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Chapter 6

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Map of the New Jersey Campaign

    When the army retreated through New Jersey a period of some confusion for the hospitals ensued. The sick at Hackensack scattered, but seem mostly to have gone westward into Pennsylvania. The principal hospital, at Newark, was moved to Morristown, but almost at once had to move again, this time to Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Necessarily, a hospital was provided at Philadelphia, which place became the base of the army. There were other hospitals at Easton and Allentown. The eastern hospitals at Fishkill, Norwich and Stamford, have been mentioned. Although Congress had clothed Dr. Shippen with authority over the hospitals west of the Hudson on October 9th, he did riot take charge of them for some weeks. On November 3rd Washington wrote him that he was not to interfere with the sick of the army left in New Jersey under care of Dr. Foster; as fast as they recovered they were to return to the army east of the river, and the hospitals would then be turned over to him. On November 9th Shippen wrote to Congress saying that he had riot yet taken over any sick of the Continental Army, as Dr. Morgan objected. He urged that the matter be cleared up. Dr. Morgan also wrote appeals to Congress for definite instructions, but urging his claims of supreme authority. Washington appears to have supported Morgan, but Congress was on the side of Shippen. In November, and even in December, Shippen had control of the sick from the Flying Camp only, and probably some from other bodies of militia. These forces then may have numbered two or three thousand men. On November 1st he wrote a letter to the Board of War,1 returning his sick in hospital at 338.

This number included some Continental troops, but excluded the sick in regimental hospitals. These sick were then at Amboy, Elizabethtown, Fort Lee, Brunswick, and Trenton. The number of sick was actually greater, for hundreds had gone to their homes.

When the British advanced from the Hudson on November 21st, Washington found his small part of the army in no condi-


tion to offer effective resistance. The Continental Army had been fatally divided, and the portion under the Commander-in-Chief was diminishing every day by reason of sickness and desertions. Moreover, it was miserably equipped and half naked, with no intrenching tools and but little transportation. A British officer wrote of it at this time:-

“The Rebel army are in so wretched a condition as to clothing and accoutrements that I believe no nation ever saw such a set of tatterdemalions. There are few coats among them but what are out at elbows; and in a whole regiment scarce a pair of breeches. Judge then how they must be pinched in a winter campaign. We that are warmly clothed and well equipped all-ready feel it severely.”

Yet this army of “tatterdemalions” took the field and won victories in midwinter, in part because their enemies were seeking comfort in quarters.

The retreat toward Philadelphia began at once. Washington crossed the Passaic to Newark on November 24th. An eye witness described the march of the little army—a pathetic picture enough:-

“It was about dark when the head of the troops entered Hackensack. The night was cold, dark and rainy. I had a fair view of them from the light of the window, as they passed on our side of the street. They marched two abreast, looking ragged, some without shoes, and most of them wrapped in their blankets.”

Far removed, these much enduring, faithful ones, from the warmly clad soldier of today, with his sweaters, and helmets, and overcoat; more blankets than he can possibly carry; and even his mental and moral improvement, aye, social pleasure, provided for.

On the 28th Washington was at Woodbridge and the British entering Newark; on the 29th he crossed the Raritan to Brunswick, many of his men deserting. The stores were removed to Philadelphia. On December 1st the British entered Brunswick, and, on December 2nd, Washington, with less than three thousand men, entered Trenton. Lord Stirling was left with two small brigades, twelve hundred men, at Princeton. The sick were being sent to Philadelphia. On November 30th twenty-two wagons, loaded with sick from the camp, reached


that city; more were on the road. Dr. Thomas Bond was bringing forty, whom he proposed to take on into Delaware. His ideas of water carriage were excellent. He said, “With respect to water carriage, military hospitals particularly require it, because the jolting of horse carriages aggravate the violence of fractured and splintered bones from gunshot wounds.” His hospital had been at Elizabeth; in the debacle he was directed to place his patients on a boat, but was given no destination. He took them to Philadelphia, with other debris of the army.

On December 12th Washington informed the Congress that he would not be able to hold Philadelphia; whereupon Congress

“RESOLVED, that the Continental Apothecary be directed to pack up all the continental medicines, and send them to the Quartermaster General; that the Quartermaster General be directed to remove the medicines belonging to the continent, in this city, to a place of safety”.

The place of safety seems to have been found at Bethlehem, to which place they were sent, still in charge of Dr. Morgan. At this darkest hour, when the army was crumbling away and everything seemed going to ruin, Lord Howe took advantage of the occasion to offer a full pardon to all who, within sixty days, would subscribe to a declaration of admission to the royal authority. For ten days two or three hundred a day came to his headquarters at Brunswick, and subscribed to the oath. Civilians as well as soldiers were losing faith. Prominent men deserted the cause, which had now the semblance of a sinking ship. On December 8th Washington crossed the Delaware with what Reed called “the wretched fragments of a broken army,” and a large part of New Jersey was abandoned to the British. The problem now was to hold Philadelphia, with an army that was visibly melting away and which had but a month more to serve. Washington himself seems to have almost lost faith, for he wrote Hancock that twenty days more would put an end to the army. So near was failure.

