Learning About New York Part IX

 

Kosciusko's Monument.

On the river bank, where the Hudson turns suddenly to the south, about thirty rods from the hotel, stands the monument of Kosciusko, erected in 1829 by the corps of cadets, at an expense of $5,000. In the vicinity of the monument is a small plateau, on the side of the precipice leading to the river, known as "Kosciusko's Garden," to which the Polish chieftain was accustomed to retire for study and reflection.

The monument in memory of Major Dade and his command is situated on the high and precipitous banks of the Hudson, a little below the edge of the parade ground, south from the Kosciusko monument. The following is the inscription:

Maj. Dade, Fourth Infantry; Capt. Gardiner, Second Artillery; Capt. Frazer, Second Artillery; Lieut. Bassinger, Second Artillery; Lieut. Mudge, Third Artillery; Lieut. Keais, Third Artillery; Lieut. Henderson, Second Artillery; Doctor Catlin, Medical Staff. Dade and his command. To commemorate the battle of the 28th Dec., 1835, between a detachment of 108 U. S. troops and the Seminole Indians of Florida, in which all the detachment save three fell without an attempt to retreat. The remains of the dead repose near St. Augustine, Florida. Erected by the three Regiments and Medical Staff, whose comrades fell on the twenty-eighth of December, 1835, serving their country and honoring their profession.

The following inscription is on a monument erected near the flag staff and parade ground:

To the memory of Lieut. Colonel E. D. WOOD, of the Corps of Engineers, who fell while leading a charge at the sortie of Ft. Erie, Upper Canada, 17th September, 1814, in the 31st year of his age. He was exemplary as a Christian, and distinguished as a soldier. A pupil of this institution, he died an honor to his country. This memorial was erected by his friend and commander, Major-General Jacob Brown.

The following inscriptions are copied from monuments in the West Point graveyard:

To the memory of Ensign Dominick Trant, of the 9th Massachusetts Regiment, who departed this life the 7th day of Nov., 1782, in the 18th year of his age. This youth was a native of Cork, in Ireland, which place he quitted for a thirst of military glory, and an ardent desire to embrace the American cause. He died equally lamented as he was beloved whilst living by all who knew him.

The grave of Thomas Gimbrede, born in Agen, in France, in 1781; died at West Point, Dec. 24, 1832. For 14 years he was principal Teacher of Drawing in the U. S. Military Academy, discharging the duties of his station with advantage to the institution and with honor to himself. His pupils, the U. S. Corps of Cadets, have erected this monument to his memory, 1833.

Sacred to the memory of Lieut. Allen H. Norton, 4th U. S. Inf'y. Assistant Instructor Inf'y Tactics at the Military Academy, of which he was a graduate. He was lost in the wreck of the Atlantic in Long Island, Nov. 27, A. D., 1846, after repeated instances of self-devotion and generous efforts to save the lives of his companions in peril, aged 25 years. As an officer, his character secured the confidence of his commanders. As a man, the qualities of his heart won the ardent friendship of his comrades; and in token of regret for his untimely death this stone is raised over his remains by the officers, professors and cadets of the Military Academy.

Sacred to the remains of Lt. Col. Alex. R. Thompson, U. States 6th Infantry, born Feb. 19, 1793, fell Dec. 25, 1837, at the head of his regiment, in a successful charge, at the battle of Okee-cho-bee, Florida. With morals founded on Christian piety, his life was exemplary as his death was glorious. This monument is the joint tribute of his affectionate widow and admiring regiment. The son of a gallant officer of the revolutionary army whose remains lie interred near this spot, his devotion to country was the dictate of principle and example.

Tarrytown, West Chester county, a small village of about 1,000 inhabitants, is 28 miles north from New York, on the east side of the Hudson, on Tappan Bay. It is celebrated as the place of the capture of Maj. Andre, in 1780. Andre was executed at Tappan, on the opposite side of the Hudson, Oct. 2. His remains were disinterred, under the direction of Mr. Buchanan, the British consul at New York, in Aug., 1831, and conveyed to London. The following is from Holmes' Annals:

