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“ Our army had blockaded Boston: we labored BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH OF
incessantly through the night of the 16th June, CAPTAIN SAMUEL COOPER. '75, to fortify our position on the summit which
completely commanded the city; and it was not BY A CITIZEN OF FREDERICK COUNTY, MARYLAND. until four next morning that one of the enemy's Terrible was the gleam of his steel : 'twas like the green
ships first perceived our operations, and played on meteor of death setting in the heath of Malmor when the tra
us with their artillery. The three English geneFeller is asleep, and the broad moon is darkened in the Heavens. rals saw that all their efforts to dislodge us from
our strong position would be vain, unless by a geneOn the evening of the 28th of June last, I visit-ral assault. Our lines were manned with yeoinaned Captain SAMUEL COOPER, of Georgetown, ry, many of whom had never been in battle. PutD. C., that I might ascertain the events of his nam commanded in chief, assisted by Starke and military life. The venerable man was seated in other brave spirits. A few minutes before the conhis portico, from which we saw old Potomac test began, Warren appeared in all the pride of rolling his waters far as the eye could reach, in- youth and courage. I remember distinctly his sensibly leading the imagination to the tomb of countenance, (which strikingly resembled that of Washington, and in quick succession reviving the late Mr. Wirt,) glowing with patriotism and all the prominent events of his day. The capitol ardor-his hair fell in curls down his shouldersof our country, too, and the proud monuments of his presence inspired the troops wherever he was national glory, were immediately before us, which seen. The sun had risen resplendently, indicative we could not behold without recurring with sor- of our fortunes on that remarkable day. We saw row and indignation to the disastrous events of from the top of the hill the British shipping and 1814, when a vandal foe laid them in ruins. The barges in the harbor—thousands of anxious specrays of the setting sun gilded the horizon with a tators filling the windows, balconies, and roofs of beautiful lustre—the lofty oaks, which surrounded houses of my native city—the enemy preparing his house, were covered with the richest foliage for the conflict-all was big with the fate of the the feathered songsters poured forth their sweetest two nations. About one o'clock, P. M., they music—and when I was told, that this was alike landed at Moreton's Point, without meeting rethe birthday of the aged patriot, and the anniversary sistance, ten companies of grenadiers, ten of light of the battle of Monmouth, where he had fought infantry, and a quantity of artillery, commanded for our country, my curiosity was much excited by Generals Howe and Pigot. On surveying our to learn his history. He seemed at first rather to intrenchment, the British General balted, and sent shrink from the narration of the stirring scenes for a reinforcement. They advanced in two coof his adventurous career: his modesty recoiled lumns. At this moment Charlestown was in one from the task. At length I saw his eye kindling, sheet of flame. The enemy gradually advanced his mental powers were quickly excited, and he up the hill now covered with their troops—their thus began. “Often like the evening sun comes colors flying-music mingling with the roar of the memory of former days on my soul. I was their artillery-soldiers well dressed-officers disborn June 28th, 1755, in Boston, and was enrolled tinguished by their splendid costume—whilst we in Col. Knox's regiment of artillery, May 21, waited in profound silence for their near approach: 1775. I saw the blood of my neighbors flow at our starspangled banner spread out to the uncloudLexington, on the 19th of the preceding month, ed sun—no signs of fear in any countenance-all, and bad frequently heard the great orator, Dr. cool and determined, were awaiting the signal. On Warren, thunder in the ‘Old South,' against the our first fire, hundreds of the enemy lay dead before oppressions of England, even when the British us; their ranks were broken, and they retired in soldiers menaced him with instant death in the disorder to their place of landing: their officers holy place. Sir, (said be, rising from his seat, in were seen running in every direction, inspiriting a sort of ecstasy,) I yet hear his unrivalled elo- their soldiers for another attack. The second quence—his pathetic tones—I see the people elec-charge was to them more disastrous than the first. trified and borne off to the aid of their country, Again the survivors fled to their old position. An despising the horrors of war-by the all-powerful universal shout of joy along our line, enlivened oratory of this second Demosthenes. I had pre- with the favorite air of Yankee Doodle, apprized virusly, in 1774, borne a very prominent part in the enemy that our arms were nerved by a supethe destruction of three hundred and forty-two rior power in our country's cause. But for Sir chests of tea, in Boston barbor. And although Henry Clinton, who beheld the scene from Coppe's this expedition was fraught with the best effects Hill, the British army had never rallied. He fled to the whole country, yet was it as nothing when to its succor. That enterprising officer cheercompared with the battle of Bunker Hill, which ed the drooping spirits of his troops, and himwas not surpassed in bravery or good fortune, self led the third and last charge. He attacked either in ancient or modern times.
