Contributed for use in the USGenWeb Archives by Donna Bluemink.


Prepared Pursuant to Chapter 361, Laws of the State of New York, of 1885.

by Frederick Cook, Secretary of State
Auburn, N.Y. Knapp, Peck & Thompson Printers


DR. EBENEZERNELMER, Surgeon in second New Jersey Regiment. The following is a literal copy of his journal, made by Rev. David Craft, from a verbatim copy in the hands of Lyman C. Draper, Esq., Corresponding Secretary of Historical Society, Madison, Wis., printed in the "Proceedings of the New Jersey Historical Society," Vol. II. pp. 43-50.

Memoirs of an expedition undertaken against the Savages to the westward, commenced by the Hon. Major General John Sullivan, began at Easton on the Delaware (by Lieut. Ebenezer Elmer), from whence I shall reckon our distances affixing it as my meridian.

JUNE 18th. 1779. Having pack-Horses purchased, Saddles & other Qr Masters Stores provided for the Expedition, We left Easton with the 2nd & 3d Jersey Regts of Genl Poor's Brigade, vizt. Scammel's & Scilly's & Cols Proctors Artillery, with 6-6 & 4 pdr & two Howitzers taking with us the pack-horses & we marched 12 miles and encamped.

19th. Proceeded on—crossed thro a Gap of the Blue mountain & So on by Brinkers Mills where a Commissary's Store is kept. Drew 4 days provision—Marched on thro a barren country to Larnards log tavern where we encamped, 28 miles from Easton.

2oth. Marched at 8 o'clock over hills from our last nights encampment, being at the foot of Pokono Mountain, a very beautiful prospect & thro vales & dessarts to a stream thro the barrens called Rum Brook, here we encamped letting our Horses Brouse in the woods. The Stoniness & Hilliness of the country prevented our going farther, the team-horses being very tired. Mr Kirkland Missionary among the Indians Joined us to-day— distance 33 miles—

21st. Marched at Sunrise & about 6 o'clock Came to the great Swamp, which is interspersed & barren piney Spots throughout very Stony. There is three or four Brooks which run thro it being branches of the Leehigh—In some places the timber is very tall & thick, mostly white pine & Hemlock with some Birch, maple & Locust trees, many of the white pines are 150 foot clear of any limbs. At Locust Hill near the centre was proposed for our encampment, but for want of water we were obliged to proceed on clear through 53 miles, from the meridian course, on a line about N. W. tho the road bares various courses. The last vale of this swamp is called the Shadow of Death.

Having come so great a distance in such bad roads the waggons did not get in till late in the evening & several broke, some left behind, many horses tired some & died & others lost—lay all night on a bushy spot among the pine knots by ye edge of the Swamp called the Fatigue Camp.

22nd. By reason of the disaster of yesterday among the teams & Horses we were obliged to lay still to bring them up this day until 2 o'clock p. m. when we decamped & marched on thro a country very Similar from that we had passed over before we came into the Swamp to the 58 mile post: Here we were encamped at the deserted house of one Bullock by the side of a cripple called Sullivan's Camp: Good large pasturage of wild grass in it surrounded by pine land.—The tracts of some Indians were said to be observed just on our flanks tho it is a doubt with me whether they were real. This road [81] to Wyoming from Pokono mountain is entirely new, but will undoubtedly become public should that place flourish.

23d.—Marched at 6 o'clock thro the woods some distance when we came to ye summit of a mountain which Showed Pokono, the Blue mountain & the Hills over Wyoming; We descended this Summit near 4 miles & reached the foot among the Oak & Hickory on the flats. About 12 o'clock we came to our encamping ground on ye banks of the Susquehannah at Wyoming 65 miles from Easton. The place does by no means answer my Expectation, yet it must be acknowledged that the points & in some places a depth of better than a mile is exceeding good bottom, yielding excellent grain or grass & having such a beautiful river running thro it navigable for boats makes it much more agreeable—On the east side of the river is a great deal of pine land. The inhabitants are mostly killed or driven away & their habitations destroyed. The devastations of war are not less conspicuous here than in any place in America.