As the army neared Philadelphia, the sick naturally, or otherwise, drifted to that place, where General Putnam was in command with very few troops. On December 4th Washington sent the sick from Trenton to Philadelphia. He suggested that the “House of Employment” be used as a hospital, and order-


ed an officer from each regiment to conduct the sick there; a surgeon’s mate was to accompany each detachment. He expressed the hope that his hospital physicians would not be wanted. On December 5th the Pennsylvania Council, in response to a request of Congress,

“RESOLVED, that the Pennsylvania Hospital be taken up and employed for the sick troops of the Continental Army, in compliance with a request of Congress, and that the said troops be provided with medicines and every necessary.”

On December 6th the Council of Safety named a committee, consisting of Major Isaac Milchor, Mr. Thomas Smith, Capt. Wm. Davis, with Mr. Christopher Marshall and Thomas Cardrop:

“To provide and take care of the sick troops daily coming to the city from camp, and that they may make use of any empty houses and stores and other buildings in the city and Liberties thereof, which they may think convenient for lodging such troops, and that they take to their assistance, in performing the said trust, such discreet persons as to them shall seem meet, and this board will defray every expense.”

It would be presumed that most of the empty buildings belonged to Royalists.

War gardens are no new thing. On November 29th Congress had:-

“RESOLVED, that Mr. Mease be directed to supply the sick soldiers in the House of Employment in Philadelphia with one shirt apiece. That a suitable spot of ground for a garden be enclosed in the neighborhood of the General Hospital, to supply the army with vegetables, & &.“

How this one shirt was to be laundered is not stated in the resolution.

Besides the Pennsylvania Hospital, other buildings were used: the Employment House (or almshouse); the Smallpox Hospital on Prince St.; Sneider's house on Front Street; McElroy's store and John Shields’ House; Semple’s store and Sproat’s store opposite, Peel Hall (later a part of Girard College), the Carpenter mansion, and others. The condition of these hospitals was bad enough. They were destitute of almost everything necessary for a proper hospital. Dr. L. Young made


an appeal “to the merciful ladies of Philadelphia for old sheets and shirts, as his supply of lint and linnen is exhausted.” During the winter these hospitals filled up, and later, when the hospitals at Bethlehem, Easton, and elsewhere were closed, the remaining patients were brought to Philadelphia. Both smallpox and typhus took their toll of the thousands of recruits coming to the army. John Adams is authority for the statement that two thousand soldiers died in Philadelphia during the winter, and were buried in what was then the Potter's Field of the almshouse, now Washington Square. Tilton makes brief but illuminating mention of the hospitals.

“The Potter’s field of Philadelphia bears melancholy testimony of the fatal effects of cold weather on the military hospitals in the fall of 1776 and succeeding winter. Instead of single graves, the dead were buried in large square pits, in which the coffins were placed in ranges, cross and pile, until near full, and then covered over. Whether this measure was adopted to save labor or to save ground, in either case it witness-ed great mortality.”

An example of the mortality in troops is seen in the records of Smallwood’s Maryland Regiment of the Continental line. This fine corps marched through Philadelphia in June 1776, eleven hundred strong. On January 3rd, 1777, it mustered scare sixty men. True it had lost heavily in battle, but much more heavily by disease.

On December 12 all sick in Philadelphia were directed to report to Dr. Jonathan Potts, at Mr. John Biddle's in Market Street. Dr. Potts took a prominent part in the Hospital Department of the army during the succeeding years.

On December 16 Washington wrote to the Congress, describing the desperate state of his little army. He said among other things, “Many of ‘em entirely naked and most thinly clad.” This statement must be taken as a figure of speech. On December 16 General Greene wrote: “I feel a degree of happiness that the Congress are going to put the Medical Department upon a better establishment; for the sick this campaign have suffered beyond description and shocking to humanity.”

This suffering was increased by the retreat of the army and still more so by division and uncertainty of authority in the Hospital Department. This suffering was not only shocking to


humanity as General Greene said; it weakened the present army and, by discouraging enlistment, tended to prevent organization of the new army then being formed. The patriotism, devotion and endurance of the struggling patriots alone caused them to come forward and enlist in the face of the sufferings of the soldiers then in service.

The principal hospital of that portion of the Army under Washington during the winter of 1776-77 was at Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. The hospital at Newark must have been moved to Morristown, on the fall of Fort Lee; that is, on November 21st, or within a few days thereafter. The rapid advance of Cornwallis soon made that place also unsafe for the hospital, which contained two thousand sick and a few wounded. On December 1st the Commander-in-Chief ordered the general hospital removed to Bethlehem. This place was then inhabited by a community of Moravians: religious eccentrics, who had constructed a number of large buildings, somewhat on the order of the monastic establishments of Europe: as, the Zion House, Single Brethren's House, and so on. While such buildings would never be selected as hospitals today, they were the best to be had at that time.

Brethern's House, Bethlehem

On December 3rd the Moravian Brethren of Bethlehem were excited by the arrival of Dr. Cornelius Baldwin, a surgeon of the New Jersey Line, who rode up to the house of the Clergy and delivered a letter requesting the use of the community buildings for the general hospital.2 Towards evening Dr. William Shippen and Dr. John Warren arrived and made arrangements with Bishop Ettwein for the reception of about two hundred and fifty sick. Dr. Shippen stated that all the patients at Morristown had been ordered to Bethlehem, but on account of the willingness shown there he would have the greater part sent to Easton and Allentown. The sick soon began to arrive in large numbers and in all manner of conveyances. Their sufferings from improper transportation and from exposure to the weather made them objects to excite the pity of less sympathetic beings than the good brethren and sisters of the newer Bethlehem. Some of the sick died while awaiting removal from the wagons. They were placed in. the “Brethren’s House,” a three-story stone structure, fifty by eighty-three feet in size, with two wings. (The building was


so well constructed that it still stands.) Not all this building was taken at the time.

