A Brave Girl
By James Johonnot
In the year 1781 the war was chiefly
in the South, but the North was constantly
troubled by bands of Tories and Indians, who
would swoop down on small settlements and make
off with whatever they could lay their hands on.
During this time General Schuyler was staying
at his house, which stood just outside the stockade
or walls of Albany. The British commander
sent out a party of Tories and Indians to capture
When they reached the outskirts of the city
they learned from a Dutch laborer that the
general's house was guarded by six soldiers, three
watching by night and three by day. They let
the Dutchman go, and as soon as the band was
out of sight he hastened to Albany and warned
the general of their approach.
Schuyler gathered his family in one of the
upper rooms of his house, and giving orders that
the doors and windows should be barred, fired a
pistol from a top-story window, to alarm the
The soldiers on guard, who had been lounging
in the shade of a tree, started to their feet at
the sound of the pistol - but, alas! too late, for
they found themselves surrounded by a crowd
of dusky forms, who bound them hand and foot,
before they had time to resist.
In the room upstairs was the sturdy general,
standing resolutely at the door, with gun in hand,
while his black slaves were gathered about him,
each with a weapon. At the other end of the room
the women were huddled together, some weeping
and some praying.
Suddenly a deafening crash was heard. The
Indian band had broken into the house. With
loud shouts they began to pillage and to destroy
everything in sight. While they were yet busy
downstairs, Mrs. Schuyler sprang to her feet and
rushed to the door - for she had suddenly remembered
that the baby, who was only a few months old,
was asleep in its cradle in a room on the first floor.
The general caught his wife in his arms, and
implored her not to go to certain death, saying
that if any one was to go he would. While this
generous struggle between husband and wife was
going on, their young daughter, who had been
standing near the door, glided by them, and
descended the stairs.
All was dark in the hall, excepting where the
light shone from the dining-room in which the
Indians were pillaging the shelves and fighting over
their booty. How to get past the dining-room
door was the question, but the brave girl did not
hesitate. Reaching the lower hall, she walked
very deliberately forward, softly but quickly passing
the door, and unobserved reached the room
in which was the cradle.
She caught up the baby, crept back past the
open door, and was just mounting the stairs,
when one of the savages happened to see her.
"WHIZ"--and his sharp
tomahawk struck the
stair rail within a few inches of the baby's head.
But the frightened girl hurried on, and in a few
seconds was safe in her father's arms.
As for the Indians, fearing an attack from
the near-by garrison, they hastened away with
the booty they had collected, and left General
Schuyler and his family unharmed.