Thursday, November 12, 2009

Lemuel Lyman Pouch by Jeff Bibb

In 1755, an expedition was planned against Crown Point, and the command entrusted to Sir Wm. Johnson. His army arrived at the south end of Lake George before transportation had been provided. While waiting for batteaux to convey him to Crown Point, he received intelligence that a detachment of French Regulars, Canadians and Indians, under command of Baron Dieskau, was approaching Fort Edward for the purpose of destroying some provision and military stores. Johnson at once called a council of war, at which it was determined to dispatch Col. E: Williams to intercept the French on their return from the fort. Diskeau, however, changed his course, with the intention of attacking Johnson's camp. Col. Williams was not aware of the change, and he marched on to his doom, apprehensive of no danger. The enemy had been apprised of his approach and lay in- ambush for him. The firing commenced prematurely, hub was very destructive. The surprise was complete. The bi-ave- commander, in endeavoring to conduct his troops to a more advantageous position, received a ball in his head, which instantly killed him. The firing continued with unabated fury, and they were obliged to retreat to the camp, whither they were closely followed by the enemy, who were received by Johnson with a murderous discharge of cannon and musketry, which did so much execution among them that they retired in great disorder, leaving on the field Baron Dieskau, who had received a mortal wound in his thigh. He fell into the hands of the Americans, and said, before his death, that, in all his military life, nothing had ever sent death into his army like the prolonged cheers which the Americans gave at their approach. Each of these neighbors, last referred to, had a son in this battle, which took place Sept. 8, 1775, and in- which Col. Ephraim Williams, the generous founder of Williams College, and more than two hundred others were slain, among whom was Sergeant Eliakim Wright, son of Stephen, aged 28. Lemuel Lyman, son of Benjamin, then twenty years of age, was in company with Sergeant Wright, one of the scouting party who was sent out to reconnoitre. They met the enemy advancing in the form of a crescent, but did not discover them until they were partially inclosed, whereupon a warm fire opened. Mr. Lyman was in the act of firing at an Indian, when a ball struck him. It passed across three of his fingers and struck his breast, passing through a leather vest, three thicknesses of his shirt, and his bullet pouch, which was providentially in that place, and half buried itself in his body. The pouch is still preserved in one of the numerous families of his descendants. There were four other soldiers standing near him, three of whom were killed there, and the other one after he reached the camp. Shortly after he obtained a furlough and returned home.

The pouch is made from cowhide with a full inside divider. It measures 7" wide by 5" deep. The shoulder strap is 3/4" wide with a brass buckle adjustment.

Copy and photos by Jeff Bibb.

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