheese and a loaf, start for the army, without taking one look at the dark side of things; indeed to them there appeared no dark side. The prevalence of this rash spirit, however, kept up the spirits of the desponding, and helped the country to make a successful struggle for liberty.
At last his father consented that Andrew should go to sea in the Ranger, a ship-of-war of eighteen guns, though he was not yet fourteen. Privateering was the order of the day. This resolution deprived him of the advantages of instruction. He had a vile habit of swearing, in which he then allowed himself; an inexcusable vice, which he endeavored to atone for by praying very hard when he turned in at night. He went to sea in June, 1779. His associates being raw and undisciplined in sea life, and very seasick, occasioned much ridicule and merriment by the sailors.
One morning a man at the foretopmast-head cried out, “A sail ! a sail ! on the lee-bow--and another there, and there !" The young officers ran up the shrouds, and, with their spyglasses, soon discovered over fifty vessels of war! many more prizes than they could take. They were now likely to have fighting to their heart's content. These vessels were but a part of the Jamaica fleet, of one hundred and fifty line-of-battle ships and sloops-ofwar! The sight greatly alarmed our crew, and well it might. They could distinctly see their lights, and hear their bells. The fog was very thick, by which means they had the good luck to escape. Up to this time they had taken but two prizes ; Sherburne's share of the spoils being about $100.
In a few weeks after his return from this voyage, he and his comrades had to betake themselves to the ships. And though it might seem unmanly to shed tears, yet the downcast, saddened look of a fond mother and sisters proved too much for Andrew. We next find him and his little squadron chasing a Britishship, near the coast of Charleston. The Ranger attacked a small British battery on James' Island, and, after a severe cannonading, the enemy's guns were silenced. At the beginning of this battle, Andrew was excessively alarmed; but, like the redoubtable Gil Blas, cleverly managed to hide his fears from his associates. In another onset they were defeated. Captain Simpson and the Ranger's force were much exposed to the fire of the British. Sherburne relates :
“While part of the officers and myself occupied an elegant house of Colonel Gadsden, a bomb fell through the roof and burst in the cellar, luckily hurting no one. Another fell within two feet of me; but I threw myself behind the carriage, and escaped. Another burst over my head, and a large piece buried itself in the turf at my feet. A cannon ball struck the house, passing within two feet of me. Bullets flew like hail in every direction. Bricks and plaster fairly darkened the air; and shells fell over the city in a perfect shower: a dozen might be seen falling at once. The seige was closely pressed, and we were in great fear of our works being carried by storm. Finally we were obliged to capitulate on the 12th of May, 1780. The day after this battle, a dreadful accident occurred. While the British were depositing the muskets taken from us in the grand magazine, which was bomb proof, the powder in it exploded. The shock was like an earthquake, and a great many were instantly swept into eternity. I saw the print of a man's body, who had been dashed against a brick church thirty feet above the ground, and thirty rods from the magazine. The cause of this explosion was never known.”
Sherburne was now a prisoner. On his return home, after his imprison- . ment, he was worn down with sickness and misfortune. Before he reached home, he heard of his father's death. On his way, with his little budget in hand, he wept bitterly, and till his tears were exhausted. His poor mother was now a widow; and his brother Thomas, once so flushed with success, had not returned. Alas! he never did return. As Andrew passed a house in Lyme, he was noticed by a woman standing at the door. She was immediately joined by another tender-hearted mother. Both had sons in the army, and might have had some hope of seeing or hearing of them. They stood over him and wept in silence, meditating on the fate of their sons. It was an hour of bitter sorrow! The best their houses afforded, was provided for the youthful wanderer. In a week more he reached Portsmouth, where he found his widowed and mourning mother. A scene like this, with its changes in one year, can neither be described nor imagined.
Sherburne shall hereafter speak for himself in the remainder of this narrative.
My mother was industriously employed in spinning, knitting, and sewing for others, as a means of support for her children. She would sit at her wheel for hours, diligent and pensive, without uttering a word ; and now and then tears would roll down her cheeks, and she would break silence by the narration of some event that took place in her father's day of prosperity.
