“It was a hazardous project, but four bold men pledged themselves to undertake it. John Hartwell, a brave young officer was selected as their leader.
“Soon as arranged they proceeded to a boat, and made the best progress they could across the river; on gaining the shore, they made for a small clump of underwood, where they lay concealed, until they noted what direction it was best to take.
“Here too may be seen the tents where repose the brave men who have sworn to protect their homes and country, or die in its defence against the invaders, who seek to control their free rights. Near may be seen a spacious farm house, the abode of General Sullivan—the brave soldier and faithful friend—who now slept, unconscious of danger. Through some neglect, the sentinels on duty had wandered from their posts, never dreaming it possible that any one would risk a landing, or could pass the tents unobserved. By a circuitous route they gained the house, and here the faithful watch-dog gave the alarm; a blow soon silenced him; and ascending the piazza, Captain Hartwell opened the casement, and followed by his men, stepped lightly into the sitting-room of the family.
“They now struck a light, and with caution proceeded on their search—they passed through several apartments, while, strange to relate, the inmates slept on, unconscious of this deed of darkness.
“They at length reached the General’s room—two of the men remained outside, while Captain Hartwell, with another officer, entered, and stood in silence, musing on the scene before them.
“A night-lamp burnt in the room, dimly revealing the face of the sleepers—whose unprotected situation could not but awake a feeling of pity even in their callous hearts.
“‘Jack,’ whispered his companion, ’by heaven I wish this part of the business had been entrusted to some one else—I could meet this man face to face, life for life, in the field of battle—but this savors too much of cowardice.’
“‘Hold your craven tongue, Low,’ answered Captain Hartwell, ’perform your part of the play, or let some one else take your place—you forget the scrape we are in at the least alarm. We might happen to salute the rising sun from one of the tallest trees on the General’s farm—an idea far from pleasing.’
“’For my part, I could wish myself back on Long Island—but our general expects every man to do his duty—let yours be to prevent that female from screaming, while I secure her husband.’
“The ear of woman is quick, and from their entering the room, not a word had escaped Mrs. Sullivan. At first she could scarce refrain from calling out, but her uncommon strength of mind enabled her to master her fear—she scarce knew what to think: her husband’s life, herself and family, were at stake, and her courage rose in proportion as her sense of danger increased.
“She scarcely dared to breathe, and even the infant at her breast seemed to partake of its mother’s anxiety, and nestled closer to her bosom.