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Entered according to the Act of Congress in the Year 1543, by CAPTAIN SAMUEL Dewees, in the Clerk's Office of the District Court, Maryland.
The author when he commenced the compilation of the following work in June last marked out in a general outline the pathway which he has travelled in the field of his great labors.
That he has filled the measure entirely of his own first fond intentions cannot be expected when it is known to his readers that but a short period had elapsed after his commencement ere he was made to labor under a painful and distressing affection of the heart. In the midst of his severest afflictions he has persevered however until he has produced the work in the shape in which it is now presented to a discerning public.
He has been induced in part to enter upon his task with the view of securing a greater degree of comfort to the subject of this memoir for the balance of his lifepartly with the view of making a provision for his wife after his decease. In its éompilation he has also contemplated with ambitious pleasure the great service which such a history and its appendages would be of to the citizens of his country particularly to the youth thereof, expressing now a regret which he has often possessed and often expressed, this, that so little has been preserved from the great wreck of human life (by time) of the lofty continental pyramid of his country's exalted glory--revolutionary and late war heroes—a regret that so many reminiscences which might have been obtained at the hands of the veteran soldiers of the revolutionary and last wars have been lost to his country.
The great Apostle of the gentiles has declared that there are various kinds of glory. It is true one star differeth from another star in glory; there is not how. ever that great shade of difference as regards will and action between those that plan and order the affairs of a battle and those that execute the orders of a superior and bear the burthen and heat of the day, as some people are pleased to create. Were this great difference to exist where would he place a bold and chivalrous Champ, a Jasper, a Newton and a McDonald that constituted patriotic warring hosts in themselves—a McComas, a Wells, patriotic life-sacrificing Defenders of Baltimore, and many others that were subordinates and privates in the armies of his country. It is true that where officers brave and meritorious have led, soldiers have followed into the most imminent danger and to death; but as true it is, that, without bravery in men, officers would not, could not dare to rush single-handed and alone to the combat against thousands. True it is that brave and daring officers are necessary in any army to inspire a soldiery with bravery and to make brave men to act with a still greater degree of fearlessness of spirit in the hour of greatest dangers.
For his own part he can state, that he feels as all other persons in his country ought to feel (and as very many doʻfeel) in relation to a revolutionary and last war soldiery disposed to respect, honor and aid them as far as abilities will permit at all times; and this, on account of their şiffering:services rendered their country in a glorious-struggle for Liberty, Independence and Right. Many cfficers: in both wars fared little, if any better than did the privates themselves, but the opportunities of many to fare much better were vastly greater than privates in general.
Having (when a small boy) had a camp residence of four months with his father in the tented field-on the frontiers of his country during the last war, he has had a much better opportunity of knowing something of the hardships, privations and sufferings of an American soldiery than many of his readers, and could give many relations, but as he is necessarily bounded by the limits of a prefacé let two or three statements suffice. ti
Let his readers accompany him to the almost insup
portable wintry cold climate in which is situated the town of Erie (on the margin of lake Erie) in Pa., and there picture to themselves thousands of soldiers standing mid-leg in snow and water and enduring a northern or north-western wind that had swept the surface of that body of inland water for the distance of from 50 to 70 or 80 miles, winds more cold than very many of his readers ever felt, thousands of soldiers engaged in felling huge hemlock and other large timber that grew there, and after lopping off the limbs or branches, piling them into great "brush heaps" and then behold them pitching their linen tents upon these for the purpose of keeping themselves out of water, and in order that they might sleep by night with some degree of security against its encroachments. To the lovers of winter comforts arising out of comfortable homes and warm cloathing these would seem cold habitations indeed.
There stood the Volunteer shivering Sentinel bold,
From earth to heaven ascend." What would our modern fastidious and squeamish dandy lordlings of insignificance and empiric emptiness say to such a life as this. How would they set themselves about to contend for the prizemto endeavor to bear away the palm by entering the lists with such veteran sons of herculean strength and hardihood as the (too often) despised soldiers of my country. How would they relish a cut of surloin steak or standing rib of a miserably poor, aged and infirm worn out old work ox, such as the author seen slaughtered with his iron shoes on, near to the bank of saw-mill run, adjoining Garrison Hill at Erie, the more especially if they had beheld a butcher with an ox goad wand and heard his "wo whar come around here” expression in his conducting him as it
were by thetalismanic power of his wand and the authoritative charm of his "wo whaw come around here”' musical chant until he brought him to the very identical spot where he was to be knocked down, and where he was knocked down, skinned and dressed in the presence of the author, Recollect readers that this was soldier's meat. Worse than this surely was ta: "meat offered and refused afterwards that would cause Col. Fenton's Regiment of Pennsylvania Volunteers and Mi.tia through their brave and much lamented Col. Bull, to refuse its acceptance and prompt them to live nine days upon bread and water, ere they would receive it. The above fell out under the author's own notice, and many other facts of a similar kind might be adduced to prove the life of a soldier in time of war, to have been an extremely hard one, and with the recollections of these hardships and starving privations, his recollections also serve him with that which casts no imputation upon his Government. The necessity of drawing such rations was attributable altogether at this time to the avaricious and unfeeling conduct of tory contractors.
The endurance of far less than these ought to call forth a much greater degree of gratitude, aid and general respect towards our gallant old relicks of revolutionary yore than is generally meted out to them-a much more bright and all hail countenance of welcome towards our last war heroes than is generally extended to them.
To his readers he must state that Captain Dewees' recollections of many events is quite remarkable, and of given names and the names of places not less so. His recollections of particular dates with regard to months, or days of months is quite imperfect, the author has squared all his statements made to him with correct histories of the events of both wars. His recollections of particular years is very good considering his advanced age.
His recollection of the seasons of the year in which certain events transpired has been of signal service to him also in his labors. He was young when he enlisted in the army, and as will be perceived from a perusal of