July 11, 2013

Fell from the patriot's heaven....

Good morning!  Okay, I just have to ask...did all of you get excited about all the drinks I mentioned at the Raleigh Tavern yesterday?  I was amazed to see how my readership had soared yesterday!  So in case you were disappointed that I didn't dwell long on the subject, here is an authentic recipe for a colonial flip, although I don't think I'm brave enough to try it myself!  I got the recipe from a guide at the Buckman Tavern in Lexington, MA, where the patriots of Lexington and Concord huddled to keep themselves warm during the long night before the skirmish with the British Regulars at the bridge.
  1. In a quart mug break three eggs
  2. Add three teaspoons sugar and stir well
  3. Add in the jigger of rum and the jigger of brandy, beating meanwhile.
  4. Fill remaining volume of mug with beer
  5. Insert red-hot iron until it hisses and foams. 
  6. Drink up!
I hope that satisfies your curiosity!  If not, you can find more colonial recipes here.  Good luck!
You see all sorts of "Minutemen" statues along the East Coast, but although I have not seen this one myself, it holds a special meaning for me.  Although it is representational of all the soldiers that fought the Battle of Compo Bridge with General Wooster, it just might be my great-great-great-great grandfather, Joseph Badger.  For he was there at that battle in 1777.  Having just been released from the Army after his recovery from smallpox, fever and the ague, he was heading home when he arrived at New Milford, CT, the day before Danbury was destroyed by the British. 

2000 British troops under the direction of General William Tryon had landed at Compo Beach at dusk on April 25, 1777. Tory loyalists guided them up Compo Road to Cross Highway, across to Redding Road, then north through Redding and Bethel to Danbury, where they burned a major munitions depot.

Patriots fired a few shots at the corner of the Post Road and Compo, but the British marched on. In Danbury they destroyed the Continental Army’s munitions, then headed back toward their waiting ships at Compo.
Hastily assembled patriot forces fought them in the fierce Battle of Ridgefield.

Let's hear what Joseph has to say in his own words:  "I went with the people in pursuit of the enemy.  When we reached the place, it was smoking in ruins; and the enemy were on their retreat.  A number of the enemy were killed; and General Wooster received a mortal wound....We saw the smoke of Arnold's cannon pouring down upon them, who retreated to another road leading to the bridge; but Arnold reached the bridge and compelled them to ford some distance above.  Here the action became sharp, and....the loss on both sides was considerable."

I can hear you asking---Arnold who?  Why, none other than Brigadier General Benedict Arnold!  Because before he was the infamous traitor Arnold, he was a hero in the American Revolution.
Gen. Arnold, Revolutionary City re-enactment in Williamsburg, VA
Two years later Arnold no longer agreed with what my ancestor had to say about the permanent separation from England:  "When I entered the army it was from principle, in defense of the civil and religious rights of our country...and the apprehension of being governed by laws we had no voice in making...determined the people generally to defend themselves against what appeared to be tyrannical and oppressive government." (from A Memoir of Rev. Joseph Badger, published in 1851).
Responding to jeers and taunts of the colonial crowd
Benedict Arnold in a standoff with townspeople of Williamsburg during the two days that he and British forces held the town in 1781.
In a stand-off with the crowd
Since we are standing so close, let's ask him a few questions and see if he can defend his traitorous position:

General Arnold, why are you in Williamsburg?
I am here conducting a mission for the British army. My stay will be brief. I have been sent to this province to destroy military supplies and to prohibit colonial reinforcements from reaching American forces opposing Lord Cornwallis, who now is campaigning further south. I also am here to allay the fears of the populace. We want to assure them that the royal dominion of Virginia is secure for King George and those loyal to him.

Some townspeople call you a traitor. It doesn’t seem that you’ll find many supporters of the British crown here.  
Rest assured, my good man, that there are Loyalists in Williamsburg. In fact, there are Loyalists throughout these provinces. I believe that most people on this side of the Atlantic still are faithful to king and crown. While my command is here, we will offer people the opportunity to sign loyalty oaths to King George III. Those who do so simply pledge that they will not take up arms against his majesty’s forces. These people will be free to continue their usual business. Others will lose their freedom.

