Historic Pelham

Presenting the rich history of Pelham, NY in Westchester County: current historical research, descriptions of how to research Pelham history online and genealogy discussions of Pelham families.

Monday, October 02, 2006

The Revolutionary War Diary of Loyalist Joshua Pell, Jr. of the Manor of Pelham

I recently acquired copies of two difficult-to-find magazines published in January and February, 1878. They contain parts I and II of the Revolutionary War diary of Loyalist Joshua Pell, Jr. of the Manor of Pelham. Today's Historic Pelham Blog posting provides a lengthy transcription of the entire diary as published in 1878 as well as a little background information about Joshua Pell, Jr.

Joshua Pell, Sr. was a son of Thomas Pell, Third Lord of the Manor of Pelham. During the mid-eighteenth century, Joshua Pell, Sr. was a large landowner in the Manor of Pelham. He had a number of children including Joshua Pell, Jr. and Edward Pell.

In 1758, Joshua Pell, Sr. prepared a will bequeathing half of his lands to his son, Joshua Pell, Jr., and the other half to his son, Edward. To view an abstract of that will, see Tuesday, September 5, 2006: Will Prepared by Joshua Pell, Sr. in 1758 Included Disposition of Slaves. The will was proved on August 14, 1781 during the Revolutionary War.

By that will, Joshua Pell, Jr. became owner of a 146-acre farm centered around a farmhouse built in the 1740s (later known as the "Shrubbery") located near today's Split Rock Road. Joshua Pell, Jr., however, had joined the Loyalists at the outset of the Revolutionary War. He served as an officer under General Burgoyne's command in upstate New York.

As the work of local historian Mark Gaffney has established, in 1784, the New York State Commissioners of Forfeiture confiscated Pell's farm and sold it to Isaac Guion. The confiscation and sale became the subject of a lawsuit in which Aaron Burr represented various of the children of Joshua Pell, Sr. who alleged that the confiscation deprived them of legacies to which they were entitled in connection with the division of the father's lands between Joshua, Jr. and Edward. The uncertainty surrounding the lands was not settled until 1802 when Joshua Pell, Jr. issued a quit claim deed to Augustine J. F. Prevost who had acquired the lands.

Following the Revolutionary War and the British withdrawal from America, Joshua Pell went to Canada. He was in Lincoln, Upper Canada, at the time he executed the quit claim deed mentioned above.

During his service as an officer of the British Army in 1776 and 1777, Joshua Pell, Jr. prepared a diary. The Magazine of American History published the diary in two parts in January and February, 1878. Transcriptions of both parts appear immediately below.


From the original in the possession of James L. Onderdonk, Esq.

Embarke'd for America at Cove, and April, 1776, made the River St. Lawrence 17th May, came to Anchor before Quebec 29th. Quebec is a large, populous Town, the original Inhabitants French, and still retain the Language, customs and manners of the Mother Country.

Their religion is Romish, and after the reduction of Canada by the brave General Wolfe in the year 1759, by an Article of the Capitulation they were to enjoy the free exercise of their religion which they still do. The buildings are after the manner of the Europeans, and the walls of the Gentlemen and Merchants Houses are stone, roofed with wood, and the houses of the Peasant and poor Mechanic are all entirely wood, which makes a mean appearance being seldom built higher than one story. The Town has two divisions, the one called the upper, and the other the lower Town, the lower Town forms a half circle round the foot of the hill upon which the upper Town stands, having the River St. Charles and the Island of Orleans on the N. E. and the River St. Lawrence on the S. W.; you ascend the upper Town by a very steep ascent towards the Bishop's Palace, which is an old Gothic Building situate near the Cathedral; of the Cathedral there is nothing remarkable to relate except some few excellent paintings of Saints, &c., which decorate the altar.

Opposite Governor's House stands the College, having several grants of Lands for its support, and had three hundred students, but on being besieged by the Rebels in the year 1775 they left it, and by an order of the Governor it was converted into a Barrack for the reception of soldiers. There is several Convents and Monastries as is usual in all Roman Countrys, but not worthy of notice.