As the sick were famishing for food, the Moravians supplied them for three days, or until the commissary wagons arrived. Five wards were established, without the one hundred and twenty-two brethren leaving the building. Dr. Shippen, writing from Bethlehem to Richard Henry Lee, states:-

“After much difficulty and expense, I have removed all the sick to Easton, Bethlehem and Allentown; their number is now much reduced, and all are in a good way. I send twenty or thirty weekly to join the army.”

That they were “all in a good way” must be taken in more than one sense. Many were in a good way for another world.

On December 7th two patients died, and a burial place was selected on the west bluff of Monocacy Creek, near the present line of Monocacy Avenue in West Bethlehem. On December 12th the wife and family of Dr. Shippen arrived and remained until March 1777. Dr. Isaac Foster came also, but was soon ordered to the hospital at Boston.

On Christmas Day Dr. Shippen and his principal surgeons3 were ordered to report at once to the army, for the attack on Trenton. On January 8th a number of the surgeons were ordered to New England: Toward the end of February smallpox was brought into the town by some soldiers. By prompt inoculation its spread was prevented: rather, great mortality was prevented.

On March 14th Dr. Jonathan Potts,4 who was later appointed Deputy Medical Director of the Northern Department, with his staff of Surgeons and several wagonloads of medical stores, passed through the town on his way to Albany. Dr. James Houston, one of the most skillful surgeons, was ordered to the army in the Jerseys.

On March 27th orders were received to transfer the hospital to Philadelphia, the danger to that place having passed. After thirty convalescents were despatched to the army, and the sick removed, the buildings at Bethlehem were returned to their owners. Reverend Ettwein, who acted as chaplain, has recorded that there were sixty-two deaths during December, largely due to exposure during removal. Pneumonia may have been the


cause of many of these deaths. During the whole winter, some four months, there were one hundred and ten deaths. As it appears that the capacity of the hospital was about two hundred and fifty, even with a total of five hundred or more patients, the mortality was high: twenty or twenty-five per cent.

When the hospital was closed, Colonel Isaac Reed, of the 4th Virginia Line, was unable to be removed. On June 22nd eighteen of the single brethren took turns in carrying him to the Lehigh Ferry, where “a chair and two horses” were in waiting to convey him to Philadelphia. He died on August 21st. On July 7th Dr. John Duffield, the last of the sick, departed. Col. Reed appears to have been carried to Philadelphia on some sort of a two-horse litter.

Towards Christmas the British and Americans faced each other across the Delaware, above Philadelphia. Howe had extended his lines to that river, though without definite design of crossing it. Colonel Rahl held Trenton with a brigade of Hessians. Donop had another brigade at Bordentown; and the 42nd Regiment, with a battalion of Hessians, was at Burlington. There were other garrisons at Princeton and Elizabeth; while the stores and headquarters were at Brunswick, where General Grant was in command. Rahl, at Trenton, had three Hessian regiments of foot, an artillery detachment, fifty Jaegers, and twenty British light horse: in all some fourteen hundred men. Patrols were continually passing from one post to another, much harassed by colonial militia.

Trenton and Vicinity

General Washington, who had now been joined by Sullivan and Gates, on December 22nd had 10,804 men; but of these 5319 were either sick or on detached service, so that he had less than six thousand present and fit for duty. In addition to these Continentals there were about 1400 militia. Many were barefoot, and few had sufficient clothing. The quartermaster and Commissary stores were at Newtown, and the line of possible retreat was by way of Germantown. There were many irregular bodies of militia which were continually crossing into New Jersey, worrying the enemy and securing information. Also, spies kept the Commander-in-Chief well informed as to British movements. On December 22nd. Colonel Reed, who was scouting across the river, suggested an attack on Rahl at Trenton. The


Continental Army was now near the Trenton Ferry. Colonel John Cadwalader was near the Bristol Ferry with 1800 men, and Colonel James Ewing had a small force of Philadelphia and New Jersey militia,—what was left of the Flying Camp,—near Yardley’s Ferry.

Some stroke by Washington was an absolute necessity. The army had been steadily beaten. Civilians were losing faith. Howe was offering amnesty; and the term of enlistment would expire January 1st. Truly the end of the army was in sight. The far-pushed British outposts on the Delaware offered a golden opportunity, which Washington embraced. On December 24th headquarters were removed to Newton and plans made to attack Rahl at Trenton. On the night of the 25th the move was made. Cadwalader, with a militia force, was to cross at Bordentown, and Ewing at Trenton Ferry, to cut off the retreat.

Washington, with two divisions under Greene and Sullivan, 2400 picked men from all the seven small brigades,5 crossed at McKonkey's Ferry, nine miles above Trenton, and marched down the Jersey bank. The Commander-in-Chief ordered all watches set by his own, and led in person. Each man carried three days’ cooked rations, his blanket and forty rounds. Glover’s Marblehead regiment again handled the boats, in a storm of snow and sleet.

