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Chapter 5:

Military history.

1630: The first tax levied on the inhabitants of Medford was the sum of £ 3, for the paying of two instructors in military tactics. The hostile Indians, and the more hostile wild animals, soon placed guns, swords, powder, and ball among the necessaries of life. To be “a good marksman” became one of the first accomplishments. [182]

The legal equipment of a soldier was as follows:--

A musket (firelock or matchlock), a pair of bandoleers, a powder-pouch, with bullets, a sword, a belt, a worm, a scourer, a rest, and a knapsack. His pay 18s. a month, and diet, and pillage; and his town to provide him with a month's provisions; viz., thirty pounds of biscuits, twelve of pork, twenty of beef, one half-bushel of pease or meal. The leader to receive 40s. per month. The towns to bear their share of the loss of arms. A list of the men and their arms to be handed in to the Court.

The men of Medford, Cambridge, and Charlestown formed one company. We can see exactly how one of our Medford soldiers looked in his military array in 1635. The bandoleer was a large leathern belt for supporting the gun. It passed over the right shoulder, and under the left arm. The two kinds of guns used by our fathers were called “firelock” and “matchlock.” The first kind had a flint, which struck fire into the pan; the second was without a flint, and therefore required a match to be applied to the powder.

It will give us some idea of the habits and customs of the people in Medford when we read the following law, passed July 26, 1631:--

Ordered that, every first Friday in every month, there shall be a general training of them that inhabit Charlestown, Mistick, and the Newtown, at a convenient place about the Indian wigwams; the training to begin at one of the clock in the afternoon.

March 22, 1631: General Court. Ordered that every town within this jurisdiction shall, before the 5th of April next, take especial care that every person within their town (except magistrates and ministers), as well servants as others, be furnished with good and sufficient arms.

Aug. 7, 1632: It is ordered that the captains shall be maintained (on parade-days) by their several companies.

March 4, 1635: It is ordered that, from this day forward, the captains shall receive maintenance out of the treasury, and not from their companies.

Nov. 20, 1637: It was ordered that training should be kept eight times in a year, at the discretion of the chief officers. Magistrates and teaching elders are allowed each of them a man free from trainings; and the deacons of the several churches are freed in like manner.

The first rule was this: “Their meetings shall begin with prayer.” [183]

At this early period, none were allowed to vote for military officers except freemen, and they “who have taken the oath of residents.” Freemen had a right to vote in these elections, although they were not enrolled as members of the trainband. Officers must be freemen, since none others were eligible to offices in the State.

The captain was required to take oath. The fines gathered were to be expended in buying drum-heads for the company, and arms for poor men. Ship-carpenters, fishermen, and millers were excused from training. Millers were excused, because, in tending tide-mills, they were often obliged to be at work through the night.

Certain persons were appointed in Medford as watchers of the Indians and wild beasts. March 9, 1637 :--

All watchers shall come to the public assemblies with their muskets fit for service.

Same date:--

No person shall travel above one mile from his dwelling-house without some arms, upon pain of 12d. for every default.

In 1637, two hundred men, as warriors, were to be raised in Massachusetts. The following towns furnished numbers in proportion to their population: Boston, 26; Salem, 18; Saugus, 16; Ipswich, 17; Newbury, 8; Roxbury, 10; Hingham, 6; Meadford, 3.

May 14: “Ordered that there shall be a watch of two a night kept in every plantation till the next General Court.”

June 2, 1641: “Ordered that all the out-towns shall each of them have a barrel of gunpowder.”

Sept. 15, 1641: On this day began a “muster,” which lasted two days: twelve hundred soldiers. And though there was “plenty of wine and strong beer,” yet “no man drunk, no oath sworn, no quarrel, no hurt done.” Can so much be said now?

Sept. 7, 1643: The General Court thus say:--

It is agreed that the military commanders shall take order that the companies be trained, and some man, to be appointed by them, in each town, to exercise them.

“Arms must be kept in every family.” These warlike preparations would lead us to infer that our Medford ancestors [184] belonged not only to the church militant, but also to the state militant. To show the extremest care of our first settlers on this very point, we need quote only the following order:--

May 14, 1645: “Ordered that all children within this jurisdiction, from-ten to sixteen years of age, shall be instructed by some one of the officers of the band, or some other experienced soldier whom the chief officer shall appoint upon the usual training-days, in the exercise of arms, as small guns, half-pikes, bows and arrows, according to the discretion of said officer.”

