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Posted on: November 1st, 2016 by hauleymusic No Comments

There was a young Indian of the tribe of friendly
Indians who had a kind of straggling quarters
amongst us. He was passionately fond of music,
but good for nothing but to steal, lie and to do
mischief of all kinds. He came very near being
the instrument to deprive me of my right arm all
my life, if not of my life itself.

I and another fifer had gone into Lancaster one
night and did not return until a late hour. As we
were returning to our quarters, this Indian came
running after us. He had a box of case knives
and forks which he had stolen out of a gentle-
man’s house in Lancaster. We knew they were
stolen and we began to scold him in order to
make him carry them back again. He went off
from us and we thought he had gone to do as
we had bid him; but it appeared he carried
them into the barracks and hid them under the

On the next morning a complaint was made
and at roll call a search was instituted. In
making the search, the box was found hidden
under the floor. This Indian was immediately
arrested and put into the guard house. We
having had to pass the sentinel late the night
before, were of course known by him and he
had named us as having come in at a late hour
the night previous and about the same time
that the Indian had returned. We were
consequently arrested and placed in the guard
house also.

We being put into the same guard room with
the Indian, I began to curse him and perhaps
struck him or struck at him for bringing us into
the difficulty and for causing us to be thus
unjustly dealt with and unhappily situated.
He snatched up his tomahawk and “let slip”
at me, and sunk it into my right arm at the
elbow joint. Some of the prisoners caught hold
of his tomahawk and wrestled it out of his hand,
or likely he would have repeated the blow. The
prisoners pulled off my coat quickly and when
they stripped up my shirt sleeve in order to look
at the gash, they found that he had sunk the
tomahawk into the joint and severed it and
discovered also that the joint water was running
out of the wound. A chain and a fifty-six was
immediately fastened to one of his legs and this
he had to carry about with him wherever he
moved to within the room or out of it.

In the course of a few days we had our trial and
as nothing could be proved against us, and in
consequence of his having confessed that he had
stolen them himself and said we had not been with
him. we were both acquitted and discharged
immediately. This Indian thief was then tried and
sentenced to receive fifty lashes on his bared back
and to be drummed out and away from the
barracks. The first part of his sentence was
executed and then the guard with fifers and
drummers led by a Corporal, escorted him out and
off some distance, playing and beating the Rogue’s
March after him.

I recollect that sometime previous to his having
stolen the box of knives and forks, he had been
caught stealing chickens from a man that lived
in Lancaster. This man missed chickens often
and in order to detect and secure the thief, he
had conceived the idea of doing so by the use
of the following means:

He fastened the one end of a cord to the legs
of one of the fowls in the hen roost and passed
the cord into his bedroom and attached a bell
to that end at the head of his bead. Hearing the
bell jingle very loud one night, he jumped out of
his bed and ran to his hen roost and captured
our Indian who turned to be the thief that
had so often borne away his chickens. As soon
as he caught him he commenced giving him a
most unmerciful flogging which he had to stand
and take, after which he drove him off.

In a few days alter, the officers heard of it and
would have flogged him for stealing, but
considering that the owner had constituted the
whole court—witness, judge, jury and
executioner—and had let him off. He had not
come to the barracks to complain against him
and they let him slip at that time. I saw this
Indian after the Revolutionary War was ended,
in Philadelphia where he was acting in the
capacity of a boss or journeyman chimney

Having caught cold in my arm, it swelled to
an enormous size and caused the right breast
to be very much swollen also. The doctors
ordered it to be poulticed often. They would
come and look at it, but they did nothing for
me and it became worse instead of better.
They came one evening and consulted with
one another and the result of their conference
was that my arm must come off. They agreed
to meet next morning for the purpose of
cutting it off.

An elderly lady who was present and who
lived not far off, expressed her regret that a
hearty young lad such as I was, should lose
my arm. She persuaded me to go home with
her, promising me at the same time that she
would take care of me and do all that she
could for me, stating also, that she knew she
could cure me and do all that she could for
me, stating also, that she knew she could
cure it.

