Page images


We have been requested to give a portrait of general Dearborn, with the fol. lowing memoir of his military services. We do not answer for its correctness, but we have not been able to obtain any other.

On a future occasion we shall present to our readers a portrait of major-general Pinckney, with a sketch of his life. They will thus learn something of the men to whom the military operations of our country are committed at this awful crisis.

WHEN the British sent a detachment to destroy the military stores in the vicinity of Lexington, Mr. Dearborn, then a young gentleman in the study of medicine, resided at Nottingham, in New Hampshire. Animated by the patriotic resistance of the Americans, immediately on being informed of the battle by express, he assembled the inhabitants, and observed that the time had now arrived, when the rights of the American people must be vindicated by arms. The militia had already gathered, and impressed with these sentiments, a company of 65 men armed and accoutred, paraded at one o'clock of the next day after the Lexington battle.—Dearborn advanced with them with such rapidity, that they reached Cambridge Common, a distance of 50 miles, in 20 hours. After remaining at Cambridge several days, there being no immediate occasion for their services, they returned. Dearborn was soon after commissioned a captain in one of the New Hampshire regiments under the command of col. Stark, and such was the confidence of the people in him, that in ten days from the time he received his commission, he enlisted a full company and marched again to Cambridge. On the morning of the glorious seventeenth of june, information was received at Mystic, (now Medford) where Dearborn was stationed, that the British were preparing to come out from Boston, and storm the works which had been thrown up on Breed's Hill the night before, by the Americans. The regiment to which he was attached was immediately paraded, and marched to Charlestown Neck. Dearborn's company composed the flank guard to the regiment. They crossed the neck under a galling fire from the British men of war and floating batteries, and having sustained some loss, arrived at the heights. The action soon commenced, and the Americans stood their ground, until their ammunition was expended, and they could no longer beat off the British bayonets with the butt ends of their muskets. Dearborn carried a fusee into the battle of Bunker-Hill, and fired regularly with his men. The next arduous service in which he was engaged, was the expedition to Canada, through the wilds of Kennebec, under the com

[ocr errors]

mand of general Arnold. He was not ordered on this dangerous and difficult service, but persuaded a captain who was drafted, to exchange places with him. Thirty-two days were employed in traversing the hideous wilderness between the settlements of the Kennebec and the Chaudiere, in which every hardship and fatigue of which human nature is capable, was endured indiscriminately by the officers and troops. On the highlands between the Kennebec and St. Lawrence, the remnant of provisions was divided among the companies, who were directed to make the best of their way in separate divisions to the settlements on the Chaudiere. The last fragment of food in Dearborn's company was shortly consumed, and he was reduced to the extremity of dividing a large dog which accompanied him, with his comrades. When they reached the Chaudiere, from colds, extreme hardship, and want of sustenance, his strength failed him and he was unable to walk but a short distance without wading into the river to refrigerate and stimulate his limbs.-With difficulty he reached a poor hut on the Chaudiere when he told his men he could accompany them no farther, animated them forward to a glorious discharge of their duty, and would suffer no one to remain to attend him in his illness. Dearborn was here seized with a violent fever, during which his life was in danger for ten days, without physician or medicine, and with scarcely the necessaries of common life. His fine constitution at last surmounted the disease, and as soon as he was able to mount a horse, he proceeded to point Levi, crossed over to Wolf's cove, and made his unexpected appearance at the head of his company a few days before the assault on Quebec. At 1 o'clock in the morning on the 31st of December, in a severe snow storm, and in a climate that vies with Norway in tempest and intense cold, the attack was commenced. Dearborn was attached to the corps, under general Arnold, who was wounded early in the action and carried from the field. Morgan succeeded to the command, and “with a voice louder than the tempest,” animated the troops, as they stormed the first barrier and entered the town. Montgomery had already bled on immortal ground, and his division being repulsed, the corps under Morgan was exposed to a sanguinary but unavailing contest. From the windows of the store houses, each a castle, and from the tops of the parapets, a destructive fire was poured upon the assailants. In vain was the second barrier gained by scaling ladders; double ranks of soldiers presented a erest of bayonets below, and threatened inevitable destruction to any one who should leap from the walls. Dearborn maintained for a long time this desperate warfare, until at last he and the remnant of his company were overpowered by a sortie of two hundred men with field pieces, who attacked him in front and

[ocr errors]

rear in a short street, and compelled him to surrend,
whole corps originally led on by Arnold, were killed o
prisoners of war. Dearborn was now put into rigid confinem
with a number of other officers, who were not allowed to crer
verse with each other, unless in the presence of the officer of the
guard. While in prison he was urgently solicited by the Eng-
lish officers to join the British ; was promised a colonel's com-
mission if he would accept, and was assured if he refused, that
he would be sent out to England in the spring and inevitably
hanged as a rebel. The only reply he made to their solicitations

