« IndietroContinua »
HORSENECK, 14 Sept., 1777. DEAR JACK:- I wrote my sister a few days since by a young lady from this place, which I doubt not she has ere this received. I have now the satisfaction to acquaint you your many friends in this state are in high health and spirits. The bearer, Lieut. Fanning (a prisoner who is now returning to his confinement) is a very honest, clever lad—any civilities shown him will be doing that which will oblige me. I would wish, my friend, to speak to you in the old familiar way, but it must not be at present. Love, esteem, &c., has in no degree varied from what it formerly was for you, my good sister, and my worthy friend Peggy. Assure them of it and tell them I wish most fervently a speedy and happy meeting.
Tell our old friend Sherry my compliments await him--and believe me with the utmost sincerity your affectionate friend and Br.
SP.S. I would say-rather desire you never to run away—but if I did Mr. Loring or some other gentleman would destroy my letter.
John Webb, Esq.
FLAT Bush, 17th July, 1778. SIR :-During our captivity and residence on this Island we are happy in having received, and are willing to acknowledge, the politest treatment from the Gentlemen of the British Army. It frequently has been otherways with ill-natured Refugees and Inhabitants of illiberal sentiments. These we have ever tho't beneath our notice. An instance has now arisen however which I am now obliged to communicate to you, of an officer under your immediate command, deviating from the character of a Gentleman in a way which I am confident will not be justified by you.
Capt. Drakeford, of the 26th, last evening came to the Quarters of a Mr. Helm, Lt. in the American Army, a prisoner of war now on his Parole, and without the least provocation insulted him with the most abusive language, after which, in a most ungentlemanlike manner, forced the cockade from his hat, collared and pushed him from the stoop on which he was standing. Mr. Helm's situation prevented his retaliating either by word or action, thinking it a more
proper way to obtain satisfaction by laying the matter before his superiors. At his particular request I have taken the liberty of writing you on the subject.
With due Respect I am sir,
Yours &c., &c.,
MANN's TAVERN in
4 July, '79.
I lodged at Hedden's, 21 miles from Boston, and came on here this morning to Breakfast, where I met Mr. Stoddard from New London, who informs me that a prize brig arrived there last Wednesday, taken by the Hancock, Beaver and little Cromwell. She was from Halifax for New York laden with fish and oil and about 700 bushels of Irish potatoes. He says it is reported the Delaware frigate is taken by the Boston and Confederacy.
Hetty would write but wishes to push on before the heat of the day. She joins me in an affectionate remembrance to you and family, and to our friends at Ten Hills.
In haste, I am yr affec. B'r, Jos. Barrell, Esq.
SAM'L B. WEBB.
WETHERSFIELD, Sunday, July 11th, 1779. DEAR BROTHER: Our sister and myself arrived here Thursday last after a warm, disagreeable ride, and found our friends in a state of Health, but the whole Country in an uproar. The enemy, about 2,000 under the infamous Governor Tryon, have been at New Haven. They took possession of the Town on Monday last, there being only about 100 of the militia to oppose them. * The young men of the
*The Italics are my own.-ED.
