As the French seemed disposed to remain upon the Ohio, it was determined to raise a regiment of three hundred men to maintain the claims of the British crown. The command was given to Mr. Fry, and major Washington, who was appointed lieutenant colonel, marched with two companies early in April 1754 in advance of the other troops. A few miles west of the Great Meadows he surprised a French encampment in a dark, rainy night, and only one man escaped. Before the arrival of the two remaining companies Mr. Fry died, and the command devolved on colonel Washington. Being joined by two other companies of regular troops from South Carolina and New York, after erecting a small stockade at the Great Meadows, he proceeded towards fort du Quesne, which had been built but a short time, with the intention of dislodging the French. He had marched only thirteen miles to the westernmost foot of the Laurel hill, before he received information of the approach of the enemy with superior numbers, and was induced to return to his stockade. He began a ditch around it, and called it fort Necessity ; but the next day, July the third, he was attacked by fifteen hundred men. His own troops were only about four hundred in number. The action commenced at ten in the morning and lasted until dark. A part of the Americans fought within the fort, and a part in the ditch filled with mud and water. Colonel Washington was himself on the outside of the fort during the whole day. The enemy fought under cover of the trees and high grass. In the course of the night articles of capitulation were agreed upon. The garrison were allowed to retain their arms and baggage, and to march unmolested to the inhabited parts of Virginia. The loss of the Americans in killed and wounded was supposed to be about a hundred, and that of the enemy about two hundred. In a few months afterwards orders were received for settling the rank of the officers, and those, who were commissioned by the king, being directed to take rank of the provincial officers, colonel Washington indignantly resigned his commission. He now retired to Mount Vernon, that estate by the death of his brother having devolved upon him. But in the spring of 1755 he accepted an invitation from general Braddock to enter bis family as a volunteer aid de camp in. his expedition to the Ohio. He proceeded with him to Wills' creek, afterwards called fort Cumberland, in April. After the troops had marched a few miles from this place, he was seized with a raging Fever; but refusing to remain behind he was conveyed in a covered waggon. By his advice twelve hundred men were detached in order by a rapid movement to reach fort du Quesne before an expected reenforcement should be received at that place. These disencumbered troops were commanded by Braddock himself, and colonel Washington, though still extremely ill, insisted upon proceeding with them. After they arrived upon the Monongahela he advised the general to employ the ranging companies of Virginia to scour the woods and to prevent ambuscades; but his advice was not followed. On the ninth of July, when the army was within seven miles of fort du Quesne, the enemy commenced a sudden and furious attack, being concealed by the wood and high grass. In a short time colonel Washington was the only aid, that was unwounded, and on him devolved the whole duty of carrying the orders of the commander in chief. He was cool and fearless. Though he had two horses killed under him, and four balls through his coat, he escaped unhurt, while every other officer on horseback was either killed or wounded. Doctor Craik, the physician, who attended him in his last sickness, was present in this battle, and says, "I expected every moment to see him fall.--Nothing but the superintending care of Providence could have saved him from the fate of all around him." After an action of three hours the troops gave way in all directions, and colonel Washington and two others brought off Braddock, who had been mortally wounded. He attempted to rally the retreating troops ; but, as he says himself, it was like endeavoring "to stop the wild bears of the mountains." The conduct of the regular troops was most cowardly. The enemy were few in numbers and had no expectation of victory. In a sermon occasioned by this expedition the reverend Dr. Davies of Hanover county thus prophetically expressed himself; "as a remarkable instance of patriotism I may point out to the public that heroic youth, colonel Washington, whom I cannot but hope Providence has hitherto preserved in so signal a manner for some important service to his country." For this purpose he was indeed preserved, and at the end of twenty years he began to render to his country more important services, than the minister of Jesus could have anticipated. -- pp. 576-577.
On the 20th of April  General Braddock marched from Alexandria, where his troops had first landed. Colonel Washington, detained by his private concerns, did not leave Mount Yemon till the 23d. He joined the army in a few days at Fredericktown, Maryland. From hence they pursued their way into the wilderness. On the 14th of June he was taken sick with a violent fever in the Alleghany mountain. The army proceeded without him, the violence of his disease rendering it impossible for him to travel.
He was, however, convalescent in a few weeks, and so far recovered as to bear his part in the memorable battle of the Monongahela. This fatal event occurred on Wednesday, the 9th of July. Colonel Washington had only joined the army the day before: he was weak and feeble from the effects of his late sickness; yet did he nobly fulfil his duty that day. While death was strewing the plain with its agonized victims, he conducted himself with the greatest courage and resolution. General Braddock, with almost every officer of distinction, and a large proportion of the troops, were either killed or wounded. Washington alone abided unhurt the horrors of that dreadful conflict. When Braddock himself fell, the wretched remnant of his blasted army was conducted by Washington to a place of safe retreat.
The general was also carried off by his assistance, but died of his wounds a few days after the battle. He was buried at night, in the road, near Fort Necessity, at the Great Meadows.
Custis, George Washington Parke. Recollections and Private Memoirs of Washington.(1859), pp. 66-67; narrative, told by Dr. Craik to Mr. George Washington Parke Custis. "Compiled from files of the National intelligencer, printed at Washington, D.C."/ Reproduction of original from Library of Congress.
At a short distance from the Mansion house, in a pleasant and sheltered situation, rose the homestead of Bishop, the old body servant. Thomas Bishop, born in England, attended General Braddock to the continent during the Seven Years' War, and afterwards embarked with that brave and unfortunate Commander for America in 1755.
On the morning of the 9th of July--the day of the memorable battle of the Monongahela--Bishop was present when Colonel Washington urged upon the English General for the last time the propriety of permitting him (the Colonel) to advance with the Virginia woodsmen and a band of friendly Indians, and open the way to Fort du Quesne. Braddock treated the proposal with scorn; but, turning to his faithful follower, observed: "Bishop, this young man is determined to go into action to-day, although he is really too much weakened by illness for any such purpose. Have an eye to him, and render him any assistance that may be necessary." Bishop had only time to reply, "Your honor's orders shall be obeyed," when the troops were in motion and the action soon after commenced.
Sixty-four British officers were killed and wounded, and Washington was the only mounted officer on the field. His horse being shot, Bishop was promptly at hand to offer him a second; and so exhausted was the youthful hero from his previous illness and his great exertions in the battle, that he was with difficulty extricated from his dying charger, and was actually lifted by the strong arms of Bishop into the saddle of the second horse. It was at this period of the combat that, in the glimpses of the smoke, the gallant Colonel was seen bravely dashing amid the ranks of death, and calling on the colonial woodsmen, who alone maintained the fight, "Hold your ground, my brave fellows, and draw your sights for the honor of old Virginia!" It was at this period, too, of the battle that the famed Indian commander, pointing to Washington, cried to his warriors: "Fire at him no more; see ye not that the Great Spirit protects that Chief; he cannot die in battle."
His second horse having fallen, the Provincial Colonel made his way to the spot where the commanding general, though mortally stricken, raging like a wounded lion, and yet breathing defiance to the foe, was supported in the arms of Bishop. Braddock grasped the hand of Washington, exclaiming, "Oh, my dear Colonel, had I been governed by your advice, we never should have come to this!" When he found his last moments approaching, the British General called his faithful end long-tried follower and friend to his side, and said, "Bishop, you are getting too old for war; I advise you to remain in America and go into the service of Colonel Washington. Be but as faithful to him as you have been to me, and rely upon it the remainder of your days will be prosperous and happy."
Honour'd Mad'm: As I doubt not but you have heard of our defeat, and perhaps have it represented in a worse light (if possible) than it deserves; I have taken this earliest opportunity to give you some acct. of the Engagement, as it happen'd within 7 miles of the French Fort, on Wednesday the 9th. Inst.
We March'd on to that place with't any considerable loss, having only now and then a stragler pick'd up by the French Scoutg. Ind'nd. When we came there, we were attack'd by a Body of French and Indns. whose number, (I am certain) did not exceed 300 Men; our's consisted of abt. 1,300 well arm'd Troops; chiefly of the English Soldiers, who were struck with such a panick, that they behav'd with more cowardice than it is possible to conceive; The Officers behav'd Gallantly in order to encourage their Men, for which they suffer'd greatly; there being near 60 kill'd and wounded; a large proportion out of the number we had! The Virginia Troops shew'd a good deal of Bravery, and were near all kill'd; for I believe out of 3 Companys that were there, there is scarce 30 Men left alive; Capt. Peyrouny and all his Officer's down to a Corporal was kill'd; Capt. Polson shar'd near as hard a Fate; for only one of his was left: In short the dastardly behaviour of those they call regular's expos'd all others that were inclin'd to do their duty to almost certain death; and at last, in dispight of all the efforts of the Officer's to the Contrary, they broke and run as Sheep pursued by dogs; and it was impossible to rally them.
The Genl. was wounded; of w'ch he died 3 Days after; Sir Peter Halket was kill'd in the Field where died many other brave Officer's; I luckily escap'd with't a wound, tho' I had four Bullets through my Coat, and two Horses shot under me; Captns. Orme and Morris two of the Genls. Aids de Camp, were wounded early in the Engagem't. which render'd the duty hard upon me, as I was the only person then left to distribute the Genl's. Orders which I was scarcely able to do, as I was not half recover'd from a violent illness, that confin'd me to my Bed, and a Waggon, for above 10 Days; I am still in a weak and Feeble cond'n; which induces me to halt here, 2 or 3 Days in hopes of recov'g. a little Strength, to enable me to proceed homewards; from whence, I fear I shall not be able to stir till towards Sept., so that I shall not have the pleasure of seeing you till then, unless it be in Fairfax; please to give my love to Mr. Lewis and my Sister,42 and Compts. to Mr. Jackson43 and all other Fds. that enquire after me. I am, Hon'd Madam Yr. most dutiful Son.
