Page images

NOTE 9. PAGE 185.

Lydia Darrach's faithful word.

Mrs. Darrach's Conduct.--I have very direct and certain evidence for saying that Mrs. Lydia Darrach, the wife of William Darrach (a teacher, dwelling in the house No. 177 South Second Street, corner of Little Dock Street), was the cause of saving Washington's army from great disaster while it lay at Whitemarsh in 1777. The case was this. The adjutant-general of the British army occupied a chamber in that house, and came there by night to read the orders and plan of General Howe's meditated attack. She overheard them when she was expected to have been asleep in bed; and, making a pretext to go out to Frankford for flour for family use, under a pass, she met with Colonel Craig (who afterwards shot himself) and communicated the whole to him, who immediately rode off to General Washington to put him on his guard. The next night, about midnight, the British army, in great force, marched silently out of Philadelphia. The whole affair terminated in what was called, I believe, the action of Edgehill, on the 5th of December; and, on the Sth following, the British got back to the city, fatigued and disappointed. Lydia Darrach and her husband were Friends. She communicated all the particulars (more than here expressed) to my friend Mrs. Hannah Haines, and others. Although she was a small and weakly woman, she walked the whole distance, going and coming, bringing with her—to save appearances—twenty-five pounds of flour, borno upon the arms all the way from Frankford. The adjutant-general afterwards came to her to inquire if it had been possible that any of her family could have been up to listen and convey intelligence, since the result had been so mysterious to him."

Watson's Annals.

A similar stratagem was planned to surprise Washington at Valley Forge; but, the fact being communicated in time, the enemy was foiled by the sudden and unexpected appearance of Lafayette and his corps on the banks of the Schuylkill.

NOTE 10. PAGE 203.

The Meschianza at Philadelphia.

“The Meschianza was chiefly a tilt and tournament, with other entertainments, as the term implies, and was given on Monday the 18th of May, 1778, at Wharton's country-seat, in Southwark, by the officers of General Howe's army, to that officer on his quitting the command to return to England. “The company began to assemble at three to four o'clock, at

light's Wharf, at the water's edge of Green Street, in the Northern Liberties; and by half-past four o'clock in the afternoon the whole were embarked, in the pleasant month of May, in a 'grand regatta' of three divisions.

“When arrived at the fort below the Swedes' Church, they formed a line through an avenue of grenadiers and light-borse in the rear.

The company were thus conducted to a square lawn of one hundred and fifty yards on each side, and which was also lined with troops. This area formed the ground for a tilt or tournament. On the front seat of each pavilion were placed seven of the principal young ladies of the country, dressed in Turkish habits, and wearing in their turbans the articles which they intended to bestow on their several gallant knights. Soon the trumpets at a distance announced the approach of the seven white knights, habited in white and red silk and mounted on gray chargers richly caparisoned in similar colors. These were followed by their several esquires on foot. Besides these, there was a herald in his robe. These all made the circuit of the square, saluting the ladies as they passed, and then they ranged in line with their ladies; then their herald (Mr. Beaumont), after a flourish of trumpets, proclaimed their challenge in the name of the knights of the blended rose,'—declaring that the ladies of their order excel, in wit, beauty, and accomplishments, those of the whole world, and they are ready to enter the lists against any knights who will deny the same, according to the laws of ancient chivalry.

“At the third repetition of the challenge, a sound of trumpets announced the entrance of another herald with four trumpeters dressed in black and orange. The two heralds held a parley, when the black herald proceeded to proclaim his defiance in the name of "the knights of the burning mountain.' Then retiring, there soon after entered the black knights,' with their esquires, preceded by their herald, on whose tunic was represented a moun. tain sending forth flames, and the motto, “I burn forever!

“These seven knights, like the former ones, rode round the lists and made their obeisance to the ladies, and then drew up, fronting the white knights; and, the chief of these having thrown down his gauntlet, the chief of the black knights directed his csquire to take it up. Then the knights received their lances from their esquires, fixed their shields on their left arms, and, making a general salute to each other by a movement of their lances, turned round to take their career, and, encountering in full gallop, shivered their spears. In the second and third encounter they discharged their pistols. In the fourth, they fought with their swords.

“From the garden they ascended a flight of steps covered with carpets, which led into a spacious hall, the panels of which were painted in imitation of Sienna marble, enclosing festoons of white marble. In this hall and the adjoining apartments were prepared tea, lemonade, &c., to which the company seated themselves. At this time the knights came in, and on their knee received their favors from their respective ladies. From these apartments they went up to a ball-room, decorated in a light, elegant style of painting and showing many festoons of flowers. The brilliancy of the whole was heightened by eighty-five mirrors decked with ribbons and flowers, and in the intermediate spaces were thirty-four branches. On the same floor were four drawing-rooms, with sideboards of refreshments, decorated and lighted in the style of the ball-room. The ball was opened by the knights and their ladies; and the dances continued till ten o'clock, when the windows were thrown open, and a magnificent bouquet of rockets began the fireworks. These were planned by Captain Montresor, the chief engineer, and consisted of twenty different displays, in great variety and beauty, and changing General Howe's arch into a variety of shapes and devices. At twelve o'clock (midnight) supper was announced, and large foldingdoors, before concealed, sprung open, and discovered a magnificent saloon of two hundred and ten feet by forty feet, and twentytwo feet in height, with three alcoves on each side which served for sideboards. The sides were painted with vine-leaves and festoon-flowers, and fifty-six large pier-glasses, ornamented with green silk, artificial flowers, and ribbons. There were also one hundred branches trimmed, and eighteen lustres of twentyfour lights hung from the ceiling. There were three hundred wax tapers on the supper-tables, four hundred and thirty covers, and twelve hundred dishes. There were twenty-four black slaves in Oriental dresses, with silver collars and bracelets. Toward the close of the banquet, the herald with his trumpeters entered and announced the king and royal family's health, with other toasts. Each toast was followed by a flourish of music. After the supper, the company returned to the ball-room, and continued to dance until four o'clock in the morning.

I omit to describe the two arches; but they were greatly embellished: they had two fronts in the Tuscan order. The pediment of one was adorned with naval trophies, and the other with military ones.

“ Major André, who wrote a description of it (although his name is concealed), calls it “the most splendid entertainment ever given by an army to its general.' The whole expense was borne by twenty-two field-officers. The managers were Sir John Wrotlesby, Colonel O'Hara, and Majors Gardiner and Montresor. This splendid pageant blazed out in one short night. Next day the enchantment was dissolved; and in exactly one month all these knights and the whole army chose to make their march from the city of Philadelphia.”


NOTE 11 PAGE 225.

There rose a tumult wild without.

While the British were indulging in the festivities of the night of the Meschianza, below the city, McLane was busy with a stratagem to break them up. He had one hundred infantry, in four squads, supported by Clow's dragoons. At ten at night they had reached the abatis in front of their redoubts, extending from the Schuylkill to the Globe Mill. These divisions carried campkettles filled with combustibles, with which at the proper signal they fired the whole line of abatis. The British beat the long roll, and their alarm-guns were fired from river to river, and were answered from the Park, in Southwark. The ladies, however, were so managed by the officers as to have taken the cannonade for any thing but the fact, and therefore continued the sports of the night. But the officers in charge on the lines understood the nature of the assailants, and gave pursuit and assault. He retired to the hills and fastnesses of the Wissahickon. After daylight, the British horse were in full force to pursue him, and finally took his picket and ensign at Barren Hill. MeLane was afterwards attacked, and swam his horse across the Schuylkill, when some of Morgan's riflemen appeared to his protection. He then turned upon

pursuers, driving them in turn into neir lines near the city."


NOTE 12. PAGE 252.

Giving his daughter Berkley Hall,

And his blessing with the broad estate. As some may not be aware of the baronial style in which certain of the early settlers of our country lived, and fearing that the description of “Berkley Hall” might be thought overdrawn, the author again avails himself of the invaluable “ Annals” of Watsou to select a couple of passages :

« EelmineJätka »