I went home with her that evening, which,
had I not done, would have undoubtedly
subjected me to the loss of an arm on the
next morning. The first thing she did
was to get water and filled a large kettle.
She brought it to a boiling heat with which
she filled a large tub and steeped a parcel
of herbs in it. She then placed me in a
sitting posture over the tub, covering me
well with blankets. After steaming and
sweating me in this way for a long time,
she then put me to bed. She anointed my
arm with grease or oil of some kind and
rubbed it well. She then made up a large
poultice of leaven and applied to it. By
the next morning the swelling had drawn
down so much to my hand, that my
fingers nearly bursted asunder. In the
course of a short time, she scattered all
the swelling and healed the cut at the

This good old lady was a great blessing
to me through my after life up to the
present time and this will but terminate
with my life. It was providential that she
was thrown across my way at that
particular point of time, for (as I have
before stated), had she not visited me,
the doctors would have amputated it the
next morning as they had agreed to do.

Although my arm has been stiff ever since.
it never has hindered me to play the fife
providing that I always placed my fingers
over the holes of my fife before I would
put it to my mouth. There was an old man,
a camp doctor, at the barracks who was
passionately fond of music. Often after we
would get done beating the reveille. he
would ask us to go over to his quarters
and plan and beat awhile for his
amusement. He took quite a liking to me
and happening to notice me one morning
fixing my fingers upon the holes of my life
before I placed it to my mouth, and the
difficulty I labored under of bringing my
right hand up to my mouth. He asked the
Fife Major what was the cause of my
doing so. The Fife Major told him all about

The doctor then observed to me that had
I informed him of it long before, that he
could have done something for me and
would have given me some stuff that
would have made it supple, but that now
he could do no more than strengthen it.
He said he would give ma a stuff that
would make it stronger than the other. He
took me in and placed a plaster upon it,
some of which was still on it at the end
of three months after he put it on. The old
doctor I believe made good his word,
for my right arm has been a great deal
stronger than the left ever since.

The British prisoners were sent off to some
military post not now recollected. As
I did not accompany the detachment
sent with them, I am the less able to
remember to what point they were
removed to.

After they had started, I frequently amused
myself with a bow and arrows, in
shooting at rats in the stockades.
This kind of sport I enjoyed very well.
One day I shot one which was nearly the
size of a cat. I had shot my arrow through
his body and he bit off the arrow. I
followed him up and finally clubbed him
to death. There were millions and tens of
millions of fleas in the cellars. I have very
often rolled up my trousers above my
knees and ran down into the cellars and
up again as hard as I could “heel it,” and
my legs would be so covered as to be
black with them. When I would run out of
the cellars I would take my hands and
push them down along my legs as a
person would stockings, and then clear
myself as fast as I could to some
distance from them. This besides being
sport for myself, was fine fun for lookers

On the return of the American troops
(sent off with the British prisoners),
Captain Steake’s company was ordered
to march on to Reading to take charge of
the Hessian prisoners that laid there and
march them off to Elizabethtown Point in
Jersey in order that an exchange of
prisoners should be made with the British.
Pat Coner, drummer. and myself, fifer, to
Captain Steake’s company had to
accompany them. All things being in
readiness, we marched off with the tune
of “Over the Hills and Far Away.”

when upon the march to Reading, we
halted one day at a tavern about noon.
Our officers they took their dinners and
grog at the tavern, whilst we sat down
and took a bite such as we had out in
front of the house. After we had finished
eating our cold hunger “check,” I walked
out a little distance from the rest of the
company. Whilst reconnoitering, I
espied a fine looking peacock sitting
upon the top of the barn. Ogling his
beautiful feathers, I thought that I must
have some of them.

I could throw a finger stone to a certain
distance at a mark with almost as much
precision as I could shoot a rifle ball. I
searched around and found a stone that
I thought would suit my purpose exactly.
So “letting slip” at him I hit him as near
as might be to the spot I wanted to “tap”
him and he came tumbling down along
the roof of the barn and fell to the ground.
I ran and caught him before he was able
to recover himself and pulled out his
splendid feathers. These I doubled and
rolled up as tenderly and nicely as I
could so as not to break them, and then
stowed them away in my knapsack. I
had but just finished my business of
plucking, when I was called to beat up
the Long Roll. We set out immediately on
the march again and I never sent a doc-
tor back to see how the poor patient
peacock fared in his short tail ailment.

We marched to within three miles of
Reading that afternoon and remained
until the next morning. Before we
resumed our march in the morning,
we were ordered each man to put on
clean clothes with which we had
provided ourselves before we started
out from Lancaster. I divided my
peacock feathers with Pat Coner and
we decorated our caps in fine style
with peacock plumes. They were much
admired by the officers and men, but
none of them knew where they had been
procured. and I, not choosing to tell tales
out of school, did not take the trouble
to inform them.

All being in readiness we took up the
line of march for Reading. When we
crossed the bridge over the Schuylkill
and was about to enter the town I struck
up the air called “The Boyne Water.”
The streets everywhere were filled with
people, and as that place had been my
old home, I could overhear some that
knew me say as we marched through
the town, “There goes little Sam
Dewees.” “Look there fellows, there’s
little Sam Dewees,” etc. At this time I
must have been tvventy-one or two but
very small for my age.

After we had marched through the town
we were led up near to where the
prisoners laid and were billeted that night.
As soon as we were dismissed, one of
my old comrades who lived about three
miles from Reading stepped up and took
me by the hand. He invited me to go home
with him and stay all night. I told him I
could not go. He insisted on my
accompanying him. l then told him I durst
not go without the permission of my
officers and that I thought they would not
let me go were I to ask them.

He went to Captain Steake and plead so
hard with him that he at length
consented for me to go with him, but
told him that I must be back at the break of
day to play the‘Reveille and if not, I should
be punished.

I then went with him to his home where
meeting with others with whom I was
acquainted. I was quite happy indeed. I
played the fife for their amusement a long
while. Being quite merry, (girls and boys),
we enjoyed ourselves very well and sat
up singing and playing the fife until a very
ate or rather an early hour, forwe did
not retire to bed until it was nearly two
o’clock in the morning. Owing to this, we
all overslept ourselves.

When I awoke it was broad day light. I up
and ran as swiftly as I could and not
without trembling with fear, for I thought
of the punishments I had seen inflicted at
Carlisle Barracks for trivial offenses.
Notwithstanding the haste I made, I had
the mortification when I arrived at the
billeting ground to behold the company
in line and upon parade. The Captain
brandished his sword about and gave
me a few curses for disobeying orders
and then told me to “fall in.” This was a
signal to me that a pardon was granted
and that it was all over for this time.
The order of “fall in” relieved me

We then marched to where the Hessian
prisoners lay. Our company then divided
and formed a line on each side of the
road. The prisoners were then placed in
the centre, a guard in front and another
in the rear. The officers and music
preceding the front guard. In this order
we set out on the march and continued
to play until we were ordered to march
at ease.

After this we had good times, for there
was a “band” among the prisoners and
our officers allowed it to play during
our march. Owing to this. we had to
play but very little all the way.

Nothing of any great consequence
transpired from the time we set out
from Reading until we arrived at
Elizabethtown Point. We did not
remain long at the latter place but
returned back immediately to
Lancaster rejoicing. When we
arrived at Lancaster we found that
the soldiers we had left there when
we marched away had all drawn
three months pay and their
discharge too. Then every man
went to his home or where he
pleased to go until settlement day.
The place appointed for settlement
was in Philadelphia. I was among
the first that entered the army in
1776 after Independence was
declared, and now among the last
discharged. As soon as I received
my discharge I went on to Poplar
Neck within three miles of Reading
and hired with a Mr. Lewis, who
was a brother to my old master,
and at that place I remained until
the settlement day (Paris Peace
Treaty) was approaching. I then
set out for Philadelphia.