Dear Jack: As I have heard since my arriv'l at this place, a circumstantial acct. of my death and dying speech, I take this early oppertunity [sic] of contradicting both, and of assuring you that I now exist and appear in the land of the living by the miraculous care of Providence, that protected me beyond all human expectation; I had 4 Bullets through my Coat, and two Horses shot under me, and yet escaped unhurt. [Note 44: The 1784--85 change is as follows: "oppertunity of contradicting the first and of assuring you that I have not as yet, composed the latter. But by the all powerful dispensams. Of Providence, I have been protected beyond all human probability and expectation for I had 4 Bullets" etc.]
[Note 45: He arrived at Mount Vernon on July 26. He still retained the office of adjutant of the northern division of militia, and immediately wrote to the county lieutenants, ordering the militia to be ready and properly equipped in each county on certain days, when he should be present to review and exercise them. Such was the alarm created by the success of the French at Braddock's Defeat that volunteer companies embodied themselves in different parts of Virginia to march to the frontiers. The Rev. Samuel Davies, at that time a clergyman in Hanover County, preached a sermon to one of these companies on August 17, which was printed in Philadelphia and London, and entitled Religion and Patriotism the Constituents of a Good Soldier. After applauding the patriotic spirit and military ardor, which had begun to manifest themselves, the preacher adds: 'As a remarkable instance of this, I may point out to the public that heroic youth, Colonel Washington, whom I cannot but hope Providence has hitherto preserved in so signal a manner for some important service to his country.']
Marshall, John, 1755-1835. Third Chief Justice of the United States. The Life of George Washington. Philadelphia : Printed and published by C.P. Wayne, 1804. 5 volumes : illustrations ; 22 cm + 1 atlas (22 pages,  folded leaves of plates : maps) compiled under the inspection of Bushrod Washington, from original papers ; to which is prefixed an introduction containing a compendious view of the colonies planted by the English on the continent of North America, from their settlement to the commencement of that war which terminated in their independence ; by John Marshall. 1838 edition.
In a short time after the action had commenced, Colonel Washington was the only aid remaining alive and unwounded. The whole duty of carrying the orders of the commander-in-chief, in an engagement with marksmen who selected officers, especially those on horseback, devolved on him. Two horses were killed under him, and four balls passed through his coat. To the astonishment of all he escaped unhurt, while every other officer on horseback was killed or wounded. "I expected every moment," says an eye-witness, "to see him fall. His duty and situation exposed him to every danger. Nothing but the superintending care of Providence could have saved him from the fate of all around him."10
10 According to the full Life of Washington (see note 4 above) this eyewitness was Dr. James Craik (1730-1814), of Scotland and Virginia, who served with Braddock's expedition and later served as chief physician and surgeon of the Continental army in the Revolutionary War. Dr. Craik, Washington's friend and personal physician, attended him in his final illness (see chapter 33, note 13).
Custis, George Washington Parke. The Indian Prophecy. Recollections and Private Memoirs of Washington, Derby & Jackson, 1860, pp. 300-305. Account first published in the Philadelphia United States Gazette, May 27, 1826.
The Indian Prophecy. Extracts from "Recollections of Washington," a New Work by George W. P. Curtis. Natchez Gazette, Saturday, June 24, 1826; Issue 25;, p. 1, col D.
It was in 1772 [sic; it was 1770, see above], that Col. Washington, accompanied by Dr. [James] Craik, and a considerable party of hunters, woodsmen and others, proceeded to Kenhawa with a view to explore the country, and make surveys of extensive and valuable tracts of land. At that time of day, the Kenhawa was several hundred miles remote from the frontier settlements, and only accessible by Indian paths, which wound through the passes of the mountains.
... One day, when resting in the camp from the fatigues attendant on so arduous an enterprise, a party of Indians led by a trader, were discovered. ... They halted at a short distance, and the interpreter advancing, declared that he was conducting a party, which consisted of a Grand Sachem, and some attendant warriors; that the chief was a very great man among the Northwestern tribes, and the same who commanded the Indians on the fall of Braddock, sixteen years before; that hearing of the visit of Col. Washington to the western country, this chief had set out on a mission, the object of which, himself would make known.
The colonel received the ambassador with courtesy, and having put matters in the camp in the best possible order for the reception of such distinguished visitors, which so short a notice would allow, the strangers were introduced. Among the colonists were some fine, tall, and manly figures, but as soon as the Sachem approached, he in a moment pointed out the hero of the Monongahela, from amid the groupe, although sixteen years had elapsed since he had seen him, and then only in the tumult of battle. The Indian was of lofty stature, and of a dignified and imposing appearance.
... The council fire was kindled when the Grand Sachem addressed our Washington to the following effect:
"I am a Chief, and Ruler over many tribes, my influence extends to the waters of the Great Lake and to the far blue mountains. I have traveled a long and weary path, that I might see the Young Warrior of the Great Battle. It was on the day, that the White Man's blood, mixed with the streams of our forest, that I first beheld this Chief; I called to my young men and said, mark yon tall and daring warrior, he is not of the Redcoat tribe, he hath an Indian's wisdom, and his warriors fight as we do, himself is alone exposed. Quick, let your aim be certain, and he dies. Our rifles were leveled, rifles which, but for him, knew not how to miss. `Twas all in vain, a power mightier, far than we, shielded you. He cannot die in battle. I am old, and soon shall be gathered to the great council fire of my fathers, in the land of shades, but ere I go, there is a something, bids me speak in the voice of prophecy--Listen! The Great Spirit protects that man [Washington], and guides his destinies--he will become the chief of nations, and a people yet unborn, hail him as the founder of a mighty Empire!"
Washington, George, 1732-1799. October 1770. The Diaries of George Washington. Vol. 2. Donald Jackson, ed.; Dorothy Twohig, assoc. ed. The Papers of George Washington. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1976.
Sunday 28th. Left our Incampment about 7 Oclock. Two Miles below, a sml. run comes in on the East side [Lee's Creek, Wood County, W.Va.] thro a piece of Land that has a very good appearance, the Bottom beginning above our Incampment, & continuing in appearance wide for 4 Miles down, to a place where there comes in a smal Run [Pond Creek, Wood County, W.Va.] & to the Hills. And to where we found Kiashuta and his Hunting Party Incampd.
Here we were under a necessity of paying our Compliments, As this person was one of the Six Nation Chiefs, & the head of them upon this River. In the Person of Kiashuta I found an old acquaintance. He being one of the Indians that went with me to the French in 1753. He expressd a satisfaction in seeing me and treated us with great kindness, giving us a Quarter of very fine Buffalo. He insisted upon our spending that Night with him, and in order to retard us as little as possible movd his Camp down the River about 3 Miles just below the Mouth of a Creek the name of which I could not learn (it not being large). [Probably Shade River, Meigs County, Ohio.] At this place we all Incampd. After much Councelling the overnight they all came to my fire the next Morning, with great formality; when Kiashuta rehearsing what had passd between me & the Sachems at Colo. Croghan's, thankd me for saying that Peace & friendship was the wish of the People of Virginia (with them) & for recommending it to the Traders to deal with them upon a fair & equitable footing; and then again expressd their desire of having a Trade opend with Virginia, & that the Governor thereof might not only be made acquainted therewith, but of their friendly disposition towards the white People. This I promisd to do.
Monday 29th. The tedious ceremony which the Indians observe in their Councellings & speeches, detained us till 9 Oclock. Opposite to the Creek just below wch. we Incampd, is a pretty long bottom. [The Long Bottom is in Meigs County, Ohio.] & I believe tolerable wide; but abt. 8 or 9 Miles below the aforemend. Creek, & just below a pavement of Rocks on thewest side, comes in a Creek [Big Sandy Creek enters the Ohio at Ravenswood, W.Va. GW later acquired 2,448 acres of bottomland in this area (WRITINGS, 34:438).] with fallen Timber at the Mouth, on which the Indians say there is wide bottom's, & good Land. The River bottom's above for some distance is very good, & continues for near half a Mile below the Creek. The pavement of Rocks are only to be seen at low water. Abt. a mile, or a little better below the Mouth of the Creek there is another pavement of Rocks on the East side in a kind of Sedgey Ground. On this Creek many Buffaloes use[d to be] according to the Indians Acct.
We arrived at the city of New York in the month of June, 1776, and my place of regimental parade was assigned in Wall Street, where, every morning and evening, the regiment assembled for exercise. During the heat of the day, the men were excused from duty, the heat being too intense to be borne by them in the sun. The American army, composed principally of levies, or troops raised for short periods, and militia, had now assembled at New York, and in its vicinity, when it was announced that a large British fleet was discovered off the Hook, on the 29th of June. In a few days, the British fleet entered the Hook, and Sir William Howe, who commanded the army, landed on Staten Island, where, by the arrival of Lord Howe, he had a force about 25,000 men. The newly furnished troops, consisting of foreigners and native subjects, having now joined those who had recently left Boston, General Washington (having arrived also from Boston) began to introduce system and order into the heterogeneous mass of troops that had been brought into the field, and were placed under his command. The war now put on a very serious aspect, as independence has been declared, a nd it seemed no longer doubtful that the contest on which we had entered must be decided by the sword.
The British commissioners (of which Lord Howe was one), however, opened their commission by addressing a letter to General Washington in his private character, and forwarded the same to our Commander-in-Chief by Colonel Patterson. General Washington refused to receive these dispatches for the want of respectful address,
and returned them to the commissioners, unopened, assigning the foregoing reasons for his refusal.
The army was highly gratified by this conduct of General Washington, and Congress publicly approved of the same on the 17th of July, 1776.
The Declaration of Independence, which had been solemnly adopted by Congress on the Fourth of July, 1776, was announced to the army in general orders, and filled every one with enthusiastic zeal, as the point was now forever settled, and there was no further hope of reconciliation and dependence on the mother country.
