September 14

Rather a gloomy day. It rained hard from 9 o'clock a. m. until about noon. Lieutenants Davis, Welch and Wheeler have gone on picket with a hundred men from our regiment. There was Company drill this afternoon. It rained so this forenoon that battalion drill was suspended; rained hard this evening, too. Election returns from Maine this evening show that State to be strongly Republican.

September 14

September 14, 1874. (Charnex ).--A long walk and conversation with----. We followed a high mountain path. Seated on the turf, and talking with open heart, our eyes wandered over the blue immensity below us, and the smiling outlines of the shore. All was friendly, azure-tinted, caressing, to the sight. The soul I was reading was profound and pure. Such an experience is like a flight into paradise. A few light clouds climbed the broad spaces of the sky, steamers made long tracks upon the water at our feet, white sails were dotted over the vast distance of the lake, and sea-gulls like gigantic butterflies quivered above its rippling surface.

210. John Adams

Philadelphia, 14 September, 1777.

You will learn from the newspapers, before this reaches you, the situation of things here. Mr. Howe's army is at Chester, about fifteen miles from this town. General Washington's is over the Schuylkill, awaiting the flank of Mr. Howe's army.

How much longer Congress will stay is uncertain. I hope we shall not move until the last necessity, that is, until it shall be rendered certain that Mr. Howe will get the city. If we should move, it will be to Reading, Lancaster, York, Easton, or Bethlehem, some town in this State. It is the determination not to leave this State. Don't be anxious about me, nor about our great and sacred cause. It is the cause of truth and will prevail. If Howe gets the city, it will cost him all his force to keep it, and so he can get nothing else.

My love to all friends.

September Fourteenth

On the shore dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
Where the foe's haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o'er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines on the stream;
'Tis the star-spangled banner; O long may it wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!
Francis Scott Key

 

No more sacred spot in New Orleans, a city famous for its historic memories, can be pointed out than Liberty Place, where these martyrs fell; and no more memorable day can be found in the calendar of Louisiana's history than Sept. 14, 1874.

Henry Edward Chambers
(Referring to the rout of General Longstreet and the Carpet-bagger police by citizens, eleven of whom were killed )

 

Francis Scott Key writes the “Star Spangled Banner,” 1814

Battle of Boonsboro, 1862

Rule of the Carpet-bagger shaken, New Orleans, 1874

 

 

17. John Adams

Philadelphia, 14 September, 1774.

I have written but once to you since I left you. This is to be imputed to a variety of causes, which I cannot explain for want of time. It would fill volumes to give you an exact idea of the whole tour. My time is totally filled from the moment I get out of bed until I return to it. Visits, ceremonies, company, business, newspapers, pamphlets, etc., etc., etc.

The Congress will, to all present appearance, be well united, and in such measures as, I hope, will give satisfaction to the friends of our country. A Tory here is the most despicable animal in the creation. Spiders, toads, snakes are their only proper emblems. The Massachusetts councillors and addressers are held in curious esteem here, as you will see. The spirit, the firmness, the prudence of our province are vastly applauded, and we are universally acknowledged the saviours and defenders of American liberty. The designs and plans of the Congress must not be communicated until completed, and we shall move with great deliberation.

When I shall come home I know not, but at present I do not expect to take my leave of this city these four weeks.

My compliments, love, service, where they are due. My babes are never out of my mind, nor absent from my heart. Adieu.

Monday, September 14th, Angers, 8 p.m.in the train.—We five got into the train at La Baule with kit-bags and holdalls, with the farewells of Matron and our friends, at 9.30 this morning. We are still in the same train, and shall not reach Le Mans till 11 p.m. Then what? Perhaps Station Duty, perhaps Hospital. There is said to be any amount of work at Le Mans. We have an R.H.A. Battery on this train with guns, horses, five officers, and trucks full of shouting and yelling men all very fit, straight from home. One big officer said savagely, "The first man not carrying out orders will be sent down to the base," to one of his juniors, as the worst threat. The spirits of the men are irrepressible. The French people rush up wherever we stop (which is extremely often and long) and give them grapes and pears and cigarettes. We have had cider, coffee, fruit, chocolate, and biscuits-and-cheese at intervals. It is difficult to get anything, because no one, French or English, ever seems to know when the train is going on.

We have been reading in 'The Times' of September 3, 4, 5, and 7, all day, and re-reading last night's mail from home.