The fortifications are in a ruinous condition which shows the neglect of the late Governors; when the Rebellious Americans made their appearance before it in November 1775 there was but 6 pieces of Cannon mounted on the works, and those honycomb'd and useless, and not one Gunner to work them; had the Rebels had a skillful command'r and the discipline of the British Troops, they might have taken the place with 500 men.

1st June we disembark'd at Quebec and march'd immediately in quest of the Rebels; on the 8th in the morning we received an order from Lieut. Col. Fraser Immediately to proceed to Trois Riviere, we arrived about 10 o'clock on the other side the River; we were there informed that the Rebels had advanced that morning about 8 o'clock within a quarter of a mile of the Town, and that Colonel Frazer had disembark'd the Troops (from the ships that had sailed up the River) in number about 1200, and after a smart fire for about an hour he drove them into the midst of a swamp in the Woods where many of them were smother'd. The Generals, Captain Strangway's Captain Ferguson's and Light Infantry Compays of the 34th Regiment was order'd to keep the pass of the River, and it happen'd we had no share of the engagement. [Page 43 / Page 44]

The Rebels had about 100 kill'd and wounded, with about 450 made prisoners; we had 1 Searjeant of the 31st Regiment and 3 Rank and File of the 20th kill'd and 8 of the 62d wounded; the Rebels consisted chiefly of Irish redemptioners and Convicts, the most audacious rascals existing; their Generals that commanded were Thompson and O'Sullivan, Thompson, Colonel Irwin (another Irish Man) with about twelve officers of lesser note were amongst the prisoners. Lieut. Colonel Fraser commanded the British troops in the above action and behaved with the greatest Intrepidity and valour.

The Number of the Rebels 1700 engag'd, Total No. 2500.

13th June; On the arrival of our Troops at Sorrell, the Rebels quit it, they demolish'd the works, and left two pieces of Cannon behind them.

20th June our Brigade cross'd the River to Longuil, a village within view of Montreal.

23rd June I paid a visit to Montreal. Montreal is a large populous Town about 200 miles to the west of Quebec, it chiefly consists of two streets running from east to west about one mile long, the buildings are mostly like those of Quebec, with this difference only, they are more regular, which adds greatly to the appearance of the Town. Three-fourths of the Inhabitants are French, the other fourth consists of old soldiers (settled there since it was conquer'd by the English) Irish and Scotch, Emigrants. Everything is very dear, owing to to [sic] the Rebels plundering the inhabitants when they left the Town; (which they did on the approach of our Troops). Linen cloth which is 1s. 4d. per yard in Ireland is 2s. 6d. in Montreal, and every other European Commodity is equally dear in proportion. Religion here the same as in Quebec, and the other parts of Canada. The Fortifications are in bad repair and very defenceless. There is a college here well endowed, and has about one hundred and fifty students.

25th June, we march'd to Chamble, (a Fort on the River Sorrell about forty-five miles above the Fort of that name) which the rebels utterly destroy'd, and abandon'd on our approach.

26th June we march'd to Fort St. John which is twelve miles above Chamble, leading towards Lake Champlain. Fort St. John is situated on the west side of the River Sorrell, leading to Lake Champlain, and was considered by the French, when in their possession, the great Barrier between Canada and the British Colonies of Massachusetts Bay, New York and Pennsylvania after the reduction of Tyconderoga and Crown Point.

The Fort consists of two Redoubts -- at a distance of about two hundred yeards from each other, and join'd by a Pallisade towards the land; the lower Redoubt was called the Lower Fort and the other leading to the Lake was called the Upper Fort. The walls of the Fort was Earth, with Embrassures for about twenty Guns, but how many was mounted when taken by the Rebels in Nov. '75, I cannot determine, tho' it made a good defence, considering the numbers to defend it, which was three Companys of the 7th Regiment, and did not exceed one hundred and ten Men, and the force of the Rebels against it was five thousand, with a good Train of Artillery; the [Page 44 / Page 45] Rebels entirely destroyed this Fort likewise, but Government has ordered it to be rebuilt, on a fresh Construction, and will certainly be a strong place; two hundred and fifth Artificers are employ'd in building Arm'd Vessels, Batteaux &c. After the Sun has began his retreat from the Tropic of Cancer there is terrible Thunder and Lightning, with heavy Rain here, and continues frequent till near the Autumnal Equinox.

