Historical context

COLONEL ANDREW WARD. GENERAL ANDREW WARD. By Mrs. Elizabeth (Foote) Jenkins. Great-Great-Granddaughter of Andrew Ward, 4th.

Captain Andrew Ward, afterwards Colonel Andrew Ward, fourth of the name in America, first appears in the records of the town of Guilford on June 3d, 1716, and held many offices and was Deputy of the Colonial Court for many years.

Of Andrew Ward’s early years we know nothing.

It was probably he, and not his father, who was Deputy to the General Assembly in 1750-1754, and it is written Andrew Ward, Jr.—1755. It does not follow that the Jr. was there for the first time. Junior is used, or not, carelessly in the Colonial records. Again in 1759, Andrew Ward—this must have been Andrew Ward 4th, because his father had died in 1756, aged 86-7.

Andrew Ward 4th apparently pursued the even tenor of his way until the expedition to Cape Breton was planned, and in the Colonial records we find:

“At a General Assembly holden at Hartford in His Majesty’s English Colony of Connecticut in New England in America (by adjournment, on Thursday, the 14th day of March, 1744-5-7) this Assembly appoint Andrew Ward Jun’r, Captain of one of the military companies in the intended expedition against Cape Breton, and that he be commissioned accordingly.” At a later date:

“Resolved by this Assembly that the several captains appointed by this Assembly to go on the expedition against Cape Breton which have not as yet received their commissions and premia for enlisting soldiers, viz., Capt. Samuel Chapman, Capt. Andrew Ward, Capt. Robt. Denison and Capt. William Whiting, have their several commissions and the money granted by this Assembly and allowed as a premium for the encouragement of soldiers to list into said expedition, sent to them by one of the representatives of the towns where such captains do live, to be improved for the use aforesaid and that the Treasurer of this colony be ordered and he is hereby ordered, to deliver out of the treasury of this colony the sum of one hundred and ninety-two pounds, old tenour bills or new tenour bills, equivalent for each captain aforesaid to such representatives as aforesaid, taking his receipt for the same.”

He went on this wild-cat expedition, when the “stars in their courses fought for them,” four thousand raw militia against six thousand regulars of France and the fortress of Louisburg, considered by the best engineers of the time absolutely impregnable. Captain Ward took his son with him and gave him his first iesson in war. In those days rum rations were given to both officers and men. Captain Andrew Ward, being a temperance man and teetotaler (a very unusual thing in those days) took his rations in money, and bought for his children three silver spoons, having them marked on the back “Louisburg” in the script of the time. The photograph of the one given in this book is the one which descended to his son Andrew and to his granddaughter Roxana Ward. While at Louisburg Andrew Ward found a Jasper Griffing (brother of one of his friends, Robert Griffing), an impressed sailor on one of the British ships, and helped him to escape and sent him to his brother at home in Guilford. There is very little else we know of him. Hekept a diary of this expedition, and the tradition of it remains, but it has been lost, much to the sorrow of many descendants.

My father wrote of him what he had been told, he “was a small man, round shouldered and not handsome. He had an unpleasant snappish manner of speaking.” In early life he was a sailor. Bound to Boston once, he was becalmed in a fog for more than a week. He at last spoke a vessel as follows: “Ahoy there! I want to know where I am. I’ve been in this cursed damn’d fog more than a week, and I don’t know where I am.” “You are in latitude 42 and in —” “I don’t want any latitude nor longitude neither, I want to know where I am.” “You are in Boston Bay and near the mouth of the harbour.” It is said it was the only time he ever swore in his life, and therefore it was remembered as a specimen of his swearing.

When Eli Foote, who married his granddaughter, first became acquainted with him, he thought him the most ill-natured man he ever saw; after he knew him well, he thought him the kindest. One of his neighbors came in one morning to borrow his horse to go to mill. “No, you shan’t touch it.” The man turned to go out. “Yes, vou may take it; the saddle and bridle are in the stable.”

He died at eighty-six, in consequence of fatigue and agitation of mind produced by the invasion of New Haven by the British, and his son (General Ward) being ordered over there is command of his brigade.

GEN. ANDREW WARD.

Andrew Ward, fifth of the name in this country, son of Col. Andrew Ward and Elizabeth Fowler, was born Nov. 19, 1727. Of his childhood and education we know nothing; he probably went to the school in the town kept by the Church Society. His handwriting was handsome, and his letters show that he knew how to express himself. He began his training as a soldier when he was eighteen, and went as aide to his father on that famous expedition of the colonies against the fortress of Louisburg. In 1757, at thirty years of age, he was captain of a company of militia sent to Fort No. 4 on the Connecticut River, now the little town of Charlestown, Vermont. The two following years, 1758-1759, he also served there, rising to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. On one of these campaigns he imitated the Indians in making a log canoe, and, with one or two of the Guilford men of his company, paddled down the Connecticut River to Long Island Sound and then up the little river Ruttawoo (now East River) to his own door at Nut Plains. The canoe was used long afterwards, as a watering trough for his cattle. In 1760 he was at the Battle of Lake George, commanding a company, and his brotherin-law, Dr. Giles Hull, husband of Abigail Ward, also commanded a company in this war, and died at Ticonderoga, Aug. 14, 1759.