our redoubt at three several points. We now
suffered from the artillery of the ships, which noted army-but, sir, it was a splendid affair: twenonly kept off our reinforcements by the isthmus ofty-three officers and eight hundred and eighty-six Charlestown, but even uncovered and swept the soldiers were made prisoners of war! Not a man interior of our trench, which was assaulted in front of our troops was killed; and but two wounded. at the same instant: our ammunition was exhaust- We retreated from Trenton only to engage the ed—no hopes of succor—no bayonets to our guns, British near Princeton, on the 3d of January, the redoubt filled with the enemy-a retreat was 1777, where our loss was inconsiderable when now ordered. We were forced to pass along compared to that of the enemy, although we all the isthmus of Charlestown, and here we suffered lamented the fall of Gen. Mercer, of Fredericksconsiderably from a British ship of war and two burg, Virginia, who had seen good service at floating batteries. Here Warren fell, close by my Culloden, and also in the French war in this side. I saw him standing alone in advance of his country, where his intimacy with our beloved troops, rallying them by his own glorious exam-chief began. It was not until September 11th of ple. His voice was heard above the storm of bat- this year, I had the pleasure of again encountering tle. He reminded them of the mottoes inscribed the foe at Chad's Ford, on the Brandywine. The on their ensigns, on one side of which were writen day was enlivened by the martial appearance of these words ; 'An appeal to heaven;' and on the the chivalric Lafayette, who rode along our line other "Qui transtulit sustinet;' meaning that with Washington just before the action comthe same Providence which had brought their an- menced. True we were compelled to quit the cestors through innumerable perils to a place of field, but be assured the battle was warm and sansafety, would also support their descendants. Im guinary. Philadelphia passed into the hands of agine my feelings when I beheld his noble form the enemy-Congress removed hastily to Lancascovered with blood—what indignation swelled my ter—the whole country was dismayed—but the bosom as I beheld Charlestown a heap of smoking general-in-chief on the morning of the 4lb of ruins-whole families destroyed-more than a October, at Germantown, again taught the British thousand corpses exposed to the sun- —the groans of a lesson which they never forgot. My own comthe dying mingled with the shout of victory-give mander, Knox, displayed on this occasion the but a faint view of the horrors of war!" "True," most entire coolness and intrepidity, combined replied I, “but the contest was a holy one. You with the most profound skill and science. Nowere fighting for liberty.” “Yes," he rejoined, thing but the lightness of our artillery prevented with enthusiasm ; “the battle of Bunker Hill in our demolishing Chew's house, from whence our some degree resembled the thunders and lightnings brave comrades were mowed down with a most deof the mount where the law was delivered to Mo-structive fire. Notwithstanding the thick fog of ses. The way was opened for the national glory the morning, and the derangement of the plan of of the Jewish and the American people, and the battle from unforeseen causes, the English army fire of liberty glowed in our bosoms, like the would have been captured, had not Cornwallis, at flaming bush which burnt, but was not consumed.” the crisis of the contest hearing the noise of our The patriarch now resumed his seat. “Did you artillery and small arms, arrived with fresh troops retire from the camp after this memorable con- from Philadelphia. So changeable is the fortune flict?” “By no means. Washington, on the day of war, that the affairs of nations often bang on the after this battle, had been appointed by Congress events of a moment! The campaign closed, and general-in-chief of all our armies; he arrived at we withdrew into winter-quarters at Valley Forge, head-quarters at Cambridge on the 3d July, and on the 22d December; and with your permission, at was determined on the 9th, in a council of war, (bowing politely,) I will retire for the evening." that Boston should be closely besieged I remain
Early on the ensuing morning the good old man ed here during the whole time, and on the morning renewed his narration :-“The winter of 1777-78, of the 17th March, 1776, saw their fleet filled at Valley Forge, was the most dreary I ever saw, with troops under sail for some other position. Washington's head-quarters were very near the I was actively engaged at White Plains, New Schuylkill, while the several divisions of our army York, in October, 1770, where Washington gave were stationed at proper positions: ours was in the proof of that intrepidity of character and military centre. The enemy occupied Philadelphia. While science, which he had displayed on the banks of they were enjoying at their ease the luxuries of the Monongahela on the 9th of July, 1755. Sub- life, we were exposed to cold, nakedness and fasequently to this period, during the fall and win- mine. Deep snows, bleak winds, combined with ter of 1776, fortune seemed to have deserted our the almost entire want of clothing, brought on us standard; but I never once despaired. On the a train of evils and of trials which I cannot de25th of December, we passed the Delaware to scribe. Beyond all this, a deep faid and abominable surprise the enemy in Trenton : the weather was plot was devised by Conway, Gates, and other disexcessively cold—the river filled with ice-wind affected generals, to deprive the commander-inhigh-a powerful foe to be attacked by a dispirit-Ichief of his hard-earned fame. The fate of our
country now hung suspended on a single hair. this brave and chivalric officer, then in the twenNever shall I forget the awful scene! Washing-ty-ninth year of his age. ' His person was of the ton, conscious of his own integrity, stood like a middle size, well proportioned—his bearing no. rock, firm and immovable. I could see that his ble—his manners polished in the highest degree countenance was occasionally lighted up with a bis countenance indicating deep thought and exglow of deep-toned indignation, and that he strug- tensive literary acquirements. Occasionally a gled hard in his own virtuous bosom, to repress his cloud of melancholy obscured for a season the injured spirit. The conspiracy was not entirely sunshine of his soul. His parents were natives of crushed until the last of March, 1778. Suddenly Geneva, who emigrated to London, where their the cloud vanished—the sun shone forth with the highly gisled son was born. He was bred to the most gorgeous splendor—and he stood like Mount mercantile business, and when about twenty years Atlas,
of age became deeply smitten with the charms of
a young lady residing in the same street with himWhile storms and tempests thunder on his brow,
self, to whom he often addressed the sweetest effuAnd oceans break their billows at his feet.'
sions of his muse. His affection was reciprocated, "We remained at this position until the 18th of but their union was prevented by her parents. June, when our army was put in motion, in order Chagrined beyond measure he joined the royal to pursue Sir Henry Clinton, who had evacu- army, then coming to this country-occupied a ated Philadelphia on the preceding day, and was high place in the esteem of Sir Henry Clintonnow making his way through Jersey to New was a commissioner with Col. Hyde at Amboy, York. All was now life and joy : our officers and on the 12th of April, 1779, to effect an exchange soldiers greeted each other with the kindest salu- of prisoners with the American commissioners, tations, at the prospect of again entering the field Davies and Harrison—and signed the articles of of glory. I saw our chief mounted on his war capitulation as aid-de-camp of the British comhorse, elegantly caparisoned, surrounded by his mander, when Fort Lafayette capitulated on the staff-his eye lighted with fire-his countenance 1st of June of the same year. He had formerly fallfull of animation-the army catching from his bo- en into our hands as a prisoner of war, and with som the spirit of liberty. Never; no, never, sir, Capt. Gordon and other officers, was detained for did 1 behold so joyous a day as when we were in some time in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, where he was pursuit of the enemy on this occasion. Great almost incessantly occupied in the perusal of skill was displayed by the respective commanders books. Here, as everywhere else, he won the of both armies on the memorable 28th of June, affections of the citizens of that borough, who 1778, when the battle of Monmouth was fought. heard with undissembled grief of his subsequent The unfortunate mismanagement of Gen. Lee de- deplorable end. I now regretted bis present misranged in some degree our plan of battle—but the fortune the more, because he was the victim of result was clearly favorable to the Americans. Arnold, the most perfidious of all traitors, who Three hundred of the British were slain, a like bad now left him to expire on that gibbet where number wounded, and one hundred prisoners were he himself should have died a thousand deaths. taken. We slept on our arms with the hope of re- Every heart bled for the forlorn stranger, and newing the conflict at the dawn of day, but Sir Washington was melted into tears. On Friday Henry Clinton bad eluded our vigilance at mid- the court convened, and I saw Andre escorted night, and was now in full retreat. From this from the guard house, dressed in full regimentals, time I had not the good fortune to encounter the and heard him candidly and fearlessly acknowenemy in the open field, but was actively engaged ledge before that tribunal all the circumstances in the partizan warfare, in which detached por- necessary to establish his guilt. On his return tions of our army so often participated.”
from the court, on this day, he wrote to Sir Henry It happened that at this part of his narrative, I Clinton, at New York, a most touching letter, inquired if he knew any thing of the history of in which he reminds his late chief of his perilous the unfortunate Major Andre.