The Hessians, careless in their comfortable billets, were completely surprised when attacked at eight in the morning. The victory was won by the Continentals with little loss; the mass of each enemy regiment surrendered. The Hessians made a poor fight; if they did much shooting it was bad. The American loss was four wounded, none killed. There is a tradition that some soldiers died from exposure, which is quite probable. The Hessians lost five officers (including Rahl) and seventeen men killed; six officers and seventy-eight men wounded. Twenty-four are said to have been buried in the Presbyterian churchyard. The prisoners, at first reported, amounted to eight hundred and sixty-eight. Later, a number were found hiding in houses, bringing the total to nearly a thousand. A considerable number escaped down the river,—probably about four hundred. The militia had failed to cross and intercept them.


The evening before the battle, while on the river bank, Washington had despatched an express rider to Bethlehem, directing Dr. Shippen and his assistants to join him. This seems late, for the attack was expected to be made shortly after midnight. Dr. Morgan relates that there were no surgeons of the hospital present when the attack was about to be made—presumably the evening before. He says, “I crossed the Delaware and reached Headquarters just as the enemy came into fight at Trenton.” [December 25?]. He made his complaint to Washington, who replied:-

“I hope sir you do not imagine it is owing to me. I am here without any assistance from the Hospital Department. In case of need I know of nobody here to take the direction. I think it very strange.”

It is then, we may imagine, that he sent for Dr. Shippen; who could not possibly arrive for the battle of Trenton. It appears that Dr. Jonathan Potts was present at Princeton, as was Dr. Benjamin Rush.6  Both must have acted in a voluntary capacity. Shippen was in comfortable quarters, at Bethlehem, with his family. If his duty with Washington was uncertain, the Flying Camp was on the river under Ewing, with orders to cross and take part in the contest. He made no provisions for either, while Morgan was on the ground, anxious to take his old place, but not allowed to do so.

Dr. Benjamin Rush

The American army marched back with the prisoners to the Ferry and recrossed the same night. The severely wounded were parolled and left behind. The unwounded prisoners were taken to Philadelphia and paraded through the streets, where they made a marked impression. Later they were removed to Lancaster, and a part to Winchester, Virginia. Many of them went over to the American cause and remained in this country. While the Hessians were considered rather stupid, it does not appear that they did as much pillaging in New Jersey as did the British soldiers.

On the 27th the British abandoned their advanced posts, retiring to Princeton and Allentown. On the same day Cadwalader crossed the river to Burlington, with a mixed force of 1800 men, and sent scouts to Trenton, which was ungarrisoned. On the


29th he advanced to Bordentown, where he found only “a small hospital, very dirty, containing a few sick and wounded Hessians.” On the 29th and 30th Washington crossed to Trenton again with the whole army, except Stirling's Brigade, left at Newtown. The British, alarmed by the catastrophe at Trenton, ordered Cornwallis back to that place with a large force. By January 1st he was at Princeton with no less than eight thousand men. On the 2nd he was on the road to Trenton with fifty-five hundred men. General Leslie had a brigade at Maidenhead, and Lt. Col. Mawhood was at Princeton with Grant's Brigade, the 17th, 40th and 55th regiments of foot.

On that day Washington took up a position on the south bank of the Assumpink Creek, and ordered Cadwalader to join him. His army was now on the very verge of dissolution. The time of enlistment of all the Continental troops expired and many of them went home. He persuaded some men and some regiments to remain six weeks longer. However Mifflin brought in six-ten hundred Pennsylvania militia, Cadwalader joined with two thousand, and the army could muster five thousand effectives. The majority were militia. The old regiments had disappeared or were mere cadres. Smallwood’s once splendid Maryland regiment numbered but one hundred and fifty men, and Hazlett could muster but one hundred of the Delaware regiment when he led it on at Princeton. The Flying Camp was near the vanishing point. Tilton says, “The Flying Camp of 1776 melted like snow, in the field, dropped like rotten sheep on their straggling rout home, where they communicated the camp infections to their friends and neighbors, of which many died.” On December 22nd this camp could number but 277 for duty. The men of the army were now as ragged as ever, but still ready to fight. Knox said they were “in high spirits, but in want of rum and clothing.”

As the British moved forward from Princeton on the 2nd, Washington's advance fell back slowly, skirmishing smartly with the van. Trenton was not reached until evening. Cornwallis held a council of war; the decision was to wait until morning for the attack. Washington also held a council of war; the decision was to attack Mawhood at Princeton, and then the stores at Brunswick, but slightly guarded. His own baggage and stores


were sent to Burlington under General Stephen, and at midnight the march began. Fortune favored the little army with sharp cold, which froze the muddy roads. Unknown to Washington, Mawhood had orders to march for Trenton as early as possible; another piece of good fortune, which allowed his column to be attacked in detail.

It was about daylight on the 3rd when Mercer’s brigade (350 men) advanced on the 17th and part of the 55th British, which were already on the road. Mawhood formed promptly and attacked with the bayonet. The American brigade broke in flight, leaving Mercer fighting almost alone. His horse shot, he fought on foot like a common soldier, until pierced by six bayonet wounds and left for dead. Hazlett also was killed and the rout complete. (John Hazlett, Colonel of the Delaware regiment, was killed by a bullet through the head, and died that afternoon. For many years before the war he had practiced medicine in Dover. He was buried there).

At this critical moment Washington came on the field with Hitchcock’s New England brigade and Cadwalader’s militia. Mifflin also came up; and St. Clair,7 who drove the 55th back into the town. The 17th was overpowered and driven off toward Trenton. The remainder of the 55th, with 40th, took a position in the town, a part in Nassau Hall. Sullivan attacked this force with success. One hundred and ninety-four were captured, about two hundred fled in disorder toward Brunswick. The battle was a short but decisive one. The Americans lost about seventy-five in killed and wounded. The British loss was eighteen killed, forty-seven wounded, and two hundred and seventy-six missing or prisoners.

Washington was now directly in the rear of Cornwallis at Trenton. Had his army been larger and more reliable he could have made a Yorktown of that place. As it was, he was obliged to quit Princeton at once. Fifty-six sick and wounded prisoners were paroled. He then marched out to the north as Cornwallis was entering the town from the west. At eleven o'clock that night the Continental army camped at Somerset, now Millstone. Its loss, though small, included Mercer,8 who died on January 13th, and Colonel Hazlett of the Delaware regiment. Both were physicians; both died rather than retreat with their men.


At Trenton there was little need of surgeons, but at Princeton they were required. I find no mention of Shippen, but Potts was there, also Rush, and others. A rather naive letter from Potts9 states that he was forced by the British to fly. It would appear that he went back within the British lines, but this is doubtful. The army left Princeton by noon, and by midnight was fifteen miles away. General Mercer was first attended by British surgeons, but on January 4th General Washington sent Dr. Rush and Capt. George Lewis, an aid, to give him what attention they could. They were admitted under a flag of truce. The surgeons thought Mercer would recover, but he—himself a surgeon—said there was one small bayonet wound under the right arm that “would do the business.” He died on January 13th. The Americans had taken at Princeton and carried with them another Scot, Captain William Leslie of the 17th Regiment, a son of the Lord of Lieven, who had befriended Dr. Rush in Edinburgh. Rush cared for him until his death, and then erected a stone over his grave at Pluckemin.

Alarmed by these strokes of Washington, Cornwallis retired to Elizabeth, and, on the 8th, to Brunswick. Nearly the whole of New Jersey was abandoned, but immense quantities of plunder, cattle, forage and provisions were carried off.

Washington left Somerset on January 4th, resting two days at Pluckemin, allowing a thousand stragglers to come up. On January 6th he left Pluckemin and marched into the highlands of Morris County. On January 7th his headquarters were established at Morristown. The troops spent a few days in tents on the slopes of the Lowantica Valley, and then built substantial log huts for use during the remainder of the winter. This log camp was located a quarter of a mile south of the present Madison, then called Bottle Hill, on the main road to Morristown. Securely protected in this cantonment, the reorganization of the army began. The troops remained here until May 28th, 1777.

So ended the New Jersey Campaign of 1776-77: in the most brilliant, the most Napoleonic in manner of any during the whole war. Philadelphia was saved, nearly the whole of New Jersey recovered. The British held only Amboy and Brunswick. They had been outwitted and beaten definitely, for the first time; and compelled to assume the defensive. The half-naked Continentals


had taken the field in the severest weather, when the British preferred to keep their well clothed troops in-doors. In the gloomiest period of the war fortune had turned a smiling face, and the cause, which had seemed doomed to immediate failure, was at least saved for further struggles.

Despite these successes, after Princeton there were again many desertions. Whole companies disappeared. Putnam says that of one company all deserted except one lieutenant and a lame man. Presumably the lame man could not so readily get away. The greatest source of dissatisfaction was the failure of Congress to secure for the army timely pay in a valuable currency. The men were seldom paid, and when the rare pay day did come they received but a bundle of nearly worthless paper bills.

The camp at Bottle Hill was an area of wooded hills and ravines, all in a state of nature. The center of the camp was near the house of John Eaton (standing in 1916). A wide space of four or five rods was cut through the woods, from northeast to southwest, for a parade ground. In the middle was a flagpole; and facing the parade ground were the officers’ quarters. Further back were the soldiers' huts, with streets about forty feet wide between the groups. It is generally thought that there were huts for about three thousand men. The cabins were made of unhewed logs, notched at the ends, and built up to a height sufficient for doors. The roofs were made of split clapboards. Openings were cut for a door and window in each hut. These appurtenances were of split plank, with wooden hinges and latches. In one end of each cabin was a rude fireplace; in the other were bunks, in tiers, filling that end. Each cabin, about twelve by sixteen feet in size, accommodated ten to fourteen soldiers. The openings were filled with pieces of wood daubed with clay. Rough tables and benches were made of split logs. Such were the conveniences of this early cantonment.

Several larger cabins were built for the commissary stores, near the springs on the south side of the camp. The sutlers had quarters in the same locality. Sheds for the horses were built along the streams. The elevated plateau adjoining the present Kitchell Avenue was used for parades and musters.

It appears there was both putrid fever and smallpox throughout the middle colonies during the winter. Tilton men-


tions the Flying Camp as spreading disease to the homes of its wretched members. A Philadelphia paper gives notice on February 18th of the death of Colonel Aneas Mackay of the 8th Pennsylvania, who died at Trenton of a putrid fever. On February 3rd a New York paper reported, “An epidemic Disorder prevails greatly in the County of Sussex, in New Jersey, which was brought thither by the Rebels who formed the Northern Army under Gates; and may have been carried off.” This was a Tory or British report and may have been exaggerated; yet it is quite probable that the remnants of the Canadian expeditionary army brought the seeds of disease with them on their return to New Jersey.

While the army was at Morristown smallpox appeared, and many soldiers as well as civilians fell victims to it. Several houses were turned into hospitals, and a cemetery, where many poor fellows were buried, was formerly to be seen near Woodland Avenue and Glen Road, Morristown. On February 12th Congress

“Ordered that the Medical Committee write to General Washington and consult him on the propriety of causing such of the troops in his army as have not had the smallpox, to be inoculated, and recommend that measure to him; if it can be done consistent with the public safety, and good of the service.”