What a marvellous spirit has been growing in all ranks of the Army (and Navy) these last dozen years, to show as it is doing now. And the technical perfection of all one saw at the Military Tournament this year must have meant a good deal—for this War.

(We are still shunting madly in and out of Angers.)

139. John Adams

Philadelphia, Saturday, 14 September, 1776.

Yesterday morning I returned with Dr. Franklin and Mr. Rutledge from Staten Island, where we met Lord Howe and had about three hours' conversation with him. The result of this interview will do no disservice to us. It is now plain that his lordship has no power but what is given him in the act of Parliament. His commission authorizes him to grant pardons upon submission, and to converse, confer, consult, and advise with such persons as he may think proper, upon American grievances, upon the instructions to Governors and the acts of Parliament, and if any errors should be found to have crept in, his Majesty and the ministry were willing they should be rectified.

I found yours of 31st of August and 2d of September. I now congratulate you on your return home with the children. I am sorry to find you anxious on account of idle reports. Don't regard them. I think our friends are to blame to mention such silly stories. What good do they expect to do by it?

My ride has been of service to me. We were absent but four days. It was an agreeable excursion. His lordship is about fifty years of age. He is a well-bred man, but his address is not so irresistible as it has been represented. I could name you many Americans, in your own neighborhood, whose art, address, and abilities are greatly superior. His head is rather confused, I think.

When I shall return I can't say. I expect now every day fresh hands from Watertown.

Cuttack, September 14, 1844

A NIGHT'S REST.

My wife and I were sitting, after tea, playing at backgammon and enjoying the cool breeze that came through the open Venetians, when suddenly it began to rain. In an instant the room swarmed with insects of all sorts. There was the beautiful large green mantis; and, as we were watching his almost human motions, a grasshopper and a large brown cricket flew against my face, while a great cockroach, full three inches long, came on my wife's neck, and began running about her head and face and dress; the flying-ant, which emits a most nauseous effluvia; and the flying-bug, black, and about the size of an English one, which, if you crush him, will make your fingers smell most dreadfully for many hours;—and with these our clothes were covered, and we were obliged to keep brushing them away from our faces, but with very gentle handling; and then came two or three hornets, which sent Mrs. Acland to bed to get under the mosquito-curtains, where none of these horrid creatures can get at her. I sat up trying to read, but buzz came a mosquito on the side of my face, up went my hand a tremendous slap on the cheek to kill the tormentor, and buzz he went on again. Then I felt something big burying itself in my hair, and then came buzz on the other side, and then all around.

Presently, with a loud hum, a great rhinoceros-beetle dashed into my face. I now began to take some of the animals out of my hair; and the first that I touched was a flying-bug: the stench was dreadful. I rushed out of the room, brushing the horrible creatures from my hair with both hands. I nearly fell over a toad on which I trod, and reached my bed-room to find eighteen or twenty great toads croaking in different parts of the room, and five large bats were whirling round and round the bed. Having washed my hands in eau-de-cologne, I quickly undressed and fell asleep.

In the course of the night a troop of jackals surrounded the house, and by their frightful yells soon drove away all idea of rest; and then, about four o'clock, as we were just dozing off again, comes the roll of the drum and the loud voice of the trumpet, the tramp of the soldiers, the firing, and all the bustle of the parade; and, as soon as that is over, comes the changing guard, and the "shoulder harrm," and the "quick marrch," near our house; and so we got up.

THE BATH.

Then comes the bath, the greatest luxury of the day (the water just cooler than the air), into which I get with a book, lie there an hour reading, get out and partly dress, and then admit my man to wash my feet in cold water, and to shampoo me and brush my hair, whilst another brings me a cup of delicious coffee or a glass of sherbet; and then breakfast, with an enormous fan swinging to and fro over our heads; and the heat, and the discomfort, and languor till five o'clock, agreeably diversified only by a bottle of beer cooled with saltpetre and water; and then a drive, and tea, and mosquitoes again, and so on.