We do not hear of him again until he is moderator of a full special meeting of the inhabitants of the town of Guilford, held Dec. 14, 1774, “which agrees and resolves faithfully to adhere to and strictly abide by the association entered into” by the American Continental Congress. He is also put on a committee to help the poor of Boston, “who are suffering more immediately in a common cause.”

At the session of the General Assembly held in the month of April, 1775, six regiments were ordered to be raised. Andrew Ward was made Lieutenant Colonel of the First Regiment (under Colonel Wooster of New Haven) and Captain of the second company in the regiment. His company was made up of Guilford men; there were only thirty-nine men on its roll, and it served until November, 1775. It was stationed first at Harlem, and later along Lakes George and Champlain. The rest of the regiment was at the taking of St. John’s in October, 1775, and I suppose this company was also. We have his commission dated May 1, 1775, as Lieutenant Colonel of this regiment. It is under the service of George the Third, in “the fifteenth year of the reign of his Gracious Majesty.”

At a meeting of the Governor and Council of Safety on Friday, Jan. 26, 1776, they appointed Colonel Waterbury for one regiment and Colonel Ward for another, with orders to raise by voluntary enlistment 750 men for each regiment, “to join and assist Major General Lee,” “with encouragement that they should be entitled to the same pay as allowed the troops before Boston, and dismissed soon, when the service would admit.”

The regiment was marched to Fairfield en route to New York, and then sent home again, but, matters looking brighter in New York, was ordered back immediately, and crossed to Brooklyn. It was kept at work on the forts which were being erected and on duty for two months, when it was verbally discharged by General Sullivan.

In May, 1776, Colonel Ward was made Colonel of the Seventh Regiment Horse and Foot, to serve from May 14, 1776, for one year, and stood on the same footing as the other Continental regiments, being raised on the requisition of the Continental Congress. It had been intended for service at Boston, but was sent instead to New York. It was billeted upon the inhabitants of the towns of Norwalk, Stamford and Greenwich (afterwards the State paid the bill for their keep to these inhabitants). It joined Washington’s army in August, “and was stationed first near Fort Lee.” They were in the battle at White Plains on Oct. 28, 1776, and with Washington’s army at Trenton, Dec. 25, 1776, and at Princeton on Jan. 3, 1777. At Princeton, in a council of war, Washington proposed to make a stealthy retreat, take a circuitous routeto Princeton, and fall upon the enemy at New Brunswick as well as at Princeton. The decision was made, orders were whispered, and the American forces took their quiet way toward Princeton. General Ward was deputed to take charge of the rear guard; to keep up the camp fires and the appearance of the army being still present. But he was given no directions about withdrawing. Washington evidently thought he was a good enough soldier to be trusted, and he was. There was a sharp attack at daybreak, which he escaped, and joined the main army. General Washington afterward commended him highly for his well managed retreat; he did not lose a man.

Then came the encampment at Morristown, New Jersey, for that wearisome winter. They threw up earth works, and Colonel Ward hereshowed a certain pleasing largeness of spirit. Of course an equal amount of work was ordered for each regiment on these earthworks; a regiment encamped next Colonel Ward scornfully declined to do its duty. Its colonel, seeing how well the Connecticut regiment had done its work, came up and ordered them to do what his own regiment had refused to do. The Connecticut men smilingly declined to take commands from any but their own colonel, and the officer went away foaming and blustering. After he had gone, Colonel Ward pointed out to his men that an open place in the line of fortifications made them useless; that the defences were in their own interest, and asked them to do thework for him in spite of the bad conduct of the other regiment. The men complied with his request, and did the work handsomely. Tradition says nothing about the other regiment after that; let us hope they had the manhood to do something in return. This story was told my father by an old soldier of General Ward’s, named Eber Norton; and years after Eber Norton’s son told father the same story over again.

We find a letter from Colonel Ward written in December of this winter to Governor Trumbull, asking that his men be allowed to go home, since their unexpected marching (they were to have gone to Boston) has worn out all their clothes of every kind, “they are too far away from home to have their friends send them clothing,” and that their wages will hardly suffice to buy them there at the high price asked. He humbly requests His Honor to use his “influence with the General that they may be returned to winter quarters near home, that their friends may supply them with cloaths; or that they may be dismist with the other Continental regiments that are not of the new army.” He evidently had great difficulty in keeping the regiment together. On March 13, 1777, he had a severe letter from General Washington, asking why seventeen of his men are on furlough and fourteen discharged; and saying that no officer under the rank of general has a right to discharge men, and that it is no time to grant furloughs to a regiment which has so nearly served its time. Colonel Ward felt the disapproval very keenly; but his men were suffering for all the necessaries of life, and they took their furlough themselves; they deserted and made their way to their homes. There was no way of stopping them.

In April of this year he is apparently called out for the Danbury raid, for we find the pay roll of his regiment at that time, but nothing is said of how they came from Morristown.

The next we know of him, the General Assembly of his State has made him Brigadier General of the Second Brigade of the State Militia, succeeding General Wadsworth, June 5, 1777. In July he has orders from the General Assembly to draft one-fourth part of his brigade; have them armed, equipped, and hold themselves in readiness to march on the shortest notice, with their proper officers. In October, he was sent to Peekskill to reinforce General Putnam; and the Hudson Burgoyne campaign followed. He was at the taking of Saratoga.

January, 1778, “Resolved by this Assembly that General Andrew Ward be and he is appointed one of the committee for revising the militia laws of this State, in the room of General James Wadsworth excused.” In March, 1778, he was sent with men to protect New Haven. In August that same year he is called by the Governor and Council of Safety to raise three companies from the Second Brigade to aid General Sullivan in Rhode Island “if a sufficient number shall freely offer themselves; if not, from peremptory draught from said militia.”

He is a member of the Council of Safety this year and for several years following; we find the charge of horse hire, going to and fro. He was many times in that old war office at Lebanon, (Conn.). All this time, too, he was Deputy to the General Assembly, but evidently “absent on leave” most of the time.

In 1779, he is, with Colonel Abram Davenport “made a committee to inquire into the condition of an armed sloop of war belonging to the enemy and cast ashore at Guilford, and when the committee have properly conferred upon the subject, General Ward is directed to arm and equip her for the service of the State.” He named this sloop the Guilford. He is “justice of the Peace and Quorum” all this time, and, what was much more important, he was justice of the County Court for the County of New Haven, and served many years. The guard along the coast is in his charge. In July he is opposing the British attack on New Haven. He is sent to assay powder at a mill in New Haven. In November his half brigade is ordered stationed at New Haven, but in October he has been ordered to have his whole brigade ready to meet Count d’Estaing, but of course that came to nothing.

These are the outlines of the things he did—there is no way of filling in the picture. He was evidently busy in the public service all the time.

In 1787 he is sent as first delegate with Colonel Elliott to the State Convention which adopted the United States Constitution, and I regret to say that both of them voted “no.” Why, I cannot say, except there was much jealousy among the colonists among themselves, and fear of a despotic general government.

At the end of the Revolutionary War he had little property left, two or three houses and lots, an impoverished and neglected farm, and four hundred dollars in Continental paper money, the only pay he ever had for his service. It was redeemable at one dollar for each hundred, and he never took the trouble to redeem it. His descendants have given it away as relics of those days of struggle. He evidently was an intelligent farmer; he was interested in the improvements of the time; he brought the first apple trees to Nut Plains; an old tree, the Barnapple, was cut down as late as 1870. He brought the first potatoes to Guilford, and his granddaughter, Harriet Foote, secretly nibbled one of them—uncooked—and did not think this wonderful new fruit nearly so good as chestnuts. As a householder, family tradition says he was rather careless. The tale is told that when he came back from the General Assembly at Hartford, to which he was elected from 1771 to the year of his death, he brought his saddle bags filled with nails on one side and with books on the other. He went about and drove in nails wherever it was necessary, and then sat down and read his books. He had a fairly good library for those days, and many of his books have come down to us in their dark leather bindings. When his son-in-law, Eli Foote, died, leaving ten children, he took them all, with their mother, to live with him at Nut Plains, and was father and educator to them. My father remembered very plainly the stories of the war which he told. Two of these sons died soon, within two weeks of each other, tradition says, in consequence of fatigue and illness caused by acting as pall-bearers for a distance of two miles. In those days there were no hearses, and coffins were carried by relays of men friends. The loss of these two boys of sixteen and fourteen broke the General’s heart, and that such harm should never happen again for any member of his family, he laid out a private burial plot on his own farm, an eighth of a mile from his house, on a beautiful knoll with oak trees, above the little river. There he lies, with four generations of his descendants about him, some of them soldiers like himself, and there his grave is covered with flowers on Decoration Day.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s