Inoculation was resorted to, and several places were designated where soldiers and civilians could be inoculated and pass through the disease. The Commander-in-Chief conferred with the pastors of Morristown, Hanover, and Bottle Hill, and they assisted him in securing houses, and inducing the people to be inoculated. It was required of the troops by order. The Reverend Azariah Horton ministered to the suffering soldiers until he contracted the disease and himself died in March 1777.

The sick from this camp were taken to Bethlehem, Princeton, Philadelphia, Easton, Allentown, Wilmington, and other neighboring places; but Bethlehem was the principal hospital, as before stated. The first death occurred on January 11th and in all 53 were reported at the camp.

There was much suffering in the camp at Morristown, from shortage of both clothing and food. Not because there was any lack of such supplies in the country, but on account of bad roads


and insufficient wagons to transport; and still more on account of the paper currency, which even patriots were unwilling to take in exchange for real goods. Much as the medical officers were criticized for lack of care and supplies, they hardly came in for as general upbraiding as did the officers of the quartermaster and commissary departments. Indeed, the quartermaster's office was never filled satisfactorily until 1778, when Washington induced his ablest general, Greene, to accept it. It always appeared that a plentiful allowance of supplies was purchased, but for some reason these did not reach the camp.

For example, on April 23, 1777, the Committee on Army Supplies reported to Congress that there were on hand:

        At Elkton, 3000 barrels salt fish.
                  300 barrels salt meat.
        Expected from Virginia, 300,000 lbs. bacon
                        1,000 barrels pork.
        At Lancaster, 1,500 barrels salt meat.
        At Carlysle, 1,500 barrels salt meat.
        In Connecticut, 15,000 barrels salt meat.
        In Massachusetts, 15,000 barrels salt meat.

This would seem to have been sufficient to supply the whole army for a year.

A little later, Matthew Irvin reported that he purchased in Pennsylvania, during this very winter of 1776-77, 20,000 barrels of flour, eleven thousand bushels of wheat, and 15,000 gallons of whiskey. These supplies alone should have kept the little army at Morristown well fed and cheerful; but there was no transportation and they were still in reserve.

The army remained at Morristown, reorganizing and refitting, until May 28th. General Putnam, stationed in the Highlands, retained a division of the New England and New York troops, which later went north and, under Gates, took part in the Saratoga Campaign. On the 28th, the Commander-in-Chief broke camp and, with the principal army, marched to Middlebrook, near Princeton; thus beginning a second campaign for the city of Philadelphia.




Nov. 1
                    Report of Sick
                    Perth Amboy, N. J., Nov. 1, 1776.

To Richard Peters,

The Board of War:-

Dear Sir: Enclosed is a return of the sick in my hospitals. Besides these there are in each regiment a number called sick that are not proper subjects for the hospital, and under the care of the regimental surgeons, though there are no regimental hospitals; this will account for the difference between the number of sick in Colonel Griffin’s return and mine.

    Please to mention this to the Board.
    Your Excellency's humble, obedient servant,
                                    W. Shippen, D. H., etc.

    A return of the sick in the hospitals of Flying Camp New Jersey militia.
    At Amboy, two hospitals, sick, 90, wounded, 7 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  Total     97
    At Elizabethtown, sick, 54, wounded, 3; from Canada, 25 . . . . . . .  Total     82
    Fort Lee, sick, 75; wounded, 9; distressed N. E. troops, 19. . . . . . .Total     93
    Brunswick, sick, 10 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  Total     10
    Trenton, sick, 56 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  Total     56

                        Amount of the whole                                                               338

Gentlemen:  The number of sick and wounded in my department is three hundred and eight; four fifths of them in a fair way of recovery, and will soon join their respective companies. I have not yet taken charge of near two thousand that are scattered up and down the country in cold barns, and who suffer exceedingly for want of comfortable apartments, because Dr. Morgan does not understand the meaning of the honorable Congress in their late resolve. . . . . . . . . .

                            W. Shippen S. G. & D. H., etc.

2 To the Committee of the Town of Bethlehem, or Others Whom it may Concern.

Gentlemen:- According to his Excellency General Washington's Orders, the General Hospital of the Army is removed to Bethlehem, and you will do the greatest Act of humanity by immediately providing proper buildings for their reception, the largest and most convenient. I doubt not, gentlemen, but you will act upon the occasion as becomes men and Christians. Doctor Baldwin, the Gentleman who awaits upon you with this, is sent upon


the Business of Providing proper Accommodations for the Sick; begging therefore that you will afford him all possible assistance, I am Gentlemen.

                Your most obedient humble Servant
                                JOHN WARREN,
                    “General Hospital Surgeon and P. T. Direct”

About Dec. 1, 1776.


    William Shippen, Jr  . . .  Pa.       
    James B. Finley . . . . . . .Mass.
    John Warren . . . . . . . . .Mass.   
    Acquila Wilmott  . . . . . .Pa.
    Thomas Bond, Jr. . . . . . Pa.       
    James Houston  . . . . . . .Pa.
    Moses Scott . . . . . . . . .N. J.    
    Joseph Harrison  . . . . . .Va.
    William Brown . . . . . . . Md.      
    John Duffield  . . . . . . . . Mass.
    William Smith  . . . . . . .  Pa.       
    S Halling  . . . . . . . . . . . Pa.
    William P. Smith  . . . . .  N. Y.   
    John Hindman . . . . . . . .Md.
    Cornelius Baldwin  . . . . N. J.   
     Francis Allison, Jr . . . . .Pa.
    Bodo Otto. . . . . . . . . . .Pa.      
    John Scott . . . . . . . . . . .Md.
    Samuel Finley. . . . . . . . Mass.   
    Hall Jackson . . . . . . . . .N. H.