situation, and recommends to his especial care a “I am intimately acquainted with all its de- widowed mother and three orphan sisters. Home, tails, and witnessed the last thrilling scene of with all its enjoyments, was now unspeakably his earthly career. He arrived at Tappan on dear to his affections. He bebeld, in his mind's Thursday, September 28th, 1780, under the care eye, over the broad Atlantic, the forms of those of the late Col. Talmadge, for many years a who were dear to him by every tie of humanity, representative in Congress from Connecticut, to and anticipated their unspeakable sorrow when whose especial superintendence he had been en- the intelligence of his ignominious death should be trusted by Washington at West Point, whither announced. Sir Henry Clinton was almost franhe had been taken after his capture, on the tic when he found that all his efforts to obtain the preceding Saturday, near Tarrytown, on the release of Andre were unavailing. On Saturday, opposite bank of the Hudson. Here I first saw General Greene, president of the court, held a
long conference with General Robinson of the by two of our officers; one was a Mr. Samuel English army, at Dobb’s Ferry, in which this Hughes of Baltimore, if my memory does not de interesting case was canrassed at large. No ceive me; the name of the other I have forgotten. effort was left untried on the part of the Bri- Andre walked between them, dressed in full unitish commissioner to maintain the position that form. How wonderful and mysterious are the the laws of war did not condemn the prison- dispensations of Providence! A few years before,
Greene argued that he had been convicted, and these very officers were prisoners of war in by a court properly constituted, as a spy, aid- Quebec, where Andre was towa major; and they ing Arnold in the perpetration of an act of trea- had been treated by him with kindness and huson of the deepest dye, and that however much his manity—now they were compelled, by the inuntimely fate was to be deplored, still it was irre- Aexible code of military law, lo aid in taking away vocable. Washington so instructed him prior to the life of their amiable and hapless friend! I this interview. During this day I visited him, in kept very near his person until the scene was company with other officers. Our sympathies finally closed. He seemed elevated above his misincreased, as the fatal hour was hastening on fortunes. Not a feature of his countenance changed. when his earthly career was to end forever. He He smiled as he bowed gracefully to many of our was, however, tranquil, and occasionally cheer- officers, with whom he was acquainted. His step, ful. He seemed at first to be buoyed up with firm and soldierlike; his bearing, lofty and firm ;the hope that he would be exchanged for Arnold, and while the assembled throng was dissolved in and such also was the ardent desire of every officer grief, no tear coursed down his cheek. When he asand soldier in our army. It being ascertained, cended the cart, Maj. Jos. Pattingall read the death however, that Sir Henry Clinton had rejected warrant. The executioner appeared to do his office, every proposition which could lead to the surren-but Andre ordered him to retire. When the rope der of Arnold, the order for his execution, at five, was adjusted about his neck, with his own hand, P. M., on Sunday, October 1st, 1780, was issued without any assistance, I distinctly heard him say, in the morning orders of that day, but the pro- | In a few minutes I shall know more than any of tracted discussion between Generals Greene and you.' After he had bandaged his eyes with a Robinson, prevented its consummation until twelve white handkerchief, Col. Scammel said, 'You can o'clock, M., of Monday. During the Sabbath he now speak, if you wish.' Raising the handkerdictated and sent to Washington the most touch-chief, he replied, with a firm voice, ' I pray you ing letter ever written by man, imploring him to bear me witness that I die like a brare man.” merely to sosten his last moments by assuring After the body was interred, and his clothes delihim that he should " not die on a gibbet." Never vered to his servant, to carry to New York, the before was the illustrious chief of our army placed dead march was played, and we retired to quarters, in a more trying situation. It was universally overwhelmed with the sad scenes of this memorareported and believed in camp at the time, that he ble day. I have been told that a monument was shed tears, on signing the death-warrant of the long ago erected to his memory, in Westminster brave but unfortunate captive. The stern, un- Abbey, and that his ashes were disinterred in bending laws of war, pointed to an ignominious 1821, by Mr. Buchanan, British consul at New death only, and he possessed no power to change York, and removed to England, at the suggestion those laws. Monday morning the sun rose clear; of the late Duke of York." all were busy in preparing for the tragic scene be- "Is it true, sir, as related by Lee, in his incomfore us ; large detachments of troops under arms; parable narrative of the enterprise of John Champe nearly all the general and field officers, except the of Loudoun county, Virginia, that he deserted commander-in-chief and his suite, were mounted prior to the execution, in order to seize Arnold on horseback, in their appropriate costume; an and bring him alive to camp?” immense concourse of citizens thronged every “No, sir,” he replied. “On the contrary, Champe avenue; melancholy sat on each countenance ; did not leave us until the night of the 20th of the scene was awful! Sometime before he left October, and was then sent to discover how far his quarters, I went in company with Captain Le- the suspicions of Washington were well founded, craft, of New-York, to bid him farewell. He as to some of his chief officers, whom be bad been was in the act of shaving himself, standing before induced to believe were concerned in the treason a glass as we entered the door. Seeing that we of Arnold. The agent mentioned by Lee, to paused, he turned round and pleasantly observed, whom Champe was introduced in the city of New