24th July a party consisting a two Subaltern officers, twelve Men of the Light Infantry with a few Indians, and Canadian Militia, proceeded up the River toward the Lake; the 25th they fell in with a detach'd party of the Rebels on the Lake, about fifty Miles from Crown point, after firing about six rounds the Rebels surrender'd. Their party consisted of one Captain, one Lieutenant, and thirty Men; we had an Indian kill'd and one man wounded who is since dead; the Rebels had one Man kill'd and one wounded, who is since dead. The Captain who commanded the above party of Rebels was an Irishman, his Name Wilson. On the 16th July a party of the Rebels consisting of one Lieutenant, and three privates, under the direction of a Canadian, came from Crown Point on an enterprise; it is supposed that they came thro' our Camp in disguise, for on the 25th July as Generl Gordon was returning from our Camp (where he had been on a visit) to Laprairie, he was fired at and wounded by a Man from a Tree, who prov'd to be the Lieutenant of the above party; as we are since informed by one of the party, whom we have taken prisoner. General Gordon died of his wounds, 30th July.

10th August we left the Camp at St. Johns, and proceeded up the River about fifteen Miles to the Isle aux Noix.

This Isle was well fortified by the French last war, and had a Boom across the River in order to stop our entrance into Canada, after the reduction of Tyconderoga and Crown Point. I could not but notice the Inscription on a Tombstone in this Island, which is as follows;

'Beneath this humble sodLieCaptain AdamsLieutenant Culberson&Two privates of the 6th PensivaniaReg't.Not HirelingsBut Patriots

The fell not in battle, but unarmed, They were basely murdered, and inhumanly scalp'd by the barbarous emissaries of the once just, but now abandon'd Kingdom of Britain..


Sons of America rest in quiet here
Britania blush, Burgoyne let fall a tear
And tremble Europe sons with savage ease [sic] [ed. note - in original]
Death and Revenge awaits you with discrace.'

The above Provincials were scalped by an advanc'd party of our Indians on the 20th Ju ne after they left St. Johns, about three Miles from this place.

3rd September sixteen arm'd vessels and four hundred Batteaux, fill'd with Rebels appear'd off Point au Fer, the entrance into Lake Champlain from the Northward. [Page 45 / Page 46]

15th Sept'r in the Evening Lieut. Scott of the Light Infantry of the 24th Reg't went up the River to reconoitre the Rebels, with six Indians only : the 16th at daybreak, they saw a party of the Rebels consisting of 18 Men disembarked from a Batteau ; they surprised them as they were cutting Wood, kill'd 15 on the spot, the other three escap'd into the Woods; notwithstanding the Rebels fired from their arm'd Vessels, they escap'd unhurt.

26th Sept'r we remov'd to the River Lacole, seven Miles from the Isle aux Noix.

5th October our Squadron sail'd from the River La Cole, same day arrived the Inflexible, a 20 Gun ship, the largest then ever known on the Lakes.

6th Oct'r our Corps remov'd to Point au Fer, twelve miles above La Cole.

10th Oct'r our little squadron sail'd from Point au Fer toward the upper or great Lake; about 12 o'clock on the 11th one of our arm'd boats espied their Fleet at Anchor in the Bay of Belcour. Our arm'd Boats immediately rush'd in amongst them and engag'd them without waiting for orders; the Carlton went to their assistance, and kept a continual firing until dark, during which time we destoy'd a schooner called the Royal Savage and greatly damaged another; unluckily for us, the wind chang'd and hindered the other part of our Squadron from giving the Carlton any assistance; had it not thus happen'd, in all probability, the Rebels whole fleet would have been destroy'd. Our loss consist in two Arm'd Boats been sunk; about ten men kill'd and sixteen wounded. The loss of the Rebels is not positively known.