The movements of the enemy indicating an intention to approach New York by the way of Long Island, Gen. Washington ordered about 10,000 men to embark and cross the East River at Brooklyn. The regiment to which I belonged was among the first that crossed over, and, on the 27th of August, the whole British army, consisting of their own native troops, Hessians, Brunswickers, Waldeckers, etc., to the number of at least 25,000 men, with a most formidable train of field artillery, landed near Flatbush, under cover of their shipping, and moved towards Jamaica and Brooklyn. As our troops had advanced to meet the enemy, the action soon commenced, and was continued, at intervals, through most of the day. Before such an overwhelming force of disciplined troops, our small band could not maintain their ground, and the main body retired within their lines at Brooklyn, while a body of Long Island Militia, under Gen. Woodhull, took their stand at Jamaica. Here Gen. Woodhull was taken prisoner and inhumanly killed. The main body of our army, under Major-Gen. Sullivan and Lord Stirling, fought in detached bodies, and on the retreat both of those officers were made prisoners. I also lost a brother the same day, who fell into their hands, and was afterwards literally starved to death in one of their prisons; nor would the enemy suffer relief from his friends to be afforded to him.
This was the first time in my life that I had witnessed the awful scene of a battle, when man was engaged to destroy his fellow-man. I well remember my sensations on the occasion, for they were solemn beyond description, and very hardly could I bring my mind to be willing to attempt the life of a fellow-creature. Our army having retired behind their intrenchment, which extended from Vanbrunt's Mills, on the West, to the East River, flanked occasionally by redoubts, the British army took their position, in full array, directly in front of our position. Our intrenchment was so weak, that it is most wonderful the British General did not attempt to storm it soon after the battle, in which his troops had been victorious. Gen. Washington was so fully aware of the perilous situation of this division of his army, that he immediately convened a council of war, at which the propriety of retiring to New York was decided on. After sustaining incessant fatigue and constant watchfulness for two days and nights, attended by heavy rain, exposed every moment to an attack from a vastly superior force in front, and to be cut off from the possibility of retreat to New York by the fleet, which might enter the East River, on the night of the 29th of August, Gen. Washington commenced recrossing his troops from Brooklyn to New York. To move so large a body of troops, with all their necessary appendages, across a river full a mile wide, with a rapid current, in face of a victorious, well disciplined army, nearly three times as numerous as his own, and a fleet capable of stopping the navigation, so that not one boat could have passed over, seemed to present most formidable obstacles. But, in face of these difficulties, the Commander-in-Chief so arranged his business, that on the evening of the 29th, by 10 o'clock, the troops began to retire from the lines in such a manner that no chasm was made in the lines, but as one regiment left their station on guard, the remaining troops moved to the right and left and filled up the vacancies, while Gen. Washington took his station at the ferry, and superintended the embarkation of the troops. It was one of the most anxious, busy nights that I ever recollect, and being the third in which hardly any of us had closed our eyes to sleep, we were all greatly fatigued. As the dawn of the next day approached, those of us who remained in the trenches became very anxious for our own safety, and when the dawn appeared there were several regiments still on duty. At this time a very dense fog began to rise, and it seemed to settle in a peculiar manner over both encampments. I recollect this peculiar providential occurrence perfectly well; and so very dense was the atmosphere that I could scarcely discern a man at six yards' distance.
When the sun rose we had just received orders to leave the lines, but before we reached the ferry, the Commander-in-Chief sent one of his Aids to order the regiment to repair again to their former station on the lines. Col. Chester immediately faced to the right about and returned, where we tarried until the sun had risen, but the fog remained as dense as ever. Finally, the second order arrived for the regiment to retire, and we very joyfully bid those trenches a long adieu. When we reached Brooklyn ferry, the boats had not returned from their last trip, but they very soon appeared and took the whole regiment over to New York; and I think I saw Gen. Washington on the ferry stairs when I stepped into one of the last boats that received the troops. I left my horse tied to a post at the ferry.
The troops having now all safely reached New York, and the fog continuing as thick as ever, I began to think of my favorite horse, and requested leave to return and bring him off. Having obtained permission, I called for a crew of volunteers to go with me, and guiding the boat myself, I obtained my horse and got off some distance into the river before the enemy appeared in Brooklyn.
As soon as they reached the ferry we were saluted merrily from their musketry, and finally by their field pieces ; but we returned in safety. In the history of warfare I do not recollect a more fortunate retreat. After all, the providential appearance of the fog saved a part of our army from being captured, and certainly myself, among others who formed the rear guard. Gen. Washington has never received the credit which was due to him for this wise and most fortunate measure.
On the evening of the twenty-seventh, our army encamped in front of the enemy's lines; and on the twenty-eighth broke ground about six hundred yards from one of the redoubts on the left. The Americans, finding that it was impossible to maintain their post on Long Island, evacuated their lines on the twenty-ninth, and made good their retreat to New York. At first the wind and tide were both unfavourable to the Americans; nor was it thought possible that they could have effected their retreat on the evening of the twentyninth, until about eleven o'clock, the wind shifting, and the sea becoming more calm, the boats were enabled to pass. Another remarkable circumstance was, that on Long Island hung a thick fog, which prevented the British troops from discovering the operations of the enemy; while on the side of New York the atmosphere was perfectly clear. The retreat was effected in thirteen hours, though nine thousand men had to pass over the river, besides field artillery, ammunition, provisions, cattle, horses, and carts.
The circumstances of this retreat were particularly glorious to the Americans. They had been driven to the corner of an island, where they were hemmed in within the narrow space of two square miles. In their front was an encampment of near twenty thousand men; in their rear, an arm of the sea, a mile wide, which they could not cross, but in several embarkations. Notwithstanding these difficulties, they secured a retreat without the loss of a man. The pickets of the English army arrived only in time to fire upon their rear-guard, already too far removed from the shore to receive any damage.
Sir William Howe had early intelligence sent him of the retreat of the 3 Americans; but a considerable time had elapsed before a pursuit was ordered. Sir William Howe at length, however, desired lord Percy to order a pursuit; but it was too late. The enemy had effected their retreat, which was rendered less hazardous from the want of frigates in the East. River between Long Island and New York. Had any armed ships been stationed there, it would have been impossible for them to have made their escape. The East River is deep enough for a seventy-four gun ship to ride at anchor. Washington thought himself happy in getting safe with his papers from Long Island, having crossed to New York in a small boat. Had two or even one frigate moored as high up as Red-Hook, as the Phoenix and Rose men of war had done before, the one carrying forty-four guns, and the other twenty-eight, the retreat of the Americans would have been cut off most completely; and indeed so decided were the Americans themselves in this opinion, that, had only a single frigate been stationed in the East River, they must have surrendered at discretion. It is to be observed, that in the very same boats in which the Americans crossed from New York to Long Island, they re-crossed after their defeat from Long Island to New York, the boats having lain for three days on the Long Island shore in readiness to carry them off. Now it is evident that this small craft, by the above precaution, might have been effectually destroyed.
In reviewing the actions of men, the historian is often at a loss to conjecture the secret causes that gave them birth. It cannot be denied but that the American army lay almost entirely at the will of the English. That they were therefore suffered to retire in safety, has by some been attributed to the reluctance of the commander in chief to shed the blood of a people so nearly allied to that source from whence he derived all his authority and power. We are rather inclined to adopt this idea, and to suppose motives of mistaken policy, than to leave ground for an imagination that the escape of the Americans resulted from any want of exertion on the part of Sir William Howe, or deficiency in the military science. He might possibly have conceived that the late victory would produce a revolution in sentiment capable of terminating the war without the extremity which it appeared to be, beyond all possibility of doubt, in his power to enforce.--p. 197.
Should the reader wish to see the grounds of this change of sentiment in the minds of these loyalists, he will find them in a very excellent letter signed Lucius, in the Morning Chronicle of the 11th of January last, and in four others signed Matter of Fact, printed in the Public Advertizer of the 25th of May, and the 5th, 11th, and 13th of June last. They are minifestly written by a very intelligent eye-witness, who was present with the army, and acquainted with all its proceedings; they are such as ought to be read by every good Englishman, who wishes to understand the subject; and, with a supplimental one in the Morning Post of the 15th of July, are well worth reprinting, now that gentlement are come to town, who never see the daily papers while they are in the country.
But as the good opinion of the King's loyal subjects in America seems not to hve made a principal object of this gentleman's concern, it may carry more conviction perhaps to produce the opinion which the King's enemies entertain of him, and give the sentiments of the Rebels themselves, who, as the reader will see, acknowledge, that through the whole of the campaign of 1776 Mr. Howe's army consisted of nearly double the number of that which Mr. Washington opposed to him; that America was the young and unskilled, whereas he was in high reputation, and his military knowledge was then supposed to be compleat; that his troups had arrived in full numbers, and in full spirits: he was then, they say, formidable, and, in effect, own that he had only to begin to make an end of them; that their fate was suspended by a thread, and that they were saved, as it were, by miracle.
The intention of evacuating the island, had been so prudently concealed from the Americans, that they knew not whither they were going, but supposed to attack the enemy. The field artillery, tents, baggage, and about 9000 men, were conveyed to the city of New York, over East river, more than a mile wide, in less than 13 hours, and without the knowledge of the British, though not 600 yards distant. Providence, in a remarkable manner, favoured the retreat. For some time after the Americans began it, the state of the tide, and a strong north-east wind made it impossible- for them to make use of their sail boats: and their whole number of row boats was insufficient for completing the business, in the course of the night: but about eleven o'clock, the wind died away, and soon after sprung up at south-east, and blew fresh, which rendered the sail boats of use, and at the same time made the passage from the island to the city, direct, easy and expeditious.
