Songs & Ballads Of the American Revolution

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SERGEANT CIIAMPE.
329
-geant of the cavalry as one in all respects qualified for the adven­turous scheme, " being a man of tried courage and inflexible per­severance, and as likely to reject an overture coupled with ignominy as any officer in the corps." The general was delighted to find that a non-commissioned officer was capable of carrying out*his views, and Lee returned to camp with his instructions to confer with Champe, as it was the design he should set off that night. After a long consultation, Champe was prevailed upon to undertake the enterprise. The instructions were read to him, and from them he prepared notes so disguised as to be understood only by himself. Arnold was upon no account to be injured, but to be allowed to escape rather than to be killed in preventing such an event. It was the desire of "Washington to make a public example of him.
No time was lost. Champe immediately prepared himself and his horse for the journey, and a little before midnight, mounted to pur­sue his way to Paulus Hook. Within half an hour Captain Carnes, officer of the day, repaired to the quarters of Major Lee, and told him that the guard had fallen in with a dragoon, who, upon being questioned, put spurs to his horse and escaped; at the same time requesting orders for the pursuit. The major, who had assured Champe, that, in the event of his desertion being discovered before morning, he would delay the pursuit as long as possible, tried every device to accomplish it. He complained of the disturbance of his sleep, and suggested the probability of its being a countryman on his way home, or some soldier gone out on a tour of personal plea-sure. Captain Carnes then returned to his quarters, paraded the troops and found one sergeant missing, of which he hastily informed Major Lee. Some delay was occasioned by these movements. Champe had been gone but an hour, when the troopers, under the command of a cornet, set off on the chase. A shower of rain had fallen soon after the sergeant's departure, which enabled the dragoons to take his trail. On they spurred, stopping occasionally during the darkness of the night, to examine the foot-prints of the fugitive's horse.* When morning broke, no longer forced to halt, they passed
* The shoes of the horses were all made in the same form; which, with a






E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III