I do justice to Capt'n Dacres, he behave'd like a true British Tar; he was engaged by five of them together, and when order'd to join his squadron he would not, till the General's own Boat came on Board with positive Orders to dissist.

The Rebels fleet consisted of sixteen sail of schooners, sloops and Row Galleys. The Rebels Anchor'd close under the Land, and our Indians did them considerable damage with their small arms from the shore.

13th October -- On the appearance of our Squadron before Crown point, the Rebels destroy'd the works, and quit it with precipitation. General Carleton was on board the Maria during the whole action, and the whole behav'd with the greatest perserverance and magnanimity.

14th Oct'r Embarked on board our Batteaux at Point au Fer.

17th Oct. arriv'd at Chimney Point opposite to Crown Point -- Lake Champlain is 92 miles long from Point au Fer in the North to Crown Point in the North to Crown Point in the South, and is interspers'd with numerous Islands, some of a large and others of a small extent. There is no settlement on the Lake except one till you come within twenty Miles of Crown Point and then not numerous. Crown point is a peninsula having three points or Capes, the westernmost point points [sic] directly down the Lake, and was fortified with a large redoubt, having four Curtains one on each Angle, the walls are Earth, rais'd to a great height, which entirely covers the buildings within; time has almost destroy'd the works, and I believe was never repair'd since taken from the French. A Barrack was building when it fell into [Page 46 / Page 47] the hands of the Rebels, which the defac'd as much as their hurry would permit, when they evacuated it.

The second point is almost three hundred yards to the east of the former, and was fortified with a small redoubt which time has render'd useless: the third point which is about the same distance from the second as the second is from the first, was fortified by the Rebels in a circular manner having various Curtains and Angles with a battery of five Guns in the middle rais'd so high as to command the whole plain before it; they had Huts built within the works for their officers, but they destroy'd both them [sic] and works when they left it.

The Commander in Chief having so order'd it that we should winter in Canada, we accordingly left Crown Point the 2nd Nov'r.

5th November arriv'd at Point au Fer.

22nd November our Regiment arriv'd at Winters quarters being canton'd along the south side of the River St. Lawrence, from Boucherville 8 miles along its Banks to the Eastward."

Source: Diary of Joshua Pell, Junior an Officer of the British Army in America 1776 - 1777 in The Magazine of American History with Notes and Queries Edited by John Austin Stevens, pp. 43-47 (NY & Chicago: Jan. 1878).

IN AMERICA 1776 - 1777
From the original in the possession of
James L. Onderdonk, Esq.
Part II

30th May [1777] the Advance Corps rendezvous'd at their several alarm posts.

3rd June, encamp'd on Hessians Farm opposite St. Johns.

5th June, left the camp at Hessians Farm; and arriv'd at Point au Fer early the morning of the 6th.

8th June, we left Point au Fer, arriv'd same Evening at the River Sable. This day arriv'd the Inflexible Captn Brown and a new Ship call'd the Royal George of 26 guns, Captn Lutwidge Cammander and Commodore of the Fleet employ'd on the Lake.

11th June arriv'd at River Bouquett.

17th June, an advanc'd party of our Indians, defeated a party of Rebels, near Tyconderoga, they kill'd four and took four prisoners.

23rd June left the River Bouquett arriv'd at Chimney Point 25th.

2nd July Captn Frasers Corps of Indians and Volunteers, engag'd a strong party of the Rebels before Tyconderoga, defeated them and drove them into their lines ; we had one Indian kill'd and five wounded, one Lieutenant and two Volunteers wounded. The Rebels had a Lieut and seven kill'd and eleven wounded.

3rd July we invested Tyconderoga.