      Hugh James, Commanding Officer of Hospitals.
      Josiah Shippen, Paymaster.
      John B. Cutting, Apothecary, Middle Department.
      Robert Gillespie, Hospital Steward.

    On December 13, 1777, the Congress

 “Ordered, that a warrant issue on the treasurer in favor of Lewis Weiss, attorney of John Bonn, Warden of the Single Brethren of Bethlehem, for three thousand and seventy seven dollars and 60/90 for the use of the said brethren, being in full of their account for evacuating, repairing and restoring their house, which was used as a general hospital for the space of eight months, in lieu of rent and all other demands.”


Dr. Jonathan Potts was born April 1, 1745, at Pottstown, Pa. He was educated at Ephrata and Philadelphia. In 1766 he went to Edinburgh with Benjamin Rush to study medicine. In 1768 he graduated at the Philadelphia College, and in 1771 received the medical degree at that college. He began practice at Reading, Pennsylvania, but took a keen interest in the political movements of the time. On June 9, 1776, he was appointed surgeon to the forces in Canada, (though not to supercede Dr. Stringer) and in the latter part of the year took charge of medical affairs at Ticonderoga. He went north, but soon returned to Philadelphia with General Gates. He had charge of medical affairs at Philadelphia, and was present at the battle of Princeton. On January 14, 1777 he was made acting Medical Director of the Northern Army, arrived at Albany April 3, 1777, and on April 11th was made Deputy Director General of Hospitals in the Northern Department. He re-


mained in charge until November 1777, when he returned to Philadelphia on a visit to his family. While at Reading Congress transferred him to the Middle Department, as Deputy Director General, Feb. 6th 1778. He was later placed in charge of the purchasing department for all medical supplies. He died at Reading in October, 1781, not living to see the independence of his country.


General Cadwalader’s Division.

    Col. Daniel Hitchcock’s New England Brigade, 877 effectives.
        11th Continental Foot  . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Old 2nd Rhode Island.
        4th. Continental Foot . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Nixon’s Mass. Regiment.
        9th Continental Foot. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Old Rhode Island Regt.
        12th Continental Foot . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Little’s Mass. Regt.

Rhode Island State Regiment.
    Philadelphia Brigade, militia, effectives 1000.
        3 Battalions.
        Several separate companies.

General Ewing’s Division, The Flying Camp.
    Strength 715, effectives 277.
        Five fragments of regiments.
        Also 300 to 500 Pennsylvania and New Jersey militia.

General Greene’s Division.
        General Stirling’s Brigade, 673 effectives.
        1st Virginia Continental Regiment.
        3rd Virginia Continental Regiment.
        1st Delaware Continental Regiment.
        Pennsylvania Rifle Regiment.

General de Ferrnoy’s Brigade, 638 effectives.
        1st Continental Foot, old Pennsylvania.
        The German Battalion, old Canadian Regiment.

Mercer's Brigade, effective strength 73 officers, 765 men.
        12th Continental Foot, Wylly's Conn.
        1st Maryland Continental Regiment.
        27th Continental Foot, Hutchinson's Mass.
        Col. Bradley’s Conn. State Battalion.
        Maryland Rifle Battalion.
        Delaware Regiment.

General Stephen’s Brigade, effective strength 70 officers, 479 men.
        4th Virginia, Continental.
        5th Virginia, Continental.
        6th Virginia, Continental.

General Sullivan’s Division.
    General St. Clair's Brigade. Effective strength less than 500.
        5th Continental, 1st New Hampshire, Stark.
        8th Continental, 2nd New Hampshire, Poore.


        15th Continental, Patterson's Massachusetts, Reed.
        2nd Continental, 3rd New Hampshire.

    Colonel Sargent’s Brigade: effective strength, 91 officers, 736 men.
        16th Continental Foot, Sargent’s Massachusetts.
        13th Continental Foot, Read’s Massachusetts.
        6th Battalion Connecticut State troops.
        Col. Ward’s Connecticut Continental Regiment.
        1st Regt. New York Continentals.
        3rd Regt. New York Continentals.

    Colonel Glover’s Brigade: effectives 11.5 officers, 858 men.
        14th Continental, Glover’s Massachusetts. Marblehead Regt.
        3rd Continental, Learned’s Massachusetts.
        19th Continental, old 7th Connecticut, Webb's Regt.
        23rd Continental, Bailey’s Massachusetts.
        26th Continental, Baldwin’s Massachusetts.
        Knox’s Regiment Continental Artillery.

These thirty regiments averaged but 167 men each.

