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been beaten!" The author cannot now recollect his authority for this statement, but has repeatedly heard it asserted by different individuals who were acquainted with the fact.
In the year 1813 the author traveled through South Carolina, and called to see Mr. William Calmes, with whom he had an intimate acquaintance when quite a youth, having been his school-fellow in this county (Frederick). Mr. Calmes was well acquainted with Gen. Morgan, and related the following anecdote, in relation to Morgan and Tarlton.
There were two brothers, by the name of citizens of South Carolina, men of considerable wealth and respectability, who joined the British standard, and both obtained colonel's commissions. One of them was at Cornwallis's head quarters the day Tarlton set out determined to take Morgan at all hazards. Meeting with Col. - he accosted him to the following effect: “Well, colonel
, if you will be at his lordship’s head-quarters (naming the day), you shall have the pleasure of dining with the old wagoner." To which Col. replied, “I wish you success, Col. Tarlton, but permit me to caution you: you will find Morgan hard to take.” On which Tarlton flew into a passion, and threatened to arrest the colonel for using such language in hearing of his officers. The latter calmly replied, “Col. Tarlton, I have staked every thing dear to me in this life upon the issue of the present contest. I own a fine estate. My family and my personal liberty are in danger. If America succeeds in establishing her independence, my estate will be forfeited, my family reduced to beggary, and the least I can expect, (if I escape with my life,) will be perpetual exile. Hence, sir, I most ardently wish you success. But permit me again to caution you. Morgan is a cunning, artful officer, and you will find him hard to take." Tarlton, however, pushed off in high glee, determined at every risk to capture Morgan and his little band of warriors. The result was soon known at his lordship's head-quarters;
and it so happened, when Tarlton returned, Col. was present. The moment Tarlton saw bim he apologized to him for the harsh language he had used towards him, and exclaimed, “By - ! Morgan is truly a great man!” This extorted praise from this haughty British officer speaks volumes for the high military talents of Gen. Morgan.
At the close of the war this refugee colonel took shelter for himself and family in the British dominions of Canada, and his fine estate was confiscated. He however petitioned the government of South Carolina; and from his general good character in private life, an act of pardon, together with the restoration of his estate, was passed, and he returned to its enjoyment with all the privileges of a free citizen. After his return Mr. Calmes became well acquainted with him, and received the above statement of facts from him.
The brother of this officer, from some acts of ferocious cruelty practiced upon the friends of the American cause,
had his estate also confiscated. The government refused to restore it, and passed an act of perpetual banishment against him.
In 1781 Cornwallis entered Virginia at the head of a large army, and in the month of June a party of tories raised the British standard on Lost river, then in the county of Hampshire (now Hardy). John Claypole, a Scotsman by birth, and his two sons, were at the head of the insurrection.* Claypole had the address to draw over to his party a considerable majority of the people on Lost river, and a number on the South fork of the Wappatomaka. They first manifested symptoms of rebellion by refusing to pay their taxes and furnishing their quota of men to serve in the militia. The sherifs, or collectors of the revenue, complained to Lieut. Col. Vanmeter, of the county of Hampshire, that they were
Moses Russell, Esq. informed the author, that it was reported and believed at the time that Claypole's two sons went to North Carolina, and had an interview with lord Cornwallis, who appointed and commissioned them both captains in the British service, and sent the commission of colonel to their father.
resisted in their attempts to discharge their official duties, when the colonel ordered a captain and thirty men to their aid. The insurgents armed themselves, and determined to resist. Among them was John Brake, a German of considerable wealth, who resided about fifteen miles above Moorefield, on the South fork of the river, and whose house became the place of rendezvous for the insurgents. When the sherif went up with the militia posse, fifty men appeared in arms. The
posse and tories unexpectedly met in the public road. Thirty-five of the latter broke and ran about one hundred yards, and then formed, while fifteen stood firm. The captain of the guard called out for a parley, when a free conversation took place, in which this dangerous proceeding on the part of the tories was pointed out, with the terrible consequences which must inevitably follow. It is said that had a pistol been fired, a dreadful scene of carnage would have ensued. The two parties, however, parted without bloodshed. But instead of the tory party retiring to their respective homes and attending to their domestic duties, the spirit of insurrection increased. They began to organize, appointed officers, and made John Claypole their commander in chief, with the intention of marching off in a body to join Cornwallis, in the event of his advancing into the valley or near it.
