Morrison's Pensions


Pension Application for ALPHEUS PARKHURST

ALPHEUS PARKHURST (1760-1842) was born in Holliston and enlisted at Brookfield, Massachusetts, for two three-month tours. In 1778 he guarded prisoners from the Convention Army at the Rutland, Vermont, prison camp, and in 1780 he served at West Point.

Andre had never visited Arnold's headquarters before his capture, he recalled this incorrectly.

After the war Parkhurst removed from Brookfield, Massachusetts, to Bennington, Vermont, and finally to Little Falls, New York, where he applied for a pension in 1832.

Deponent entered the service of the United States in the Revolutionary War in the state of Massachusetts when he was eighteen years of age in the year 1778, in the spring of the year after the surrender of Burgoyne and in the latter part of the month of March or first of April of said year 1778. He went to Roxbury to muster. He listed into the service into the Massachusetts state troops. The company to which he belonged was commanded by Capt. Thomas Whipple. The orderly sergeant was a Mr. Bellows, and he cannot recollect the other officers of the company. The company belonged to a regiment of which Nathaniel Reed, he believes, was the major and Colonel Rand was colonel.

There was many other companies at Roxbury, but Captain Whipple's company did not long remain there but were sent with Captain Harrington's company to Rutland, near Worcester, to guard the prisoners taken the winter before from Burgoyne, and he, Parkhurst, was with Whipple's company in this service. He believes there were three or four thousand British prisoners at Rutland at this time. The prisoners were all confined in a large piece of ground with high, strong--pickets round it so that they could not escape, and this space was occupied by barracks. The business of Parkhurst and the others of the two companies was to stand guard by turns around this picketed enclosure. He continued in this employment for three months, the time for which he listed, and he well recollects the day he was discharged, it being the very day that the wife and two of Burgoyne's men who had escaped were hung for the murder of a Mr. Spooner at Worcester. He did not receive a written discharge. After his discharge he returned home to Brookfield in Worcester County, and it was in the forepart of the month of July. At the time he and his company were discharged, another company came and took their place in the same service.

In the year 1780, and at any rate the same year that General Arnold deserted and in the latter part of the month of July of that year, he listed again for three months in Brookfield, and when the company got together they all went down to West Point with a large body of troops. His company was commanded by Captain Pike, but he cannot now name the other officers. He cannot remember the general officers that accompanied the troops to West Point. On their way to that place, they stopped at Claverack below Albany and waited as much as two weeks, waiting for orders, as he was informed. They went by land all the way to West Point and did not cross the river until they arrived at West Point. When they got at that place, they crossed the river in boats onto the point.

When they had been there three or four days, a draft was made of two men out of each company to form General Arnold's life guard, and he (Parkhurst) and one William Bragg were drawn out of Captain Pike's company for that purpose and went into that service. General Arnold was at that time on the east side of the river, two miles below the point, at a place called in those days Robinson's Farms. General Arnold, he recollects, was a lame man, having been wounded in his ankle, and on that foot he wore a large red shoe. He was a smart-looking man about middling size. His life guard consisted of one hundred men. Arnold lived in Robinson's house and his guard in tents and barracks around it. Their business was to stand guard and sentry around the house and to go on errands to different places and was all the time under arms.

He was present when the Traitor went off. He went from the house of this Robinson, and Parkhurst saw him go. The first he saw of the transaction was the aide-de-camp rode up in great haste, and the general came to the door, and the aide-de-camp ordered the general's horse to be brought as quick as it could be done. The horse was brought out, and he recollects it was a bay horse. The house stands about two hundred or three hundred rods from the bank of the river. The general and his aide started off together for the river, and the aide soon returned and brought back the general's horse. He saw the general dismount, step into a barge that lay there, and draw his sword, and the barge started off in great speed. He saw the barge till it had proceeded near a mile down the river, and the general was sitting down. Three or four British vessels lay down the river, and the Vulture lay the nearest, and he always understood that the general went on board that vessel.

He saw Major Andre at the general's camp several times, dressed in blue citizen's clothes, before Arnold went off. Arnold had a wife at Robinson's house, and he recollects that as Arnold stepped to the door, when his aide rode up, he turned to his wife and said, as near as Parkhurst can recollect, "Something has come to light and I must bid you good-bye forever," and then mounted his steed and galloped away. He recollects that his wife had fits and appeared to be in great distress of mind, and he stood at the door and saw her, and she was in great affliction for several days while Parkhurst remained there.

General Arnold had not been gone over forty or fifty minutes when Parkhurst heard a great rumbling and trampling of horses and, looking round, saw a great smoke of dust, the weather being dry; and in a few moments General Washington with 160 horse rode up, but, as all was then confusion, he did not hear what was said by him. Washington did not stay long, but went back in about fifteen minutes toward West Point, and this was the first knowledge that Parkhurst received of the design of Arnold to turn traitor. The guard did not stay more than an hour at Robinson's Farms after Washington went off but marched directly to West Point. When he got to West Point, he saw General Washington and Major Andre with him, and he was then dressed in blue citizen's clothes. Andre's arms were pinioned back, but he rode on horseback. General [Washington] went the same night with all his horse to Poughkeepsie and took Andre with him. The object, as Parkhurst understood, was to keep that place from being taken, as the general was afraid of some attack at that place, and the general came back early the next morning. He recollects that Andre was tried before General Greene at West Point, but Washington was not there at the trial.

He (Parkhurst) remained at West Point for two or three weeks after Andre was hung, which he thinks was in the forepart of October 1780 (but he was not hung at West Point), when his time was out and he was dismissed. He and a great many others with him, among whom was Captain Pike, all in company returned to Brookfield. Here his services as a Revolutionary soldier were ended.

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