6th July, the Rebels abandon'd it, the whole Army took Possession the same day. Part of the Advanced Corps took the Route same day for Hubbertown as did the British Brigades for Skanesborough. 7th July, Part of the Advance Corps came up with the Rebels at Hubberton, about six in the morning, very strongly posted ; the Rebels consisted of near two thousand, and form'd behind the inclosures, which in this Country are compos'd of large Trees, laid one upon the other and makes a strong breastwork : The advance Corps consisted of ten Company's of British Light Infantry, ten Comp'ys of the 24th Regiment, the whole amounted to no more than eight hundred men ; our Men form'd briskly, ascended the Hill within thirty yards of the Rebels and immediately began a brisk fire, which lasted one hour and half, three Companys of the Germans arriv'd time enough, to have a share in the action, and behav'd exceedingly well, particularly the Company of Chasseurs ; the Rebels was totally routed with great slaughter, they had one Colonel kill'd a Francis who commanded ; with sundry inferior Officers, and two hundred men, we took a Colonel Hale prisoner with many other Officers, and Men, amounting to more than three hundred, the Number of the enemy's wounded must be considerable, tho' not properly ascertain'd, as the later part of the engagement was in a Wood, and many [Page 107 / Page 108] must have languish'd of their wounds, it being impossible to find them. On our part we had a Major Grant, one Capt., two Lieuts killed ; and two Majors, Earl Belcarras & Ackland, four Captains, eight Lieutenants, wounded, two serjeants, twenty four Rank and File kill'd ; ten serjeants, one hundred and nine Rank and File wounded : The Germans had two kill'd one Lieutenant & twenty two wounded. The Rebels hearing that our Army was advancing towards Skeansborough, quit it with precipitation, leaving the greatest part of their Bagage behind them. Colonel Hill with the ninth Regiment only, came up with them near Fort Anne on the 8th engag'd & defeated them, tho' they were six times his number ; in consequence of these successes we are become Masters of all their Artillery, stores and baggage &c. and all the Country beyond Fort Anne; Captn Carter of the Artillery, with part of the Gun-boats took two of their arm'd Vessels, destroyed three and all their Batteaux.

22nd July left Skeneborough, arriv'd at Fort Anne 24th.

26th we left Fort Anne. 28th arriv'd at Kingsboro two Miles from Fort Edward.

27th July in the night, the Rebels abandoned Fort Edward.

30th July we remov'd to the height one mile on the other side Fort Edward near the Road leading to Albany, the Rebels advanc'd post one mile in our front. Same evening the Indians, and Jessop's Corps of American Volunteers, attack'd their advanc'd post, and drove them on the other side of Hudson's River with the loss of one Man only. Same Night the whole Rebel Army retreated ; such is the natural bravery of our Indians, for they know nothing of the Art of War, they put their Arms into a Canoe, and swim over the River, pushing the Canoe before them, and many of them carried their Fuzees in their mouths, with their powder horns ty'd upon their Heads.

3rd August a party of Indians and American Volunteers, went on a Scout, they fell in with an advanc'd Guard of the Rebels, consisting of three hundred Men (under the command of a Major), at sunrise on the 4th the Rebels were defeated with the loss of four kill'd (amongst whom was the Major) and seven Prisoners ; same Day another party of our Indians defeated a body of the Rebels and kill'd eleven of them.

13th August a party of about five hundred and fifty Men consisting of Fraser's Company of Volunteers, Phrestors Company of Provincials, Indians and Canadians, Chasseurs, General Redizel's Dragoons dismounted, mov'd toward Bennington.

14th Mov'd to Batten Kill.

15th Mov'd to Saratoga, the West Side Hudson's River.

16th The Rebels consisting of 4000 attack'd our party who had march'd the 13th near St. Coicks Mills, and totally defeated them, and took four pieces of Cannon, two three, and two six pounders : The Redizel Dragoons who consisted of 170 before the engagement, only five return'd; and of Fifty Chasseurs, one serjeant and fourteen return'd; and of one hundred and sixty Indians, thirty only return'd ; this little army was commanded by Lieut. Colonel [Page 108 / Page 109] Baume entirely at the desire of General Redizel, and everything was expected (that was designed) from this expedition.

18th August repass'd Hudson's River to Batten Kill.