Why did you betray the American cause?
I haven’t. I took up arms at the outset of this conflict to find redress to our grievances against Great Britain. Now, His Majesty’s representatives have agreed to address our concerns. The olive branch of reconciliation has been offered to us. What is being presented actually is well beyond reasonable expectations. A path now exists toward an honorable union. Unfortunately, self-serving men in Congress want to prolong this war. Because of these factors, I saw no choice but to take up the king’s arms and seek a speedy conclusion to the fighting.

Ah, you mistake me, comrades, to think that my heart is steel! Cased in a cold endurance, nor pleasure nor pain to feel; Cold as I am in my manner, yet over these cheeks so seared Teardrops have fallen in torrents, thrice since my chin grew beard. Thrice since my chin was bearded I suffered the tears to fall; Benedict Arnold, the traitor, he was the cause of them all! Once, when he carried Stillwater, proud of his valor, I cried; Then, with my rage at his treason--with pity when André died. Benedict Arnold, the traitor, sank deep in the pit of shame, Bartered for vengeance his honor, blackened for profit his fame; Yet never a gallanter soldier, whatever his after crime, Fought on the red field of honor than he in his early time. Ah, I remember Stillwater, as it were yesterday! Then first I shouldered a firelock, and set out the foemen to slay. The country was up all around us, racing and chasing Burgoyne, And I had gone out with my neighbors, Gates and his forces to join. Marched we with Poor and with Learned, ready and eager to fight; There stood the foemen before us, cannon and men on the height; Onward we trod with no shouting, forbidden to fire till the word; As silent their long line of scarlet--not one of them whispered or stirred. Suddenly, then, from among them smoke rose and spread on the breeze; Grapeshot flew over us sharply, cutting the limbs from the trees; But onward we pressed till the order of Cilley fell full on the ear; Then we leveled our pieces and fired them, and rushed up the slope with a cheer. Fiercely we charged on their center, and beat back the stout grenadiers, And wounded the brave Major Ackland, and grappled the swart cannoneers; Five times we captured their cannons, and five times they took them again; But the sixth time we had them we kept them, and with them a share of their men. Our colonel who led us dismounted, high on a cannon he sprang; Over the noise of our shouting clearly his joyous words rang; "These are our own brazen beauties! Here to America's cause I dedicate each, and to freedom!--foes to King George and his laws!" Worn as we were with the struggle, wounded and bleeding and sore, Some stood all pale and exhausted; some lay there stiff in their gore; And round through the mass went a murmur, that grew to a whispering clear, And then to reproaches outspoken--"If General Arnold were here!" For Gates, in his folly and envy, had given the chief no command, And far in the rear some had seen him horseless and moodily stand, Knitting his forehead in anger, gnawing his red lip in pain, Fretting himself like a bloodhound held back from his prey by a chain. Hark, at our right there is cheering! there is the ruffle of drums! Here is the well-known brown charger! Spurring it madly he comes! Learned's brigade have espied him, rending the air with a cheer; Woe to the terrified foeman, now that our leader is here! Piercing the tumult behind him, Armstrong is out on his track; Gates has dispatched his lieutenant to summon the fugitive back. Armstrong might summon the tempest, order the whirlwind to stay, Issue commands to the earthquake--would they the mandate obey? Wounds, they were healed in a moment! weariness instantly gone! Forward he pointed his saber--led us, not ordered us on. Down on the Hessians we thundered, he, like a madman ahead; Vainly they strove to withstand us; raging, they shivered and fled. On to their earthworks we drove them, shaking with ire and dismay; There they made stand with a purpose to beat back the tide of the day. Onward we followed, then faltered; deadly their balls whistled free. Where was our death-daring leader? Arnold, our hope, where was he? He? He was everywhere riding! hither and thither his form, On the brown charger careering, showed us the path of the storm; Over the roar of the cannon, over the musketry's crash, Sounded his voice, while his saber lit up the way with its flash. Throwing quick glances around him, reining a moment his steed-- "Brooks, that redoubt!" was his order; "let the rest follow my lead! Mark where the smoke-cloud is parting! see where the gun-barrels glance! Livingston, forward! On, Wesson, charge them! Let Morgan advance!" "Forward!" he shouted, and, spurring on through the sally-port then, Fell sword in hand on the Hessians, closely behind him our men. Back shrank the foemen in terror; off went their forces pellmell, Firing one Parthian volley; struck by it, Arnold, he fell. Ours was the day. Up we raised him; spurted the blood from his knee-- "Take my cravat, boys, and bind it; I am not dead yet," said he. "What! did you follow me, Armstrong? Pray, do you think it quite right, Leaving your duties out yonder, to risk your dear self in the fight?" "General Gates sent his orders"--faltering the aid-de-camp spoke-- "You're to return, lest some rashness--" Fiercely the speech Arnold broke: "Rashness! Why, yes, tell the general the rashness he dreaded is done! Tell him his kinsfolk are beaten! tell him the battle is won!" Oh, that a soldier so glorious, ever victorious in fight, Passed from a daylight of honor into the terrible night!-- Fell as the mighty archangel, ere the earth glowed in space, fell-- Fell from the patriot's heaven down to the loyalist's hell!
Read more at http://www.blackcatpoems.com/e/arnold_at_stillwater.html#SkMCtR0qxbTmB30x.99
There is a marvelous ballad style poem about the heartache of the colonial soldiers when they learned of Arnold's defection.  Thomas Dunn English (1819-1902) related that as a boy he had met a Revolutionary War soldier who had served with Arnold, who would praise him for his bravery one minute and denounce him for his treachery the next, rarely speaking of him without tears.  You can read the entire poem here,