As the Ranger was built in Portsmouth, and had fallen into the hands of the enemy, the patriotic merchants of that place were anxious to retrieve their loss. They built another beautiful ship of twenty guns, called the Alexander, and gave Captain Simpson the command. A considerable number of the Ranger's officers and men occupied the same station, as formerly, in this new ship. I was invited by the captain to try my fortune in her again, and readily accepted the offer. We sailed from Portsmouth in December, 1780, and during a cruise of three months, took nothing. We never gave chase without coming up with an enemy, though we never met in battle. Before we reached home we were reduced to half allowance, and suffered greatly for water. I had left my mother a power of attorney to sell any part of my share she might require, by which means she was provided with a cow, fuel, and other necessaries. On my
arrival I found my mother and sisters well, but there was no news from my brother Thomas. I now began to feel as if the care of the family would devolve on me. My neighbors extolled me for my attentions, and this made me more ambitious.
The Alexander was the best and fastest sailing vessel I ever saw, and it need not be wondered at if I should be invited to make a second voyage. However, while one day walking in the street, I was recognized by one of Neptune's fry, with the salutation, "Don't you want to take a short cruise in a fine schooner, and make your fortune ?" Making one's "fortune,” was a matter of course ; yet what kind of fortune, remains to be seen. I answered that I should " go in the Alexander.” “O,” said he, we shall be back before the Alexander will get ready to sail!” This young man Captain Willis, of Kennebunk, Maine; and his vessel was the Greyhound, fitted out at Salem, Massachusetts. She mounted four pounders, was of sixty tuns burden, and made quite a warlike appearance. One Captain Arnold was the only person from Portsmouth going in her. He was prizemaster, and anxious to have me join them. The others were all strangers to me. I was then about sixteen. Many fair promises, beside a share of
was spoils, were made. Privateering was a very common thing, and was then sanctioned by public opinion, whatever may be said of it now. Having got on board, I was introduced to my new companions by Captain Willis, with a good deal of ceremony. He took me into the cabin, and I was much caressed by the officers. I was invited to sing a song, and in the course of the evening, I entertained them with several. There was a good deal of management in all this; for they found it very difficult to get hands, and they wished to have me get attached to them, so that my influence could secure others. The day after, we ran down to York, as it was needful for Captain Willis to form some plan to increase his numbers; for he had poor success in Portsmouth. The plan was to get up a frolic at a public house, and lads and lasses were invited for a country dance! Rum, coffee, and other attractions, were freely spread out to bait the unwary—the devil's usual trap. Having but one fiddler, and the company being large, it was requisite to have dancing in more than one room. I was, therefore, in lieu of fiddler number two, selected by the officers to sing for the other dancing department. This suited me, as I was no proficient in dancing. Every art and insinuation, however, only procured two recruits ! As might be expected, the next day was one of the most melancholy I ever passed. The gloom, the horror, the despondency I felt, cannot be described by mortal tongue. I resolved to return home; but in this resolution I could not obtain the least relief. The voyage before me looked as gloomy as death. It was
a horror of great darkness.” Had I been in the middle of the ocean on a single plank, my situation would not seem more hopeless. In this forlorn situation, it came into my mind to go on board of the vessel and pray. The people were mostly ashore ; and, after spending some time in contemplation, I attempted to pray. The gloom in some measure subsided. I then told the captain I had made up my mind to return home. Ho acknowledged my right to do so, but being unwilling to part with me, he got Captain Arnold and other officers to persuade me to remain another evening. I reluctantly consented. The evening was spent much like the last. Only one more hand was procured. The captain being satisfied that he would have no success here, determined to push farther eastward, having gained my consent to make the voyage. At Kennebunk and Falmouth our success was equally indifferent. I now very much regretted that I had ever seen the accursed Greyhound ; yet nobody was more to blame than myself. My melancholy and forebodings came upon me with renewed horror. Finally, I argued myself into a kind of unwilling resigniation to my hard fate.
We visited Cape Porpoise, a place of little resort, except by coasters. There was by no means a dense population here. The visit of a vessel of so rakish an appearance as the Greyhound, with flaming flag and streaming pennants, was quite a novelty. The captain's barge was rowed with four oars only, and I had the honor of being steersman of this little craft; and when we put off from alongside, the captain was honored with a gun and three cheers from the crew. This was something unusual; but we were privateersmen.
With such inadequate recruits we went to sea. When we were con Halifax we were chased by a topsail schooner, larger than ours.