or menaces was, that he had taken up arms in defence of the li

berties and rights of his country; that he never would disgrace
himself or dishonour his profession by receiving any appointment
under Great Britain, but was ready to meet death in any shape
rather than relinquish the glorious cause he had espoused.
In May, 1776, col. Meigs and himself were permitted to re-
turn on their parole. In the March following, Dearborn was ex-
changed, and appointed major to the 3d New Hampshire regi-
ment, commanded by col. Scammell. In May he arrived at Ti-
conderoga, and was constantly in the rear guard, skirmishing with
the British and Indians, in the retreat of St. Clair, when pressed
on by Burgoyne’s army. When the advance of Burgoyne was
checked, and he encamped on the heights of Saratoga, Dearborn
was appointed lieut. col. commandant of a partisan corps of three
hundred men, stationed in front, to act as a corps of observation
in concert with Morgan's riflemen. In the famous engagement of
the 19th of Sept. col. Morgan himself commenced the encounter
by driving in the out-posts and picket guards of the right wing of
the British army, which was commanded by gen. Burgoyne in
person. In the hard fought battle of the 7th Oct. he was in the
division of gen. Arnold, who commenced a furious and perse-
vering attack on the right wing of the British forces. Whilst
Arnold pressed hard on the enemy, Dearborn was ordered to
pass the right, and take possession of six or eight heavy cannon,
which played over the British into the American lines. In ex-
ecuting this order, he was charged by a corps of light infantry,
which he pursued with fixed bayonets, gained the eminence, took
the cannon and the corps of artillery attached to them, and hav-
ing disposed of them, made a rapid movement into the rear of
the British lines, and gave a full fire before his approach was
discovered. The British were soon after forced into a precipi-
tate retreat, and Dearborn assisted in storming their works through
their whole extent, under a tremendous fire of grape and mus-
ketry. Arnold was wounded in the same leg which suffered
when Dearborn followed him at the assault on Quebec, and was
repulsed from the works, after having gained a temporary pos-

mand off them ; but lieut. col. Brooks having gained the left of

and dićampment, was enabled to maintain his ground. During to long contended battle, which decided the fate of Burgoyne's in my, Dearborn was unable to rest, or take any refreshment from daylight until late at night. The succeeding winter he passed in camp at Valley Forge, with the main body of the American army, commanded by general Washington in person. At the battle of Monmouth, the spirited conduct of col. Dearborn, and a corps under his command, attracted particularly the attention of the commander in chief. After Lee had made a precipitate and unexpected retreat, Washington, among other measures which he took to check the advance of the British, ordered Dearborn with three hundred and fifty men to attack a body of troops which were passing through an orchard on the right wing of the enemy. The Americans advanced under a heavy fire with a rapid step and shouldered arms. The enemy filed off and formed on the edge of a morass: The Americans wheeled to the right, received their second fire with shouldered arms—marched up until within eight rods, dressed and gave a full fire and charged bayonet. The British having sustained considerable loss, fled with precipitation across the morass, where they were protected by the main body of the army. “What troops are those,' inquired Washington, with evident pleasure at their gallant conduct:— * Full blooded Yankees from New Hampshire, Sir,’ replied Dearborn. He accompanied gen. Sullivan in his expedition against the Indians, and in the battle was attached to gen. Poor's brigade. When the disaffection and treason of Arnold transpired, he was stationed at West Point, and was officer of the day at the execution of Major Andre. In 1781, he was appointed dep. quarter master general with the rank of colonel, and served in that capacity at the siege of Yorktown; in short, there was scarcely a battle between Yorktown and Quebec during the long protracted war, in which col. Dearborn did not take a brave, active, and conspicuous part. o Soon after the peace, he moved into the district of Maine, where he was engaged for several years in agricultural pursuits. He was appointed major-general of militia, and elected to represent the district of Kennebec in the congress of the U. States.

On the accession of Mr. Jefferson to the presidency he was ap

pointed secretary of war. After fulfilling the duties of that office for several years, with the approbation of the president, he was subsequently appointed to the collectorship for the Port of Boston, where he continued till lately made commander in chief of the present northern army.

[ocr errors]

Memoirs of Madame de Stael-Holstein. From Boileau's Translation of her “Litterature Ancienne et Moderne.”

THE account which I am attempting to give of the private and literary life of Madame de Stael, will, no doubt, appear unsatisfactory to those who are desirous of being acquainted with the most minute biographical details of a lady whose writings have justly conferred on their author a great degree of celebrity. But, independently of the regard due to every living author, I have been prevented, by the present restrained communication with the continent, from obtaining that degree of information which might throw some interest upon this memoir.

Wilhelmina Necker is the daughter of James Necker and Susan Curchod. She was born in 1768, at Paris, where she was educated under the immediate superintendance of her parents. She had not reached her tenth year, when her father, who had acquired a considerable fortune as a partner in the house of a banker named Thellusson, and who, by some political pamphlets, Fo an eulogy of Colbert, which was crowned by the

rench Academy, had acquired an incipient celebrity, was appointed to the directorship of the finances of France, under Lewis XVI. Her mother, whose virtues and talents had attracted the admiration of Gibbon, during his residence in Switzerland, was the daughter of a protestant clergyman. As he had endowed her with learning superior to her sex, she had, before her marriage, been a governess in the family of Madame de Vermenoux. Unacquainted with the Parisian manners, Madame Necker possessed none of the attractions of French women: but modesty, candour, and good-nature gave her charms of greater value. A virtuous education and solitary studies, says Marmontel, adorned her mind with all that instruction can add to an excellent natural understanding. She had no fault but a too passionate attachment to literature and an unbounded desire of obtaining a great celebrity for herself and for her husband. A kind mother, a faithful friend, a most affectionate wife, she united all the true characteristics of virtue, a firm religious belief, and a great elevation of soul. Her thoughts were pure: meditation, however, did not tend to enlighten her ideas; in amplifying them she thought to improve them, but in extending them she lost herself in hyperboles and metaphysical abstractions. She seemed to behold certain objects through a mist which magnified them to her eyes: her expressions, on such occasions became so bombastic, that their meaning would have appeared ridiculous, had it not been

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »