« ZurückWeiter »
trees and fences, and fired upon him and his little company. Mr. Dustin dismounted from his horse, placed himself in the rear of his children, and returned the fire of the enemy often and with good success. In this manner he retreated for more than a mile, alternately encouraging his terrified charge, and loading and firing his gun, until he lodged them safely in a forsaken house. The Indian, finding that they could not conquer him, returned to their companions, expecting, no doubt, that they should there find victims, on which they might exercise their savage cruelty.
The party which entered the house when Mr. Dustin left it, found Mrs. Dustin in bed, and the nurse attempting to fly with the infant in her arms. They ordered Mrs. Dustin to rise instantly, while one of them took the infant from the arms of the nurse, carried it out, and dashed out its brains against an apple-tree. After plundering the house they set it on fire, and commenced their retreat, though Mrs. Dustin had but partly dressed herself, and was without a shoe on one of her feet. Mercy was a stranger to the breasts of the conquerors, and the unhappy women expected to receive no kindness from their hands. The weather at the time was exceedingly cold, the March wind blew keen and piercing, and the earth was alternately covered with snow and deep mud.
They traveled twelve miles the first day, and continued their retreat, day by day, following a circuitous route, until they reached the home of the Indian who claimed them as his property, which was on a small island, now called Dustin's Island, at the mouth of the Contoocook River, about six miles above the state house in Concord, New Hampshire. Notwithstanding their intense suffering for the death of the child, their anxiety for those whom they had left behind, and who they expected had been cruelly butchered, their sufferings from cold and hunger, and from sleeping on the damp earth, with nothing but an inclement sky for a covering, and their terror for themselves, lest the arm that, as they had supposed, had slaughtered those whom they dearly loved, would soon be made red with their blood; notwithstanding all this, they performed the journey without yielding, and ar. rived at their destination in comparative health.
The family of their Indian master consisted of two men, three women, and seven chil. dren; beside an English boy, named Samuel Lennardson, who was taken prisoner about a year previous, at Worcester. Their master, some years before, had lived in the family of Rev. Mr. Rowlandson, of Lancaster, and he told Mrs. Dustin that “when he prayed the English way he thought it was good, but now he found the French way better.”
These unfortunate women had been but a few days with the Indians, when they were in. forined that they must soon start for a distant Indian settlement, and that, upon their arrival, they would be obliged to conform to the regulations always required of prisoners, whenever they entered the village, which was, to be stripped, scourged, and run the gauntlet in a state of nudity. The gauntlet consisted of two files of Indians, of both sexes and of all ages, containing all that could be mustered in the village; and the unhappy prisoners were obliged to run between them, when they were scoffed at and beaten by each one as they passed, and were sometimes marks at which the young Indians threw their batchets. This cruel custom was often practiced by many of the tribes, and not unfrequently the poor prisoner sunk beneath it. Soon as the two women were informed of this, they determined to escape as speedily as possible. They could not bear to be exposed to the scoffs and unrestrained gaze of their savage conquerors-death would be preferable. Mrs. Dustin soon planned a mode of escape, appointed the 31st inst. for its accomplishment, and prevailed upon her nurse and the boy to join her. The Indians kept no watch, for the boy had lived with them so long they considered him as one of their children, and they did not expect that the women, unadvised and unaided, would attempt to escape, when success, at the best, appeared so desperate.
On the day previous to the 31st, Mrs. Dustin wished to learn on what part of the body the Indians struck their victims when they would dispatch them suddenly, and how they took off a scalp. With this view she instructed the boy to make inquiries of one of the men. Accordingly, at a convenient opportunity, he asked one of them where he would strike a man if he would kill him instantly, and how to take off a scalp. The man laid his finger on his temple-Strike 'em there,' said he ; and then instructed him how to scalp. The boy then communicated his information to Mrs. Dustin.
The night at length arrived, and the whole family retired to rest, little suspecting that the most of them would never behold another sun. Long before the break of day, Mrs. Dustin arose, and, having ascertained that they were all in a deep sleep, awoke her nurse and the boy, when they armed themselves with tomahawks, and dispatched ten of the twelve. A favorite boy they designedly left; and one of the squaws, whom they left for dead, jumped up, and ran with him to the woods. Mrs. Dustin killed her master, and Samuel Lennardson dispatched the very Indian who told him where to strike, and how to take off a scalp. The deed was accomplished before the day began to break, and after securing what little provision the wigwam of their dead master afforded, they scuttled all the boats but one, to prevent pursuit, and with that started for their homes. Mrs. Dustin
took with her a gun that belonged to her master, and the tomahawk with which she committed the tragical deed. They had not proceeded far, however, when Mrs. Dustin perceived that they had neglected to take their scalps, and feared that her neighbors, if they ever arrived at their homes, would not credit their story, and would ask them for some token or proof. She told her fears to her companions, and they immediately returned to the silent wigwam, took off the scalps of the fallen, and put them into a bag. They then started on their journey anew, with the gun, tomahawk, and the bleeding trophies, palpable witnesses of their heroic and unparalleled deed.
