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General Arnold, in the autumn of 1779, and it was here that his infamous treason was consummated. Suitable measures were taken, after the discovery of his treachery, to secure it.
In July, 1779, a party of Indians and tories, under Brant, made an attack on the village of Minisink, burning ten houses and several other buildings, and killing and capturing a number of the inhabitants. Those who were able to escape fled to Goshen; where the militia of that and the adjacent towns soon collected, to pursue the enemy, and recapture the prisoners and spoils.
Aware of the subtle character of his foe, Colonel Tusten, their commander, opposed the pursuit, until a larger force should be collected; but his prudent foresight was regarded as cowardice, and it was decided to proceed immediately. The wary Brant had expected pursuit; and, when he ascertained that the militia were approaching, he stationed a part of his troops in ambuscade in such a position, as to enable him to surround them.
Thus hemmed in by a superior force, this unfortunate band fought bravely, but in vain; death met them on every side; and of about 180 men, in the full vigor of life, who started upon that expedition, but thirty escaped from the tomahawks of the enemy. Most of these were from the principal families of the county. Goshen, in particular, suffered severely; forty-four of her best citizens being slain. A monument was erected to their memory on the anniversary of the battle, July 22, 1822.
The American army, never well supplied, either with food or clothing, during the revolution, were, at its close, in a state of great destitution. They were paid in a depreciated and almost worthless currency, and the apathy of congress, in delaying to make suitable provisions to reward their toils and sacrifices, disposed them to revolt.
To prevent so dangerous an event, and at the same time to secure justice for his suffering troops, Washington remained with them in winter quarters at Newburgh, during the winter of 1782-3. The house which he occupied, as his head quarters, is yet standing, and is now the residence of the Hasbrouck family.
The officers of the army, early in the winter, addressed a memorial to congress, stating their necessities, and asking for just compensation. Early in March, 1783, a communication was received from their committee, informing them that their requests had not been granted.
On the 10th of March, an anonymous notice was circulated, calling a meeting of the officers on the following day, “to see what measures should be adopted to obtain that redress of grievances which they seem to have solicited in vain."
The same day an anonymous paper, written with extraordinary ability, and admirably calculated to excite the passions and rouse the indignation of the officers, against the continental congress, was put in circulation.
The writer,-professing to be himself a sharer in their sufferings, depicted, in strong terms, their deplorable condition, and the shameful negligence of congress; and exhorted them “to suspect the man who would advise to more moderation and longer forbearance,” to threaten the congress in the event of peace, with civil war-and, if war continued, with an abandonment of their country to its fate.
This eloquent, but dangerous paper (written, as was subsequently ascertained, by Major John Armstrong, afterward secretary of war, at the instigation of General Gates,) had well nigh produced the most serious consequences. It required all Washington's prudence and firmness to check the rising spirit of rebellion incited by it.
To prevent the ill effects of a meeting, assembling under the influence of so much excitement, he issued a general order, disapproving of the meeting on the 11th, and calling one on the 15th of March.
The anonymous writer seized on this incident, to address another letter to the officers,* insinuating that the commander-inchief sympathized in their views, and was only restrained, by motives of delicacy, from openly expressing that sympathy.
This opinion Washington labored privately to remove, by conversation with the officers, and, at the meeting on the 15th, General Gates being in the chair, he openly canvassed the propositions contained in the anonymous address, showed their folly and wickedness, and so far changed the current of popular opinion, that the officers voted unanimously, that they viewed with abhorrence, and would reject with disdain, the infamous propositions” contained in that address. Thus narrowly did the country escape the horrible calamity of anarchy and civil war.
VILLAGES. NEWBURGH, the larger of the two shire villages of the county, was first settled by German emigrants, in 1701, and named by them from Newburgh, in Germany. The bank of the Hudson, on which it is situated, is quite steep, rising 300 feet in a short distance. When seen from the river, the village presents a fine appearance.
It has many neat public and private buildings, and considerable trade; although a portion of that, which formerly centred here, now reaches New York by the New York and Erie railroad, and the Delaware and 'Hudson canal. Two or three
• This and the preceding address are usually termed the “Newburgh letters.”
steamboats, and several sloops and schooners, ply regularly between the village and New York. It has a flourishing academy, a high school, and two female seminaries.
In the village and town, are eighteen or twenty manufactories. The steam cotton mill, at the village, is said, in extent and perfection, to equal any single cotton mill in the United States. Population aboui 6000.
Goshen, the other half-shire village, is justly celebrated for the product of its dairies. The New York and Erie railroad passes through it. The Farmer's Hall academy is a flourishing chartered institution, and has a female seminary connected with it. Population about 1000.
Middletown, in the town of Wallkill, is a new and flourishing village, on the line of the railroad. It has a large iron foundry. Population about 1400.
