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1-083 (Raw)

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author,male,Johnston, G.,un addressee,male
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Private Written
Private Correspondence
Connell, 1980
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1-083-raw.txt — 5 KB

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Ap.' 1804
Dear Piper
I receiv'd yours of the 20th. of February, on Sunday 4th: Ultmo: & that very night at twelve oClock I was awoke out of my sleep, & inform'd that a Trooper wanted to speak to me, when I got up he inform'd me the Governor was just behind & wanted to see me, I immediatly walk'd to the Parramatta road & soon after he came up, he acquainted me the Cropy's were in Arms to the number of 5 or 600 & that before he left Sydney he had given directions for a Detachment of 2 Serjtt: & 52 rank & file under the command of Lieut. Davies & Quarter Master Laycock to proceed to my House, when I was to take them under my orders & proceed directly to Parramatta, about 1/2 past one in the Morng. of the 5th: the Detachment arriv'd & having ascertain'd that they were all loaded & good flints in their Pieces, I form'd an advanced guard, & march'd the rest in four sub devisions or rather sections (which just fill'd the road) to Parramatta, where we arriv'd at the dawn of day.. . the Governor gave me his Orders in Writing how to proceed, & seeing I could not make it out, he said he supposed I cou'd not read it, I told him no, he might as well have given me Greek he then read it himself, which was, that with half the Detacht. I was to go in quest of the Rebels who had lately been at the Park Gate to the number of 5 or 600 & if I did not meet them there, to proceed to Toongabbe, & then wheel in to the right & go to Castle Hill, where I was to wait for further orders, but in one part of them he desir'd me to fire upon any person that attempted to run away when call'd to, which I told him was all I wanted; I directly divided the Detachment giving Lt. Davies the Command of the left Division (& who had different instructions) & taking Mr. Laycock & the other half with me I march'd as quick as possible to Toongabbe, on our arrival I was inform'd there were four hundred of the Rebels laying on the top of Sugar loaf hill, all well arm'd, I instantly detachd the Corpl. with the advanced Guard (5 in all) with about 6 or 8 Inhabitants (arm'd with Musquets) by the Hawkesbury road to take them in flank, whilst Laycock & myself with the rest of the soldiers & about 12 arm'd Inhabitants ascended the face of the Hill behind Doctor Masons, & when we gain'd the sumit we found they had push'd on for the Hawkesbury & by every account we could learn there were at least 400 of them, I immediatly advanced as rapidly as possible (the day being intensely hot) & having heard before we arriv'd at the Governmt Stock fence that they were not above a mile before us I desir'd Handlesack (the only Trooper I had with me) to take my Handkerchief & wave to them as a flag of truce & acquaint them the Governor was coming, as I thought that might delay them whilst we were gaining ground upon them - He went to them & spoke to them but they wou'd hear no terms, they however took the flints out of his Pistols & & allowed him to return, I then sent Dixon the Priest to them, (still with a view of detaining them) but they wou'd not listen to him; shortly after having taken one prisoner arm'd with a fusee that had separated from them, & understanding from him they were not above half a mile before us I ask'd the Trooper if he was affraid to ride up along with me to speak to them, he replied he wou'd go to hell with me (I desired Laycock to push on with the soldiers,) & we immediately gallop'd after them; when we came up with them I call'd to them to stop that I wanted to speak to them, they desir'd me to come into the middle of them as their Captains were there, I told them their Captains must have very little spirit if they wou'd not come & speak to me as I was within Pistol shot of them (& I do assure you expected to be compleatly riddled every minute) at length two men of the names of Johnston & Cuningham came from amongst them, when I reason'd with them upon the impropriety of their conduct they wou'd not hear it, I told them I only wish'd to stop the effusion of blood & that I wou'd even bring their Priest up to convince them they were wrong & desir'd them to Persuade the People to surrender, whilst I return'd to bring up the Priest I soon join'd the Detachment, & desiring Laycock to push forward with the soldiers (10 file our only front) I rode again within Pistol shot of the Rebels, & call'd to speak with the two People I had before seen, with some reluctance they again came to me, (whilst their Main Body form'd line on the second Hill on this side the last half way Pond) the Priest as well as myself spoke to them, wishing them to surrender to prevent Bloodshed, which they wou'd not listen to, at last I ask'd Cuningham what he wanted? his reply was Death or Liberty, I instantly cock'd a Pistol I had stuck in my sash, & clapping it to his head order'd him instantly to join the Detachment, (that just then appear'd in sight) else I wou'd blow his soul to Hell the Trooper did the same by the other, & in this Manner we drove them forcibly into the Detachment, which I order'd to advance & fire & instantly charge, the firing immediatly commenced & both sides & the Rebels soon fled in all directions, when we join'd (after the pursuit at the last Pond we found 9 Kill'd) & since that there has been six more found 6 or 7 wounded, & when we arriv'd at the Hawkesbury we had 26 Prisoners, 27 stand of arms that we took from the Rebels, besides, Pistols, Cutlasses, Bayonets Pikes & Pitchforks. - I never in my life saw men behave better than those under my command, & the only fault I had to find with them was their being too fond of Blood, for I do assure you I sav'd the lives of 6 miserable wretches, that the soldiers wou'd have butcher'd, if I had not presented my Pistol at their heads & swore I wou'd shoot them if they attempted to kill them in cold blood. [94]