the return of Washington from Hartford on the twenty-seventh was to be
signalized by the capture of the Chief as well as that of West Point. During
breakfast, or, as some accounts have it, as soon as they had reached the house,1
the two heard the sound of distant cannon, and from the southeast window, which
commands an uninterrupted view for miles up and down the Hudson, saw the
Vulture lying close to Teller's Point—too close for safety. Colonel Livingston
had noticed her position a day or two before, and asked Arnold for two cannon to
use against her. Arnold evaded compliance, and he was obliged to content
himself with a four-pounder, which seems to have been the only gun at Ver-
planck's. Securing from Lamb a small supply of powder,2 which the veteran
artillerist grudgingly furnished,8 he went on Wednesday to Croton Landing and
thence to the farmhouse of William Teller on the Point, to get a horse4 to draw
the cannon down. By Thursday night—the twenty-first—this was accomplished,
and the gun in place on or very near Northwest Point, as shown on the map.
This was not over a thousand yards, or two-thirds of a mile, from the sloop. The
river here, between Squaw Point and Andre's dock, is quite two miles wide. The
success of the cannonade is historic. Smith says the vessel seemed to be afire.
Had she not got away downstream with the tide she must have been sunk or
captured.6 Thus the historic four-pounder was the first link in the chain of
events which were to array themselves against him who, as Smith says, was so
vehemently wishing himself again aboard the vessel. The return to her, on
which he—and perhaps Arnold also—had counted, was henceforth impossible.
With her went the safe and easy return to New York, where promotion and
honors awaited him. Now, alone within an enemy's country, without means of
escape except such as Smith was willing to furnish, he must have passed a day of
s After Aaron Burr resigned from the army, in 1779, with the rank of lieutenant-colonel and an honorable record
of four years' service, he began to study law, and in the spring of 1781 went to Haverstraw. Thomas Smith
was then occupying " Belmont," Joshua being in jail at Goshen (see Chapter III). Thomas seems to have
been forced out of New York City, whether by want of practice during the British occupancy, or because
suspected of Whig sympathies is uncertain. The first seems more likely, as a third brother, William, was
Chief Justice of New York and in Clinton's confidence (see Chapter IV). As Joshua says he himself
had met Burr before, this was apparently not his first visit to Haverstraw. He read law with Thomas at
"Belmont" for six months. In the New York Packet of November 15, 1783, Thomas advertises "Bel-
mont" for sale or to let, as containing " 150 acres or more of good land, situate three miles from King's
Ferry, good house, with six fireplaces." (The property was his, not Joshua's).
* According to Thacher, this was not until ten o'clock. Smith had sent his wife and children away to Fishkill
(see Chapter H).
1 Smith says he saw the firing begin while he was returning in his boat. This, however, may mean just as he was landing. He says,, "firing from Gallows Point," and several who quote him have evidently not looked
at his errata, where he says it should be Teller's. On some old maps the name is printed Tallus. That
printed opposite is from the latest survey (1898) made by Mr. E). H. Hall, of the Sons of the American
Revolution. 2 This must have been without Arnold's knowledge.
8 "Firing at a ship with a four-pounder," he wrote, " is in my "opinion a waste of powder." Yet, as Leake very
truly says, in commenting on this remark of Lamb, " Had Colonel Lamb been aware of the blessed effects to
be produced by this cannonade," etc. (see Leake, page 258) "he would not have dispensed his munitions so
grudgingly; for never were balls so well expended as those which were fired upon that occasion."
* In 1863 the late Mrs. Williams, one of Teller's twin daughters, told Miss Cornelia Van Cortland that she
remembered the event, and that she and her sister followed the party all the way over "Cortland's Neck"
to Teller's, weeping for fear the horse would never be returned to the farm. 6 just here I, page 13.
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