Towards morning, an extreme thick fog came up, which hovered over Long Island; and, by concealing the Americans, enabled them to complete their retreat without interruption, though the day had begun to dawn some time before it was finished. By a mistake in the transmission of orders, the American lines were evacuated for about three quarters of an hour, before the last embarkation took place : but the British, though so near, that their working parties could be distinctly heard, being enveloped in the fog, knew nothing of the matter. The lines were repossessed, and held till six o'clock in the morning.
When every thing except some heavy cannon was removed, General Mifflin, who commanded the rear guard, left the lines, and under the cover of the fog got off safe. In about half an hour, the fog cleared away, and the British entered the works which had been just relinquished. Had the wind not shifted, the half of the American army could not have crossed; and even as it was, if the fog had not concealed their rear, it must have been discovered, and could hardly have escaped. General Sullivan, who was taken prisoner on Long Island, was immediately sent on parole, with the following verbal message from lord Howe to congress: "that though he could not at present treat with them in that character, yet he was very desirous of having a conference with some of the members, whom he would consider as private gentlemen; that he, with his brother, the general, had full power to compromise the dispute between Great Britain and America, upon terms advantageous to both; that he wished a compact might be settled, at a time when no decisive blow was struck, and neither party could say it was compelled to enter into such agreement; that were they disposed to treat, many things which they had Hot yet asked, might and ought to be granted; and that if upon conference they found any probable ground of accommodation, the authority of congress would be afterwards acknowledged to render the treaty complete."
Seldom, if ever, was a retreat conducted with more ability and prudence, or under more favorable auspices, than that of the American troops from Long Island. The necessary preparations having been made, on the 29th of August, at eight in the eventng, the troops be an to move in the greatest silence. But they were not on board their vessels before eleven. A violent northeast wind, and the ebb tide, which rendered the current very rapid, prevented the passage. The time pressed however. Fortunately, the wind suddenly veered to the north-west. They immediately made sail, and landed in New York. Providence appeared to have watched over the Americans. About two o'clock in the morning, a thick fog, and at this season of the year extraordinary, covered all Long Island, whereas the air was perfectly clear on the side of New York. Notwithstanding the entreaties of his officers, Washington remained the last upon the shore. It was not till the next morning, when the sun was already high, and the fog dispelled, that the English perceived the Americans had abandoned their camp, and were sheltered from pursuit. -- pp. 141-142.
"I heartily congratulate you on the entire Victory obtained by General Gates over Burgoin. This is a Striking Instance of the Truth of the Observation in Holy Writ "Pride goeth before a Fall." Our sincere Acknowledgments of Gratitude are due to the supreme Disposer of all Events. I suppose Congress will recommend that a Day be set apart through out the United States for solemn Thanksgiving.
"I rejoyce that my Friend General Gates, after what had happend, is honord by Providence as the Instrument in this great Affair."
Samuel Adams to James Warren:
"I hope our Countrymen will render the just Tribute of Praise to the Supreme Ruler for these signal Instances of his Interposition in favor of a People struggling for their Liberties. Congress will, I suppose recommend the setting apart one Day of publick Thanksgiving to be observd throughout the united States."
... Thursday the twentieth day of November next to be observed as a day of Public praise and Thanksgiving throughout this State. Directing and exhorting all Denominations and Orders of People, to bless the Most High GOD for his great Wisdom and Goodness, the mighty Acts of his Providence by which we are defended, and for all the Favours and Comforts of Life. That we have a Plenty of the Fruits of the Earth almost unparallelled, and though often disturbed by the Alarm of War, had Opportunity for Ingathering them. To praise the Sovereign Lord of Life for the Health of our Countenance, and the Vigour of our Days--that the Inhabitants, and especially our Soldiery in the Field, have been preserved from most sickness, and enabled to endure the Fatigues of a Campaign with uncommon Firmness and Spirit. To render unfeigned Praise to the LORD OF HOSTS, that he hath appeared for us in the Mount of Difficulty, and Day of War--inspired our Officers both General and Subordinate with such Wisdom and fortitude, and our Soldiers with such Bravery, that their Arms have been terrible to the common Enemy, and with the Blessing of Heaven, the Means of procuring us to great Salvation. And while devout Praise is rendered for every Influence of Military Success, to take special Notice of GOD's Goodness in the defeat and Conquest of our Enemies in the Northern Department; a Blessing in which the states of New-England are especially interested. That when our Enemy trusting in the Strength of their own Wisdom and Power, and the mighty preparation of war, threatened us with every Evil that Humanity can deprecate; the LORD beheld and confounded them, bringing Salvation out of those Events, which alarmed our apprehensions. And especially to sing of GOD's Goodness, and the Glory of his Perfections in Redeeming Men ... permitting us to enjoy Christian Previliges [sic] and to hope for a happy Immortality; and for every Blessing by which the Glory of his Mercy is magnified. ...
It having pleased Almighty GOD, the Father of Mercies, amidst the Calamities of the present War, is bestow upon this, and the other UNITED AMERICAN STATES, many great and invaluable Blessings,--it becomes a People so highly favour'd of the LORD, especially at the Close of a fruitful Year, to empress their grateful Sense of the divine Goodness, by public THANKSGIVING and PRAISE:
We have therefore thought fit, with Advice of the Council, and at the Desire of the House of Representatives, to appoint, and do hereby appoint, THURSDAY the Twentieth Day of November next, to be observed as a Day of THANKSGIVING and PRAYER throughout this State; hereby calling upon Ministers and People, of every Denomination, to convene on the said Day, and with humble Devotion, Gratitude and Praise, acknowledge the many Mercies bestowed upon us by our munificent Benefactor; particularly, that he hath, notwithstanding our great Unworthiness, blessed us with Health in our Dwellings, our Army and our Navy; and that the Earth hath yielded her Increase in such uncommon Plenty; and that he hath so far supported us in our Exertions against the arbitrary Claims and military Violence of Britain; and especially in a late Instance of Divine Interposition, in which the Arm of the LORD of Hosts and GOD of Armies very conspicuously appears, hath given us a compleat Victory over a whole Army of our Enemies; hereby teaching us firmly to rely upon Him whose is the Power, and the Glory, and the Victory: That he hath preserv'd the Lives of so many of our Officers and Soldiers, and especially the important Life of our illustrious Commander in Chief; that the Union of the Independent American States is not only preserved, but appears more and more permanent; and above all, that we yet enjoy the glorious Gospel of JESUS CHRIST in meridian Brightness; a Compliance with the reasonable Requisitions of which will introduce us to the Freedom and Felicity of a far better Country.
AND we hereby recommend to, and enjoin it upon Ministers and People, deeply to abase themselves under a Sense of their Sins and Unworthiness; lamenting the many Offences by which this People have forfeited all Pretensions to the Divine Favor; humbly imploring Foregiveness, through the Merits of JESUS CHRIST our LORD, and that GOD would be pleased, by the Influences of his Spirit, to lead us to the Knowledge and Practice of Truth and Righteousness; that he would inspire our Enemies with the Spirit of that mercifiul Religion they profess; that he would continue to support our righteous Cause, and speedily, if it be his holy Will, establish, on a permanent Basis, our Independence, Peace and Happiness; that America may become for theEquity of itscivil Government, the Purity of its Morals, and the Practice of the Religion of JEWS, the Glory of all Lands, and the Joy of the whole Earth;--that every Species of Tyranny may be abolished from the World, and all Mankind made happy in the Enjoymenht of that Religion which is Righteousness and Peace, and Joy in the Holy Ghost.
AND all servile Labour is hereby forbidden on the said Day.
It being the united voice of reason and revelation that men should praise the Lord for his goodness and his wonderful works to the children of men, and the year now drawing to a close being distinguished by many great and signal favors of Divine Providence conferred on this and the other United States of America, amidst our deep distress; now, in order that our Great and Bountiful Benefactor may have the praise and glpry due for his mercies in the most conspicuous and solemn manner ascribed to Him,
The COUNCIL and representatives of this state, in general court assembled, have appointed the 4th day of December next to be a day of public thanksgiving throughout this state; and we hereby solemnly exhort and require both ministers and people of every profession religiously to devote the said day to the purpose aforesaid, and with unfeigned gratitude to address the allgracious Jehovah with their united ascriptions of praise for his great goodness, and for his rich mercy he hath intermixed with his judgments, particularly that He hath so far supported the great American cause, and defeated the merciless counsels and efforts of our cruel oppressors; that He hath smiled on our deliberations and arms, and crowned them with signal success, especially in the Northern Department, in turning the advantages the enemy seemed to have acquired against us, by possessing themselves of the fortress of Ticonderoga, to their own confusion, and giving one of the principal armies of Britain wholly into our hands with so little bloodshed, in which great event, so interesting to the important cause depending, the arm of the Lord of Hosts, the God of the Armies of Israel was conspicuously manifest, demanding the power, the glory, and victory to be ascribed to Him; and inviting our further hope and confidence in this mercy, that He hath preserved our sea-coast in safety, preserved the inestimable precious life of our worthy general and commander-in-chief, and so many of our officers and soldiers; and that the present campaign, prosecuted by our enemies with such direful breathings of cruelty and slaughter, and such strenuous exertions on one side and another hath not become more bloody; that He is mercifully continuing the several American states firmly united in the common cause, and giving us such a promising, animating prospect of being able, by his further help, finally to support our liberty and independence against all the power and policy of Britain to subject and enslave us; that He hath blessed us with so much health in our camps, and in our habitations, whereby we have been able to carry on the necessary labors of the field, while so many were called off to arms; that He hath blessed us with a very fruitful season, and given us in great plenty the precious productions of the earth for food and clothing, peculiarly precious at a time when our imports from abroad are chiefly cut off, and, therefore, binding the duty of gratitude and praise upon us with increased obligation: and above all, that, in the greatness of his forbearance and long-suffering, He is yet continuing to us, though an unthankful and unfruitful people, the blessed Gospel of Jesus Christ, and our religious liberty and privileges, by which we enjoy the happiest advantages for glorifying our Creator and Redeemer, and securing our eternal well being.