Come in, gentlemen ; you perceive I am now in York, and wbose information was conveyed by the suds—but I shall soon be relieved from this him in cypher to the American-general, was Sam predicament.' Soon after he hade adieu to all im- Francis, a negro man, who kept a tavern in that mediately around him, in the most affecting man- city for some time prior to the battle of Long ner. He was escorted from the door to the place Island, and who remained there during the whole ofexecution, (about three quarters of a mile distant,) period of seven years, while the city was held by
the enemy. Washington's head quarters were at in its proper place, that I witnessed the convenone time at Sam's house, prior to the evacuation tion of officers at Newburgh, on the fifteenth of of New York by the Americans, in August, 1776. March, 1783, when Washington delivered his adHe formed for his colored host an inviolable friend- dress, in order to counteract the effects of the celeship. The house abounded in good cheer. Fran- brated anonymous letter of John Armstrong, a cis was uniformly polite and prompt-very obser- composition not surpassed in splendor of style or rant of passing events——thoughtful and taciturn bitterness of spirit, hy the best efforts of Junius as Champe himself—kept his day book and leger himself. The object was to prevent the army with his own hand—was a genuine patriot, as from sheathing their swords, until Congress bad well as an admirer of the American chief. There settled all arrearages of pây and compensation : is no doubt in my mind that Washington himself and this bold and reckless measure, which aimed gave Sam the key to the cyphered letter, and that to undo all the work of our revolution and estabhe bad received advices through this channel, of lish a military despotism, unless the demand was the morements of the enemy, long before Champe’s gratified, was crushed by the superior energy and adventure. Sir Henry Clinton and his principal decision of the commander-in-chief. officers lodged at his tavern during all their resi- “I was also engaged in defence of Mud Island, dence in New York, occupying the very rooms where our privations and exposures were truly where Washington and his staff had often slept. great and hazardous. Sam became as intimate with them as he had pre- “Such, sir, is an outline of my services to viously been with our chief. They little supposed America, for almost nine years; and if I bave that Sam was in correspondence with the head of the contributed to establish the liberties of my counAmerican army, nor did he give them the oppor-try, and the constitution under which we entunity of suspecting that he was noting their con-joy our invaluable rights and privileges, it shall versations at his table, or searching with inquisitive solace me in the decline of life ; and when the God eye the workings of their minds, frequently dis- of battles shall summon me from earth, I shall bow played in their thoughtful visage. Never did he submissively to his sovereign will, and say, “Lord once betray the confidence reposed in him, or mis- now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, for lead his friend during this eventful and interesting mine eyes have seen thy salvation.'" period of our history. I was present in New York at Francis' tavern, on the 4th of December, 1783, and saw Washington once more greet his faithful confidante. An affecting scene now occurred. The warrior was about to separate from his compa- LAMENT OF AN OLD BACHELOR. nions in arms. His chief officers advanced to receive his last embrace and final blessing. My Indulgent Muse! I woo thee still; own faithful commander, Knox, under whose ban- Thy breathings nerve my fragile ear; ner I had often met the enemy, first grasped his They, soft as sound from murm’ring rill, hand: both were overwhelmed with strong emo
Dissolve each frozen tear. tion: these stern chieftains, unmoved amidst the shock of battle and the groans of the dying, were
I woo thee for thyself alone;
No dreams of earthly fame I know; now subdued by the tide of grief rushing on their Yet sing, oh! sing, in mellow tone, souls. No word was uttered to break the pro- My tale of earthly wo. found silence of this majestic scene. Walking to White Hall, attended by a numerous concourse of Alas! by fancy's flick’ring light, admiring and weeping spectators, he entered a In youth I've soared on wings of fame, barge, which was to transport him to Paulus
But shuddered, each returning night, Hook. It was manned by twelve seamen dressed
To find myself the same. in white. I yet see the noble form of that immor
And now, the dreams of fancy gone, tal man, as he stood erect in the barge and waved
By friend and foe, and love forgot, his hat in bidding adieu to the multitude thronging
I'm left to weep my fate alone, the shore. Surely no man ever served under such In this poor shaliered cot. a commander !" “Pray, sir, what became of Sam Francis ?”
No cherub lisps a father's name; “ Congress, on the recommendation of Wash
No fair one smiles to find me near; ington, presented him with a farm on the Raritan,
No anguished heart is here to claim
The tribute of a tear. where he lived many years, and died universally esteemed for his virtues and patriotism.”
The friends my early childhood knew, “Have you detailed all the events of your mili- As leaves returned to parent sod, tary life?"
Have paid the debt to nature due, "No, sir,” he replied; “ I omitted to mention, And gone unto their God.