American Women: A Christian Woman in the Hour of Danger

O rainbow of the battle-storm!
    Methinks thou’rt gleaming on my sight;
I see thy fair and fragile form
    Amid the thick cloud of the fight.
                                                Sara J Clarke

One grain of incense with devotion offered,
Is beyond all perfumes or Sabean spices.

The following incident, we are informed by Mrs. Ellet, was communicated to a minister- – Rev. J. H. Saye –by two officers in the Revolutionary war. One of them was in the skirmish referred to; the other lived near the scene of action; hence, it may be relied on as authentic. The name of the heroine is unknown, which is greatly to be regretted:

“Early in the war, the inhabitants on the frontier of Burke county, North Carolina, being apprehensive of an attack by the Indians, it was determined to seek protection in a fort in a more densely populated neighborhood in an interior settlement. A party of soldiers was sent to protect them on their retreat. The families assembled, the line of march was taken towards their place of destination, and they proceeded some miles unmolested -the soldiers marching in a hollow square, with the refugee families in the centre. The Indians who had watched these movements, had laid a plan for their destruction. The road to be traveled lay through a dense forest in the fork of a river, where the Indians concealed themselves, and waited till the travelers were in the desired spot. Suddenly the war-whoop sounded in front, and on either side; a large body of painted warriors rushed in, filling the gap by which the whites had entered, and an appalling crash of fire-arms followed. The soldiers, however, were prepared; such as chanced to be near the trees darted behind them, and began to ply the deadly rifle; the others prostrated themselves upon the earth, among the tall grass, and crawled to trees. The families screened themselves as best they could.The onset was long and fiercely urged; ever and anon amid the din and smoke, the warriors would rush, tomahawk in hand, towards the centre; but they were repulsed by the cool intrepidity of the back-woods riflemen. Still they fought on, determined on the destruction of the victims who offered such desperate resistance. All at once an appalling sound greeted the ears of the women and children in the centre; it was a cry from their defenders – a cry for powder! ‘Our powder is giving out,’ they exclaimed. ‘Have you any? Bring us some, or we can fight no longer!’ A woman of the party had a good supply. She spread her apron on the ground poured her powder into it, and going round, from soldier to soldier, as they stood behind the trees, bade each who needed powder put down his hat, and poured a quantity upon it. Thus she went round the line of defence, till her whole stock, and all she could obtain from others, was distributed. At last the savages gave way, and, pressed by their foes, were driven off the ground. The victorious whites returned to those for whose safety they had ventured into the wilderness. Inquiries were made as to who had been killed, and one running up, cried, ‘Where is the woman that gave us the powder? I want to see her!’ ‘Yes!- yes!-let us see her!’ responded another and another; ‘without her we should have been all lost! The soldiers ran about among the women and children, looking for her and making inquiries. Directly came in others from the pursuit, one of whom observing the commotion, asked the cause, and was told. ‘You are looking in the wrong place,’ he replied. ‘Is she killed? Ah, we were afraid of that!’ exclaimed many voices. ‘Not when I saw her,’ answered the soldier. ‘When the Indians ran off, she was on her knees in prayer at the root of yonder tree, and there I left her. There was a simultaneous rush to the tree–and there, to their great joy, they found the woman safe, and still on her knees in prayer. Thinking not of herself, she received their applause without manifesting any other feeling than gratitude to Heaven for their great deliverance.”


Excerpted from Noble Deeds of American Women
(Patriotic Series for Boys and Girls)
Edited by J. Clement
With an Introduction by Mrs. L. H. Sigourney
BOSTON: Lee and Shepard, Publishers
Entered by Act of Congress, in the year of 1851,
by E. H. Derby and Co., in the Clerk’s Office of the Northern District of New York


I hope you’re enjoying these glimpses into American History. At one point, I collected antique history books both because they were a pleasure to read and because, as we know, the closer you get to the source the more accurate your information is likely to be. Even as I handle the book, while pulling from its pages, it astounds me that I have the honor of holding a piece of American History that is over 160 years old!

Celebrating Jesus!
Tammy C

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