September 14, 1862

Sunday. My first day on duty as corporal of the guard. Two hours on and four off duty gives me lots of time to write, and as it may interest our folks to know what guard duty really is, I will describe it as best I can. An officer of the guard, a sergeant of the guard, four corporals, and four times as many privates as there are posts to guard, are detailed the night before. In the morning at 8 a. m. the fife and drum sounds the call for guard-mount, and the whole detail reports at guard-headquarters, which is wherever the call is sounded from. Three-quarters of the detail go on duty and the other quarter, called supernumeraries, have nothing at all to do, unless a man on duty is taken sick, when a supernumerary takes his place. The corporal then on duty goes with the one just going on with the first relief, and marches to post No. 1, where the guard calls out, "Who comes there?" The corporal says, "Relief." "Advance Relief," says the guard on post, when he is replaced by a man from the new guard, and he takes his place in the rear, marching on to the next post, where the same ceremony is repeated until the last post is reached. The new guard is then on duty and the corporal marches the old guard to headquarters, where they are discharged and are free from all duty for the next twenty-four hours. The corporal of the relief now on post remains at guard headquarters for two hours, unless some trouble on the line happens, in which case the guard cries out "Corporal of the guard!" giving the number of post. The corporal then goes direct to that post, and if the trouble be such as he cannot cope with, he calls "Sergeant of the guard!" In case it be too serious for the sergeant, the officer of the guard is called in the same way, and he is supposed to be able to settle the trouble, whatever it may be. At the end of two hours, the second relief goes on, and then the third in its turn, after which the first relief goes on again. This keeps on until 8 a. m. the next morning, when a new guard is mounted and the old one goes off. This gives each corporal and his relief four turns of duty of two hours each, and sixteen hours to lie around headquarters and do pretty much as he pleases. The sergeant and the officer of the guard rarely have anything to do but pass away the time in any lawful manner. But they must be ready, on call, at all times.

Train-load after train-load of troops keeps going past. The North must get empty and the South get full at this rate. Mosquitoes and flies are very troublesome. We must cover up head and hands at night, or if the blanket gets off we must scratch all the next day. Some don't mind it, but the most of us do, and if the pests would go where they are often told to go, they would get a taste of what they are giving us.

We have a sutler now. No peddlers are allowed on the camp grounds. It is buy of him now or go without. For change, he uses cards with his stamp on, good for from three to twenty-five cents, at his tent, and good for nothing at any other place. Report says we are to have a chaplain by next Sunday, and that it is the Rev. Mr. Parker, who preached for us at Hudson. I hope he will bring along all his patience and forbearance. He will need it. Bad as we are, I don't suppose we are worse than the average, but I think we must average pretty well up. We will know if he comes, and won't have to watch the almanac to tell when Sunday comes.

18. Abigail Adams

Braintree, 14 September, 1774.

Five weeks have passed and not one line have I received. I would rather give a dollar for a letter by the post, though the consequence should be that I ate but one meal a day these three weeks to come. Every one I see is inquiring after you, when did I hear. All my intelligence is collected from the newspaper, and I can only reply that I saw by that, you arrived such a day. I know your fondness for writing, and your inclination to let me hear from you by the first safe conveyance, which makes me suspect that some letter or other has miscarried; but I hope, now you have arrived at Philadelphia, you will find means to convey me some intelligence.

We are all well here. I think I enjoy better health than I have done these two years. I have not been to town since I parted with you there. The Governor is making all kinds of warlike preparations, such as mounting cannon upon Beacon Hill, digging intrenchments upon the Neck, placing cannon there, encamping a regiment there, throwing up breast-works, etc. The people are much alarmed, and the selectmen have waited upon him in consequence of it. The County Congress [48] have also sent a committee; all which proceedings you will have a more particular account of than I am able to give you, from the public papers. But as to the movements of this town, perhaps you may not hear them from any other person.

In consequence of the powder being taken from Charlestown, a general alarm spread through many towns and was caught pretty soon here. The report took here on Friday, and on Sunday a soldier was seen lurking about the Common, supposed to be a spy, but most likely a deserter. However, intelligence of it was communicated to the other parishes, and about eight o'clock Sunday evening there passed by here about two hundred men, preceded by a horsecart, and marched down to the powder-house, from whence they took the powder, and carried it into the other parish and there secreted it. I opened the window upon their return. They passed without any noise, not a word among them till they came against this house, when some of them, perceiving me, asked me if I wanted any powder. I replied, No, since it was in so good hands. The reason they gave for taking it was that we had so many Tories here, they dared not trust us with it; they had taken Vinton in their train, and upon their return they stopped between Cleverly's and Etter's, and called upon him to deliver two warrants. Upon his producing them, they put it to vote whether they should burn them, and it passed in the affirmative. They then made a circle and burnt them. They then called a vote whether they should huzza, but, it being Sunday evening, it passed in the negative. They called upon Vinton to swear that he would never be instrumental in carrying into execution any of these new acts. They were not satisfied with his answers; however, they let him rest. A few days afterwards, upon his making some foolish speeches, they assembled to the amount of two or three hundred, and swore vengeance upon him unless he took a solemn oath. Accordingly, they chose a committee and sent it with him to Major Miller's to see that he complied; and they waited his return, which proving satisfactory, they dispersed. This town appears as high as you can well imagine, and, if necessary, would soon be in arms. Not a Tory but hides his head. The church parson thought they were coming after him, and ran up garret; they say another jumped out of his window and hid among the corn, whilst a third crept under his board fence and told his beads.