14th Septr we passed Hudson River to Fish Kill, a small Rivulet, running from Lake Saratoga to Hudson's River near Schuyler's House.

15th Septr mov'd to Devogot.

17th Mov'd to Swords Farm.

18th A scout of the Rebels attacked a party of our men, who were unarm'd gathering Roots about one mile from Camp, they kill'd and carrid off several prisoners.,

19th Septr Mov'd from Swords Farm ; about one oclock the Piquetts of the Line fell in with the Advance Guard of the Rebels, consisting of three hundred Rifle Men under the command of a Captain they engag'd about half an hour, when they retreated the Captain with twelve men were made prisoners.

About two o'clock the 9th, 20th, 21st and 62nd Regiments were engaged by the Rebels near Freeman's Farm, they was strongly posted in a wood with a deep Ravine in their front, the fire was so hot upon the 20th, 21st and 62nd that they broke, but by the spirited behavior of their Officers were immediately rallied, and drove them from them. Major Agnew with the 24th Regt advanc'd into the wood, in order to flank them ; on the first onset the Rebels retired in confusion, but the fire from the line having abated considerably at this time, and the Rebels finding their left Flank in danger, poured a strong force upon this Regt which caused them to retire about one hundred yards behind an inclosure in a grass field; the Rebels fought bravely in the woods, but durst not advance one Inch toward the Open Field.

The 24th Battalion received orders to file off by the left, they took the wood before them firing after them own manner from behind Trees, and twice repuls'd their repeated reinforcements without any assistance ; The before mention'd Regiments and a Body of Germans arriv'd time enough with two pieces of Cannon to share in the defeat of the third attack. At half past 5 o'clock General Arnold with a detachment of 1500 men, advanc'd on our right, the Battalion of Grenadiers was very opportunely posted there, gave the Rebels two Volleys, which made them retreat in confusion. The firing totally ceas'd about half past six o'clock.

The Rebels were in general drunk, a piece of the policy of their General in order to make them fight.

The Artillery under Captain Jones behav'd remarkably well as likewise the whole of the Army that was engag'd.

We had four Captains, nine subalterns, eleven sergeants, two hundred and nineteen Rank and File kill'd; Two Lieut Colos, two Majors, seven Captains, thirteen subalterns, six Sergeants, four hundred Rank and file wounded. The loss of the Rebels is not positively ascertain'd, for as their Detachments retreated, they carried off as many of their kill'd and wounded as they could, they left about three hundred dead in the Field. We lay on our Arms all Night as we had done the two preceeding ones; on the 20th in the afternoon we form'd [Page 109 / Page 110] Battalia from Hudson's river on our left to Freeman's Farm on our Right two Miles, we lay on our Arms this night likewise, and in the Morning of the 21st pitch'd our Tents; our Piquets and advanced guards were frequently skirmishing till the 7th Oct.

On the 7th Oct, detachments from the Army were order'd to parade at 10 o'clock consisting of Captn Frasers Co. of Marksmen.

These detachments mov'd according to order, by the right in three Columns : Light Infantry and 24th Regiment with Bremens Corps form'd the Column of the Right with two six pounders, taking their route thro' the Wood on the Right of Freemans Farm.

The Grenadiers and Regiment of Hesse Hanau, form'd the Center Column with two twelve pounders, and two eight inch Howitzers marching thro' the open Field; The Detachments of the Line, with the Canadian Volunteers and Provincials form'd the Column of the left marching thro' the wood where the engagement on the 19th September was fought; about 3 o'clock a body of Rebels march'd out of their Lines (which assured us they had intelligence of our being in motion) toward our right, and another under cover of a Wood, mov'd toward our twelve pounders rather to their left we form'd as follows: The Light Infantry with their Right occupying a height, next the 24th Regiment, and Bremens Corps on their left which form'd the right face, one hundred yards distance from the twelve pounders ; Then the Regiment of Hesse Hanau, next the Battalion of British Grenadiers, on their left the Detachments of the Line, Provincials Canadians and Frasers Marksmen which form'd the left face.