The most flagrant instance of treachery during the revolutionary war occurred this year. The American army was stationed in the strongholds of the highlands, on both sides of the North River. For the defense of this river, a fortress had been built at West Point, after the loss of Fort Montgomery, and it was so strong and impregnable as to be called the Gibraltar of America. Of this post General Arnold solicited the command, and General Washington, far from suspecting any sinister views in an officer who had been uniformly zealous and active in the cause of his country, complied with the solicitation. When Arnold had become invested with the command, he carried on a negotiation with Sir Henry Clinton, by which it was agreed that Arnold should make such a disposition of his forces as would enable the British general effectually to surprise West Point. The agent employed in this negotiation was Major Andre, Adjutant-General of the British army. To favor the communications, the Vulture, a British sloop-of-war, had been previously stationed in North River, as near Arnold's posts as could be without exciting suspicion. On the night of the 21st of September, a boat was sent from the shore to fetch Major Andre, and Arnold met him at the beach, without the posts of both armies. Their business not being finished until it was too near morning for Andre to return to the Vulture, Arnold, telling him he must be concealed until the next night, conducted him within one of the American posts, where he continued with him the following day. The Vulture having in the mean time changed her position, the boatmen refused to carry back Andre the next night, and he could now return to New York in no other way than by land. Quitting for a common coat his uniform, which he had worn under a surtout, he set out on horseback, under the name of John Anderson, with a passport "to go to the lines of White Plains, or lower, if he thought proper, he being on public business." When advanced a great part of the way, he was stopped by three of the New York militia, belonging to a scouting party, and several papers, containing exact returns of the state of the forces, ordnance and defenses at West Point, were found in his boots. The captors, disdaining a proffered bribe of a purse of gold and permanent provision and promotion, on condition of their conveying and accompanying him to New York, delivered him a prisoner to Lieutenant-Colonel Jameson, who commanded the scouting parties. Andre, with the incautious permission of Jameson, informed Arnold of his detention, in a letter, on the receipt of which Arnold abandoned everything, and went on board the Vulture sloop-of-war. General Washington referred the case of Andre to the examination and decision of a board, consisting of fourteen officers, who, without examining a single witness, founded their report on his own confession. After stating the facts, they reported it as their opinion "that Major Andre ought to be considered as a spy, and that, agreeably to the laws and usages of nations, he should suffer death." He was accordingly hung as a spy on the 2d of October.

Andre's Place Of Execution.

Sunnyside, the residence of the late Washington Irving, is two miles below Tarrytown. It stands on the Hudson, in the midst of the scenes made classic by the graces of his pen.

Mr. Irving was the son of a Scotchman, and was born in New York city just at the close of the American revolution. He was educated for the bar,but never practiced. At the age of twenty-one be visited Europe for his health, and much of his early life was passed abroad. His principal works are "Knickerbocker's History of New York," "Bracebridge Hall," "Tales of a Traveler," "Life and Voyages of Columbus," "Conquest of Granada," "The Sketch Book," "Life of Washington," etc. To him belonged the singular honor of being the first American literary writer who achieved a reputation as such in Europe. The taunt of a British review, "who reads an American book?" was dispelled of its sting by the sudden and unexpected popularity which Irving's writings soon after everywhere met with from the literary world.

Washington Irving closed his long and useful life in November, 1859. We terminate this notice by an extract from the beautiful eulogy of Wm. C. Bryant upon his character and writings:

That amiable character which makes itself so manifest in the writings of Irving was seen in all his daily actions. He was ever ready to do kind offices--tender of the feelings of others, carefully just, but ever leaning to the merciful side of justice, averse from strife, and so modest that the world never ceased to wonder how it should have happened that one so much praised should have gained so little assurance. He envied no man's success--he sought to detract from no man's merits, but he was acutely sensitive both to praise and to blame--sensitive to such a degree that an unfavorable criticism of any of his works would almost persuade him that they were as worthless as the critic represented them. He thought so little of himself that he could never comprehend why it was that he should be the object of curiosity or reverence.

His facility in writing and the charm of his style were owing to very early practice, the reading of good authors and the native elegance of his mind, and not, in my opinion, owing to any special study of the graces of manner, or any anxious care in the use of terms and phrases. Words and combinations of words are sometimes found in his writings to which a fastidious taste might object, but these do not prevent his style from being one of the most agreeable in the whole range of our literature. It is transparent as the light, sweetly modulated, unaffected, the native expression of a fertile fancy, a benignant temper, and a mind which, delighting in the noble and the beautiful, turned involuntarily away from their opposites. His peculiar humor was, in a great measure, the offspring of this constitution of his mind. This "fanciful playing with common things," as Mr. Dana calls it, is never coarse--never tainted with grossness, and always in harmony with our better sympathies. It not only tinged his writings, but overflowed in his delightful conversation.

In his pages we see that the language of the heart never becomes obsolete; that Truth, and Good and Beauty, the offspring of God, are not subject to the changes which beset the inventions of men. We become satisfied that he whose works were the delight of our fathers, and are still ours, will be read with the same pleasure by those who come after us.

If it were becoming at this time and in this assembly to address our departed friend as if in his immediate presence, I would say: Farewell, thou who hast entered into the rest prepared, from the foundation of the world, for serene and gentle spirits like thine. Farewell, happy in thy life, happy in thy death, happier in the reward to which that death was the assured passage; fortunate in attracting the admiration of the world to thy beautiful writings; still more fortunate in having written nothing which did not tend to promote the reign of magnanimous forbearance and generous sympathies among thy fellow men. The brightness of that enduring fame which thou hast won on earth is but a shadowy symbol of that glory to which thou hast been admitted in the world beyond the grave. Thy errand upon earth was an errand of peace and good will to men, and thou art now in a region where hatred and strife never enter, and where the harmonious activity of those who inhabit it acknowledges no impulse less noble or less pure than that of love.


 

Website: The History Box.com
Article Name: Learning About New York State Part IX
Researcher/Transcriber Miriam Medina

Source:

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Our whole country; or, The past and present of the United States, historical and descriptive. In two volumes By John Warner Barber ... and Henry Howe ...Cincinnati, H. Howe, 1861.
Time & Date Stamp: