America’s Army of Two

Many heroic tales emerged from the War of 1812. One of the most famous is the story of Dolley Madison’s flight from the White House before the British burned it in the middle of the war in 1814. In her escape, she managed to save an important painting of George Washington. But there is a lesser known story that is just as heroic, and it involved two young girls who managed to ward off an attack by the British Navy.

Our story takes place in 1814, the same year of the White House fire. Britain’s Navy was attacking towns and cities along the east coast. They would steal supplies and destroy houses and boats before leaving.

nelights.com

Scituate Harbor had already been attacked three times, but the local militia had done their best to repel the British. They remained in Scituate throughout the summer, but returned home in September. Unfortunately, the British returned after they left.

The children of the Scituate lighthouse keeper, Simeon Gates, were the first to notice the British ship’s approach. Simeon’s son immediately ran for help, leaving his two sisters Rebecca (age 21) and Abigail (age 15) to watch in fear as the enemy drew closer.

But the girls were not content to sit by and watch their town be destroyed. There might not have been any soldiers or militia on hand to protect Scituate, but they could make the British believe otherwise.

The girls owned a fife and drum, and they had learned to play some military songs from the militia who had been stationed there that summer. They took their instruments and hid behind some trees near the beach, where they could see the British sailors loading on to barges to attack the town. There, Rebecca played “Yankee Doodle” on her fife while Abigail tapped out “Roll Call” on her drums.

As the British weren’t expecting to find soldiers in the harbor, the music appeared to surprise them. Since the British could not see who was playing the music, they most likely assumed that militia had been alerted and were on their way attack them. They weren’t prepared for a fight, so the ship signaled the barges to return. Then, miraculously, the ship raised its anchor and left the harbor.

Though some doubted the story, the girls’ story never changed, and they both swore affidavits attesting to its truth. When Abby died, she was carried to her grave by Union Army veterans, and the Scituate Historical Society has also verified the story as true to the best of their abilities. They have gone down in history as “America’s Army of Two,” though many today have not heard of their story.

Next Article
ADVERTISEMENT
  • The unstoppable Iron Mike

    If you thought Iron Man was indestructible wait until you hear about Michael Malloy or Mike The Durable as his friends liked to call him. Malloy was a firefighter who lives in New York City during the 1920s but by 1933 he was homeless and had fallen deep into the clutches of alcoholism. You see...

    Read More
  • You Want To Live Forever? Start By Getting A Dog.

    Next time you find yourself screaming at your dog in anger because the young puppy chewed up your shoes, tore down your curtains or ruined your sofa, do keep this in mind: Buddy may actually be adding years on your life! In Sweden, researchers followed over 3 million people over the age of forty for...

    Read More
  • The Town That Respectfully Maintained The Grave Of A Toilet

    General George Smith Patton was a highly decorated senior officer of the United States Army, he is best known for commanding the U.S Third Army during the Allied liberation of Normandy in June 1944. His military exploits are well noted and documented, in fact, he is seen as one of the greatest war generals to...

    Read More
  • New Evidence Shows Menopause Treatment Not a Cancer Risk

    An exciting major new study has found that taking hormone replacement therapy to counter the symptoms of menopause does not increase a woman’s risk of early death. Researchers in the early 2000s discovered a link between women taking HRT for over five years and a higher risk of cancer. It even detailed how patients could...

    Read More
  • The Mysterious tale of Lucky Lord Lucan

    Some claim it to be one of the greatest mysteries of the 20th Century and when you dive into the story it really just begs the question - what in the world happened to Lucky Lord Lucan? On November 7, 1974, Lord Richard John Bingham the Seventh Earl of Lucan murdered his wife’s nanny by...

    Read More
  • A French Noblewoman Who Became a Ferocious Pirate Legend

    During the height of the Hundred Years War between England and France, one French noblewoman became feared throughout France for her ferocious never-ending appetite for revenge. Jeanne de Clisson with the help of the English outfitted three warships and caused havoc to any French ships crossing the English channel. Some may say privateer but at...

    Read More
  • The Native American Who Saved the Pilgrims

    Many of us are familiar with the Pilgrims and the first Thanksgiving, but have you heard of Squanto, the Patuxet Native American from Cape Cod Bay that saved the Pilgrims from disease and disaster? Squanto was a young man when, in 1614, he was abducted by Spanish conquistadors. He was forcefully taken by ship back...

    Read More