Monmouth Narrative attributed to James Sullivan Martin


After all things were put in order, we marched, but halted a five minutes the village, where we were joined by a few other troops and then proceeded on. We now heard a few reports of cannon ahead; we went in a road running through a deep narrow valley, which was for a considerable wav covered with thick wood; we were some time in passing this defile. While in the wood we heard a volley or two of musketry, and upon inquiry we found I it to be a party of our troops who had fired upon a party of British horse; but there was no fear of horse in the place in which we then were.

It was ten or eleven o'clock before we got through these woods and came into the open fields. The first cleared land we came to was an Indian cornfield, surrounded on the east, west and north sides by thick tall trees; the sun shining full upon the field, the soil of which was sandy, the mouth of a heated | oven seemed to me to be but a trifle hotter than this ploughed field; it was, I almost impossible to breathe. We had to fall back again as soon as we could, I into the woods; by the time we had got under the shade of the trees, and had I taken breath, of which we had been almost deprived, we received orders to retreat, as all the left wing of the army (that part being under the command of Gen. Lee) were retreating. Grating as this order was to our feelings, we then obliged to comply.

We had nor retreated far before we came to a defile, a muddy slough, brook; while the artillery were passing this place, we sat down by the road side;—in a few minutes the Commander-in-chief and suit crossed the road just where we were sitting. I heard him ask our officers, "by whose order the troops were retreating," and being answered, "by Gen. Lee's," he said something, but as he was moving forward all the time this was passing, he was, too I far off for me to hear it distinctly; those that were nearer to him said that his words were—"D—n him"; whether he did thus express himself or not I do not know; it was certainly very unlike him, but he seemed at the instant to be in | a great passion; his looks if not his words seemed to indicate as much.

After passing us, he rode on to the plain field and took an observation of the advancing enemy; he remained there some time upon his old English charger, while the shot from the British artillery were rending up the earth all around him. After he had taken a view of the enemy, he returned and ordered | the two Connecticut brigades to make a stand at a fence, in order to keep the enemy in check while the artillery and other troops crossed the before-mentioned defile.