MILITARY LIFE AND SUFFERINGS
COL. TIMOTHY BIGELOW,
Commander of the Fifteenth Regiment of the Massachusetts Line in
the Continental Army, during
THE WAR OF THE REVOLUTION.
BY CHARLES HERSEY.
PRINTED BY HENRY J. HOWLAND,
212 Main Street.
Minor spelling and typographical errors have been corrected without note. A table of contents, though not present in the original publication, has been provided below:
COL. T. BIGELOW LAWRENCE,
A GREAT GRANDSON OF THE HERO OF THESE PAGES,
I Dedicate this feeble effort.
It is written to perpetuate the memory of one of
WORCESTER'S MOST ILLUSTRIOUS SONS,
and also of
HIS COMPANIONS IN ARMS,
WHO FOR EIGHT YEARS STRUGGLED SO HARD TO GAIN
THE INDEPENDENCE OF THE COLONIES.
The writer of the following pages was dandled upon the knee of a worthy sire, who had spent eight years of his life in the struggle for Independence, and taught me the name of Col. Bigelow, long before I was able to articulate his name. Many have been the times, while sitting on my father's lap around the old hearthstone, now more than fifty years since, that I listened to affecting reminiscences of Col. Bigelow and others, until his voice would falter, and tears would flow down his aged and careworn face, and then my mother and elder members of the family would laugh, and inquire, "what is there in all of that, that should make you weep?" but I always rejoiced with him, and wept when I saw him weep. After the death of my father, having engaged in the active scenes of life, those childish memories in some degree wore away, but the happiest moments of my life have been spent in company with some old Revolutionary Patriot, while I listened to the recital of their sufferings and their final conquest. The first history of the American Revolution I ever read, is found in Morse's Geography, published in 1814. This I read until I had committed the whole to memory. The next was what may be found in Lincoln's History of Worcester, published in 1836, and from which I have taken liberal extracts. The next is the History of the War of Independence of the United States of America, written by Charles Botta, translated from the Italian by George Alexander Otis, in 1821; from this also, I have taken extracts. I have also consulted Lossing's Pictorial Field Book of the Revolution. In neither of these histories (except Lincoln's) does the name of Col. Bigelow occur. Therefore I have depended principally upon tradition, coming from his own brethren in arms, and corroborated by history. It has been exceedingly difficult to trace the course and conduct of Col. Bigelow from any history of the war; but history, aided by tradition, makes up the history of any man. To illustrate: I get the account of Col. Bigelow's conduct at the battle of Monmouth, as stated in section vii, from Mr. Solomon Parsons, which I received from his own lips more than forty years ago, and saw in his journal; and more than thirty years since, I heard Gen. Lafayette and Mr. Parsons refer to those scenes,[A] the remembrance of which drew tears from each of their eyes, and also from many of the spectators. I find that Mr. Parsons was in Lafayette's detachment, Gen. Green's division, Gen. Glover's brigade, and Col. Bigelow's regiment. All of this I knew forty years ago, from tradition. From history we all know that Gen. Lafayette and Gen. Green were at that battle, and I am happy to say this whole subject has very recently become an item of history, which may be found on page 260 of Washburn's History of Leicester. In this way, and from such sources, I have gathered the facts embodied in these pages. As to the personal appearance of Col. Bigelow, I have procured from witnesses who were as well acquainted and familiar with him and his physiognomy, as the old residents of this city are with our venerable friend Gov. Lincoln. Some of them are still living. There is one man now living in this city, who was thirty years of age when Col. Bigelow died. This man is a native of Worcester, and knew Col. Bigelow as well as he did any man in town, and heard him speak in the Old South Church many times, against the tories.[B]
These articles have appeared in the Daily Spy of this city, and at the suggestion of several distinguished individuals who wished to see them in a more durable form for reading and preservation, I have concluded to present them to the public, in the following pages.