All servile LABOUR is forbidden on said day.
In the house of representatives, November 19, 1777. The aforesaid form of proclamation for a general thanksgiving being read, voted that the same be transcribed, printed, and dispersed throughout the state.
JOHN LANGDON, Speaker.
Sent up for concurrence.
In council the same day read and concurred.
E. THOMPSON, Secretary.
"Whereas I have received authenticated Intelligence that General Burgoyne, and the whole Army under his Command, after repeated Losses, surrendered themselves as prisoners of War to General Gates on the Fourteenth Day of October last; To the End therefore that we may not presumptuously attribute the late signal successes gained over our Enemies to our own Strength, and thereby forget the interposition of Divine Providence in our Behalf, whose assistance we have experienced, and more especially in this Particular, wherein the Goodness of God has been so visibly demonstrated; I have thought proper, with the Advice of the Council of State, to issue this Proclamation, appointing Friday the Twenty Eighth Day of this Instant to be observed in all Churches and Congregations in this State as a Day of General and Solemn Thanksgiving, and I do strictly enjoin the several Ministers and Preachers of the Gospel to embrace this opportunity of testifying, in the most solemn Manner, those Sentiments of Gratitude which the happy Event so justly demands. ...
Forasmuch as it is the indispensable duty of all men to adore the superintending providence of Almighty God; to acknowledge with
gratitude their obligation to him for benefits received, and to implore such farther blessings as they stand in need of; and it having pleased him in his abundant mercy not only to continue to us the innumerable bounties of his common providence, but also to smile upon us in the prosecution of a just and necessary war, for the defence and establishment of our unalienable rights and liberties; particularly in that he hath been pleased in so great a measure to prosper the means used for the support of our troops and to crown our arms with most signal success: It is therefore recommended to the legislative or executive powers of these United States, to set apart Thursday, the eighteenth day of December next, for solemn thanksgiving and praise; that with one heart1 and one voice the good people may express the grateful feelings of their hearts, and consecrate themselves to the service of their divine benefactor; and that together with their sincere acknowledgments and offerings, they may join the penitent confession of their manifold sins, whereby they had forfeited every favour, and their humble and earnest supplication that it may please God, through the merits of Jesus Christ, mercifully to forgive and blot them out of remembrance; that it may please him graciously to afford his blessing on the governments of these states respectively, and prosper the public council of the whole; to inspire our commanders both by land and sea, and all under them, with that wisdom and fortitude which may render them fit instruments, under the providence of Almighty God, to secure for these United States the greatest of all human blessings, independence and peace; that it may please him to prosper the trade and manufactures of the people and the labour of the husbandman, that our land may yet yield its increase; to take schools and seminaries of education, so necessary for cultivating the principles of true liberty, virtue and piety, under his nurturing hand, and to prosper the means of religion for the promotion and enlargement of that kingdom which consisteth "in righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost."
[Note 1: 1 The original read: "That at one time and with one voice."]
And it is further recommended, that servile labour, and such recreation as, though at other times innocent, may be unbecoming the purpose of this appointment, be omitted on so solemn an occasion.2
[Note 2: 2 This report, in the writing of Samuel Adams, is in the Papers of the Continental Congress, No. 24, folio 431.]
United States. Continental Congress. Congressional Thanksgiving Day Proclamation. November 1, 1777. Text here.
Congress set December 18, 1777, as a day of thanksgiving on which the American people "may express the grateful feelings of their hearts and consecrate themselves to the service of their divine benefactor" and on which they might "join the penitent confession of their manifold sins ... that it may please God, through the merits of Jesus Christ, mercifully to forgive and blot them out of remembrance." Congress also recommends that Americans petition God "to prosper the means of religion for the promotion and enlargement of that kingdom which consisteth in righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost."
United States. President (1789-1797: Washington). General Orders, November 30, 1777. The Writings of George Washington from the Original Manuscript Sources, 1745-1799. John C. Fitzpatrick, Editor.
Head Quarters, White Marsh, November 30, 1777.
Parole Northampton. Countersigns Greenland, Portsmouth.
Forasmuch as it is the indispensible duty of all men, to adore the superintending providence of Almighty God; to acknowledge with gratitude their obligations to him for benefits received, and to implore such further blessings as they stand in need of; and it having pleased him in his abundant mercy, not only to continue to us the innumerable bounties of his common providence, but also, to smile upon us in the prosecution of a just and necessary war, for the defence of our unalienable rights and liberties.78
[Note 78: This preliminary statement was taken from the resolve of Congress of November 1 recommending the States to set apart a day of Thanksgiving. It was to Washington on November 7 and answered by him on November 10.]
It is therefore recommended by Congress, that Thursday the 18th. day of December next be set apart for Solemn Thanksgiving and Praise; that at one time, and with one voice, the good people may express the grateful feelings of their hearts, and consecrate themselves to the service of their divine benefactor; and that, together with their sincere acknowledgements and offerings they may join the penitent confession of their sins; and supplications for such further blessings as they stand in need of. The Chaplains will properly notice this recommendation, that the day of thanksgiving may be duly observed in the army, agreeably to the intentions of Congress.
Dear Brother: Your Letter of the 24th. Ulto. was duely forwarded to this Camp by Colo. Lee, and gave me the pleasure of hearing that you, my Sister and family were well. After your Post is established to Fredericksburg the Intercourse by Letter may become regular and certain (and whenever time, little of which God knows I have for friendly corrispondance, will permit, I shall be happy in writing to you). I cannot call to mind the date of my last to you, but this I recollect, that I have written more Letters to than I have received from you.
The Want of Arms, Powder &ca., is not peculiar to Virginia,82 this Country of which doubtless, you have heard such large and flattering Accounts, is more defficient of each than you can conceive, I have been here Months together with what will scarcely be believed; not 30 rounds of Musket Cartridges a Man; have been obliged to submit to all the Insults of the Enemy's Cannon for want of Powder, keeping what little we had for Pistol distance. Another thing has been done, which added to the above, will put it in the power of this Army to say what perhaps none other with justice ever could. We have maintain'd our Ground against the Enemy, under the above want of Powder, and we have disbanded one Army and recruited another, within Musket Shot of two and Twenty Regiments, the Flower of the British Army, when our strength have been little if any, superior to theirs; and, at last, have beat them, in a shameful and precipitate manner out of a place the strongest by Nature on this Continent, and strengthend and fortified in the best manner and at an enormous Expence.
[Note 82: Lund Washington wrote from Mount Vernon (January 31): "Alexandria is much alarmed, and indeed the whole neighborhood. A report prevails that there are five large ships lying off the mouth of Cone [river]....The woman and children are leaving Alexandria and stowing themselves into every little hut they can get, out of the reach of the enemy's cannon as they think, every wagon, cart, and pack-horse, that can be got, are employed in moving the goods out of town. The militia are all up (but not in arms) for indeed they have none, or at least very few....I could wish, if we are to have our neighborhood invaded, that they [the British] would send a tender or two among us. I want much to see how the people would behave upon the occasion....They say they are determined to fight although they move out their effects. I believe they will. I am about packing up your china, glass etc. in barrels...and other things into chests, trunks, bundles etc and I shall then be able at the shortest notice to move your things out of harms way (at least for a while), some to Mrs. Barnes, and the rest into Morrisses barn; and if they are found not to be safe there, move them further....I fear the destruction will be great although the greatest care be taken. Mr. McCarthy has offered me his cellar to put your wine, rum, etc. in. I shall either send it there or to Mrs. Barnes....As yet I have moved nothing but your papers. Every body tells me, that if they could have notice they would immediately come and defend your property, so long as they had life. From Loudoun, Prince William, Fauquier, and this county one hundred men in my opinion could prevent one thousand from landing here to do mischief."]
As some Acct. of the late Manouvres of both Armies, may not be unacceptable, I shall, hurried as I always am, devote a little time to it.
Having received a small supply of Powder then; very inadequate to our wants, I resolved to take possession of Dorchester Point, laying East of Boston; looking directly into it; and commanding (absolutely) the Enemy's Lines on the Neck (Boston) To effect this, which I knew would force the Enemy to an Ingagement, or subject them to be enphiladed by our Cannon, it was necessary, in the first Instance to possess two heights (those mentioned in Genl. Burgoyne's Letter to Lord Stanley in his Acct. of the Battle of Bunkers Hill), which had the entire command of it. The grd. at this time being froze upwards of two feet deep, and as impenetrable as a Rock, nothing could be attempted with Earth; we were obligd, therefore to provide an amazing quantity of chandeliers and Fascines for the Work, and on the Night of the 4th, after a previous severe Cannonade and Bombardment for three Nights together to divert the Enemy's attention from our real design, we removed every material to the spot under Cover of Darkness, and took full possession of those heights without the loss of a single Man.
Upon their discovery of the Works next Morning, great preparations were made for attacking them, but not being ready before the Afternoon and the Weather getting very tempestuous, much blood was Saved, and a very important blow (to one side or the other) prevented. That this remarkable Interposition of Providence is for some wise purpose, I have not a doubt; but as the principal design of the Manouvre was to draw the Enemy to an Ingagement under disadvantages, as a premeditated Plan was laid for this purpose, and seemed to be succeeding to my utmost wish, and as no Men seem'd better disposed to make the appeal than ours did upon that occasion, I can scarce forbear lamenting the disappointment, unless the dispute is drawing to an accommodation, and the Sword going to be Sheathed.