1647: Persons unable to provide arms and equipments for militia duty, on account of poverty, if he be single, and under thirty years of age, shall be put to service, and earn them. Musqueteers, among their articles of equipment, are to have two fathoms of match.

Whoever refuses to do duty, when commanded, shall be fined five shillings.

May 2, 1649: The General Court issue the following:--

It is ordered that the Selectmen of every town within this jurisdiction shall, before the 24th of June, which shall be in the year 1650, provide for every fifty soldiers in each town a barrel of good powder, one hundred and fifty pounds of musket bullets, and one-quarter of a hundred of match.

May 26, 1658: The General Court say:--

In answer to the request of the inhabitants of Meadford, the Court judgeth it meet to grant their desire; i. e., liberty to list themselves in the trainband of Cambridge, and be no longer compelled to travel unto Charlestown.

As several of Mr. Cradock's men were fined at different times for absence from training, we infer that the military exercises required by law were very strictly observed in Medford; and how it could have been otherwise, after so many special laws and regulations, we do not see. It seemed a first necessity of their forest-life to protect themselves from the wily Indian and the hungry bear. These military preparations were not suspended for a century. As late as Aug. 4, 1718, the inhabitants of Medford voted £ 10 to buy powder for their defence against the Indians.

Every person enlisting in the troop is required to have a good horse, and be well fitted with saddle, &c.; and, having listed [185] his horse, he shall not put him off without the consent of his captain.

The powder and balls belonging to the town were not deposited always in the same place; and, March 3, 1746, “Voted that Captain Samuel Brooks shall have the keeping of the town's stock of ammunition.”

1668: This year the Court took a step which was not popular. They resolved to exercise the power which they thought they possessed; viz., of nominating all the military officers. The taking away of “so considerable a part of their so long-enjoyed liberty” met with decided opposition; and, when our Medford company was organized, the town did not allow the Court to nominate the officers.

Up to this time, we hear little of “musters;” and we presume that large assemblies of soldiers at one place were not common. The military organization must necessarily have been very simple and limited at first; and the idea of “divisions,” “battalions,” “regiments,” as with us, must have been of a much later period.

One fact, however, is clear; and that is, that these habitual preparations for defence and war gradually educated the colonists to that personal courage and military skill which rendered them so powerful in their war with Philip, and thus prepared them for achieving the victories of the Revolution. In 1675, they beat King Philip; in 1775, they beat King George; and, in 1875, they may beat all the kings of the earth.

This deep interest in military affairs made our forefathers wakefully anxious on the subject of the election of officers in the trainbands. It was an event in which every person in town, male and female, felt that his or her safety might be deeply concerned. The law carefully guarded the rights of the people in this act; and, therefore, did not leave so important a trust to be conferred by the members of the company alone, but made it the duty of the whole town to choose the three commanding officers. On the first occasion, when this power was to be exercised by the whole town, the Selectmen issued a warrant for a meeting of all the inhabitants who had a right to vote. The warrant was dated May 18, 1781, and was issued “in the name of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, for the purpose of choosing militia officers, as set forth in the Militia Act.” This was the sole business of the meeting. The result was as follows:-- [186]

Caleb BrookschosenCaptain.
Stephen Hall, 4th1st Lieutenant.
Daniel Tufts2d Lieutenant.

Here appears the great democratic principle of popular election of military leaders, wherein the majority of voters decide the whole case.

It was customary for the newly elected officer, not only to “treat the company,” but to treat everybody else who repaired to his house at the appointed time. These were deemed the occasions in which freedom was liberally interpreted. Meat and bread were provided for food; but punch and flip were furnished in such overflowing abundance, that some visitors took many more steps in going home than in coming. It was expected, moreover, that the captain would treat his soldiers on parade-days. This item, added to other necessary expenses, made quite a draft on the chief officer's purse, as well as time. There are some conventional usages whose antiquity can be very safely assumed; and this of “treating the soldiers” is emphatically one. So late as our day it has continued; and the temperance reformation has hardly yet arrested it.