 6 Benjamin Rush, a descendent of one of Cromwell’s captains of horse, was born near Philadelphia, December 24th, 1745. He received his preliminary education at the Academy of Reverend Finley, at Nottingham, acquiring here a knowledge of Latin and Greek, and laying the foundation of a solid character. In 1754 he entered Princeton College, and received the A. B. degree in 1760, before he had completed his fifteenth year. The next six years of his life were given to the study of medicine, under the direction of Dr. John Redmau of Philadelphia. He was also one of Dr. Shippen's first medical class in America. In 1766 he went to Edinburgh and graduated there in 1768. From Scotland he went to London to continue his studies, and then to Paris, returning to Philadelphia in 1769, where he became professor of chemistry in the College of Philadelphia. He was thus one of the founders of the first medical school in America. He continued a teacher of medicine for forty-four years. In 1812 his pupils had amounted to a total of four hundred and thirty. He was also an industrious writer throughout his life, producing seven volumes, six of which are on medical subjects.

His work was not confined to medicine. In 1776 he was a member of the Continental Congress, and signed the Declaration. He was a member of the military committee, and is responsible for the medical organization of the army in 1777. He served as Physician General of the Middle Department; served as a surgeon in the field; and was probably the ablest American medical man that the times produced.

In sociological matters he had wide and comprehensive views which were a hundred years in advance of his times. He strongly opposed both whiskey and tobacco; disapproved of capital punishment, and was one of the first effective opponents of human slavery. His zeal in the cause of literature and education were tireless to the last. During the latter fourteen years of his life he served as treasurer of the National Mint; a slight recompense for his many public services. He died April 14, 1813.


7 Arthur St Clair was born in Scotland in 1734. He studied medicine with John Hunter, but, inheriting wealth, he purchased a commission in the line and served in the British army from 1757 until 1762. He then resigned and settled in Pennsylvania. In 1775 he became colonel of militia, and in 1776 was chosen Colonel of the 2nd Pennsylvania Battalion. He served in Canada with credit, was made a brigadier on August 9, 1776, and major general on February 19, 1777. He recommended the movement that brought on the battle of Princeton. In March 1777 he took command at Philadelphia, and on April 1st at Ticonderoga. In September he was tried by court martial for abandoning Ticonderoga, but was acquitted. Thenceforth he took an active part in every campaign of the army, but was without important command. After the war he was a delegate to Congress in 1785, and president of that body in 1787. In 1788 he was appointed governor of the Northwest Territory, and founded Cincinnati, giving it the name of the society of Revolutionary officers. In 1791 he was chosen commander-in-chief of the army. On November 4th his army was disastrously defeated by the Indians. Though a committee of Congress vindicated him, his life was ruined. He resigned his army command and was removed from his place as governor in 1802. He retired to a small log house near Philadelphia, where he lived alone and in poverty. Shortly before his death he received a small pension from Pennsylvania, and sixty dollars a month from the Federal Government.


General Hugh Mercer

Hugh Mercer was born in Aberdeen, Scotland, in 1725, and graduated at the Aberdeen Medical School in 1744. He joined the army of Prince Charlie and was present at Culloden, but escaped with his life from that field of blood. He came to America in 1746, and founded the town of Mercersburg, Pennsylvania, where he practiced medicine until 1755. He commanded a company in Braddock’s Expedition, was seriously wounded at the Battle of the Monongahela and left on the field, but made his way back alone through three hundred miles of wilderness. He was captain of a militia company in 1756, being both commander and surgeon at McDowell’s Fort, now Bridgeport. He was again wounded and suffered many hardships, and received a medal from Philadelphia. In 1757 he was promoted major, commanding all Pennsylvania forces west of the Susquehanna. In 1758 he commanded a part of the expedition, under Forbes, which captured Fort DuQuesne. In this expedition he made the acquaintance of Washington. After the French War he settled at Fredericksburg, where he had an office at the corner of Princess Anne and Amelia Streets, in a building still standing.

He entered the army in 1776 as colonel of the 3rd Virginia Line. On June 5th he was promoted brigadier and made Commander of the Flying Camp. He reached Long Island when the battle was over; served through the following campaign, and fell at Princeton under many wounds, while fighting to the last like a common soldier. He was left for dead in the


field, still alive, with six bayonet wounds of the body besides many wounds of the head, made with clubbed muskets. He died on January 12, 1776, leaving behind an example of soldierly devotion, integrity, endurance and courage which men of his nation have carried to all parts of the earth.


                    Camp near Princeton, Sunday Evening, Jan. 5, 1777.

My dear Friend

Tho' the Ac'ct I send is a melancholy one, yet I have sent an Express, to give you the best information I can collect. Our Mutual Friend, Anthony Morris (Ensign Anthony Morris), died here in three hours after he received his wounds on Friday morning. They were three in number,—one on his chin, one on the knee, and the third and fatal one on the right temple by a grape shot.

General Mercer is dangerously ill indeed. I have scarcely any hopes of him; the Villians had stabbed him in five different places. The dead on our side of this Place amount to sixteen; that of the Enemy to twenty three. They have retreated to Brunswick with the greatest precipitation, and from Accounts just come in, the Hero, Washington, is not far from them. They have never been so shamefully drubbed, outgeneralled in every Respect. I hourly expect to hear of their whole army being cut to pieces and made Prisoners.

It pains me to inform you that on the morning of the Action I was obliged to fly before the Rascals, or fall into their hands, and leave behind me my wounded Brethren; would you believe that the inhuman monsters robbed the General as he lay unable to resist on the Bed, even to the taking of his Cravat from his Neck, insulting him all the time. The number of prisoners we have taken I cannot yet find out, but they are numerous. Shall be glad to hear from you by the bearer; is the Reinforcement marched?

I am in haste your most obedient Sevt.
                                JON'N POTTS.
To Owen Biddle.