Archive for the ‘Cornwallis, General Charles’ Category

“an event I had so long wished to take place”

SARAH LOGAN FISHER finally gets her wish: the British take Philadelphia.

September 25, 1777— About 10 this morning the town was alarmed with an account that the English were on full march for the city & were at Germantown. People in very great confusion, some flying one way & some another as if not knowing where to go, or what to do. I was much favored not to be at all fluttered, tho’ it was an event I had so long wished to take place. We remained in expectation of them all day, but in the evening heard they were to encamp near the city & not come in till morning. The Night passed over in much quiet, tho’ many people were apprehensive of the city’s being set on fire, & near half the inhabitants, I was told, sat up to watch.

September 26, 1777— Rose very early this morning in hopes of seeing a most pleasing sight. About 10 the troops began to enter. The town was still, not a cart or any obstruction in the way. The morning had before been cloudy, but nearly the time of their entrance the sun shone out with a sweet serenity, & the weather being uncommonly cool for the time of year prevented their being incommoded with the heat. First came the light horse, led by Enoch Story & Phineas Bond [both Loyalists], as the soldiers were unacquainted with the town & different streets, nearly 200 I imagine in number, clean dress & their bright swords glittering in the sun. After that came the foot, headed by Lord Cornwallis. Before him went a band of music, which played a solemn tune, & which I afterwards understood was called “God save great George our King.” Then followed the soldiers, who looked very clean & healthy & a remarkable solidity was on their countenances, no wanton levity, or indecent mirth, but a gravity well becoming the occasion seemed on all their faces. After that came the artillery. & then the Hessian grenadiers, attended by a large band of music but not equal in fitness or solemnity to the other. Baggage wagons, Hessian women, & horses, cows, goats & asses brought up the rear. They encamped on the commons, & but for a few officers which were riding about the city. I imagine to give orders & provide quarters for their men, in 3 hours afterwards you would not have thought so great a change had taken place. Everything appeared still & quiet. A number of the inhabitants sat up to watch, & for fear of any alarm. Thus was this large city surrendered to the English without the least opposition whatever or even firing a single gun, which I thought called for great humility & deep gratitude on our parts.

Wainwright, Nicholas B., and Sarah Logan Fisher. “A Diary of Trifling Occurrences”: Philadelphia, 1776-1778.The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography 82, no. 4 (1958), 449-50. Illustration by Henry Alexander Ogden (1856-1936).

posted October 16th, 2018 by Janet, comments (0), CATEGORIES: British soldiers,Cornwallis, General Charles,Fisher, Sarah Logan,Hessians,Loyalists,Music,Philadelphia

“my heart almost died within me”

MARGARET HILL MORRIS, a struggling widow with four children, had moved in with her sister who was the wife of a Quaker missionary in New Jersey. In December 1776, Margaret decided to keep a journal “for the amusement” of another sister, Milcah Martha Moore, who was living nearby having left Philadelphia when it was threatened by the British. During this turbulent time—General Cornwallis was moving across New Jersey, the British had blockaded the Delaware River, and General Washington and his troops had fled into Pennsylvania—Margaret tried to tread a fine line between patriot and loyalist, distressed by the suffering she saw around her. The house in which she lived overlooked the Delaware River allowing her to observe the goings on as vessels called row-galleys or gondolas patrolled or bombarded.

December 6th, 1776Being on a visit to my friend M S. at Haddonfield. I was preparing to return to my Family, when a Person from Philada told us the people there were in great Commotion, that the English fleet was in the River & hourly expected to sail up to the City; that the inhabitants were removing into the Country, & that several persons of considerable repute had been discoverd to have formd a design of setting fire to the City, & were Summoned before the Congress and strictly injoind to drop the horrid purpose—when I heard the above report my heart almost died within me, & I cried surely the Lord will not punish the innocent with the guilty, & I wishd there might be found some interceeding Lotts & Abrahams amongst our People. . . . I thought of my S D. [Sarah Dillwyn, her sister] the beloved Companion of my Widowd State—her Husband at the distance of some hundred miles from her—I thought of my own lonely situation, no Husband to cheer, with the voice of love, my Sinking spirits. My little flock too, without a Father to direct them how to Steer,—all these things crouded into my mind at once, & I felt like one forsaken—a flood of friendly tears came to my relief—& I felt an humble Confidence, that he, who had been with me in six troubles would not forsake me now—While I cherishd this hope my tranquility was restord, & I felt no Sensations but of humble Acquiescense to the Divine Will—& was favord to find my Family in health, on my Arrival, & my Dear Companion not greatly discomposd, for which favor I desire to be made truly thankful—

8th. Every day begins & ends with the same accounts, & we hear today the Regulars are at Trenton—some of our Neighbors gone, & others going, makes our little Bank look lonesome; but our trust in Providence still firm, & we dare not even talk of removing our Family. . . .

More from Margaret Hill Morris in the next post.

The passages quoted can be found on page 98 of In the Words of Women and in the Journal online HERE.

posted December 14th, 2015 by Janet, comments (0), CATEGORIES: Cornwallis, General Charles,Morris, Margaret Hill,New Jersey,Philadelphia,Washington, George

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