24th.—Rec'd some flying intelligence that ye enemy were in force of 3 or 400 at Chemong & likewise that the Indians were in Counsil. Probably on finding that we are coming upon them. Strong they are a mind to bring us to terms—We are well assured that some enemy (numbers unknown) have been reconnoitering our strength & sulking in the woods,—Wrote a letter to Dr. Burnet & Mr. Neils. Spent chief part of the day in fishing—Salmon trout, Succers, Bass & common trout are pretty plenty in the river. We catched a number with a Seine—The first Regt marches down the river to guard up provision boats, they expect to go down as far as Sandbury in Shemoking 60 miles from here—Genl Hand we found at this place. Colo Courtlands & Butlers & Hartley's Regt with the German Corps besides Spencers & Ogdens.

25th. Very warm in ye afternoon a Smart shower of rain—Five miles from this place on the road we came, Capt. Davis & Lieut. Jones of this state were murdered by the Savages, the 23'd of April last & their scalpts taken off, with five men who were out with them a hunting— —A monument is erected on the Spot to commemorate the bloody tragedy & the blood of Lieut. Jones Exhibited on a board crying for vengeance.

What renders the action peculiarly inhuman was that the Scalps were all taken off by a Squaw, consort to a Sachem & that of, some while they were alive; enough methinks any of the sex possessed with natural Sensibility shudder at the thought, and even ye hardy made to reprobate it with horror.

26. Being Saturday continued at this place.

27—Being Sunday Mr. Hunter gave us a Sermon from the first Psalm in the woods.

28. Very warm—Spent the day as usual in the duties of my Station, walking abroad &c. A dance on ye green in the evening.

29th. This morning 34 boats arrived at this place from Sunbury with Flour beef & military Stores. This was very fortunate as there was not one days provision in the Stores after all their great Spunk in furnishing the army with provision for the Campaign. Thro negl't & carelessness in the Commissaries great quantities of Beef was so damaged that the men could not possbly eat it; Such rascally conduct ought to meet with the severest punishment. The horses purchased for this expedition for want of care in the Conducttors are many of ym lost. In July last Butler with his savage brood made a visit to this, place. The inhabitants under command of Colo. Butler went forth to oppose them: A Battle ensued in wc. many fell. The enemy however superior in force soon surrounded our people took & murdered all of them to abt. 50 who were in number 500. They then, proceeded down the flats to the fort wc. Capitulated with a promise of no lives being taken away but those in the Continental service who were conveyed away. Yet they did not keep their word but slew many—After this they killed & distroyed all Kattle, grain & everything wc. fell in their way. After continuing thus long they retired on hearing a party was coming out to oppose them.

30th Nothing new.

1st july. Michael Rosborough of Sussex County New Jersey having been sentenced to suffer death by a Court martial, whereof Gen'l Maxwell was President held at Easton for enticing Soldiers to desert to ye Enemy & offering his aid to conduct them away was [82] executed at this place to day. Lawrence Miller of the Same place Sentenced by ye Court to suffer likewise was reprieved under the Gallows & Expresses every token of repentance & true thankfullness afterwards. But the poor wretch who was executed appeared to leave the world with that careless stupidity of his future State which had before marked his life—dreadful thought:

2nd Colo. Armands Independent Corps being directed by his Excy. Genl Washington to repair to Head Quarters, left this place for that purpose this morning—with whom went Colo. Brearley who is going to officiate as Chief Justice in ye State of New Jersey—Sent a letter to T. Elmer, P. Stretch & Dr. Burnet.

3d. In the afternoon most of the Subalterns met at ye Colo. Marque to take a drink. After Several toasts had gone round being: Saturday night they agreed to drink Sweethearts & wives on Honor. The following Ladies were toasted

Miss H. Burnet by Lieu Jno. Peck
Miss S. Burnet by Lt. Danl Lane
Miss Abby Wheeler by Mr Wm Shute
Miss Minney Baldwin by Lt. Osman
Miss P. Weaver by Lt. Weyman
Miss Phebe Atwood by Lt. S. Shute
Miss N. Shreeve by Lt. Shreve  
Miss P. Johnson by Lt. Appleton  
Miss N. McWhorter by Dr. M. Elmer  
Mrs. Jelph by Dr. E. Elmer
Mrs. Foster by Lt. Halsey

4th At 10 o'clock the troops went to attend divine Service Mr Hunter preached a very good Sermon from Heb. XII, 13 (?) verse—Dined with Dr. Hogan —— —— 5 o'clock Mr. Kirkland preached to ye Inhabitants & some gentlemen who attended from VI Mathew 13 verse—This morning near 30 boats went down the river after provisions. The hands enlisted for the purpose of navigating the boats having mostly deserted & left them we were obliged to turn out a Command for that purpose—The Flats here are very fertile, most of the hills are inhabitable & not arable on account of the rocks—The river Susquehanna runs thro, being a beautiful winding rivulet, mostly near 60 perches wide. In some places the current is very easy, in others considerable descending & rapid. The freshes frequently in the Spring rise to 10 feet & overflow some of the low flats. It abounds with a variety of good fish as rock Shad, Sucurs, Chubb &c—The Shawnee Flats which lie about 3 miles below here are some of the best here known producing every kind of food in the greatest abundance. Fort Jenkins lies on the river 30 miles below.

5th. Pleasant weather. Capt. B. set out for Philada. wrote to Dr. I. Elmer.

6th A very Smart thunder Shower from the eastward in the P. M.—Colo. Proctor having made an entertainment for a number of officers, a truly merry Career was the consequence.

7th One of our Soldiers being about 3 miles from Camp was fired on by an Indian who shot a hole through the sleeve of his coat, but did no damage—The Indian as he says was accompanied by two more which he saw. They did not pursue, being so nigh Camp I suppose were afraid of being detected.

8th Two Scouts of two officers & 25 men each, went out from this Brigade this morning in pursuit of the Indians discovered yesterday but returned P. M. without effecting anything. A kind of thoughtful melancholy possessed my mind this evening wc. prevented my taking any rest untill the latter part of the night, constantly ruminating on the past transactions of life & my future prospects therein.

JULY 9th —This day 43 boats loaded with stores, provisions &c, arrived at this place, with them came up Colo Hubley's Regt. of foot being the one formerly Commanded by Colo Hartley—These stores however were found insufficient for the Expedition wherefore Capt Cummings was ordered out with a party to go down to Coxes Town after flour, who set out just before night—Col. Dayton, Capt. Mitchell & Some others arrived here to day by whom we reed, the Jersey papers of the 23d & 30th ult; with some private letters & intelligence, that ye Enemy had desisted from the attempt on Fort Clinton.

[83] 10th. Rainy in P. M.

11th. Showery all day which prevented Sermon or Assembly.

12th JULY—Information being reed that 300 Indians are down in this quarter, a command was ordered out this morning thro the Swamp with 1 field piece, to endeavor to bring em to action & protect the stores which are coming up. Yesterday Sergt. Barum (or Borum) arrived with letters from Newark, he came with Some continental waggons loaded with provision &c. A command to set out to-morrow morning down the river to fall in with the Indians from that way if they be thither.

13th.—From Middletown on the river to Harris's Ferry is 10 miles, from thence to Esther or Coxes Town is 7 miles, from thence to Shomoking is about 53 miles, from Shomoking which includes lower Paxton to Fort Jenkins is 30 miles. From thence to the centre of Schawne flats which are 3 miles long is 26 miles, & 4 more to ye Town of Wyoming which stood on the East side of the River—The command ordered out last evening set off this morning— Major Conway commanded it—From this place to Wyalusing is 60 miles, from thence to Tyoga 40, from thence to Chemong the first present inhabited Indian Settlement is 12 miles.

14th.—Nothing new.

15th.—Played Shinney with Genl. Maxwell, Colo Dayton & a number of Gentlemen.

16th.—Played as yesterday. Genl. Sullivan attended & was much pleased with our activity in the performance.

17th.—Dined with Genl. Sullivan, a very considerable number of Genn. were present & we were entertained with a great plenty of good punch.

18th. Being Sunday Mr. Hunter gave us a Sermon from John VI—68—In ye Evening wrote Letters to send to Newark in the morning.

19th.—Despatched ye Letters wrote yesterday. The party who went after the deserters which left the German Regt. Some days ago returned this evening with 25 of them which they took abt. the gap of the mountain.

20th. Capt. Bowman Arrived to day from his command at Brinkers Mills & brought with him 270 head of cattle for the army here. A number of horses also arrived. Sergt. Jones with the party which accompanied him to Wyalusing returned without discovering any parties at all. They returned in 26 hours.

21st.—We received at this place the following agreeable intelligence viz. That Genl. Wayne with a party of Light Infantry on the night of the 15th instant surprised & took the Garrison at Stoney point consisting of British, Scotch and New Levies commanded by Colo. Johnson consisting of about 500 with 16 pieces of artillery, Baggage, Stores &c. We had only 5, killed—Maj'r. Ogden arrived from Elizabeth Town with a number of letters—At evening the Jersey Stores arrived here—

22nd. Set out on Command with the Regt. to meet the Boats at the falls 4 miles below the Schawne Flats—Arrived there with all the boats & continued at the place all night.