Although we have recorded the organization of a military corps in 1781, whose officers were chosen by the town, according to the laws then existing, there were soldiers in Medford from 1630 to that time. What the exact rules and regulations respecting enlistment were in the middle of the seventeenth century, we cannot discover. There were composition companies; and the associations were often accidental, according to contiguity of place. They in Medford, who were “watchers,” were soldiers; and the annual provision of town powder shows that the ammunition was used. There was a company of militia in Medford before the Revolution; and, when troublesome times came, they were ready for duty. It was the eighth company in the first regiment of the first brigade of the third division. Seth Bullard was Captain; William Burbeck, 1st Lieutenant; and Ezekiel Plympton, 2d Lieutenant. It belonged to Colonel Thomas Gardner's regiment. In 1775, it was commanded by Captain Isaac Hall. “This company came out,” says the Adjutant-General, “on the 19th of April, 1775, and were in service five days, and were undoubtedly in the battles of Lexington and Concord.” The names of the men composing the company on that memorable occasion are all recorded on the muster-roll; and they were all Medford men, as follows:-- [187]

Isaac Hall, Captain; Caleb Brooks, Lieutenant; Stephen Hall, Ensign; Thomas Pritchard, Isaac Tufts, and Moses Hall, Sergeants; John Tufts, Gersham Teel, and Jonathan Greenleaf, Corporals; Timothy Hall, Drummer; William Farning, Fifer. Privates as follows: David Vinton, John Bucknam, Isaac Watson, Jonathan Lawrence, Jonathan Davis, Abel Richardson, James Tufts, jun., Samuel Tufts, 3d, Andrew Floyd, Benjamin Floyd, Andrew Blanchard, Samuel Tufts, John Francis, jun., Paul Dexter, John Smith, Abel Butterfield, Josiah Cutter, John Kemp, Eleazer Putnam, James Bucknam, jun., Aaron Crowell, Jonathan Tufts, Benjamin Peirce, Thomas Wakefield, Jonathan Teel, Aaron Blanchard, Richard Cole, William Binford, Thomas Bradshaw, Daniel Tufts, Peter Tufts, jun., Ebenezer Tufts, Isaac Cooch, Daniel Conery, Richard Paine, William Polly, Peter Conery, David Hadley, Jacob Bedin, Joseph Clefton, Samuel Hadley, jun., Moses Hadley, John Callender, John Clarke, Andrew Bradshaw, Thomas Savels, Francis Hall, and Benjamin Savils.

Here are fifty-nine Medford men in actual service; and the State paid them for their services £ 28. 16s. 5d.

Each man received pay for five days service, except William Polly, who was killed in battle.

Captain Isaac Hall made a report of his company to the heads of the department, Oct. 6, 1775, then stationed on Prospect Hill. He resigned, before the end of the year, for the purpose of taking command of another company; and Lieutenant Caleb Brooks was chosen captain in his stead, and, as such, made a report, January 3, 1776.

The corps which Captain Isaac Hall commanded “was made up of men from Medford, Charlestown, Woburn, Malden, Cambridge, and Stoneham, and were called the eight months men.” They enlisted for that time; and, in addition to their pay, each one was to have a coat at the expiration of his enlistment. Eight of this company belonged to Medford; and they were the following: Isaac Hall, Captain; Caleb Brooks, Lieutenant. The privates were: Benjamin Floyd, James Wyman, Jonah Cutler, John Smith, William Bucknam, and Joseph Bond. The last named was discharged June 7, 1775; the rest served out the eight months, and were on the “coat roll,” so called,--which fact secured a pension from the United States. Some took money instead of a coat. Some time afterwards, Captain Hall testified that Samuel Ingalls, one of his company, “has bin imprizoned in Cannedy, and hain't receeved no coat.” This company was ordered by General Washington, in March, 1776, to be “marched from [188] Medford to the Heights in Dorchester.” They were in service there only four days.

The Medford militia, whose trainings we of latter days have witnessed, is mentioned for the first time in the “First Roster,” in 1787; but, in the earlier and more confused records, there is recognition of a Medford company in 1781. The names of the officers are erased! A vacuum then occurs. After this, the commanders of the company were as follows:--

Moses Hallchosen CaptainJan. 12, 1787.
Samuel TeelMarch 29, 1788.
Abijah UsherMay 26, 1795.
Gardner GreenleafOct. 23, 1798.
Samuel NewellApril 17, 1801.
Nathan AdamsApril 26, 1802.
Samuel ThompsonApril 3, 1804.

Until this time, this company had belonged to the first regiment of the first brigade of the third division; but now a new regiment, the fifth, was formed, and Medford, Charlestown, and Malden composed it. The next captain of the Medford company was Rufus Frost, chosen May 12, 1806. He resigned, and was discharged March 10, 1810. He was re-elected April 3, 1810, but he “refused to qualify.” The next captains were:--

Henry ReedchosenJuly 2, 1810.
Daniel CopelandFeb. 27, 1812.
Henry ToddApril 2, 1816.
Galen JamesMarch 16, 1818.
Moses MerrillApril 14, 1820.
John T. WhiteMay 4, 1824.
John SparrellAug. 6, 1827.
L. O. ChaseMay 3, 1836.

