Abbildungen der Seite
[ocr errors]

medal was also presented to each of the commissioned officers, and " a small sum of money to be disposed of in the manner most agreeable to them."


The medals were struck at the expense of the Society (chiefly composed of the religious society called Quakers,) formed for the purpose of promoting peace with the Indian tribes. The gentleman* to whom I owe the knowledge of this fact says further, "I well remember the striking of those medals by my father. They were executed in silver and presented to the Indians by the Society. The appropriate inscription on the reverse, is truly characteristic, and may serve to convey to posterity a just idea of the men of influence in those days."


This medal was ordered to be struck by a resolve of Congress, of March 25th, 1776, and to be presented to Gen. Washington. A vote of thanks was also passed to him, "the officers and soldiers under his command, for their wise and spirited conduct in the siege and acquisition of Boston."


This medal (which weighs 10 half Joannes,t) was ordered by a resolve of Congress of Nov. 4, 1779, which stated the particular defeats of Burgoyne's army and detachments from it. Journals of Congress 1777, p. 472. The reader is referred to "a state of the expedition from Canada, as laid before the House of Commons, by Lieut. General Burgoyne, London, 1780," for a variety of interesting details of the march, repeated battles, and progress from Canada to Saratoga of the British army to the British Annual Register for 1779, p. 149: also to "General Wilkinson's Memoirs,” for many particulars never before published of that expedition, and of the capitulation of General Burgoyne: see also Gates' life in the Port Folio, new series, vol. 2d. with a plate of the medal.


I cannot find any resolve for striking this medal. It was probably struck by the French government. The one I saw was of

"Mr. Joseph Richardson, assayer of the mint of the United States. Mr. R's father was a silversmith in Philadelphia, and the son of one of the original settlers of the province under William Penn. Mr. R. informed me that the original dies of the medals for "Col. Armstrong," and for "promoting peace with the Indians," were in his possession, and permitted me to have some medals struck from them. One of each is deposited in the cabinet of the Historical Society.

† Med. Repos. New-York, vol 4. p. 307.

copper. Considering that Jones fought under the American flag, and that the victory over the Serapis was highly honourable to our country, he certainly deserved a medal. He had besides made several other captures, and had done great injury to the British. The action between the Richard and the Serapis was very severe, and lasted four hours. Jones' account of it, and a journal of his naval exploits, may be seen in Niles' Register, (Baltimore) vol. 2d. p. 296. Capt. Pearson's is inserted in the British Annual Register, Lond. 1779.-See also Clarke's Naval History of U. States. The Serapis carried 44 guns on two decks, the lower battery consisted of 18 pounders; and the Countess of Scarborough, her consort, was a new ship of 22 guns. Jones' ship, the Richard, he says, only carried 34 12-pounders. The battle was fought by moonlight, off Flamborough head to relieve himself from the superiority of his enemies, and to cover his ship from the fire of the Countess of Scarborough, Jones grappled with the Serapis, on which her consort ceased to fire, the captain knowing that by firing he must endanger the Serapis ; while the captain of the Alliance, the American ship in company with the Richard, fired three broadsides, which did much mischief to her. She sunk two days after the action. Pearson was knighted after his exchange, and made one of the officers of Greenwich hospital. He died a few years since.


On the 27th Feb. 1781, Congress passed a very complimentary resolve cxpressive of their sense of the military conduct of Capt. Jones, especially in the capture of the Serapis; and of their approbation of the honour intended to be conferred on him by the King of France, (as communicated to them,) by investing him with the cross of military merit." And on the 26th June of the same year, unanimously elected him captain of the "American," a 74 gunship; but he was deprived of the honour of her command, in consequence of the loss of the French ship Magnifique 74, in the harbour of Boston, when Congress seized the opportunity to testify their gratitude to their good ally, by presenting him with the American to replace her. The King of France also presented him with a sword, the hilt of which was composed of gold, and bore the following flattering motto:



By the journals of Congress for July 26, 1779, it appears that the attack of the fort of Stony point was ordered by General Washington on the 10th July. General Wayne issued his orders on the 15th, on the night of which day the attack was successfully made. Congress passed a vote of thanks to Gen. Wayne, the officers and soldiers under his command, particularly mentioning Col. de Fleury, Major Stewart, Lieuts. Gibbons and Knox, the two

first of whom led the attacking columns, and the two last the parties ordered to destroy the double row of abbatis, which they did under a severe fire. The first of them lost 17 out of 20 men. Gibbons, Knox, and Mr. Archer, Gen. Wayne's aid, were promoted; and the stores were divided among the troops. The fort was garrisoned by the 17th British regt.; the grenadiers of the 71st.; and commanded by Lieut. Col. Johnson, by whom a stout resistance was made. The prisoners amounted to 543. An excellent account of the gallant exploit may be seen in the British Annual Register for 1779, p. 192.* Not a musket was fired by the American troops; and although the laws of war, and the principle of retaliation would have justified the sacrifice of the garrison in return for the cruel conduct of the British General Grey, when he surprised General Wayne near the Paoli tavern, on the Lancaster road, two years before, yet not a man was killed who asked for quarters.

The medal granted to General Wayne is superbly executed, and most tastefully designed. The description is taken from the original in the possession of General Wayne's son. It weighs 63 dwt 18 grains. Mr. Gibbons is at present collector of the port of Richmond, Virginia. He and his gallant companion Knox were natives of Pennsylvania: Fleury was a Frenchman. Stewart was killed by a fall from his horse, near Charleston, S. Carolina, at the close of the American war. Archer died in Philadelphia, about the year 1786.