About four o'clock the Action became very hot upon the Regiment of Hesse Hanau and the British Grenadiers. The 24th Regt. was order'd to move to the left of the British Grenadiers; on seeing the reinforcement the Rebels retreated, the Body that march'd towards our Right, and was commanded by Major Genl. Arnold march'd thro' the Wood, on the right of the height occupied by the Light Infantry until he came in front of Bremens Lines, which he reconnoitred and finding them weakly man'd he immediately storm'd and carried them; on which we were ordered to retreat to our Line. The Number of the Rebels engaged were six thousand, in two columns, as above mentioned, under the command of Lincoln and Arnold.

On our retreating the whole rush'd from their Lines and began a very spirited attack upon ours which was bravely defended by the British, and Night coming on, put an end to the Action. We lost the two twelve pounders and four six pounders; we had Brigadier Genl. Fra- [Page 110 / Page 111] ser, Lieut. Colonel Bremen, two Captains, seven subalterns, five Sergeants, one hundred and sixty Rank and file killed : Majors Ackland and Williams, with two Captains, eight subalterns, sixteen serg'ts, seven Drumrs two hundred and thirty four Rank and file prisoners.

In the Night about one o'clock we struck Tents and retreated to the heights on our left, near Hudson's River; on the 8th about seven o'clock a large body of Rebels advanc'd towards us along the River side. A Cannonade immediately began in about half an hour, they retreated, leaving a party to cover two six-pounders which continued to play without doing any damage, except killing one Artillery man, and a horse; about Noon we dismounted one of their guns, on which they drew off the other, and retreated; at sunset they began a fresh cannonade, which ceas'd with the day, doing no damage. We retreated again this night, and arriv'd on the heights of Devogot about 8 o'clock on the morning of the 9th having intelligence that a body of Rebels was advancing to harass our Rear, we again began to retreat, and arriv'd at Fishkill about seven o'clock, which we immediately cross'd, and took post on the height of Saratoga.

On the 10th the Rebels advance party made their appearance the other side of Fish Kill, on a small hill near Schuyler's House; the 24th Battalion being posted close to the River, had a Captain and six Men wounded by their Riflemen, who fired from the tops of Trees of the other side.

A disposition was made for retreating this evening, but advice being receiv'd that the Rebels were in possession of the heights of Fort Edward, which commanded the Ford of the River; the retreat was countermanded.

General Burgoyne was astonished when he heard the Rebels were in possession of the above mentioned heights; the manner they effected it was as follows: --

When the Militia of Massachusetts Bay receiv'd orders to join General Gates, those who had horses (to ease themselves of the fatigue of the journey) took them with them; on the 9th Genl. Gates gave orders for the assembling all the horses of that Army (Artilley horses excepted) a detachment of one thousand Men was order'd likewise to assemble at sunset the same evening, with two pieces of Cannon, he order'd two men to mount each horse, and one each of those that drew the cannon.

Brigadier Fellows commanded this detachment, and his orders were to march on the east side of the River, pass the British Army that night, and take possession of the heights of Fort Edward, before he stopt, which he effected early the morning of the 10th; the distance is about twenty-six miles.

On the 11th we saw Body's of the Rebels marching and taking possession of the heights opposite to us on the east side of the River Hudson.

On the 12th frequent cannonading and skirmishing; commanding officers of Regiments were sent for by General Burgoyne, to know what a face their Regiments bore. The answer of the British, they would fight to a Man. The German officers returned to their Regiments, to know the disposition of their Men; they answer'd 'nix the money, nix the rum, nix fighten.' [Page 111 / Page 112]

The British Regiments being reduced in number to about nineteen hundred, and having no dependence on the Germans; General Burgoyne on the 13th October open'd a treaty with Major Genl. Gates."

Source: Diary of Joshua Pell, Junior an Officer of the British Army in America 1776 - 1777 in The Magazine of American History with Notes and Queries Edited by John Austin Stevens, pp. 107-12 (NY & Chicago: Feb. 1878).

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