It was disbanded under a general order, April 24, 1840.

Whatever confusion may seem to belong to one or two of these records, could doubtless be rendered clear if it had been the custom to make prompt and accurate returns, and also to keep the rolls as methodically as they are at present. “Minute-men” were frequently organized, and no official registry made of them. Members of one company would join another for a single campaign of actual service, and, at their return, take their former places in the rank and file.

In 1828, when the Medford Light Infantry had resigned [189] its charter, Captain John Sparrell was ordered to enroll its members in his company. He did so; and, in that autumn, he appeared at a muster in Maiden with one hundred and ninety-six men, rank and file.

Let us now return to our history near the close of the eighteenth century.

In 1797, a “general muster” took place in Concord, Middlesex County; and it engaged the attention of the whole community. The war of the Revolution had made the management of regiments and divisions an easy thing; and the soldier-feeling of ‘75 and ‘83 had not much abated. A gathering of several regiments, therefore, was a most joyous event in this community. Medford made it a town matter, and voted to pay each soldier two dollars, and to give each a half-pound of powder. These musters became the occasions of great dissipation. They seemed to be a mustering of all the evils of a community. “Egg-pop” was the favorite drink; and “wrestling,” the “ring,” “pawpaw,” “hustling,” and “wheel of fortune,” the prevalent amusements. Intemperance, gambling, fisticuffs, ribaldry, theft, and noise were in the ascendant; and the injury to youthful spectators was inconceivably great.

Medford Light Infantry.

The members of this company petitioned the Governor and Council to be organized, as an independent corps, under the law of Nov. 29, 1785. As that law was very peculiar, and gave rights seemingly at variance to general military usage, it may be worth while to extract the two sections which contain the extraordinary provisions. They are as follows:--
Be it therefore enacted, by the authority aforesaid, That when any Major-General, commander of a division of militia in this Commonwealth, shall certify to the Governor, that, in his opinion, it will be expedient, and for the good of the Commonwealth, that one or more companies of cadets, or other corps, should be raised, in his division, the Governor, with advice and consent of the Council, be, and he is hereby, authorized and empowered (if he judge expedient) to raise such cadet company, companies, or corps; and, when any such company or corps shall be raised, they shall elect their officers in the same manner, and in the same proportion, as is provided for the election of officers of other companies and corps of militia in [190] this Commonweath; and the officers so elected shall be commissioned by the Governor. Provided, always, that no such cadet company or corps shall be raised in any of said divisions, when, by means thereof, any of the standing companies within the same would be reduced to a less number than sixty privates.

And be it further enacted, by the authority aforesaid, That the said companies or corps, when raised and organized, shall be under the command of the Major-General of the division in which they shall be respectively formed, and shall be subject to the rules and regulations that are already, or may hereafter be, provided by the Legislature, or the Commander-in-chief of the militia of this Commonwealth, for the general government of the militia.

It will be observed that these companies might be raised by the recommendation of the Major-General, and the officers and members composing them may be scattered in the different towns within the division. Cases occurred where the three superior officers lived in separate towns. On this account, these corps were called divisionary companies. Another peculiarity was, that they were subject to the order of the Major-General alone, and were never commanded by a Brigadier-General. They were not connected with any brigade, but took the place of a brigade; and on the field, at a general review, they took the right, because they were commanded only by the Major-General. This right, or assumption, often caused trouble on great muster-days; and once, when the Brigadier-General ordered the Medford Light Infantry to take the left, the Captain marched his company off the field, and returned to Medford without being reviewed. They maintained their cause, and never yielded their priority. The Weston Infantry was organized under the same law, but always gave precedence to the Medford on account of its greater age.

1789: When General Washington made his visit at Cambridge, he was attracted by the superior appearance of the Medford company on parade, and took great pains to ask General Brooks what corps it was. He passed a high compliment on it.

There were many companies organized in the Commonwealth under the law; some artillery, some cavalry, but generally infantry. On general review-days, the Major-General and his staff would ride and stop in front of a brigade, and there go through with their examinations and reviews: when they came to the Medford Light Infantry, they would all stop, and go through the same examinations [191] and reviews which belonged to a brigade. This was any thing but agreeable to the reviewing officers and to the soldiers of the regular brigades. Few only of these companies remain in commission. The Boston and Salem Cadets are yet flourishing. In 1840, the question of the companies, organized under the law of 1785, taking the right of brigades, came up again, and was decided against the divisionary corps; and they are now “subject to the rules and regulations that are already provided for the general government of the militia.”

Major-General Brooks certified to the Governor, in 1786, that he thought it expedient that a divisionary corps should be raised in his division; and, as the Medford Light Infantry had united in petitioning for organization, the petition was granted, and the organization took place Nov. 29, 1786. The choice of officers on that day resulted as follows:--

Ephraim HallCaptain.
Francis HallCaptain's Lieutenant.
Samuel BuelLieutenant.

The office of Ensign was not deemed indispensable; and none was chosen till May 3, 1791, when J. Bucknam was elected. The names of the commanders of this long-respected and efficient company are as follows:--

Ephraim Hall (promoted to an aide-de-camp in 1790)1786 to 1790.
Name unknown1790-1798.
Andrew Hall1798-1803.
Ebenezer Hall, jun1803-1806.
Nehemiah Wyman, of Charlestown1806-1808.
Caleb Blanchard1808-1809.
John Cutter1809-1811.
Ephraim Bailey1811-1814.
J. P. Clisby1814-1815.
Thomas Shed1815-1818.
Gersham Cutter1818-1821.
John P. Bigelow1821-1823.
Martin Burrage1823-1824.
Edmund Symnes1824-1827.

On the 11th of January, 1828, it resigned its commission, and has never been revived. For the first twenty-five years of its existence, this company stood among the first for celerity and grace of drill-exercise and martial manoeuvre. It felt that it had a sort of brigade character to sustain; and the [192] ambitious young men of Medford joined heartily to make it the banner corps of the county.

In the war of 1812, this company was called to guard the powder-house, and did duty there for some weeks.

The zeal for military display declined after 1814, and there was only an annual training for keeping up the show of warlike preparation.

March 7, 1831: One hundred knapsacks were ordered by the town for the use of the militia.

Brooks Phalanx.

Sept. 22, 1841: Fifty-two citizens of Medford petitioned the Governor for a charter to establish a company of volunteer militia, to be attached to the fifth regiment of infantry, in the first brigade and third division of Massachusetts militia. This petition was granted; and the company adopted the name of Brooks Phalanx, in honor of his late Excellency Governor Brooks.

Oct. 11, 1841: The following officers were chosen:--

Samuel BlanchardCaptain.
H. N. Peck1st Lieutenant.
Joseph W. Mitchell2d Lieutenant.
James B. Gregg3d Lieutenant.

A Constitution and By-laws having been adopted, the first parade was on the 22d of August, and seldom has any company appeared better.

Aug. 21, 1843: The ladies of Medford presented the Phalanx with a beautiful standard. The ceremony took place before the meeting-house of the first parish, and was worthy the occasion.

Captain Blanchard having been promoted to the office of Lieutenant-Colonel, he resigned his office as commander of the Phalanx; and, Nov. 13, 1844, James W. Brooks was chosen as his successor. In 1846, Captain Brooks was honorably discharged; and, April 10, Charles Caldwell was elected Captain. After serving acceptably, he resigned; and, May 9, 1849, Gilman Griffin was elected in his place. The last meeting held by the company was Dec. 18, 1849, when it was concluded to discontinue the organization, resign the charter, and return the standard to the ladies who gave it. The standard was placed in the Town Hall.


Lawrence Light guard.

This young and enthusiastic corps begins its military career under the most favorable auspices; and every one wishes it prosperity. It is composed wholly of Medford men, and it will sustain a Medford reputation. It was organized Oct. 1, 1854; and its officers, chosen with unanimity, are as follows:--

Henry W. UsherCaptain.
Asa Law1st Lieutenant.
Thomas R. Hadley2d Lieutenant.
Samuel Lawrence3d Lieutenant.
B. W. Parker4th Lieutenant.

The number, including rank and file, is sixty. Their first parade was Oct. 12, 1854, when they were exercised in firing at a target. They are Company E, Fifth Regiment Light Infantry.

There was a military manoeuvre designed and executed by Captain Thomas Pritchard, of Medford, while in command at New York, which deserves honorable mention. The English had taken possession of the city, Sept. 15, 1776, but were greatly annoyed by the American forces in its neighborhood. Captain Pritchard was personally known to some of the British officers, and he was remarkable for his celerity and skill in the war tactics. One day he had been making explorations with his company, when he came unexpectedly among a large force of British cavalry in a road. The English commander cried out to him, “Well, Pritchard, we've got you at last.” “Not exactly,” replied Pritchard; and he immediately ordered his men to form across the road, and to prepare for a charge. The cavalry stopped. The wind was favorable to carry the smoke of Pritchard's fire directly among the enemy. The English commander felt that there must be great loss to him if he should open a fire, owing to the narrow defile and the adverse wind. He therefore stood still. To retreat, and also to gain time, was Pritchard's policy; and he accomplished it thus : He walked behind his men, and touched every other one in the whole line, and then ordered those that he had touched to retreat backwards twenty steps. They did so, and there halted. This position kept each of his men in a fit order to fire or to charge, as might be necessary. As soon as this [194] half had halted, he ordered the remaining half to retreat slowly in the same way; to pass through the line, and retreat twenty steps behind the front rank. They did so successfully. The cavalry rushed forward, but did not fire. Pritchard's men understood the movement, and were not terrified at superior numbers. They continued to retreat in this unassailable and American fashion for nearly an hour, when the narrow road ended in a broken, rocky pasture. Now their destruction seemed certain. Captain Pritchard saw near him a ledge of rocks and a narrow pass. He resolved to get there if he could. But how could it be done? The enemy had now come out, and nearly surrounded him. He formed his men into a hollow square, and ordered them to retreat sideways towards that narrow pass. They did so, each keeping his place, and presenting his bayonet to the foe. They reached the rock; and there they must stop. With their backs to the precipice, and their face to the enemy, they must now surrender or die. They had resolved to try the chances of battle. The British had now come round them in such overwhelming numbers, that they felt desperate. Just as the British officer had ordered them to surrender, a detachment of American troops came suddenly upon them. The cavalry saw they themselves must be taken; and they turned and fled.

Major Brooks narrated to General Washington every particular of this victorious strategem; and Washington said, “There is nothing in our military history yet that surpasses the ingenuity and fortitude of that manoeuvre.” Captain Pritchard was very young, and a great favorite in the army; and, when it became his turn to watch through the night, it was a common saying among the officers, “We can sleep soundly to-night; Pritchard's out.” He returned to Medford after the war, resumed his trade of cooper, and died, June 8, 1795, aged forty-three.

Colonel Ebenezer Francis, son of Ebenezer Francis, was born in Medford, Dec. 22, 1743, on Thursday, and baptized on Christmas Day, the next Sunday. Living in Medford till his majority, he was studious to gain knowledge, and succeeded beyond most others. He moved to Beverly, and, in 1766, married Miss Judith Wood, by whom he had four daughters and one son. That son he named Ebenezer, who now resides in Boston, is nearly eighty years of age, and one of our most distinguished merchants. [195]

Colonel Francis had three brothers, who became officers in the Revolutionary army, and did their native Medford credit. Ebenezer was commissioned as Captain by the Continental Congress, July 1, 1775 ; next year rose to the rank of Colonel, and commanded a regiment on Dorchester Heights from August to December, 1776. Authorized by Congress, he raised the eleventh Massachusetts regiment, and, in January, 1777, marched at the head of it to Ticonderoga. Monday, July 7, 1777, a skirmish took place between the eleventh Massachusetts regiment and the British, at Hubbardton, near Whitehall, N. Y., in which Colonel Francis fell. A private journal of Captain Greenleaf, now in the library of the Massachusetts Historical Society, says:--

Colonel Francis first received a ball through his right arm; but still continued at the head of his troops till he received the fatal wound through his body, entering his right breast. He dropped on his face.

His chaplain says:--

No officer so noticed for his military accomplishments and regular life as he. His conduct in the field is spoken of in the highest terms of applause.

A British officer, who was in the battle of Hubbardton, happened to be quartered as a prisoner in Medford. He wrote a history of that battle; and we make the following extracts, which relate to a Medford mother then living in her house at the West End. The officer says:--

A few days since, walking out with some officers, we stopped at a house to purchase vegetables. While the other officers were bargaining with the woman of the house, I observed an elderly woman sitting by the fire, who was continually eying us, and every now and then shedding a tear. Just as we were quitting the house, she got up, and, bursting into tears, said, “ Gentlemen, will you let a poor distracted woman speak a word to you before you go?” We, as you must naturally imagine, were all astonished; and, upon inquiring what she wanted, with the most poignant grief; and sobbing as if her heart was on the point of breaking, asked if any of us knew her son, who was killed at the battle of Hubbardton, a Colonel Francis. Several of us informed her that we had seen him after he was dead. She then inquired about his pocket-book, and if any of his papers were safe, as some related to his estates, and if any of the soldiers had got his watch; if she could but obtain that, in remembrance of her dear, dear son, she should be happy. Captain Fergurson, of our regiment, who was of the party, told her, as to the [196] Colonel's papers and pocket-book, he was fearful lest they were lost or destroyed; but, pulling a watch from his fob, said, “There, good woman; if that can make you happy, take it, and God bless you.” We were all much surprised, and unacquainted that he had made a purchase of it from a drum-boy. On seeing her son's watch, it is impossible to describe the joy and grief that were depicted in her countenance. I never, in all my life, beheld such a strength of passion. She kissed it; looked unutterable gratitude at Captain Fergurson; then kissed it again. Her feelings were inexpressible; she knew not how to utter or show them. She would repay his kindness by kindness, but could only sob her thanks. Our feelings were lifted to an inexpressible height; we promised to send after the papers; and I believe, at that moment, could have hazarded life itself to procure them.

This watch is now in the possession of Colonel Francis's son, in Boston.

John Francis, a brother of the Colonel, born in Medford Sept. 28, 1753, was Adjutant in the regiment commanded by his brother, and fought bravely at Hubbardton. He was in several battles during the six years of his service, and, at the capture of Burgoyne, was wounded. He died, July 30, 1822, in the sixty-ninth year of his age, in Beverly, the place of his residence. He was esteemed for his hospitality and cheerfulness.

Another gallant action by a Medford Sergeant, in the heat of the battle at White Plain, deserves a special record. Francis Tufts saw the standard-bearer fall: he flew to the spot, seized the standard, lifted it in the air, and rushed to the front rank of the line, and there marched forward, calling upon the men to follow. This was seen by General Washington. As soon as victory was won, the General asked Colonel Brooks the name of the young man, in his regiment, who achieved that noble act. He was told; and there, on the stump of a tree, the General immediately wrote his commission of Adjutant.

Medford furnished its full quota of soldiers for the war of 1812, and shed its blood in sustaining the national cause. The following are the names of those who volunteered enlistment: John Gates, Zachariah Shed, Edmund Gates, Amos Hadley, Thomas Cutter, Jacob Waite, Samuel F. Jordan, Jonathan Tufts, jun., Randolph Richardson, Rehoboam Richardson, Miles Wilson, Joseph Peirce, John Lee, John Weatherspoon, John McClough, Stephen D. Bugsby, Robert Hall, Benjamin Symmes. [197]

The first on the list still lives; the others are dead. Edmund Gates was killed in the battle of Chippewa; and Abiel R. Shed was killed in the sortie of Fort Erie, 1813.

One of the most signal sacrifices made by Medford to the cause of the country, in that war, was the death of Lieutenant John Brooks, son of General Brooks, who graduated at Harvard College in 1805, studied medicine with his father, and afterwards joined the army as an officer of marines. The personal beauty of young Brooks was a matter of remark in every company where he appeared. His courage was great; and, by exposing himself in the hottest struggle of the fight, he was instantly killed by a cannon-ball, which struck him near the hip, and mangled him shockingly. This occurred in the famed battle on Lake Erie, Sept. 13, 1813, when Commodore Perry gained his brilliant victory over the English fleet.

The remains of Lieutenant Brooks were buried on an island in Lake Erie, and there remained until November, 1817, when they were removed to Fort Shelby, in the city of Detroit, Michigan. The “Detroit Gazette,” of Nov. 7, 1817, has the following notice of the removal:--

Funeral of Lieutenant John Brooks.--On Friday last, the remains of Lieutenant John Brooks, who fell in the battle on Lake Erie, were interred in the new burial-ground, upon the glacis of Fort Shelby, within the Military Reserve of this city. The ceremony was attended with military honors suited to the rank of the deceased.

The body was escorted by a military corps, and preceded by the Rev. Messrs. Monteith and Larned. The pall was supported by six Lieutenants, with scarfs. Lieutenant-Colonel Smith, and the officers of the Fifth United States Regiment, followed as mourners, flanked by marshals. Then succeeded Major-General Macomb, Governor Cass, and the civil, judicial, and municipal officers of the territory and city, citizens and strangers, and the non-commissioned officers and soldiers of the army. The funeral service was performed by the Rev. Mr. Larned. The procession was solemn and sublime.

These services show the high esteem in which the brave and beautiful young officer was held by his comrades and commanders.