Several expresses were sent to Col. Smith, requesting the aid of the militia, in the counties immediately adjoining, to quell this rebellion. He addressed letters to the commanding officers of Berkeley and Shenandoah, beat up for volunteers in Frederick, and in a few days an army of four hundred rank and file were well mounted and equipped. Gen. Morgan, who, after the defeat of Tarlton and some other military services, had obtained leave of absence from the army, and was now reposing on his farm (Saratoga) in Frederick, and whose name was a host in itself, was solicited to take the command, with which he readily complied. About the 18th
* Isaac Vanmeter, Esq. then about 18 years of age, was one of the posse,
and related these facts to the author.
or 20th of June the army marched from Winchester, and in two days arrived in the neighborhood of this tory section of Hardy county. They halted at Claypole's house,* and took him prisoner. Several young men fled; among them William Baker. As he ran across Claypole's meadow he was hailed and ordered to surrender; but disregarding the command, Capt. Abraham Byrd, of Shenandoah county, an excellent marksman, raised his rifle, fired, and wounded him in the leg. He fell, and several of Morgan's party went to him to see the result. The ball had penetrated just above the heel, ranged up the leg, and shivered the bones. As the poor fellow begged for mercy, he was taken to the house, and his wound dressed by the surgeon of the regiment. He recovered, and is still living. They took from Claypole provisions for themselves and horses, Col. Smith (who was second in command,) giving him a certificate for their value.
From Claypole's the army moved up Lost river, and some young men in the advance took a man named Matthias Wilkins prisoner, placed a rope round his neck, and threatened to hang him. Col. Smith rode up, saw what was going on, and ordered them instantly to desist. They also caught a man named John Payne, and branded him on the posteriors with a red hot spade, telling him they would make him a freemason. Claypole solemnly promised to be of good behavior, gave bail, and was set at liberty.
The army thence crossed the South Branch mountain. On or near the summit they saw a small cabin, which had probably been erected by some hunters. Gen. Morgan crdered it to be surrounded, observing, “ It is probable some of the tories are now in it.” As the men approached the cabin, ten or a dozen fellows ran out and fled. An elderly man, named Mace, and
* Claypole's former residence is now owned by Mr. Miller, and is about 45 or 50 miles south west of Winchester, ou Lost river, in Hardy county,
1 The spot was pointed out to tie author, by Mr. Miller, where Byrd stood when he fired at Baker, and where Baker féll. The distance is about lour hundred yarusi
two of his sons were among them. Old Mace, finding himself pretty closely pursued, surrendered. One of the pursuers was Capt. William Snickers, an aid-decamp of Morgan, who being mounted on a fine horse, was soon alongside of him. One of Mace's sons looking round at this instant, and seeing Snickers aiming a blow with a drawn sword at his father, drew up his rifle and fired at him. The ball passed through the crest of his horse's neck; he fell, and threw his rider over his head. Snickers was at first thought by his friends to be killed ; and in the excitement of the moment, an Irishman, half drunk, who had been with Morgan for some time as a waiter, and had seen much tory blood shed in the Carolinas, ran up to the prisoner (Mace) with a cocked pistol in his hand, and shot the poor man, who fell, and instantly expired. Capt. Snickers soon recovered from the bruises received in his fall, as did his horse also from the wound in his neck.
The army proceeded on to pay their respects to Mr. John Brake, an old German, who had a fine farm with extensive meadows, a mill, large distillery, and many fat hogs and cattle. He was an exception, in his political course, to his countrymen, as they were, almost to a man, true whigs, and friends to their country. Brake, as before observed, had joined the tory band, and his house was their place of rendezvous, where they feasted on the best he had. All this appearing unquestionable, Morgan marched his army to his residence, there halted, and spent two days and nights with his reluctant host. His troops lived on the very best his fine farm, mill and distillery afforded, feasting on his pigs, fatted calves, young beeves, lambs, poultry, &c., while their horses fared no less luxuriously upon his fine unmown meadows, oat fields, &c. As Brake had entertained and feasted the torics, Morgan concluded that he should feast them in turn.
The third day, in the morning, the army moved on down the river, passed by Moorefield, and returned to Winchester, where it was disbanded, after a service of