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Sir John Johnson at Johnson Hall

From Diary of the American Revolution, Vol II.  Compiled by Frank Moore and published in 1859.

June 8.—By the latest intelligence from Schenectady, in New York, we are informed that Sir John Johnson, (who styles himself lieutenant-colonel commanding the King’s Royal Yorkers, in the paroles given to some of the prisoners,) on Lord’s day evening, the twenty-first of last month, (May,) made his first appearance at Johnson Hall, undiscovered by any but his friends, who, no doubt, were in the secret. On Monday, about daybreak, they began to burn all the houses except those of the Tories; beginning at Aaron Putnam’s, below Tripe’s Hill, and continued burning to Anthony’s Nose, or Acker’s house, except a few which, by the vigilance of the people, were put out after the enemy had set them on fire. There are burnt, thirty-three houses and cut-houses, and a mill; many cattle were killed in the field, and sixty or seventy sheep burnt in a barn. Eleven persons were killed. Colonel Fisher and his two brothers fought with great bravery, when the two brothers were killed and scalped. The colonel went up stairs and there defended himself; but, being overpowered, was knocked down and scalped, on which they plundered the house, set it on fire, and then went off. The colonel reviving a little, though he was left by the enemy for dead, pulled one of his dead brothers out of the house, then in flames; the other was consumed in the house. It is said the mother had a narrow escape for her life, being knocked on the head by an Indian; but she is like to do well. Captain Hansen was killed by an Indian, who had formerly been used by him with kindness, and professed much gratitude. Old Mr. Fonda was cut in several parts of his head with a tomahawk. Had it not been for the alertness of Mr. Van Vrank, probably more would have been butchered by their savage hands. He alarmed the people along the way to Caughnawaga, who, by crossing the river, saved their lives. Having done all the mischief to the distressed inhabitants they possibly could, they returned to Johnson Hall in the afternoon, when Johnson dug up his plate, and about sundown marched for the Scotch Bush, about four miles, that evening. He took with him fifteen or twenty of his negroes, who had been sold. Several of his tenants and others, are gone with him. He has permitted some of his prisoners to return on parole. His whole force when he landed at Crown Point, is said to be about five hundred men—two hundred of them British, part of his own regiment, and Indians. Captain Putnam and four men followed them in their retreat four days, on their way to Lake Champlain. He saw him twenty-four miles from Johnson Hall. Some think they will take their route to Oswagatchie; but this seems improbable, as they have not provisions sufficient with them. His excellency the governor has collected a body of militia to intercept their way to Lake Champlain; a number have also marched from New Hampshire Grants (Vermont) for the purpose. Colonel Van Schaick, with eight hundred men, is in pursuit of him by the way of Johnstown. We hear the enemy had their feet much swelled by their long march; and being greatly fatigued, it is hoped our people may come up and give a good account of the lieutenant-colonel and his murdering banditti.1


1 New Jersey Gazette, June 21.