24th. — After seeing the boats all safe over the falls in the morning we set out for camp. Halted & dined at the flats & then after fording the river went into Camp. The Genl. returned his thanks in Genl. orders to the officers & soldiers who were employed in forwarding up the Stores, and gave orders for preparing to march on Wednesday next.

25th—Stormy day—nothing done.

26th.—Drisly weather in the forenoon, the afternoon of the day more fair—All hands dined at the Colonels to day & after dinner we took a hearty game of Bandy wicket.

27th Five men belonging to the German Bat. being sentenced by General Court Martial to be Shot to death for desertion & approved by the Genl. were ordered to be executed this day but were reprieved—unwell with an Intermitt Fever.

28th. — Went down to the flats to dress a man who was wounded by the Indians. He was hunting 16 miles from home & setting by ye root of a tree. Recd, a Ball through his side from a person very near him & upon rising reed, another in his thigh from a distance: Notwithstanding his two wounds he got clear, they fearing to follow him. He supposed there was 4 or 5.

29th. Nothing material.

[84] 30th. This day was employed in preparing for our march which ia to commence to­morrow.

31st. Left Wyoming abt, 12 o'clock & marched 10 miles to Lacanawanunk river which we crossed & encamped on the upper banks. The boats were not able to get up with us on account of the falls——rainy night.

1st. AUGUST 1779—Lords day—after waiting till 2 o'clock P. M. for the Boats to get up & the Tents to dry we decamped & travelled on, passed bya very grand and curious Cataract wc, proceeded from a spring on the top of a mountain; It is divided into three distinct falls not less than twenty feet each—We passed very difficult rocky way, thro one old farm & on the second flat encamped 7 miles from our old station—The place is called Quilutimac.

2nd. Tarryed all day for the boats and pack horses to come us.

3d. Left Quilutimac at 7 o'clock & marched over hills & dales, rocks & mountains thro a country diversified with almost every appearance but that of cultivation, but small places indeed will admit thereof. We marched 12 miles to Tunkanunch river which we crossed & encamped on a level on the upper side.

4th Marched at 7 o'clock A. M. Country much as yesterday. Precipices to rise very steep, exceeding stony & dangerous. Several horses have fallen & broke everything at these places in the course of our march—After some time we came to a long flat the lower part of which is well timbered. Particularly famous for walnut trees, hence called Walnut Swamp. Many of them are four feet over & 30 & 40 feet clear of limbs. The upper part of the flat is an old farm where we halted. The land in all these places is fully equal to any I ever saw, but they are in general small, many of them not consisting of more than twenty acres. The inhabitants are all gone, not one from Wyoming upwards to be seen; many went to the enemy, the others were killed by the Savages. We marched 14 miles to Vanderlips Farm.

5th—Left Vanderlips Farm at 10 o'clock & proceeded on our marchh at 12 we passed Tuscarora river & So on thro an open woody country on the top of the mountain. The day we were alarmed on our march by some people on head discovering ye flank guards & supposing them to be Indians. The Troops was beat & a solid column forme'd, soon after however the mistake was found out & we went on. After descending the high precipice we reached the lower part of Wyalusing flats. Remarkable large timber in the wilds—Button trees 6 feet over & others very large, about 6 o'clock we came to our encamping ground at Wyalusing. The Boats arrived at evening. Most extraordinary clover & spear grass throughout the cleared land. Soon after we arrived Sergt Martin Johnson died after marching all day. He was a very hard drinker. Frequently got quite intoxicated therewith & had complained for two nights of being unwell but having a great Spirit proceeded to march till quite overcome with heat and fatigue, having his vitals decayed by Spirituous Liquors readily accounts for his sudden death. This place is but about 53 miles from Wyoming. Lodged pretty quietly all night with a hungry belly.

6th In order to refresh the men & cook provision we remained this day on our ground. The flat at this place contains abt. 1000 acres part of wc. is cleared & the most of it full of spear & other English grass -rainy night.

7th. On account of the wetness of the morning ye army remained on the former quarters all this.