Captain Benjamin Fishbourne, of Philadelphia, was another of the Aids of General Wayne: both are highly praised by the General in his official letter.


Three of those medals were struck by vote of Congress of 3d Nov. 1780, and presented to John Paulding, David Williams, and Isaac Van Vert, for "intercepting Major John Andre in the character of a spy, and notwithstanding the large bribes offered them for his release, nobly disdaining to sacrifice their country for the sake of gold, secured and conveyed him to the commanding officer of the district, whereby the dangerous and traiterous conspiracy of Benedict Arnold was brought to light, the insidious designs of the enemy baffled, and the United States rescued from impending danger." A pension of 200 dollars annually during life, was bestowed on each of them. The medals were presented in the presence of the whole army, the year following, by General Washington, with a copy of the resolve ordering the medals, and of the vote of thanks. The design for the medal was given in the resolve of Congress. Two of those faithful men still live in the State of New-York. Paulding died February, 1818.

When we reflect upon the calamitous events that in all probability would have resulted to the United States from the success of

* And also in the Analectic Magazine, Philadelphia, 1819.

the deep and treasonable plot which those faithful men defeated, the mind shudders: for the stern integrity and love of country exhibited by them, they deserve to be held in everlasting and grateful remembrance by every true American-by every friend to the asylum of the oppressed throughout the world."


These medals were struck by a resolve of Congress of March 9, 1781, which stated that 80 cavalry and 237 infantry of the - U. States, and 553 southern militia, obtained a complete victory over a select and well appointed detachment of more than 1100 British, commanded by Lieut. Col. Tarleton. General Lee says, "The advance of McArthur reanimated the British line, which again moved forward, and outstretching our front endangered Howard's right. This officer instantly took measures to defend his flank, by directing his right company to change its front; but mistaking this order, the company fell back; upon which the line began to retire and General Morgan directed it to retreat to the cavalry. This manoeuvre being performed with precision, our flank became relieved, and the new position was assumed with promptitude. Considering this retrograde movement the precursor of flight, the British line rushed on with impetuosity and disorder but as it drew near, Howard faced about and gave it a close and murderous fire. Stunned by this unexpected shock, the most advanced of the enemy recoiled in confusion. Howard seized the happy momeut, and followed his advantage with the bayonet. THIS DECISIVE STEP GAVE US THE DAY. The reserve having been brought near the line, shared in the destruction of our fire, and presented no rallying point to the fugitives. A part of the enemy's cavalry having gained our rear, fell on that portion of our militia who had retired to their horses. Washington struck at them with his dragoons, and drove them before him. Thus by simultaneous efforts, the infantry and cavalry of the enemy were routed. Morgan pressed home his success, and the pursuit became vigorous and general."-Lee's Memoirs, vol. 1, p. 258.


Speaking of the battle of the Cowpens, General Lee says, "The honour of the day was claimed by both sides, while the benefits flowing from it were by both yielded to the Americansthe first belonged to neither, and the last to us."-Memoirs, vol. 2d, p. 213.


Hercules, according to the ancient mythology, while in his cradle was said to have strangled two serpents, which had assaulted him, having been assisted by the protection of the goddess Pallas.

Infant America like the Hercules in his cradle, had destroyed two British armies. The two epochs of those exploits are marked in the exergue 17 Oct. 1777, Burgoyne's surrender at Saratoga; and 19th October, 1781, Cornwallis' surrender at York town, Virginia. The motto is from Horace, ode 4th, book 3d, verse 20. The allusion is highly appropriate and classical. I cannot find any resolve of Congress for this medal. It was, probably, struck by the French government.


The war between the United States and France took place without a formal declaration, in the year 1798. The occasion was the repeated captures of our merchantmen by the cruisers, both public and private, of France, then governed by a directory; the violation of treaties between the two countries: the refusal to listen to any demand of reparation for losses sustained from depredation on our commerce: refusal to negotiate on fair and honourable terms, or even to receive our messengers of peace, (C. C. Pinckney, John Marshall, now chief justice of the United States, and Elbridge Gerry,) and demanding a tribute together with the most humiliating submissions as the price of an interview! Peace was made after Bonaparte became first consul, and preliminaries signed Sept. 3d, 1800, by W. R. Davies, of N. Carolina, Wm. Vans Murray of Maryland, then the minister of the United States at the Hague, and Oliver Elsworth of Connecticut, on the part of the United States; and Joseph Bonaparte, Ræderer and Fleurieu on the part of France.

An account of the action between the Constellation and the Vengeance may be seen in a biographical sketch of Capt. Truxtun in the Port Folio, new series, vol. 2d, with an engraving of the medals, and in Clark's Naval History of the United States.


An account of the proceedings against Tripoli may be seen in the biography of Commodore Preble in the Port Folio, new series, vols. 3 and 4.

The United States have set the first example in the world of obliging the Barbary powers to respect their flag, by the force of arms; instead of a disgraceful tribute, which some of the European powers still continue to pay. The history of our expeditions against those pests of society is well worth recording in a separate work. The facts that could be detailed would be highly honourable to our brave countrymen: to their spirit and decision as negotiators to their extended humanity as regards the liberation of the captives of other nations: and as respects the influence which may be produced upon the happiness of mankind by their example of flogging those barbarians into peace.


« ZurückWeiter »