Julia Ward Howe: 1819-1910
Maud Howe Elliott
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In Trumbull's painting of the Attack on Quebec in 1776, there is a portrait of Lieutenant-Colonel Ward, a young, active figure with sword uplifted. His life was full of stirring incident. In 1775 he received his commission as Captain, and was one of two hundred and fifty of the Rhode Island troops who volunteered to join Benedict Arnold's command of eleven hundred men, ordered to advance by way of the Kennebec River to reinforce General Montgomery at Quebec. In a letter to his family, dated Point-aux-Trembles, November 26, 1775, Captain Ward says: "We were thirty days in the wilderness, that none but savages ever attempted to pass. We marched a hundred miles upon shore with only three days' provisions, waded over three rapid rivers, marched through snow and ice barefoot, passed over the St. Lawrence where it was guarded by the enemy's frigates, and are now resting about twenty-four miles from the city to recruit our worn-out natures. General Montgomery intends to join us immediately, so that we have a winter's campaign before us. But I trust we shall have the glory of taking Quebec!"
The young soldier's hopes were vain. He was taken prisoner with many of his men while gallantly defending a difficult position, and spent a year in prison. On his release he rejoined the army of Washington and fought through the greater part of the Revolution, rising to the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel. He was at Peekskill, Valley Forge, and Red Bank, and wrote the official account of the last-named battle, which may be found in Washington's correspondence.
During the terrible winter at Valley Forge, Lieutenant-Colonel Ward obtained a month's furlough, wooed and married his cousin, Phœbe Greene (daughter of Governor William Greene, of Rhode Island, and of the beautiful Catherine Ray, of Block Island), and returned to the snows and starvation of the winter camp. Our mother was very proud of her great-grandmother Catherine's memory, treasured her rat-tail spoons and her wedding stockings of orange silk, and was fond of telling how Benjamin Franklin admired and corresponded with her. Some of Franklin's letters have been preserved. He speaks of his wife as the "old lady," but says he has got so used to her faults that they are like his own—he does not recognize them any more. In one letter he gives the following advice to the lovely Catherine: "Kill no more Pigeons than you can eat. Go constantly to meeting or to church—till you get a good husband; then stay at home and nurse the children and live like a Christian."
- Category: Biographies & Memoirs
- Published: Jul 29, 2009
- Publisher: Library of Alexandria
- Seller: The Library of Alexandria
- Print Length: 813 Pages
- Language: English