The following elegiac lines, composed for the occasion, were written by Captain Whiting, of the Fifth Regiment :-- [198]

Too long on lonely isles neglected,
     Marked by no stone, thy dust has slept,
By humble turf alone protected,
     O'er which rude time each year has swept.

Ere many summers there had revelled,
     Decking thy grave with wild-flowers fair,
The humid earth, depressed and levelled,
     Had left no index vestige there.

Still had the wave around that dashes--
     Scene of thy fate — the story told,
And, 'gainst the isle that held thy ashes,
     In seeming fondness ceaseless rolled.

But now, with kindred heroes lying,
     Thou shalt repose on martial ground,--
Thy country's banner o'er thee flying,
     Her castle and her camps around.

And friendship there shall leave its token;
     And beauty there in tears may melt;
For still the charm may rest unbroken,
     So many tender hearts have felt.

Then rest, lamented youth; in honor,
     Erie shall still preserve thy name;
For those who fell 'neath Perry's banner,
     Must still survive in Perry's fame.

Dec. 17, 1836, Medford was called to part with another officer high in command in the army of the United States. Among the brave, there were none braver than Colonel Alexander Scammel Brooks, eldest son of General John Brooks. He was born in Medford, 1777, on the day of Burgoyne's surrender at Saratoga. He entered Harvard College in 1798, and left it in 1801. He preferred a sailor's life; but, when the embargo of 1808 was laid, he obtained a commission in the army, and held it till that restriction on commerce was removed. He then resumed marine life, and continued in it till the war of 1812, when he again received a commission as Captain in the United States army, and served through the war. So gallant was his conduct at the battle of Plattsburg, that he received a brevet as Major. He was retained in the army on the peace establishment, and commanded posts on the seaboard. In May, 1817, he married Miss Sarah Turner. In 1820, he was ordered to the command of Portland Harbor, where he remained seven years; thence to Bellona Arsenal, on James River, Virginia, where he remained four years; thence to Fort Independence, in Boston Harbor. He next came to Medford, and resided in the [199] house of his late father till ordered to the command of the New York Harbor. In May, 1836, he was ordered, with his command, into the Cherokee country, to move the Indians. That duty performed, he went to Fort Moultrie, Charleston Harbor, South Carolina. Here he soon received orders to proceed immediately to Florida, and take command of the regiment of which he was Lieutenant-Colonel, and prosecute the war against the Indians,--a war abhorrent both to his principles and his feelings. He had a singular and unconquerable dislike of travelling by steam-power; but here was a necessity; and, almost for the first time in his life, he ventured on board a steamboat, the “Dolphin,” bound for the Black Creek. The following account, published at the time in the “Jacksonville Courier,” gives the sad sequel with touching particularity:--

The United States steamer “ Dolphin,” from Charleston for St. Augustine, via Savannah and St. Mary's, was lost off the bar of St. John's River, on Saturday afternoon, Dec. 17, 1836, at half-past 4 in the afternoon. When within two miles of St. John's Bar, and she had taken two pilots on board, as the boat began to move, her boilers exploded, and, in an instant, she was a complete wreck. The bows and stern were separated, and the engine, &c., sank to the bottom. Mr. Donnelson was blown into the bows of the boat, much stunned. After the steam had cleared away, as soon as he could stand, he noticed Colonel Brooks just beside him, who laid lifeless, except one slight spasm; after which, in an instant, the face turned purple. Mr. Donnelson thinks he was killed by the shock. Soon after this, Mr. Donnelson gained the stern, which was the largest part. Immediately afterwards, the bows sank, but soon rose again to the surface; but Colonel Brooks was seen no more. Out of thirty-four persons, nineteen were saved, and fifteen were lost. The disaster was owing to the highly culpable negligence of the two engineers, who were both lost.

December 30, the body was recovered. His watch, filled with sand, was taken from his pocket, and sent to his family. A newspaper of St. Augustine gives the following particulars:--

The body of the late lamented Colonel Brooks was found upon the beach, about thirty miles from this city, and brought here for interment on Thursday last. On Friday, the body was escorted to the grave by the St. Augustine Veterans and a company of volunteers, and followed by the United States officers at this post as principal mourners, the volunteer officers in the service of the United States, the United States troops, the Judge and officers of [200] the Superior Court, the Mayor and Aldermen, and a large concourse of citizens. The burial service was read, at the grave, by the Rev. David Brown, of the Episcopal Church.

Two years afterwards, his remains were brought to Medford, and deposited in the family tomb.

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