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The Flight of Eunice Campbell Reid [1777]


Eunice Campbell Reid:

The country was greatly alarmed before the Allen murder. This increased it tenfold. It was an awful time-- such as the present generation can have no conception of. No families felt safe in remaining in their houses overnight. We at Roger Reid's forsook the house regularly every night for some time. At first we slept in the hay barrack but not deeming this a secure retreat, we withdrew into the thickets of hemlocks that grew a piece north of the house and there slept night after night.

Scouting parties were continually patrolling the country watching every movement and helping themselves to a meal of victuals whenever they wanted it and continually keeping us in fear. John Barnes led the Salem scout which frequently passed our house Adams' scout was one of the most active and oftenest heard of. I think this was a British scout but am not certain where it belonged. [Adams's scout was a Tory company based in Arlington, Vermont] One Sabbath a scouting party came along, caught one of sheep and butchered it. They came into the house with the mutton and called for whatever they needed for cooking it, dug some potatoes also, then placed their meal upon the table and ate what they wanted, leaving all that remained for our use. Thus they made free with the inhabitable, who had to submit to it passively.

It was in the evening that all the families gathered at Esquire McNaughton's to go into Burgoyne's camp. All the families along Battenkill and its vicinity were in the company. Deacon Thomas Collins from Salem was there and also his father-in-law's family -- Thomas McCrea whose daughters besides Mistress Collins were Martha and Betsy -- Archy Livingston, "Black" Duncan Campbell, William Blake, John Foster, Duncan Campbell, Senior, Archy Campbell. In short, all the families around gathered there with their horses, cattle, and sheep. The sheet were bleating constantly though the whole night. Much of the stock never returning being sold to the commissaries of Burgoyne's army or killed by the Hessians for beef whenever they could find a cow out of sight of its owner or unguarded.

I do not remember about any alarm that night, but it might have been so, and the youngerly men might have withdrawn. We started early the next morning. The stock was all drove into a herd together. I carried the whole distance a child two or three years old -- half-sister to Roger Campbell. It was a most fatiguing lug. I think we went entirely through one day. We went past Allen's house and took a resting spell there. The moccasin tracks of the Indians were marked in blood all over the floor; the dishes and knives were scattered about. We also made a pause to rest ourselves at Yerry Killmore's and another at Lindsay's house. At Lindsay's the floor was all torn up by the Indians who had been there searching it for plunder.

At Fort Edward we stayed at Esquire Campbell's house. The house was full to overflowing with families that were there for protection. We occupied part of the chamber, Archy Livingston another part. The two Duncan Campbells and Archy Campbell were quartered in the lower story of the same house. We were there a weed or two -- over one Sabbath, I know -- for it was said there was preaching in the camp just above us on that day. I also remember a funeral of a lieutenant in the army. The procession came down from the camp to the burying ground and at the close of the burial three volleys were fired over the grave.

The Hessians or Brunswickers as they were called there wore their beards on their upper lips parted each way, and curled around the corners of their mouths.

Both the Duncan Campbells lost their wives there. Old Duncan's wife died of dysentery. There was no medical attendance to be had. Black Duncan's wife was sick two or three days, speechless all the time. I was going upstairs and found her sitting halfway upstairs looking very unusual. I spoke to her but she made no reply. I ran and told Mistress Livingston that Mistress Campbell would not speak to me. She came and we soon found she could not speak. We got her onto a bed and I watched beside her, brushing off the flies, et cetera, till she died.

A little daughter of Archy Campbell's named Nancy also died there. Archy thought the air was so confined and impure in the crowded house she would do better if she could be in the fresh air. So he made out to get a tent and erected it near the house, and his family and the sick child moved into it -- but the child died.