It is not a little pleasing, nor less wonderful to contemplate, that after two years Manoeuvring and undergoing the strangest vicissitudes that perhaps ever attended any one contest since the creation both Armies are brought back to the very point they set out from and, that that, which was the offending party in the beginning is now reduced to the use of the spade and pick axe for defence. The hand of Providence has been so conspicuous in all this, that he must be worse than an infidel that lacks faith, and more than wicked, that has not gratitude enough to acknowledge his obligations, but, it will be time enough for me to turn preacher, when my present appointment ceases; and therefore, I shall add no more on the Doctrine of Providence; but make a tender of my best respects to your good Lady; the Secretary and other friends and assure you that with the most perfect regard I am etc.
The Treachery of Benedict Arnold Exposed
Greene, Nathaniel. Nathanael Greene, September 26, 1780, General Orders. The Writings of George Washington from the Original Manuscript Sources, 1745-1799. John C. Fitzpatrick, Editor. Also here, The American historical record, Volume 3; Volume 67 of American periodical series, 1850-1900, Editor Benson John Lossing,
Chase & Town, 1874.
Head Quarters, Orangetown, Tuesday, September 26, 1780.
Treason of the blackest dye was yesterday discovered! General Arnold who commanded at Westpoint, lost to every sentiment of honor, of public and private obligation, was about to deliver up that important Post into the hands of the enemy. Such an event must have given the American cause a deadly wound if not a fatal stab. Happily the treason has been timely discovered to prevent the fatal misfortune. The providential train of circumstances which led to it affords the most convincing proof that the Liberties of America are the object of divine Protection.
With the triumph of a republican, and the more tender emotions of one who sincerely loves his General, I congratulate your Excellency on your late providential escape. I congratulate my country, whose safety is so intimately united with yours, and who may regard this miraculous rescue of her champion as an assurance that Heaven approves her choice of a defender, and is propitious to her cause. In fact, all the ascendency that could be given by virtue, genius, and valor, would only have furnished a deplorable example of unfortunate merit, if, by the Divine interposition, you had not prevailed over the most impenetrable perfidy that has yet disgraced mankind. This happy event must inspire every virtuous citizen of America with new confidence, and transfix her enemies with awful terror. Andre has, I suppose, paid the forfeit which public justice demanded; example will derive new force from his conspicuous character. Arnold must undergo a punishment incomparably more severe, in the permanent, increasing, torment of a mental hell.
My dear Laurens: Your friendly and Affectione. letter of the 4th. came to my hands on the 10th. and would have been acknowledged yesterday by the Baron de Steuben but for some important business I was preparing for Congress. In no instance since the commencement of the War has the interposition of Providence appeared more conspicuous than in the rescue of the Post and Garrison of West point from Arnolds villainous perfidy. How far he meant to involve me in the catastrophe of this place does not appear by any indubitable evidence, and I am rather inclined to think he did not wish to hazard the more important object of his treachery by attempting to combine two events the lesser of which might have marred the greater.61 A combination of extraordinary circumstances. An unaccountable deprivation of presence of Mind in a man of the first abilities, and the virtuous conduct of three Militia men, threw the Adjutant General of the British forces in America (with full proofs of Arnolds treachery) into our hands; and but for the egregious folly, or the bewildered conception of Lieutt. Colo. Jameson who seemed lost in astonishment and not to have known what he was doing I should as certainly have got Arnold. André has met his fate, and with that fortitude which was to be expected from an accomplished man, and gallant Officer. But I am mistaken if at this time, Arnold is undergoing the torments of a mental Hell.62 He wants feeling! From some traits of his character which have lately come to my knowledge, he seems to have been so hackneyed in villainy, and so lost to all sense of honor and shame that while his faculties will enable him to continue his sordid pursuits there will be no time for remorse.
[Note 61: Laurens had congratulated Washington on his escape from the machinations of Arnold's plot.]
[Note 62: Laurens had written: "Arnold must undergo a punishment incomparably more severe in the permanent increasing torment of a mental hell." Laurens's letter is in the Washington Papers.]
Believe me sincere when I assure you, that my warmest wishes accompany Captn. Wallops63 endeavours and your
[Note 63: Hon. Henry Wallop. He was captain in the Forty-first Foot, British Army.] expectations of exchange; and that nothing but the principle of Justice and policy wch. I have religiously adhered to of exchanging Officers in the order of their Captivity (where rank would apply) has prevented my every exertion to obtain your release and restoration to a family where you will be receiv'd with open arms by every individual of it; but from none with more cordiality and true affection than Your Sincere friend etc.
P.S. The Baron64 not setting out as I expected becomes the bearer of this letter.
[Note 64: Baron Steuben.]
Connecticut. Governor (1769-1784: Trumbull). Proclamation. Connecticut: s.n., 1780. 1 sheet. Ascribed to the press of Timothy Green of New London by Evans, but not listed in H.A. Johnson's Checklist of New London imprints.
Whereas it hath pleased Almighty God the Father of all mercies, amidst the viciffitudes and calamities of War, to bestow Blessings on the People of these States which call for their devout and thankful Acknowledgments; more especially in the late remarkable Interposition of his watchful Providence, in rescuing the Person of our Commander in Chief and the Army from imminent Dangers, at the Moment when Treason was ripened for execution; in prospering the Labours of the Husbandmen, and causing the Earth to yield its Increase in plentiful Harvests; and above all in continuing to us the Enjoyment of the Gospel of Peace.
It is therefore recommended to the several states to set apart Thursday the Seventh Day of December next to be observed as a Day of public Thanksgiving and Prayer--That all the People may assemble on that Day, to celebrate the Praises of our Divine Benefactor--to confess our unworthiness of the least of his Favours, and to offer our fervent Supplications to the God of all Grace--That it may please him to pardon our heinous Transgressions and incline our Heats for the future to keep all his Laws--To comfort and relieve our Brethren who are in any wise afflicted or distressed--To smile upon our Husbandry and Trade--To direct our public Councils, and lead our Forces by Land and Sea to victory--To take our Illustrious Ally under his special Protection, and favour our joint Councils and Exertions for the Establishment of speedy and permanent Peace--To cherish all Schools and Seminaries of Education, and to cause the Knowledge of Christianity to spread over all the Earth.
Done in Congress, this eighteenth day of October, 1780, and in the fifth Year of the Independence of the United States of America. Signed: Samuel Huntington, president. Attest, Charles Thomson, see'ry [sic]./
By His Excellency Jonathan Trumbull, Esquire, governor, captain-general and commander in chief in and over the state of Connecticut, in America. I have thought fit, by and with the Advice of the Council, and at the request of the House of Representatives, to appoint, and do hereby appoint Thursday the seventh day of December next, to be observed as a Day of public Thanksgiving and Prayer throughout this State, hereby exhorting all, both Ministers and People, religiuosly to observe the same, in Conformity to the foregoing Proclamation issued by the Honorable Congress of the United States of America.
All servile Labour is forbidden on said Day.
Given under my hand, in the Council chamber at Hartford, this second day of November, 1780, in the Fifth Year of the Independence of the United States of America. Jonathan Trumbull.
In a bold move, on January 17, 1781, George Washington's
southern army, led by General George Morgan, defeated the entire
detachment of British Colonel Tarleton's troops at Cowpens. Lord
Cornwallis was infuriated and immediately began pursuing the
American troops. He decided to wait the night at the Catawba
River, which the American troops had crossed just two hours
earlier, but to his distress, a storm began during the night,
causing the river to be impassable for days.
On February 3, Lord Cornwallis nearly overtook the American
troops again at the Yadkin River, arriving just as the American
troops were getting out on the far side. But before his troops
could cross, a sudden torrential rain caused the river to flood
over its banks, preventing the British from crossing.
On February 13, only a few hours ahead of the British, the
American troops crossed the Dan River into Virginia. When the
British arrived, again, the river had risen, stopping the British
pursuit. British Commander in Chief Henry Clinton wrote,
explaining the incident:
At what point this defection will stop, or how extensive it may prove God only knows....How long they will continue so cannot be ascertained, as they labor under some pressing hardships, with the Troops who have revolted....I give it decidedly as my opinion, that it is vain to think an Army can be kept together much longer, under such a variety of suffering as ours has
...Here the royal army was again stopped by a sudden rise of the waters, which had only just fallen (almost miraculously) to let the enemy over, who could not else have eluded Lord Cornwallis' grasp, so close was he upon their rear notwithstanding the numberless difficulties he had to struggle with, in this latter race of thirty-eight miles, from swelled creeks and bad roads.
I came here the 6th on business and as soon as that business is finished I shall return to my dreary quarters at New Windsor. We have, as you very justly observe, abundant reason to thank providence for its many favourable interpositions in our behalf. It has, at times been my only dependence for all other resources seemed to have fail'd us.
Recognizing the Interpositions of Providence at the Battle of Yorktown
Lord Cornwallis surrenders at Yorktown, October 19, 1781. George Washington calls a service of Thanksgiving the next day.
Washington, George, 1732-1799. United States. President (1789-1797: Washington). George Washington, October 20, 1781, General Orders. The Writings of George Washington from the Original Manuscript Sources, 1745-1799. John C. Fitzpatrick, Editor. Head Quarters Before York, Saturday, October 20, 1781.
Divine Service is to be performed tomorrow in the several Brigades or Divisions.
The Commander in Chief earnestly recommends that the troops not on duty should universally attend with that seriousness of Deportment and gratitude of Heart which the recognition of such reiterated and astonishing interpositions of Providence demand of us.
"Divine service is to be performed in the several Brigades or Divisions. The Commander in Chief earnestly recommends it that the troops not on duty should universally attend, with that seriousness of deportment and gratitude of heart which the recognition of such reiterated and astonishing interpositions of Providence demands of us."
Whereas, it hath pleased Almighty God, the supreme Disposer of all Events father of mercies, remarkably to assist and support the United States of America in their important struggle for liberty,against the long continued efforts of a powerful nation: it is the duty of all ranks to observe and thankfully acknowledge the interpositions of his Providence in their behalf. Through the whole of the contest, from its first rise to this time, the influence of divine Providence may be clearly perceived in many signal instances, of which we mention but a few.
In revealing the councils of our enemies, when the discoveries were seasonable and important, and the means seemingly inadequate or fortuitous; in preserving and even improving the union of the several states, on the breach of which our enemies placed their greatest dependence; in increasing the number, and adding to the zeal and attachment of the friends of Liberty; in granting remarkable deliverances, and blessing us with the most signal success, when affairs seemed to have the most discouraging appearance; in raising up for us a powerful and generous ally, in one of the first of the European powers; in confounding the councils of our enemies, and suffering them to pursue such measures as have most directly contributed to frustrate their own desires and expectations; above all, in making their extreme cruelty of their officers and soldiers to the inhabitants of these states, when in their power, and their savage devastation of property, the very means of cementing our union, and adding vigor to every effort in opposition to them.
And as we cannot help leading the good people of these states to a retrospect on the events which have taken place since the beginning of the war, so we beg recommend in a particular manner that they may observe and acknowledge to their observation, the goodness of God in the year now drawing to a conclusion: in which
a mutiny in the American Army was not only happily appeased but became in its issue a pleasing and undeniable proof of the unalterable attachment of the people in general to the cause of liberty since great and real grievances only made them tumultuously seek redress while the abhorred the thoughts of going over to the enemy, in which the Confederation of the United States has been completed by the accession of all without exception in which there have been so many instances of prowess and success in our armies; particularly in the southern states, where, notwithstanding the difficulties with which they had to struggle, they have recovered the whole country which the enemy had overrun, leaving them only a post or two upon on or near the sea: in which we have been so powerfully and effectually assisted by our allies, while in all the conjunct operations the most perfect union and harmony has subsisted in the allied army: in which there has been so plentiful a harvest, and so great abundance of the fruits of the earth of every kind, as not only enables us easily to supply the wants of the army, but gives comfort and happiness to the whole people: and in which, after the success of our allies by sea, a General of the first Rank, with his whole army, has been captured by the allied forces under the direction of our illustrious Commander in Chief.
It is therefore recommended to the several states to set apart the 13th day of December next, to be religiously observed as a Day of Thanksgiving and Prayer; that all the people may assemble on that day, with grateful hearts, to celebrate the praises of our gracious Benefactor; to confess our manifold sins; to offer up our most fervent supplications to the God of all grace, that it may please Him to pardon our offences, and incline our hearts for the future to keep all his laws; to comfort and relieve all our brethren who are in distress or captivity; to prosper our husbandmen, and give success to all engaged in lawful commerce; to impart wisdom and integrity to our counsellors, judgment and fortitude to our officers and soldiers; to protect and prosper our illustrious ally, and favor our united exertions for the speedy establishment of a safe, honorable and lasting peace; to bless all seminaries of learning; and cause the knowledge of God to cover the earth, as the waters cover the seas.1
[Note 1: 1 This report, in the writing of John Witherspoon, is in the Papers of the Continental Congress, No. 24, folio 463.]
Sir: I have the Honor to acknowledge the Receipt of your Favor. of the 31st. ulto. covering the Resolutions of Congress of 29th. and a Proclamation for a Day of public Prayer and Thanksgiving; And have to thank you Sir! most sincerely for the very polite and affectionate Manner in which these Inclosures have been conveyed. The Success of the Combined Arms against our Enemies at York and Gloucester, as it affects the Welfare and Independence of the United States, I viewed as a most fortunate Event. In performing my Part towards its Accomplishment, I consider myself to have done only my Duty and in the Execution of that I ever feel myself happy. And at the same Time, as it agurs [sic] well to our Cause, I take a particular Pleasure in acknowledging, that the interposing Hand of Heaven in the various Instances of our extensive Preparations for this Operation [Yorktown], has been most conspicuous and remarkable.
Smith, Robert, 1723-1793. The Obligations of the confederate states of North America to praise God: two sermons: preached at Pequea, December 13, 1781, the day recommended by the honourable Congress to the several states, to be observed as a day of thanksgiving to God, for the various interpositions of his providence in their favour, during their contest with Great Britain, particularly those of the present year, crowned by the capture of Lord Cornwallis with his whole army. / By Robert Smith, A.M. Minister of the Gospel at Pequea. Philadelphia, 1782. 38 pp.
Recognizing the Interpositions of Providence, American Revolution
Payson, Phillips, 1736-1801. A Memorial of Lexington Battle, and of some signal interpositions of Providence in the American Revolution: A Sermon preached at Lexington, on the nineteenth of April, 1782. The Anniversary of the commencement of the war between Great-Britain and America, which opened in a most tragical scene, in that town, on the nineteenth of April, 1775. / By Phillips Payson, A.M. Pastor of the church in Chelsea; [Two lines in Latin from Virgil]. Boston: Printed by Benjamin Edes & Sons, in Cornhill, M,DCC,LXXXII.  24 pp.; 22 cm. (8vo) Text-searchable here.
The United States in Congress assembled after giving the most honorable testimony to the merits of the federal Armies, and presenting them with the thanks of their Country for their long, eminent, and faithful services, having thought proper by their proclamation bearing date the 18th. day of October last to discharge such part of the Troops as were engaged for the war, and to permit the Officers on furlough to retire from service from and after to-morrow; which proclamation having been communicated in the publick papers for the information and government of all concerned; it only remains for the Comdr in Chief to address himself once more, and that for the last time, to the Armies of the U States (however widely dispersed the individuals who compose them may be) and to bid them an affectionate, a long farewell.
But before the Comdr in Chief takes his final leave of those he holds most dear, he wishes to indulge himself a few moments in calling to mind a slight review of the past. He will then take the liberty of exploring, with his military friends, their future prospects, of advising the general line of conduct, which in his opinion, ought to be pursued, and he will conclude the Address by expressing the obligations he feels himself under for the spirited and able assistance he has experienced from them in the performance of an arduous Office.
A contemplation of the compleat attainment (at a period earlier than could have been expected) of the object for which we contended against so formidable a power cannot but inspire us with astonishment and gratitude. The disadvantageous circumstances on our part, under which the war was undertaken, can never be forgotten. The singular interpositions of Providence in our feeble condition were such, as could scarcely escape the attention of the most unobserving; while the unparalleled perseverence of the Armies of the U States, through almost every possible suffering and discouragement for the space of eight long years, was little short of a standing miracle.
AMERICAN INTELLIGENCE. GENERAL WASHINGTON'S FAREWELL ORDERS to the ARMIES of the UNITED STATES. Rocky Hill near Princeton, Nov. 2, 1783. Morning Herald and Daily Advertiser (London, England), Wednesday, December 24, 1783; Issue 985.
"The disadvantegeous circumstances on our part, under which the war was undertaken, can never be forgotten. The singular interpositions of Providence in our feeble condition, were such as could scarely escape the attention of the most unobserving, while the unparelleled perseverance of the armies of the United States, through almost every possible suffering and discouragement, for the space of eight long years, was little short of a standing miracle."
A contemplation of the compleat attainment (at a period earlier than could have been expected) of the object for which we contended against so formidable a power cannot but inspire us with astonishment and gratitude. The disadvantageous circumstances on our part, under which the war was undertaken, can never be forgotten. The singular interpositions of Providence in our feeble condition were such, as could scarcely escape the attention of the most unobserving; while the unparalleled perseverence of the Armies of the U States, through almost every possible suffering and discouragement for the space of eight long years, was little short of a standing miracle.
Rodgers, John, 1727-1811. The Divine Goodness Displayed, in the American Revolution: a sermon, preached in New-York, December 11th, 1783. Appointed by Congress, as a day of public thanksgiving, throughout the United States; / by John Rodgers, D.D New-York: Printed by Samuel Loudon, M,DCC,LXXXIV.  42,  pp.; 20 cm. (8vo).
Gentlemen: I have great occasion to be satisfied with the proofs you have now given of regard for my person, and approbation of my Services.30
[Note 30: The address of the magistrates, dated Dec. 13, 1783, is in the Washington Papers.]
Nothing could have been more proper on this occasion than to attribute our glorious successes in the manner you have done, to the bravery of our Troops, the assistance of our Ally and the interposition of Providence. Having by such means acquired the inestimable blessings of Peace Liberty and Independence; the preservation of these important acquisitions must now, in a great measure, be committed to an able and faithful Magistracy. May the tranquility and good order of the City and County in which you are called to act in that respectable character, continue to exhibit your Example as worthy of universal imitation.31
[Note 31: The draft is in the writing of David Humphreys.]
Mr. President: The great events on which my resignation depended having at length taken place; I have now the honor of offering my sincere Congratulations to Congress and of presenting myself before them to surrender into their hands the trust committed to me, and to claim the indulgence of retiring from the Service of my Country.
Happy in the confirmation of our Independence and Sovereignty, and pleased with the oppertunity afforded the United States of becoming a respectable Nation, I resign with satisfaction the Appointment I accepted with diffidence. A diffidence in my abilities to accomplish so arduous a task, which however was superseded by a confidence in the rectitude of our Cause, the support of the Supreme Power of the Union, and the patronage of Heaven.
The Successful termination of the War has verified the most sanguine expectations, and my gratitude for the interposition of Providence, and the assistance I have received from my Countrymen, encreases with every review of the momentous Contest.
While I repeat my obligations to the Army in general, I should do injustice to my own feelings not to acknowledge in this place the peculiar Services and distinguished merits of the Gentlemen who have been attached to my person during the War. It was impossible the choice of confidential Officers to compose my family should have been more fortunate. Permit me Sir, to recommend in particular those, who have continued in Service to the present moment, as worthy of the favorable notice and patronage of Congress. I consider it an indispensable duty to close this last solemn act of my Official life, by commending the Interests of our dearest Country to the protection of Almighty God, and those who have the superintendence of them, to his holy keeping.