Town and the Collegians behaved gallantly, aud fought them as long as it could be of service. In the action we lost about 20 of that number. On Tuesday they embarked, after plundering the Town and burning a few stores, went over to East Haven and burnt all the Buildings next the shore. From this they took shipping and went for Fairfield, where they landed and took possession without opposition, the militia being dismissed after the Enemy embarked at New Haven, under an Idea that they had returned to N. Yorkand the Harvest suffering. At 12 o'clock Thursday night they sent a Flag to the Inhabitants who had collected on the Heights out of Town, acquainting them if they would come in, give up their arms, swear allegiance to George the Third, the Town should be preserved. They returned for answer that the Town was but a secondary object, and that they should never submit to the Government of Britain's Tyrant. The Enemy went immediately to plundering, and at seven o'clock set fire to the Town which now remains a heap of rubbish. This Village was large and as beautiful as any in this State. The buildings large and elegant. To add to the misfortune, the Inhab. itants had not time to remove any of their property, so that many reputable worthy families are reduced from a state of affluence to Poverty. Thus are these wretches, the Servants and Slaves of George the Third, burning defenceless Towns and waging War against innocent Women and Children-3 Child of three years old vas taken from the arms of its mother and thrown into the flames, and the mother, to stop her shrieks, kyocked down with a musket. A man who was taken prisoner, being an old Countryman, was rolled in a sheet bound fast, the sheet wet with rum and set fire to. In this situation, just before he expired, our people found him. Several negro servants, who were left to take care of their master's property, were burnt alive for attempting to extinguish the fire. Indeed, my friend, this last excursion of theirs has been marked with more savage cruelty than before known, for which, may God reward them. I am happy to tell you it has had a very good effect on the people, the Tory and Timid Whig now join in determining to take arms with their Virtuous Countrymen and swear revenge. I have never seen the people so universally ready to take the Field since the Lexington Battle. This morning an express informs that 4,000 of the Enemy have marched from Kingsbridge and had got as far as Horseneck. The fleet under Tryon with 2,000 are still in the sound, so that it appears they are determined to burn all our Sea coasts. The militia far and near are under marching orders, and wait but the signal to move. Two Brigades of Continentals are on the march from Hudson river; I wish they may have it in their power to meet the British. They give out they intend to penetrate into the Heart of this State; I wish most fervently they would attempt it, but I rather fear they will not go far from their shipping. Let me hear from you respecting Penobscott. I intend in a day or two to proceed to Head Quarters; my absence from this will not be long; on my return you shall hear from me. My love is with Martha and Abby and your little ones-something of the same nature hovers about Ten Hills. Kiss them all for your friend and very affectionate Brother,
SAM'L B. WEBB. Monday Morn'g.–We are just informed the Enemy have burnt Norwalk. I fear it's too true. Inclosed you have an order drawn by my Br. on W. V. Babcock for £1,000 Law. M’y, which if paid Credit to my acc't against my share of the Washington and Gates-should it not be paid, Let me know and I will forward the money the first safe conveyance. New London Harbour remains blocked up. The Carolina news has lost all credit. Was there ever such a hum run thro' the Continent ?
Jos. Webb, Esq.
Monday, 13th June, '79. MY DEAR SISTER:--I wrote Hetty a few lines last evening and now have only time to say I hope to set off for Providence the last of this or beginning of next week. After I have done my business with the Regiment I shall very eagerly take my flight to Boston to see my long absent friends, when I shall have chat enough for you. Remember me to your good husband whom I never knew, but hope soon to be acquainted with. Abby I think will conclude to go with me and spend a few weeks with you as Hetty is to accompany me back.
Adieu, and believe me,
SAM'L B. WEBB.
PROVIDENCE, Tuesday Morning, 6th July, 1779. DEAR BROTHER :-I congratulate you on the arrival of a large and valuable prize ship, laden with provisions and goods, at New London, taken, 'tis said, by the Revenge and the two little privateers, the Washington and Gates. This I think will more than clear the first cost of our shares, and I wish they may be further successful. I set off from this in half an hour and intend reaching Wethersfield on Thursday evening or Friday morning, from whence you may again hear from me. The Philadelphia paper of the 230 ulto. confirms the account of the defeat of the British before Charlestown. A. gentleman is arrived there who was in the action, and says when he left they were nearly surrounded, about ten miles from the town. 'Tis unaccountable we have no regular express from that quarter.
General Washington has ordered Glover's Brigade from this to join him on Hudson river with all possible dispatch, and seems confident the enemy mean to attack him.
Tell Sally and Abby God bless them. Hetty's love to you all.
Did you kiss the ten Hills' lasses for me as you promised ? Did you double it with my favorite ? Sweet girl, I wish I was there to take that duty off your hands.
Remember me to all, and write at your house, and believe me your Jos. Webb, Esq.
SAM'L B. WEBB.
WETHERSFIELD, Monday evening,
Aug't 9th, 1779. MY DEAR SISTER:—When I left you in Boston you had my promise that I would frequently write you. 'Tis not for want of inclination that there has been so long a period in which you have not heard from me. I was at home but a few days before my business required my attention at "headquarters, from which I returned yesterday evening much fatigued and yet uncertain when I may call myself a freeman. However, my present prospects are such that I live in hopes it will be speedy. When that happy hour arrives ’tis more than probable you may see me in Boston, and if nothing happens more than I now know I shall take Hetty with me.