8th—set out on our march at 6 o'clock, at the upper end of the flat, crossed a creek called Wyalusing creek, passed this day over one very large mountain, the rest of the road was tolerably level—We marched abt. 12 miles to a flat which was however far from being equal to former one, little pasture, mostly weeds & bushes. The place is called the Standing Stone. Genl Sullivan by reason of Indisposition went on board the boats Genl Maxwell commanding ye army. It is 55 measured miles from Wyoming to Wyalusing.

9th—Drisly morning. Marched from the Standing Stone at 7 o'clock & proceeded up ye river till we came to Sheshecununk plains, marched on to the upper part on a flat of [85] about 1000 acres, with very large wild grass, three miles from the mouth of Tioga Creek. This day we passed thro a plain mostly wild known by the name of Rush or Long Bottom. Having marched nearly 15 miles we arrived late & much fatigued, but the Boats remained 4 miles in our rear all night being unable to reach us. No enemy to be seen tho some huts was observed. Rainy in the night.

10th Boats arrived at 9 o'clock A. M. Provision was drawn—3. Regts set out for Tioga the remainder of ye army continued on the former ground. The Generals went up with ye party to reconnoiter the place. The whole returned P. M. They found a cow over the river & brought her off. Some fresh tracts were observed but no Indians to be seen.

11th.—Crossed the River & sending our Regt. & 2nd. N. York do. to cover the crossing of the army they all got safe over—We marched up to Tioga Branch forded that & encamped a little above on the main Branch called the North Branch—Queen Esthers Palace stood on the lower side of the Tioga Branch, where is a large plain Smilar in appearance to that we came from on the other side of the river—Here I inquired of the Surveyor & found that the distance from Wyoming to be 80 miles consequently 145 from the Meridian Course N. N W by W—Our camp is on a pine ridge between the main & Tioga Branch but near the former. In the flat below near the forks & on the other branch is excellent grass, Some English but mostly wild Opposite on the other side of each branch is considerable of a mountain wc. overlooks all the plains. The buildings here are mostly destroyed by Colo. Hartly last fall & the place has been but little frequented by the Indians since, only being crossed on their tours down the country. Two old brush encampments were found below and burned. Probably they were made by the party which was down at Wyoming last April. The horrors of a wilderness with the beauties of a fertile nature are blended in our prospects at this place.

12th—Capt. Cummings who went out with Lieut. Jenkins of Hand's Brigade & 6 men of our Regt who went out last evening to reconnoitre Chemong returned about 3 o'clock P. M. & by the report which they brought of the moveing situation of the Indians, it was thought proper to move after them this evening accordingly at dark all the well & hearty men of the army with one days provision cooked & otherwise light paraded, leaving the invalids & some officers Genl. Maxwell to command with the Guards standing—Colo. Proctor with a Cohorn went likewise leaving the rest of his Regt. behind—at 10 o'clock we marched in the following order, Genl. Hand in front, Genl. Poor with his Brigade followed by the right, & Genl. Maxwell's commanded by Colo. Dayton followed in the rear by the left. By reason of the dark defiles which were to pass the day appeared by the time we had got 7 miles on our way. After which we proceeded with all possible rapidity & arrived at their Castle abt. 14 miles at abt. 7 o'clock A. M. We found them forsaken, but by the Scattered Situation of their effects which were left we had reason to suppose they went off very precipitately.

Burning their dwellings & destroying their patches of corn & garden stuff was immediately fallen upon: Genl. Hand in the mean time proceeding on with intent to catch them if possible—After marching about 2 miles he was fired upon from a very secure ambuscade, he immediately rushed up & dispossessed them of their fortress but by their rapid & scattered retreat he was able only to wound one before they were entirely out of reach. In this scirmish Colo. Hubley's Regt. which was in front had 6 killed & 9 wounded among the latter was one Capt. & one adjt. The army moved on to the place, but could effect nothing—The Bells of the Cattle were heard ahead but we could get none. After this one Regt & three others were sent over the river to destroy some corn; while they were doing this all hands carelessly at work, they were fired on across the river. The men in confusion, all they do was to get off—Finding it impossible to catch them after destroying all we could, we marched off for Tioga—On this side was a large patch of corn wc. we left Standing till we should go up again. The whole of their corn, beans & potatoes I judge was near 200 acres—The number of Indians which harassed us was about 50. wc. served to afford them time for their cattle to get off. We arrived in Camp at dark much fatigued on the 14th.