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1 In this service, in which he was appointed captain, July 1, 1776, by General Arnold, he distinguished himself as commander of one of the armed vessels. On this account, by recommendation of the Board of War, which reported that in this service he had, ‘in several actions, behaved with great spirit and good conduct,’ Congress voted, April 7, 1779, that he have a commission as captain in the army, to rank as such from July 1, 1776.2

Captain Sumner was placed at the head of a company of light infantry. He was attached to the division of the army, whose Headquarters were at or near West Point. His company was frequently, for weeks and months together, some miles in advance of the division, either up or down the North River, in some exposed position, at Verplanck's Point, Fishkill, or Peekskill. His command involved constant activity.

While serving under General Heath, he was impressed with the characteristic difference between that officer and General Arnold, under whom he had served on the northern frontier in 1776. He said to General Heath, one day, that he hoped at some time to see more of the hazards of war, and to meet them on a larger theatre. The general, who was a prudent rather than an adventurous officer, replied: ‘I am placed here to retain the fortress of West Point, and not to seek battles. You have as exposed a duty as can be assigned to you,—the separate command of a company at an advanced post. If the officers of such posts are known to relax in their vigilance, we may expect a general battle very soon; which I hope you will have no share in bringing on. If my division enjoys an unusual exemption from the clash of arms, it is what I want; and I am thankful that I have such active and faithful outposts.’

For some days Sumner had charge of the guard of Major Andre, while he was under arrest and sentence of death; held frequent conversations with him, and conceived sincere respect for that unfortunate officer.

Lieutenant-Colonel (afterwards General) William Hull commanded a detachment of light infantry, cavalry, and artillery, which guarded New York in the autumn of 1783, during the evacuation of the city by the British troops. Major Sumner

1 [6] account of this flotilla may be found in Marshall's ‘Life of Washington,’ Vol. III. pp. 4-10; Irving's ‘Life of Washington,’ Vol. II. p. 384, ch. XXXIX.

2 Journals of Congress, Vol. V. p. 140.

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