Arnold at Stillwater
Thomas Dunn English

 Ah, you mistake me, comrades, to think that my heart is steel! 
Cased in a cold endurance, nor pleasure nor pain to feel; 
Cold as I am in my manner, yet over these cheeks so seared
 Teardrops have fallen in torrents, thrice since my chin grew beard.

 Thrice since my chin was bearded I suffered the tears to fall;
 Benedict Arnold, the traitor, he was the cause of them all!
 Once, when he carried Stillwater, proud of his valor, I cried;
 Then, with my rage at his treason--with pity when André died.

 Benedict Arnold, the traitor, sank deep in the pit of shame,
 Bartered for vengeance his honor, blackened for profit his fame;
 Yet never a gallanter soldier, whatever his after crime,
 Fought on the red field of honor than he in his early time

 Oh, that a soldier so glorious, ever victorious in fight,
 Passed from a daylight of honor into the terrible night!
 Fell as the mighty archangel, ere the earth glowed in space, fell
 Fell from the patriot's heaven down to the loyalist's hell!
Ah, you mistake me, comrades, to think that my heart is steel! Cased in a cold endurance, nor pleasure nor pain to feel; Cold as I am in my manner, yet over these cheeks so seared Teardrops have fallen in torrents, thrice since my chin grew beard. Thrice since my chin was bearded I suffered the tears to fall; Benedict Arnold, the traitor, he was the cause of them all! Once, when he carried Stillwater, proud of his valor, I cried; Then, with my rage at his treason--with pity when André died. Benedict Arnold, the traitor, sank deep in the pit of shame, Bartered for vengeance his honor, blackened for profit his fame; Yet never a gallanter soldier, whatever his after crime, Fought on the red field of honor than he in his early time. Ah, I remember Stillwater, as it were yesterday! Then first I shouldered a firelock, and set out the foemen to slay. The country was up all around us, racing and chasing Burgoyne, And I had gone out with my neighbors, Gates and his forces to join. Marched we with Poor and with Learned, ready and eager to fight; There stood the foemen before us, cannon and men on the height; Onward we trod with no shouting, forbidden to fire till the word; As silent their long line of scarlet--not one of them whispered or stirred. Suddenly, then, from among them smoke rose and spread on the breeze; Grapeshot flew over us sharply, cutting the limbs from the trees; But onward we pressed till the order of Cilley fell full on the ear; Then we leveled our pieces and fired them, and rushed up the slope with a cheer. Fiercely we charged on their center, and beat back the stout grenadiers, And wounded the brave Major Ackland, and grappled the swart cannoneers; Five times we captured their cannons, and five times they took them again; But the sixth time we had them we kept them, and with them a share of their men. Our colonel who led us dismounted, high on a cannon he sprang; Over the noise of our shouting clearly his joyous words rang; "These are our own brazen beauties! Here to America's cause I dedicate each, and to freedom!--foes to King George and his laws!" Worn as we were with the struggle, wounded and bleeding and sore, Some stood all pale and exhausted; some lay there stiff in their gore; And round through the mass went a murmur, that grew to a whispering clear, And then to reproaches outspoken--"If General Arnold were here!" For Gates, in his folly and envy, had given the chief no command, And far in the rear some had seen him horseless and moodily stand, Knitting his forehead in anger, gnawing his red lip in pain, Fretting himself like a bloodhound held back from his prey by a chain. Hark, at our right there is cheering! there is the ruffle of drums! Here is the well-known brown charger! Spurring it madly he comes! Learned's brigade have espied him, rending the air with a cheer; Woe to the terrified foeman, now that our leader is here! Piercing the tumult behind him, Armstrong is out on his track; Gates has dispatched his lieutenant to summon the fugitive back. Armstrong might summon the tempest, order the whirlwind to stay, Issue commands to the earthquake--would they the mandate obey? Wounds, they were healed in a moment! weariness instantly gone! Forward he pointed his saber--led us, not ordered us on. Down on the Hessians we thundered, he, like a madman ahead; Vainly they strove to withstand us; raging, they shivered and fled. On to their earthworks we drove them, shaking with ire and dismay; There they made stand with a purpose to beat back the tide of the day. Onward we followed, then faltered; deadly their balls whistled free. Where was our death-daring leader? Arnold, our hope, where was he? He? He was everywhere riding! hither and thither his form, On the brown charger careering, showed us the path of the storm; Over the roar of the cannon, over the musketry's crash, Sounded his voice, while his saber lit up the way with its flash. Throwing quick glances around him, reining a moment his steed-- "Brooks, that redoubt!" was his order; "let the rest follow my lead! Mark where the smoke-cloud is parting! see where the gun-barrels glance! Livingston, forward! On, Wesson, charge them! Let Morgan advance!" "Forward!" he shouted, and, spurring on through the sally-port then, Fell sword in hand on the Hessians, closely behind him our men. Back shrank the foemen in terror; off went their forces pellmell, Firing one Parthian volley; struck by it, Arnold, he fell. Ours was the day. Up we raised him; spurted the blood from his knee-- "Take my cravat, boys, and bind it; I am not dead yet," said he. "What! did you follow me, Armstrong? Pray, do you think it quite right, Leaving your duties out yonder, to risk your dear self in the fight?" "General Gates sent his orders"--faltering the aid-de-camp spoke-- "You're to return, lest some rashness--" Fiercely the speech Arnold broke: "Rashness! Why, yes, tell the general the rashness he dreaded is done! Tell him his kinsfolk are beaten! tell him the battle is won!" Oh, that a soldier so glorious, ever victorious in fight, Passed from a daylight of honor into the terrible night!-- Fell as the mighty archangel, ere the earth glowed in space, fell-- Fell from the patriot's heaven down to the loyalist's hell!
Read more at http://www.blackcatpoems.com/e/arnold_at_stillwater.html#SkMCtR0qxbTmB30x.99

1 comment:

  1. I so want to go to Williamsburg - thanks for the tour :-)

    ReplyDelete