Thursday, October 11, 2012

Belcher and Arnold's Treason

Benedict Arnold's betrayal of the cause of American liberty has made his name a byword for the blackest of traitors.  In late September, 1780, while in command of the important Hudson River fortification at West Point, Arnold arranged to hand over detailed plans and other information to Major John André, the British adjutant-general and spymaster, in exchange for General Rank in the British army and £20,000.  The plot was foiled when André was captured between enemy lines under an assumed name and subsequently hanged, while Arnold slipped away before he could be apprehended.  

Captain Aaron Ogden was at this time in command of a company of the 1st NJ serving as Light Infantry under Maj. General Lafayette in the Hudson Highlands.  In a posthumous personal memoir published by one of his descendants, Ogden recounted how he was engaged by General Washington to pass through the lines under a flag of truce and offer to exchange the unfortunate André for Arnold, only to be informed that "a deserter is never given up."  

Ogden makes no mention of his waiter Constant Belcher during this episode, but fortunately for posterity the Belcher Journal also covers this time period.  It sheds new light not only on his activities at the time of Arnold's treason but on a personal brush with history that might well have changed the course of the war, not to mention American literature, had not the hand of fate intervened.

21st  Sept. [1780]  To Day Cap. Ogden instrustd  me with Dispatches for Genl. Washington, off avisitin' ye Froglanders in Neuport / Accordingly did take Passage over ye water to  Continental Village where I oated my horse & did have a dram or 2 ye weather being Very Cold & Blustering & so missd  my Road & got most Confoundedly lost /  Towards night had no fire & hobbld my horse lest ye Cow Boys or Skinners Abscond with it, tho' did Fashion a Wigwam so as not to perish from Cold. 

22nd Sep. - This Day a hard Frost & Prodigious fog / Met on ye way a Dutchman one Brom Bones a hard looking rascal learnt I was far off course for Yankeedom & even now on Neutral Ground / Did tarry at Tarrytown at van Tassel's wair they had much merriment for a Harvest Home / Did find ye cyder much to my liking & also th' Psalmody of Crane ye Schoolmaster /  A curious tradition in these Parts is to fashion Lanthorns from ye flesh of ye Pompion /  Ye wind blew Very chilly & they had a Warm fire I sat down close to it / Did share a flask of Malmsey with a merchant of Nieu Yorck one James Anderson had a round hat & blue Cloak his features most delicate / Anderson claimed a fair hand at scribbling & offered to make for me my Portrait if he had but Paper & it seemd to me that I had Some & found a few Leaves in my Dispatch case that had writing on one side only & these I give to him at which he appeard most pleased / I know not whether or no he made of them a Good Likeness for at Last ye Heat of ye fire overcame me & I fell down like a Log & faintd away.

23rd Sept. - Awoke before ye cock's Crow to find my horse gone & Dispatches as well without even a Rude sketch in recompense / Apprehending my condition to be Most Perilous did find another Mount in ye great black horse of Menheer Bones & taking up a Grate Pompion for a glim went Hell for Leather after ye villain Anderson /  On passing a boneyard did see a figure that skulkd thair & taking Him for ye Thief let fly with the landhorn / He did fall like a Stone but unhappily proved to be Crane & thot it best not to Tarry more in Tarrytown but to cross the North River & so return to my Duty.

24th  Sept.  -  Nothing of importance this day /  No mention of Dispatches.

25th Sep. -  Genl Washington 'tis said to be most vexed with Genl Arnold./  Maj Tallmadge in conference with Capt. Ogden on matters of Base Treachery could make but little sense of thair Talk tho' appears to involve Vultures or Buzzards & Plans of ye Fort at the Point & other documents of a Sensitive nature found on a British Officer now a Prisoner.

26th Sept. - Genl Arnold proved a traitor & gone over to the British /  Prisoner one Maj. John Andray had on him such documents as to shew his Crime /  Cap. Ogden says this Andray was taken ye very Time I staid by Tarrytown by three roguish chaps who found him on ye Road without Uniform in disguise even as a Niew Yorck Merchant with Dispatches in his Stockings /  Am now most unwell.

27th  Sept.  - Still feeling poorly / Understand the Prisoner is a gentleman with no little talent for portrait-making / Had a puke & went early to bed.

29th Sep. - Maj Andray under Sentence of Death as a Spy.

30th Sept - Summonded to Head Quarters with Cap. Ogden expecting the Worst /  Grate Relief to learn we are to Pass through the Lines under a Flag & seek to Exchange Maj. Andray or Anderson for ye Traitor Arnold /  Accordingly went together with an Escort to the British post wair Cozen Aaron gave his message & ye officer sent down to Genl Clinton at thair Head Quarters for instruction / Took some refreshment & also some first quality Sausages for ye Journey back / After 2 houres came ye reply a Dessert is Never given up so left without prospect of anything Sweet after our meal.

October ye Second -  On this Day Maj. Anderson or Andray so called was hangd as a Spy / Many Officers much affectd to see a fellow Gentleman meet a low End on a halter, but for me it seemd Just Deserts /  In ye After noon Cap. Ogden did shew me some of the papers as were Found on the Spy, including Returns of ye Strength of diverse battalions & a fair rendition of one of our Light Infantry, perhaps says he even of our own good Jersey Regiment / Did venture in reply that this could not be, for ye fellow in that picture did Lie at ease in a most Unsoldierly fashion & appeard to have ye head of a Pompion / Beyond this saith not.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Belcher at Camp

The Belcher Journal is maddeningly disheveled, as at times its author appears to have been as well - with pages missing or all out of order and some entries lacking a date or other readily identifiable notation.  Larry and I, as co-curators of the Belcher archive, have been trying to piece together the portion of the Journal that deals with The Philadelphia Campaign and Valley Forge with little success.   After months of eye-straining late night scholarship, we were rewarded only with a couple of brief accounts near the end of the Winter encampment in April and May of 1778 when Belcher served most grudgingly in Von Steuben's Model Company and on a visit to the home of the vivacious Sally Wister.

Now we have one more fragmentary account to share, which because of certain obscure geographic references we feel confident can be placed at some time in January, 1778 at Valley Forge.  Belcher reveals several details not previously know from any firsthand account of the activities in camp during that crucial winter when the army stayed in the field rather than dispersing as was usual at the end of a single campaign.  It emerged, so most historians would have it, from that icy crucible a formidable, professional fighting force, with much credit is given to von Steuben for the results.  

Perhaps, but if what Belcher says is true, there were other "change agents" at work, so typically marginalized in the conventional narrative, who now thanks to the Belcher document will have their due. 

"Ye New year is but a few days on - am most unwell & melancholic / wrote my letter home but No thing arrived with ye Post from that quarter /  Did stand gard by Gulph Mills with naught to cover my nakit feet but a length of macreme Cloath fashiond  by my own por Hand / The camp counselors at This place incorrigibly cheerful of aspect, esp. Miss Pennypacker who despite our Privations is seemingly possessd with spirit enuf to rout a company of Grenadiers all on her own at Tug-a-War.

Did receive a sliver in my finger from an ash splint in Basket weaving class that discomfits me some / Tomorrow ye Jersey Brigade is to muster on Parade for to play at Capture ye Flag at Redoubt No. 9 hard by the Skull Kill/ shall visit ye Infirmary for a nurse's note with regard to my injury rather than take part in that foolishness.  Next year would prefer a different Camp, mayhap at Middle Brook closer to home wair much good is said of the Programme and accommodations."

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Belcher on the Declaration

It is unlikely that there were many in New Jersey who were aware on July 2nd the Continental Congress in Philadelphia had voted for Independence.  New Jersey's own Third Provincial Congress, meeting in a Burlington tavern, were busy adopting a state constitution on that same date that staunchly proclaimed all civil authority of the King over the colonies to be at an end, but also included the disclaimer:

"Provided...that if a reconciliation between Great-Britain and the Colonies should take place, and the latter be taken again under the protection and government of the crown of Britain, this Charter shall be null and void - otherwise to remain firm and inviolable."  

With the Ministerial Juggernaut gathering on Staten Island and poised to strike New York and the Middle Colonies, this may have been more a matter of prudence than evidence of less than patriotic sentiment on the part of the framers of New Jersey's constitution.

Constant Belcher's Journal entries for that week show that he was likewise both politically aware and concerned with more practical matters.

2nd July [1776]    "this Day did go to the Point in the forenoon at ebb tide for a frolic with Mrs. Ireland that is cook to Rev. C [aldwell] / Pass d a most pleasant Hour at Chicken neckin'  / a Prodigious rain commensd at the Flood whilst engagd  filling her oyster basket.

3rd July                Some of our People are come from Staaten I[sland] with devilish news the forces of Tyranny are disembarkd  the militia at Richmond-town all turnd Tory. 

4th July               Nothing Remarkable

5th July               news from Burlington the Jerseys declard  a Republick.

6th July               employd  this day cutting Brush for Eliza. Town Committee of Safety had 3s.2p

7th July               Came over to New Yorck / saw the Ministerial Shipping in the LowerBay thick by the Watering Place / Streets abound with Yankees all stopd  with Breast works /   Joyous news that Congress at Phila. Have Proclaimd  an Independency /  Went to a Publick house to give joy to our Libertie/  the owner, one Braisted of Bergen, a Notorious Tory being returnd to that place we had the Libertie of the Property.

8th July                Had chocolate at the Coffee-House in Water-Street.  
9th July                This day the New-York Provincial Council  did print broadsides of the late Declaration of Congress /  Joined a Flash-Mob hard by the Fort at Bowling-Green to pull the Leaden George from his horse for musquet Balls / King Sears and his Sons of Libertie did appear most Zealous to apprehend the Leaf that gilt the lead."


Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Pied Belcher

It was customary for 18th century diarists to note on such and such a date that nothing worth mention occurred.  Given the tedium and drudgery of soldiering during this period,  Constant Belcher would certainly be excused for following suit in his journal, but having spent a number of months now with this material, I am starting to think that for Belcher there was usually something going on to make even the most unremarkable episodes noteworthy.

So it was on a Spring day near the end of the Valley Forge encampment, when tired of endless drill under the martinet Von Steuben, and ravenously hungry after a Winter's worth of short rations, Belcher turned an ordinary day into something else altogether.

Apr 12th 1778 – This day once more calld to drill in ye model company of that damd Dutchman [von Steuben] / What his Excellency sees in this Fancy Proosian I know not, for we Jersies stood well enuf gainst ye Regulars on ye Plowed Hill & at Chew’s House while Mine Herr & his yelping hound were a-mincing round ye Continent / It does a poor soldjer hard to stand  to attention in but rags & without belly timber whilst this onion-eyed game cock splutters & crows like German George / This After noon we are to have dress Parade & no wair to find hair powder as all the flower is gone to fire-cake.  

Did hear river herring are to seen beyond our Lines in ye Skull Kill by Penny Packer’s Mill & resolved to plank sum Shad before Parade /  Passd  in stealth from Camp & made for ye River /  Hard by Mill race did see prodigious shoals of fish & so lookd within for a pitch fork or other Implement to land them by /  Discovered instead a fine goose & it not being a Friday determind  ye fowl fairer dining.

Did tuck Noble bird under my wing but soon found it made as grate Clamour as a bag full of cats /   In truth ye Goose played such a nice pentatonic scale that I feared our Sentries might mistake me for a company of Highlanders & so take Alarm /  Efforts to silence bird did only produce more Scottish Airs, so returnd  bird in hand to ye bush & returned emptyhandd.  

Happily did come upon a goatskin pack unattended behind an Officer’s Hutt, such as ye lobster Grenadiers are wont to wair, & considerd  it lawful plunder /  Found no provender within but a goodly supply of pipe clay & so fashiond  from ye bag a serviceable wig for Parade /  Receivd what Capt. Walker did say were von Steuben’s compliments /  Ye jack-a-nape Dutchman did then instruct rest of ye model company to follow my example /  British Grenadiers being in short supply in Camp, must now go aforaging for goatskin packs on the morrow.   Ye ways of war are passing strange.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Belcher's Privateers

Piecing together the Revolutionary service record of Constant Belcher from the disordered and fragmentary leaves of his Journal has proved a considerable challenge. Thus far,  investigation of the Belcher Journal has revealed that he enlisted with the 1st NJ Regt. in its 2nd establishment, in which he was the servant or waiter to his cousin Lieutenant (and later Brigade Major) Aaron Ogden, in January, 1777 and was still in service in the Fall of 1780.  

Having now transcribed several excerpts from 1776, it seems quite clear that Belcher was not present with the regiment during its 1st establishment.  Nor have we yet discovered anything in his Journal to indicate militia service during this period.  Belcher did take part in at least two military enterprises as a civilian volunteer in 1776, however; namely, the Blue Mountain Valley Whaleboat Raid , and against the British Fleet off Staten Island in an experimental demi-submersible of his own design

Belcher appears to have been something of a waterman - at least, he had an affinity for fishing and was comfortable enough in boats to fall asleep in one small watercraft on a January evening, and to put to sea largely beneath another.  Thus it is perhaps to be expected that he might have found the prospect of privateer service attractive, and indeed in the Fall of 1776 we find a Journal entry that confirms that Constant Belcher entertained notions of freebooting for Liberty.  It is fortunate for him, and for posterity, that it proved but a passing fancy, for the vessel in question was the scummiest he'd ever seen, and as aficionados of seafaring folk songs know full well, she was lost with nearly all hands (and all legs) in her first engagement.

"Sept . 21th 1776 -   Went to Paulus Hook this day to see New Yorck Town afire – a most baleful & affecting sight / Prodigious smoke & genrl destruction at North River side /  Providence or some Friend of Government mayhap strikes the Invader a sharp blow leaving them but a moiety of the City.
Did see a Broadside whilst at this Place a-callin for young fellows of Courage so bold to smite the usurper’s pilferers and enter on board The Antelope, a Privateer /  Understand the Master one Elcid Barrett to be a congenial Captain and free with the Grog / Was sore tempt d  to list, but upon viewing the Vessel in question  found her a most sickening sight,  a-listin herself to Port / She is armed with but trifling four pounders of grate antiquity an sure to crack at the first fireing / What sails had she would not fashion a serviceable market wallet,  an’ only the Cook has got his Topgallant Sails.

The lure of Prize money  did draw on board a ducid curious collection of Bergen Dutchmen, the larger part fisherman an by their talk no friends of Liberty / Found upon examination  Letter of Marque  affixd with stamp of the Crown / Slipped my cable lest I fall into ruinous company and returnd  Eliza. Town full glad to be free of that nest of Tories / Predict our shiping will have little to fear from that rum crew as but one fat ball will serve to stove her in.”

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

"A Mashine to Blow up Shiping": Constant Belcher's "Submarine"

The American Revolution was fought largely with smooth bore muskets and light artillery and produced few military innovations.  Patrick Ferguson's breech loading rifle and David Bushnell's submarine and the advances he made in underwater demolitions are notable exceptions, but for the most part the fight for North America came down to conventional military technology.

There were other inventors, however, who sought Congressional contracts for everything from backpacks to musket tools.  In the autumn of 1775, Captain John MacPherson proposed to Congress that he had developed a method which  could "take or destroy every Ministerial armed vessel in North-America" and proposed that he try out his theory in and around Boston Harbor.  Washington, however, got a second opinion from his artillery commanders that determined " in as much as he set out upon wrong principles, the Scheme would prove abortive."

Another inventor, Joseph Belton, even proposed in April, 1777 that he could manufacture a musket with a sliding lock and superimposed loads capable of firing "up to sixteen or twenty [balls] in sixteen, ten, or five seconds of time." 

Belton impressed Benjamin Franklin as "a very ingenious Man" and he did not confine himself merely to muskets.  Like his fellow Nutmegger David Bushnell, he took a strong interest in submersibles.   In July, 1776, he sought a Congressional contract to

"make a Machine by the help of which, I will carry a loaded cannon, two or three miles up or down any of our harbours without any other assistance, and all the way there should appear nothing above the surface much larger than a man's hat and...would wholly descend under water for some time, and by expanding, would rise to the surface at pleasure, and by this means, to avoid any discovery when I had arrived within an hundred and fifty, or two hundred yards of a Ship, I could descend under the surface and go alongside of her bottom against which, I could discharge the cannon, that should be prov'd large enough to send a ball through any ship's side."

There is no evidence that Belton's theories of underwater gunnery were any sounder than MacPherson's, nor yet that he ever developed even a working prototype of his invention.  A close reading of the Belcher Journal, however, indicates that he, too, should be listed among the inventors of the era who, like Bushnell and Belton, experimented with submarine warfare.

“Jul 24th 1776 – Sum Associators arrivd to Day in Eliza. from Penna  to jine the Flying Camp /  Our neighbours the British are snug enuf from these Heroes on Staaten Island /  Did hear from them much talk of the learned Dr. Franklin & his wonderful mashine to Blow up Shiping / An enterprise of this nature might be advanced in these waters to our credit with the right backing /  As the Great men of this Town are either off asoldierin' in Canady or have removed their House holds to the Interior, there is none left to venture me the Capital.  Necessity must be midwife of invention.”

Jul 25th 1776 – To Day began a-foragin' such small things as shall not be missed & necessary to build my Mashine to Blow up Shiping / Laid by diverse articles suitable to my Purpose in the reeds by D’Hart’s Point /  Told any who enquired of my business in the marsh that was after the Fiddler Crab, a most excellent bait for Rockfish.

July 30th 1776 – My Mashine now takes shape /  Have determind to name it “The Flounder” for it shall  lie flat on the water and show little more above the surface than an egg basket, which I foraged from Mrs. Hetfield & reliev d  of her also the eggs /  This basket I have affixed bottom side up over a hole in the deck through which a man might thrust his Head to navigate by /  His other parts are to remain below and propel the Mashine by means of vigorous kicks of the leggs, much as we did do as boys in the surf down the Shore /    Right pleased with progress & believe sum Gentlemen in Congress may find it to their satisfaction to grant me a commission to deliver  up a fleet of such Mashines in consideration for good Continental money.

August 12th 1776 – Construction delays due to a lack of suitable oilcloth water-Proofing for the frame of The Flounder /  This having been happily discovered behind Spenser’s Sail Loft, am now painting it Blue that the enimy shall misapprehend my Mashine to be merely water /  Still seeking suitable armament to take on Man ‘o War.

August 19th 1776 – Have mounted two wall guns or Amusettes to either side of egg basket which shall fire by means of strong hempen cords held between the teeth /  Still seeking heavier artillery / Time short before the Invader must make his move from Staaten Island on New Yorck or to wherever he will.

August 26th 1776 – Have affixd a cross bow fashiond  from barrel staves to deck before egg basket / Tho it obscures the view somewhat forward it will fire a spear tipped with burning pitch /  Must remember to light a slow match before launching The Flounder this night with the Tide.

August 27th 1776 – Did set out on maiden voyage of The Flounder /  Found that hanging below deck neck deep in water was much colder than expected and did Chatter most alarmingly and experienced considerable shrinkage of my manly parts /  Much to be regretted, tide did convey me not in the direction intendd  to where the Shiping lay by the Watering Place across from New Yorck Town, but in Stead down the Kill toward Spanktown where I was forcd to part company with The Flounder lest I proceed with it even to Sandy Hook and thence  mayhap to Spain /  Went to bed much discomfited and troubled with ague. 

Aug 28th 1776 - Ministerial army did cross to Long Island unmolested, and even now we hear the sounds of Battle across the water /  Would that the Flying Camp was truly capable of flight, for then we might devise a Mashine to Blow the Enimy up from above, but that is just idle Fancy /  Must be the fever talking.”

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Constant Belcher and the Legend of Molly Pitcher

It has taken me several months to piece together the fragmentary record of the Battle of Monmouth recorded in Constant Belcher's Journal.  When Larry Schmidt and I divided up the loose leaves of the Belcher document, he was particularly interested in those sections that mentioned the regimental colors of the 1st NJ Regt. to which Belcher belonged, as none survive today and there is much speculation as to what they may have looked like and when during the war they were carried.

I share his interest in this topic, but was also keen to see whether Belcher had anything new to say about the Monmouth campaign in which he was a participant.  It turns out that his Journal entries for the Battle of Monmouth that Larry and I have been transcribing not only include new evidence about the fate, if not the design, of the regimental flag, but also reveal that Belcher has a central, if unwitting role in the creation of the Molly Pitcher legend.

"Jun 23rd -  To Day we marcht In light order without baggage / pull’d up the bords over Crosswicks Crk / soon thair came sum  Engineers to put them back agin with some Green dragoons,  Highlanders,   lt. infantry also 3 small pieces lit artillery /Gave us a brisk fire but had trifling loss, save one militiaman and Col. Dayton’s horse.  We annoy'd them ourselves and drop't one officer with the Lights before leaving them to thair work.

Jun 24th - Took up the Bridge at Docktor’s Crk /  to Day much as before we swarmd  in front of Enimy advance with Militia / afternoon excessive warm, not slightest breeze to temper the march.

Jun 25th - This day on left flank of Ministerial army  / such heat as Parson C[aldwell?] warns Hellfire to be / my sory Mount having  succumbd  to the Infernal wether did  replace  her with a Spavined mule / Maj Ogden  much amus d  at this an being much a-given to High oratory, did declaim him ‘the Dappled one’ and myself also named Sancho to his Donkey Hoe Cake/  Doubtless Cozen Aaron, being a College boy, is sensible to the meanin of this but I can make No thing of it, unless he Desires me to cook for him this mule in the Spanish fashion with fire cake / an it be so he can wish away for I'll not tag-rag by his stirrup whilst he gallops hither and Yon.  Campt this Night at Risin Sun Tavern an still so hot it feels the sun never Sett. 

Jun 26th - Skirmishd this Day with Jaegers an Rangers  / vry rainy an Sharp lightnin and thunder overnight /  Maxwell's and Wayne's Brigades ordered up to Genl Lee who succeeds to the Division of Mr. Fayette the Frog-lander who stood with us at Brandywine.

Jun 27th  - Marcht this Day to jine Genl Lee with Fayette’s division.  The Invader stays in place and his baggage thot to be a-danglin in his rear /   Our new position on left and nearer to Englishtown / At Noon Cookd  2 day’s rations /  Did attend Maj. Ogden at council of War /   Genl Lee instruct d to attack rear of Enimy in morning /  Maxwell did afterward say to Maj. Howell [of 2nd NJ] ‘very well for you we will have a hot fight tomorrow’ in answer to request  that he go to Black Horse tavern to see his brother thot to be dying /   Night very hot no breeze. 

Jun 28th - Such a day as I scarce hope ever to see Agin / Maxwell did receive orders to prepare to March at 5 but Genl Lee did not begin until 7 by the Clock / Much marchin an counter marchin before abt 2 miles East of court House came at last into open field in full view of court house with the Eminy to our front / Halted with morass on right flank and dense thicket on left /  Here Col. Rhea [of the 4th NJ] being something advanced of our position did engage in a Duel with a Dragoon but, having misshis shot and not having a sword was compelld to make a Hasty withdrawl through a barn with the other in Hot Pursuit / Tho near 100 muskets of the Jersey Line did fire upon the other as they past through the other side nary a one found a mark, which sad to say shows the quality of the many new recruits in our Ranks / The fightin Commensd with some roundshot passing here an thair until Genl Scott came up to say the Enimy had past on his right and was now in the rear and our men were seen to withdraw on the far side but no orders did come from Genl Lee /  Maxwell and he did agree to send our guns back over the Causeway and soon the withdrawal was seen to be general and all much disordered .

At this time came 2 from His Excellency asking the reason for the Retreat /  Cosen Matt Ogden [ of the 1stNJ] did reply most warmly that they were flying from a shadow /  Then came Genl Washington Himself and none could give the reason for the retreat /  He berated Genl Lee in most singular terms, and I noted a few Choice phrases that may see good service when next I go a-mule skinnin.  

In the confusion, it seems that the Ensign of Col. Ogden's rigiment had gone astray an with him the colours /  Cosen Matt was most irate an Maj Ogden did order me back up the column to locate them /  The Enimy by this time was pressing most closely an our men in the cause way over the morass wair all in disorder / I did see several men dropt down from the Heat an whilst searchin them for our Ensign found them dry and cold to the touch / I hid in the mire as some Grenadiers past by an then saw our own banner cast aside hard by the roadside / it being too much to carry the pole I tyed it about my waist and skirted the Enimy to rejoin my fellows / 

Coming through a field I found Some of Proctor's guns playing smartly with the Enimy in an orchard behind me / Col. Proctor did order me to serve as Matross as he was then shorthanded / A roundshot came so close to me as to pass between my legs  and tho it spared me it tore the colours all to shreds/ A gunner did remark on my good luck an I said in return I was lucky it did not pass a little higher, for in that case it might have carried away something else/  He told me I was a brave lass, which I did think strange but then it was a hot day an Too warm to think straight /  Have heard since that one of the women of the Army served Proctor's guns at Monmouth but I think this just a soldier fancy for I was thair an did not observe her.