Firm be your step, steady
Unbroken your array;
The spirits of the blest shall smile
Upon our deeds to-day.
Unfurl the banner of the free
Amidst the battle’s cloud;
Its folds shall wave to Liberty,
Or be to us a shroud.
O’er those who fall,
a soldier’s tear
Exulting shall be shed;
We’ll bear them upon honour’s bier,
To sleep in honour’s bed.
The maiden, with her hurried
And rapture-beaming eye,
Shall all forget the field of death
To bless the victory.
The child, O! he will bless
The mother bless her son,
And God, He will not frown in ire,
When such a field is won.
“Good!” exclaimed Kinnison, when the song was done. “That is a war-song of ’76, I know.”
“It is,” replied the singer; “and judging from what I have heard you say, it expresses in it the feeling of the period.”
“A truce to songs and music,” said Davenport. “I never was fond of any kind of music but that of the fife and drum, and I never needed that to put me in a condition to stand fire.”
“You are too gloomy,” said Kinnison.
“I have had cause enough for gloominess,” said Davenport.
“But I wanted to talk to you about something—and that was my reason for checking you. You talk so much about the treason of Arnold, and say that he never was a patriot, that I wanted to tell you of another man’s treason, not to excuse Arnold, but to show you that he wasn’t alone in preferring the British side of the question, and that there were bolder patriots than Paulding, Williams, and Van Wert, the captors of Andre.
“We know there were plenty of traitors and patriots in the country without a showing,” said Kinnison, “but go on with your narrative.”
“But this will prove that all censure should not be heaped upon Arnold’s head, nor all the praise on the militia-men of Tarry-town,” observed Davenport.
“When the Revolutionary War broke out,” said Davenport, beginning his narrative, “there was a man named Joseph Bettys, who lived in Ballston, New York, remarkable for his courage, strength and intelligence. Colonel Ball of the Continental forces saw that Bettys might be of great service to our cause, and succeeded in enlisting him as a serjeant. But he was soon afterwards reduced to the ranks, on account of his insolence to an officer, who, he said, had abused him without cause. Colonel Ball was not acquainted with the facts of the affair, but being unwilling to lose so active and courageous a man, he procured him the rank of a serjeant in the fleet commanded by General Arnold, on Lake Champlain. Bettys was as skilful a seaman as could be found in the service, and during the desperate fight between