A long and weary journey was before them, but they commenced it with cheerful hearts, each alternately rowing and steering their little bark. Though they had escaped from the clutches of their unfeeling, master, still they were surrounded with dangers. They were thinly clad, the sky was still inclement, and they were liable to be re-captured by strolling Dands of Indians, or by those who would undoubtedly pursue them as soon as the squaw and boy had reported their departure, and the terrible vengeance they had taken ; and were they again made prisoners, they well knew that a speedy death would follow. This array of danger, however, did not appall them, for home was their beacon-light, and the thoughts of their firesides nerved their hearts. They continued to drop silently down the river, keeping a good lookout for strolling Indians ; and in the night two of them only slept, while the third managed the boat. In this manner they pursued their journey, until they arrived safely, with their trophies, at their home, totally unexpected by their mourning friends, who supposed that they had been butchered by their ruthless conquerors. It must truly have been an affecting meeting for Mrs. Dustin, who likewise supposed that all she loved-all she held dear on earth-was laid in the silent tomb.
After recovering from the fatigue of the journey, they started for Boston, where they arrived on the 21st of April. They carried with them the gun and tomahawk, and their ten scalps—those witnesses that would not lie; and while there, the general court gave them fifty pounds as a reward for their heroism. The report of their daring deed soon spread into every part of the country, and when Col. Nicholson, governor of Maryland, heard of it, he sent them a very valuable present, and many presents were also made to them by their neighbors."
The annexed lines, descriptive of Mr. Dustin's memorable retreat in the face of his savage foes, were written by Mrs. Sarah J. Hale, the well known authoress. They contain much of the "soul of poetry :"
THE FATHER'S CHOICE.
Now ily, as flies the rushing wind
Urge, urge thy lagging steed!
And life is on thy speed.
he wildly eyed,
And “child!” his heart replied.
And one he meant for fame,
And one that bears her name ;
Or slumber on his breast; And one whose joys of infancy
Are still by smiles expressed. They feel no fear while he is near;
He'll shield them from the foe;
Their shriekings should he go.
No words bis thoughts allow;
Death's marble on his brow.
And twice he smote his clenched hand
Then bade his children ily!
Cowered at his wrathful eye.
Flashed forth the quivering flame!
The father's deadly aim !
His heart of purpose move;
The sacrifice of love.
Hate points the murderer's brand-
Can nerve the good man's hand.
The coward murd'rer flee;
That strikes, sweet love, for theo.
Save the soft child-like wail,
Wero mingled on the gale.
And firmer still he drew his breath,
And sterner flash'd his eye,
Still shouting “Children, fly!"
Nor tremor shook bis frame,
Save when at intervals he heard
Some trembler lisp his name.
Like famished tigers chafe,
CHARLESTOWN is one mile north of Boston, on a peninsula between Mystic and Charles Rivers, and is connected by bridges with Boston and other places. It contains a State Prison, the McLean Insane Asylum, a United States Navy Yard, a Marine Hospital, several man
South view of Bunker Hill Monument, etc., Charlestown. The view shows the appearance of Bunker Hill Monument and part of Charlestown, with Charles River in front, as seen from the ancient burying ground on Copp's Hill, in Boston. On this elevation a British battery was opened against the Americans at the time of the battle. ufacturing establishments, 12 churches, and about 25,000 inhabitants. The Navy Yard, on the north side of Charles River, embraces 60 acres of ground, inclosed by a wall, within which are erected the warehouses, arsenal, magazine, dwellings for the officers, etc., all of brick, and four large ship houses, under which the largest vessels of war are constructed. The dry dock here is a stupendous work of hammered granite, which cost the government $675,000; it is 341 feet long, 80 wide, and 30 feet deep. The state prison buildings are in the form of a cross, having four wings united to a central building. The interior arrangements and discipline are upon the “ Auburn plan.” The McLean Insane Asylum is on a beautiful eminence, now within the limits of Somerville.
BUNKER Hill, or more properly, Breed's Hill, is on the north border of Charlestown. The Bunker Hill Monument is erected on Monument Square, on the site of the redoubt. It is annually visited by thousands from various parts of the world. A monument was erected here in 1794, on the spot where Warren fell.
“In 1825, this monument, with the land, was given to the Bunker Hill Monoment Association, which erected a monument of hewn granite, in obelisk form, 30 feet square at the base, and 15 feet at the top: The foundation is 12 feet below the top of the ground, and is 50 feet square. There are 90 courses in the shaft, six below the surface of the earth, and 84 above it. The cap-stone is a single stone, four feet square at the base, and three feet six inches in hight, and weighs two and a half tuns. The obelisk contains four faces of dressed stone. The corner stone was laid June 17, 1825, by La Fayette, when an address was delivered by Hon. Daniel Webster, and the cap-stone was put on, July 23, 1842. On the anniversary of June 17, 1843, the completion of the monument was celebrated, Hon. Daniel Webster delivering an address. An immense concourse assembled, among whom were the president of the United States, and the heads of departments. The cost of the monument was $120,000; of the decoration of the grounds and other expenses, $36,000.
The monument is ascended within, by a circular flight of 294 steps, to the chaiber immediately beneath the apex, from the windows of which a view is had almost equal to that from the state house in Boston. In this chamber are seen two brass cannons, named Hancock and Adams, which were used in the battle; on each of which is the following inscription:
* Sacred to Liberty.—This is one of the four cannons, which constituted the whole train of field artillery possessed by the British Colonies of North America, at tho commencement of the war, on the 19th of April, 1775. This cannon and its fellow, belonging to a number of the citizens of Boston, were used in many engagements during the war. The other two, the property of the government of Massachusetts, were taken by the enemy. By order of the United States, in Congress assembled, May 19, 1788.'
The monument stands in the center of a square on Bunker Hill, containing nearly six acres, and inclosed by a massive stone fence. The natural surface of the ground is in part preserved, upon which some lineaments of the old breastwork are still discernible; a soil which will be ever dear to the bosom of the patriot, and to the friends of liberty throughout the world.
On the 17th of June, 1775, the ever-memorable battle of Bunker Hill was fought in this town, and will render the Hights of Charlestown an object of interest to generations yet unborn. The following, stated to be a “ful and correct account” of this battle, is taken from a pamphlet published in Boston, June 17, 1825 :
“ After the affair at Lexington and Concord, on the 19th of April, 1775, the people, ani. mated by one common impulse, flew to arms in every direction. The husbandman changed his plowshare for a musket; and about 15,000 men—10,000 from Massachusetts, and the remainder from New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Connecticut-assembled under Gen. Ward, in the environs of Boston, then occupied by 10,000 highly disciplined and well equipped British troops, under the command of Gens. Gage, Howe, Clinton, Burgoyne, Pigot and others.
Fearing an intention on the part of the British to occupy the important hights at Charlestown and Dorchester, which would enable them to command the surrounding country, Col. Prescott was detached, by his own desire, from the American camp at Cambridge, on the evening of the 16th of June, 1775, with about 1,000 militia, mostly of Massachusetts, including 120 men of Putnam's regiment from Connecticut, and one artillery company, to Bunker Hill, with a view to occupy and fortify that post. At this hill the detachment made a short halt, but concluded to advance still nearer the British, and accordingly took possession of Breed's Hill, a position which commanded the whole inner barbor of Boston. Here, about midnight, they commenced throwing up a redoubt, which they completed, notwithstanding every possible effort from the British ships and batteries to prevent them, about noon the next day.
So silent had the operations been conducted through the night, that the British had not the most distant notice of the design of the Americans, until day-break presented to their view the half formed battery and daring stand made against them. A dreadful cannonade, accompanied with shells, was immediately commenced from the British battery at Copp's Hill, and the ships-of-war and floating batteries stationed in Charles River.
LANDING OF THE
The break of day, on the 17th of June, 1775, presented a scene, which, for daring and firmness, could never be surpassed—1,000 unexperienced militi in the attire of their various avocations, without discipline, almost without artillery and bayonets, scantily sup plied with ammunition, and wholly destitute of provisions, defying the power of the formidable British fleet and army, determined to maintain the liberty of their soil, or moisten that soil with their blood.
Without aid, however, from the main body of the army, it seemed impossible to maintain their position—the men, having been without sleep, toiling through the night, and destitute of the necessary food required by nature, had become nearly exhausted. Representations were repeatedly made, through the morning, to head-quarters, of the necessity of reinforcements and supplies. Maj. Brooks, the late revered governor of Massachusetts, who commanded a battalion of minute-men at Concord, set out for Cambridge about nine o'clock, on foot, it being impossible to procure a horse, soliciting succor ; but as there were two other points exposed to the British, Roxbury and Cambridge, then the head-quarters, at which place all the little stores of the army were collected, and the loss of which would be incalculable at that moment, great fears were entertained lest they should march over the neck to Roxbury, and attack the camp there, or pass over the bay in boats, there being at that time no artificial avenue to connect Boston with the adjacent country, attack the head-quarters, and destroy the stores ; it was, therefore, deemed impossible to afford any reinforcement to Charlestown Hights, until the movements of the British rendered evidence of their intention certain.
The fire from the Glasgow frigate and two floating batteries in Charles River, were wholly directed with a view to prevent any communication across the isthmus that connects Charlestown with the main land, which kept up a continued shower of missiles, and rendered the communication truly dangerous to those who should attempt it. When the intention of the British, to attack the Hights of Charlestown, became apparent, the remainder of Putnam's regiment, Col. Gardiner's regiment, both of which, as to numbers, were very imperfect, and some New Hampshire militia, marched, notwithstanding the heavy fire across the neck, for Charlestown Hights, where they arrived, much fatigued, just after the British had moved to the first attack. The British commenced crossing the troops from Boston about 12 o'clock, and landed at Morton's Point, south-east from Breed's Hill. At two o'clock, from the best accounts that can be obtained, they landed between 3 and 4,000 men, under the immediate command of Gen. Howe, and formed, in apparently invincible order, at the base of the hill.
The position of the Americans, at this time was a redoubt on the summit of the hight of about eight rods square, and a breast-work extending on the left of it, about 70 feet down the eastera declivity of the hill. This redoubt and breast-work was commanded by