The Adventures Of A Revolutionary Soldier
(1830) is an eyewitness account of the American War of Independence as seen by a common soldier, Joseph Plumb Martin
Martin participated in the war from his enlistment in the spring of 1776, through the bitter struggle for survival at Valley Forge, and on to the decisive victory at Yorktown in 1783. His account includes harrowing accounts of a number of battles, but is most notable for the great variety of incidents that mark a soldier's life in wartime: bouts of dysentery and yellow fever; inoculation for smallpox; marching and hauling equipment; tracking down deserters; outbreaks of mischief; and above all the constantly recurring fight to ward off hunger, which at one point brought his company to the verge of mutiny. Martin expresses, with equal eloquence, both his pride in serving his country and his indignation at the neglect from which his fellows suffered.
The account was published anonymously in 1830, and although its content has been republished in many forms since then, the original was thought lost to history. In the mid-1950s, a first edition copy of the narrative was found and donated to Morristown National Historical Park, and the original text is now available again in print.
… I found most of the male kind of the people together; soldiers for Boston were in requisition. A dollar deposited upon the drum head was taken up by some one as soon as placed there, and the holder's name taken, and he enrolled, with orders to equip himself as quick as possible. My spirits began to revive at the sight of the money offered; the seeds of courage began to sprout; for, contrary to my knowledge, there was a scattering of them sowed, but they had not as yet germinated; I felt a strong inclination, when I found I had them, to cultivate them. O, thought I, if I were but old enough to put myself forward, I would be the possessor of one dollar, the dangers of war to the contrary notwithstanding; but I durst not put myself up for a soldier for fear of being refused, and that would have quite upset all the courage I had drawn forth.
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"Laura Secord: A Study in Canadian Patriotism" (1907) by George Bryce.
A short, early text on Laura Secord, heroine to Canadians of the War of 1812. After the Americans invaded the Niagara Peninsula in 1813, they planned further invasions into Upper Canada; Secord overheard their plans, and stole away on 23 June to British-controlled territories to warn them. The British won against the invading Americans at the Battle of Beaver Dams the next day. This month includes the 200th anniversary of Secord's historic walk.
Rev. Dr. Bryce was the guest of the Canadian Club at their luncheon yesterday afternoon, and delivered an address on the gallant deed of Laura Secord, the heroine of 1812. A personal touch, as Professor Osborne, the chairman, remarked, was lent to the occasion by the presence at the luncheon of Mrs. Cockburn, a grand-daughter of Laura Secord.
Like the Rhenish frontier of Alsace and Lorraine, the banks of the Niagara river have for several centuries been the debatable land—the scene of conflict in North America. Long before the coming of the White man, Iroquois and Hurons; Sioux and Ojibways; Eries and Caughnawagas regarded the Niagara peninsula as the march-land between east and west. Its backbone of Burlington heights, the great gorge of Niagara, and its contiguous lakes Erie and Ontario gave scope for strategic movements in war far exceeding the plains of Flanders.
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Featured June 2013