West Point, in the town of Cornwall, is worthy of notice, not only for its important fortress, to which we have already adverted, but as the seat of the United States Military Academy, established here, in March, 1802. The object of this institution, is to prepare young men for officers in the army.
The course of instruction is very thorough, the discipline rigid, and the examinations severe. The months of July and August, in each year, are devoted solely to military exercises ; for which purpose, the cadets leave their barracks, and encamp in tents on the plain, under the regular police and discipline of an army, in time of war.
The course of study comprises, the Latin and French languages, an extended course of mathematice, civil engineering, and the art of fortification. The term of study is four years; and so rigorous are the examinations and discipline, that only about one third of those who enter, complete the course of study, and graduate. The number of instructors is thirty-four; of cadets, about 250. They are entirely supported by the United States government.
Three monuments have been erected here; one to the memory of the Polish hero Kosciusko, whose garden is still shown on the premises; another to Colonel Wood, an early graduate of the institution, who fell at the sortie of Fort Erie, in 1814; and a third, to the deceased officers and cadets of the academy. Population of the village, about 900.:
Canterbury, in the town of Cornwall, and Montgomery, in the town of the same name, are thriving villages, and are engaged, to some extent, in manufactures.
Walden, in Montgomery, is a manufacturing village. Chester, in the town of the same name, is a noted mart for the sale of live stock. Here, too, is an academy of some reputation.
XI. MONTGOMERY COUNTY.
Valulation, 1845, $3,696,270.
TOWNS. 1. Canajoharie, 1788.
6. Minden, 1798. 2. Charleston, 1788.
7. Glen, 1823. 3. Palatine, 1788.
8. Root, 1823. 4. Amsterdam, 1793.
9. Mohawk, 1837. 5. Florida, 1793.
10. St. Johnsville, 1837. Mountains. JJ. Au Sable Range. e. Anthony's Nose. f. Flint
Hill. j. Otsquaga Hills.
Cayaduta. c. Bowman's or Canajoharie. d. Otsquaga. h. East
Canada. i. Garoga.
BOUNDARIES. North by Fulton; East by Saratoga and Schenectady ; South by Schenectady, Schoharie and Otsego; and West by Herkimer, counties.
SURFACE. Hilly and somewhat mountainous. The valley of the Mohawk forms the central portion of the county, while on the north and south, the hills attain a considerable elevation. The Au Sable range enters the county from the north, and forms, on the banks of the Mohawk, the peak known as Anthony's Nose. Crossing the river, this range terminates in the town of Root.
Flint hill occupies the southeastern part, bordering on Sche
nectady county. In the southwest are the Otsquaga hills. The valleys of the Mohawk, and some of its tributaries, spread out in fertile alluvial plains or flats.
RIVERS. The county is well watered. The Mohawk river, East Canada, Schoharie, Bowman's, Otsquaga, Garoga and Cayaduta creeks, are the principal streams.
CANALS AND RAILROADS. The Erie canal runs along the south side of the Mohawk, and the Utica and Schenectady railroad upon the north.
The CLIMATE resembles that of the valley of the Mohawk generally. It is mild and healthful.
GEOLOGY AND MINERALS. The surface rocks of this county ‘all belong to the transition formation. In the southern part, the Lorraine shales, and Hudson river group, (the Taconic system of Prof. Emmons,) are predominant. Along the Mohawk, the Utica slate prevails, and is accompanied by a narrow tract of the Trenton limestone. North of this, the Onondaga salt rocks are seen on the surface.
Pearl spar, calc spar, sulphate of barytes, calcareous tufa, brown spar, quartz crystals, agate, chalcedony, garnet, sulphurets of zinc and lead, and oxide of titanium, are the principal minerals. As yet, none of these have been obtained in sufficient quantities to be of any practical value. In the town of Root, is a large cavern, called Mitchell's cave, containing fourteen apartments, some of them 500 feet below the surface, and profusely adorned with stalactites and stalagmites.
SOIL AND VEGETABLE PRODUCTIONS. The soil is generally productive, consisting of a gravelly or clayey loam, frequently mingled with disintegrated lime or slate. Grass and grains of all descriptions flourish. The forests are composed chiefly of oak, beech, ash, maple, and hemlock.
Pursuits. Agriculture is the leading pursuit of the inhabitants. Considerable grain is raised, and much attention paid to the products of the dairy.
The manufactures of the county are limited, consisting mainly of flour, distilled liquors, leather, and woollen goods.
The commerce of the county is confined to the transportation of its produce upon the Erie canal, and the Utica and Schenectady railroad.
STAPLE PRODUCTIONS. Oats, corn, barley, potatoes, butter, cheese and wool.
Schools. In 1846, there were in the county 118 public schools, with 8604 scholars. The annual term of instruction in these schools averaged nine months, and the amount expended for tuition was $15,369. The district libraries contained 18,043 volumes.
There were also in the county, eleven select schools, with 135 pupils; threo academies, and one female seminary, with 214 students.