16 September, 1774.

I dined to-day at Colonel Quincy's.[49] They were so kind as to send me and Abby and Betsey an invitation to spend the day with them; and, as I had not been to see them since I removed to Braintree, I accepted the invitation. After I got there came Mr. Samuel Quincy's wife and Mr. Sumner, Mr. Josiah and wife. A little clashing of parties, you may be sure. Mr. Sam's wife said she thought it high time for her husband to turn about; he had not done half so cleverly since he left her advice; said they both greatly admired the most excellent speech of the Bishop of St. Asaph, which I suppose you have seen. It meets, and most certainly merits, the greatest encomiums.[50]

Upon my return at night, Mr. Thaxter met me at the door with your letter, dated at Princeton, New Jersey. It really gave me such a flow of spirits that I was not composed enough to sleep until one o'clock. You make no mention of one I wrote you previous to that you received by Mr. Breck, and sent by Mr. Cunningham. I am rejoiced to hear you are well. I want to know many more particulars than you write me, and hope soon to hear from you again. I dare not trust myself with the thought how long you may perhaps be absent. I only count the weeks already past, and they amount to five. I am not so lonely as I should have been without my two neighbors;[51] we make a table-full at meal times. All the rest of their time they spend in the office. Never were two persons who gave a family less trouble than they do. It is at last determined that Mr. Rice keep the school here. Indeed, he has kept ever since he has been here, but not with any expectation that he should be continued; but the people, finding no small difference between him and his predecessor, chose he should be continued. I have not sent Johnny.[52] He goes very steadily to Mr. Thaxter, who I believe takes very good care of him; and as they seem to have a liking to each other, I believe it will be best to continue him with him. However, when you return, we can consult what will be best. I am certain that, if he does not get so much good, he gets less harm; and I have always thought it of very great importance that children should, in the early part of life, be unaccustomed to such examples as would tend to corrupt the purity of their words and actions, that they may chill with horror at the sound of an oath, and blush with indignation at an obscene expression. These first principles, which grow with their growth, and strengthen with their strength, neither time nor custom can totally eradicate.

You will perhaps be tired. No. Let it serve by way of relaxation from the more important concerns of the day, and be such an amusement as your little hermitage used to afford you here. You have before you, to express myself in the words of the bishop, the greatest national concerns that ever came before any people; and if the prayers and petitions ascend unto heaven which are daily offered for you, wisdom will flow down as a stream, and righteousness as the mighty waters, and your deliberations will make glad the cities of our God.

I was very sorry I did not know of Mr. Cary's going; it would have been so good an opportunity to have sent this, as I lament the loss of. You have heard, no doubt, of the people's preventing the court from sitting in various counties; and last week, in Taunton, Angier urged the court's opening and calling out the actions, but could not effect it. I saw a letter from Miss Eunice,[53] wherein she gives an account of it, and says there were two thousand men assembled round the court-house, and, by a committee of nine, presented a petition requesting that they would not sit, and with the utmost order waited two hours for their answer, when they dispersed.

You will burn all these letters, lest they should fall from your pocket, and thus expose your most affectionate friend.

Footnotes:

[48]This was the great meeting of delegates from all parts of Suffolk County which passed the resolves commonly known as the Suffolk Resolves.

[49]Josiah Quincy, a graduate of Harvard College in 1728, and the father of the two others here named.

[50]Dr. Jonathan Shipley, Bishop of St. Asaph, had distinguished himself by his opposition to the policy of the Government upon two occasions. The first in a sermon preached in February, 1773, before the society for the Propagation of the Gospel, which received the warm approbation of Lord Chatham. The second by a speech in the House of Lords. It is to the latter that the reference is made.

[51]John Thaxter, already mentioned, and Nathan Rice, who graduated at Harvard College in 1773, and entered immediately as a clerk in Mr. Adams's office. The latter took a commission in the army, and served with credit through the war. He survived until 1834.

[52]John Quincy Adams, at this time seven years old.

[53]Miss Eunice Paine, a sister of Robert Treat Paine, and for many years an intimate friend of the writer.