Having now finished the work assigned me, I retire from the great theatre of Action; and bidding an Affectionate farewell to this August body under whose orders I have so long acted, I here offer my Commission, and take my leave of all the employments of public life.
Sir: The numerous congratulations which I have received from Public Bodies and respectable individuals since my appointment to my present station, are truly grateful, as they hold forth the strongest assurances of support to the Government as well as a warm attachment to myself. It is from the good dispositions of the people at large, from the influence of respectable Characters, and from the patriotic co-operation of a wise and virtuous legislature, more than from any abilities of mine that I can promise success to my administration. The kind interposition of Providence which has been so often manifested in the affairs of this country, must naturally lead us to look up to that divine source for light and direction in this new and untried Scene.
Madison, James, 1751-1836. "Concerning the Difficulties of the Convention in Devising a Proper Form of Government From the Daily Advertiser." Friday, January 11, 1788. From The Federalist Papers by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, John Jay, p. 278.
"Would it be wonderful if, under the pressure of all these difficulties, the convention should have been forced into some deviations from that artificial structure and regular symmetry which an abstract view of the subject might lead an ingenious theorist to bestow on a Constitution planned in his closet or in his imagination? The real wonder is that so many difficulties should have been surmounted, and surmounted with a unanimity almost as unprecedented as it must have been unexpected. It is impossible for any man of candor to reflect on this circumstance without partaking of the astonishment. It is
impossible for the man of pious reflection not to perceive in it a finger of that Almighty hand which has been so frequently and signally extended to our relief in the critical stages of the revolution."
Franklin's Prayer Request
Franklin, Benjamin. "Motion for Prayers in the Convention." Jared Sparks, editor. The Works of Benjamin Franklin: containing several political and historical tracts not included in any former edition, and many letters official. Vol. 5 of 10. Boston, 1837. Also here. And in Niles' Weekly Register, vol. 15, October 10, 1818, issue 371, p. 108 by William Ogden Niles. Full volume published by H. Niles, 1819.
In this situation of this Assembly, groping as it were in the dark to find political truth, and scarce able to distinguish it when presented to us, how has it happened, Sir, that we have not hitherto once thought of humbly applying to the Father of lights to illuminate our understandings? In the beginning of the Contest with G. Britain, when we were sensible of danger we had daily prayer in this room for the divine protection.- Our prayers, Sir, were heard, & they were graciously answered. All of us who were engaged in the struggle must have observed frequent instances of a superintending providence in our favor. To that kind providence we owe this happy opportunity of consulting in peace on the means of establishing our future national felicity. And have we now forgotten that powerful friend? or do we imagine that we no longer need his assistance? I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth- that God Governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid? We have been assured, Sir, in the sacred writings, that "except the Lord build the House they labour in vain that build it." I firmly believe this; and I also believe that without his concurring aid we shall succeed in this political building no better, than the Builders of Babel: We shall be divided by our little partial local interests; our projects will be confounded, and we ourselves shall become a reproach and bye word down to future ages. And what is worse, mankind may hereafter from this unfortunate instance, despair of establishing Governments by Human wisdom and leave it to chance, war and conquest.
It would be ungrateful not to observe, that there have been less equivocal signs in the course of the formation and establishment of this government, of heaven having favoured the federal side of the question. The union of twelve states in the form and of ten states in the adoption of the Constitution, in less than ten months, under the influence of local prejudices, opposite interests, popular arts, and even the threats of bold and desperate men, is a solitary event in the history of mankind. I do not believe that the Constitution was the offspring of inspiration, but I am as perfectly satisfied, that the union of the states, in its form and adoption, is as much the work of a Divine Providence, as any of the miracles recorded in the Old and New Testament, were the effects of a divine power.
Wesley, John, 1703-1791. Some Observations on liberty. From The Works of the Reverend John Wesley, A. M., Volume 6. J. Emory and B. Waugh, for the Methodist Episcopal Church, J. Collard, printer, 1831.
[* The date of this tract of Mr. Wesley's shows that it was written at a time of great national excitement. This must be its apology. As a political production, it cannot fail to meet the strong and decided disapprobation of Americans; and we insert it here, with a few others alike foreign from our own views, solely to fulfil our promise of a complete edition of his works. Indeed, Mr. W. himself, after the successful termination of the great struggle in which America had made the last dire appeal to arms for the assertion of her rights, frankly, in effect, confessed his error, and acknowledged that it was by the interposition and providence of God himself, that our independence was achieved.--See his letter "To Dr. Coke, Mr. Asbury, and our Brethren in North America;" dated in September, 1784.]
Wesley, John, 1703-1791. To Dr. Coke, Mr. Asbury, And Our Brethren in North America. September 10, 1784. From The works of the late Reverend John Wesley, A.M.: from the latest London edition with the last corrections of the author, comprehending also numerous translations, notes, and an original preface, etc, Volume 7. Waugh and Mason, 1835.
"As our American brethren are now totally disentangled both from the state, and from the English hierarchy, we dare not entangle them again, either with the one or the other. They are now at full liberty, simply to follow the Scriptures and the primitive church. And we judge it best that they should stand fast in that liberty, wherewith God has so strangely made them free."
1. Sergeant York's Own Story; The Authentic, Never Before Published War Diary Of Alvin C. York, Praying Sergeant, Who Became America's Most Distinguished Soldier In The World War -- More Honest Thrills Than Any Best Seller. Chapter I. A Home-Spun Hero.
From The Washington Post (1923-1954). March 17, 1929. p. SM3.
2. Sergeant York's Own Story; Chapter 2. Days Of Recklessness.
From The Washington Post (1923-1954). March 24, 1929. p. SM7.
3. Sergeant York's Own Story; Chapter 3. War.
From The Washington Post (1923-1954). March 31, 1929. p. SM6.
4. Sergeant York's Own Story; Chapter 4. The Sword And The Bible.
From The Washington Post (1923-1954). April 7, 1929. p. SM2.
5. Sergeant York's Own Story; Chapter 5. To the Front.
From The Washington Post (1923-1954). April 14, 1929. p. SM6.
"Some of them officers have been saying that I being a mountain boy and accustomed to woods and nature done all these things the right way jes by instinct, like an animal when it is cornered. There may be something in that. I hadn't never got much larnin' from books, except the Bible. Maybe my instincts is more natural than of men who ain't brunged up like I was in the woods and in the mountains. But that ain't enough to account for the way I come out alive, with all those German soldiers and machine guns raining death on me.
I am willing to admit that all of these explanations have a whole heap of truth in them. I am willing to admit that maybe I had I had all the breaks, and had them right. Jes the same, there was something else. There had to be something more than man power in that fight to save me. There can't no man in the world make me believe there weren't. And I'm a-telling you the hand of God must have been in that fight. It surely must have been the divine power that brought me out. No other power under heaven could save a man in a place like that. Men were killed on both sides of me and all around me and I was the biggest and the most exposed of all. Jes think of them thirty machine guns raining fire on me point-blank from a range of only twenty-five yards and all them-there rifles and pistols besides, those bombs, and then those men that charged with fixed bayonets, and I never receiving a scratch, and bringing in 132 prisoners.
I have got only one explanation to offer, and only one: without the help of God I jes couldn't have done it. There can be no arguments about that. I am not going to believe different as long as I live. I'm a-telling you that God must have heard my prayers long before I done started for France. I'm a-telling you that He done give me my assurance somehow that so long as I believed in Him He would protect me. That's why when I bade my mother and Gracie and all my brothers and sisters and Rosy Pile good-bye before sailing for France I told them all not to worry. I would be safe, I would come back.
I done settled it all with my God long before I went overseas. I done prayed and prayed to Him; He done given my my assurance that so long as I believed in Him He would protect me, and He did.
So you can see here in this case of mine where God helped me out. I had been living for God and working in the church work sometime before I come to the Army. So I am a witness to the fact that God did help me out of that hard battle; for the bushes were shot off all around me and I never got a scratch. So you can see that God will be with you if you will only trust him and I say that He did save me. Now He will save you if you will only trust Him.
I know, of course, that people will say that if He protected me, why didn't He protect the other American boys who were killed, and the Germans, too? He was their God as well as mine, and if He was a just and righteous God, why didn't He protect them? I can't answer that. I ain't a-going to try to. I don't understand the way in which He works "His marvels to perform." I ain't a-questioning them nohow. I jest accept them and bow my head and bless His holy name, and believe in Him more'n ever.
6. Sergeant York's Own Story; Chapter 6. At St. Mihiel. August 16.
From The Washington Post (1923-1954). April 21, 1929. p. SM4.
7. Sergeant York's Own Story; Chapter 7. One Man Against A Battalion. From The Washington Post (1923-1954). April 28, 1929. p. SM4.
8. Sergeant York's Own Story; Chapter 8. Official Story Of The Fight.
From The Washington Post (1923-1954). May 5, 1929. p. SM4.
9. Sergeant York's Own Story; Chapter 9.
From The Washington Post (1923-1954). May 12, 1929. p. SM10.
10. Sergeant York's Own Story; Chapter 10. Home. May 10. Sergeant York's Own Story. From The Washington Post (1923-1954). May 19, 1929. p. SM10.
The Diary of Alvin York. With Affidavits of Private Patrick Donahue, Private Michael A. Sacina, Private Percy Beardsley, Private George W. Wills, etc. "I carried a Testament with me. I have the Testament I carried with me during all my fighting at home now. I read it through five times during my stay in the army. I read it everywhere. I read it in dugouts, in fox holes, and on the front line. It was my rock to cling to. It and my diary. I didn't do any cursing, no, not even in the front line. I cut all of that out long ago, at the time I was saved."