by Reverend Saye
is proposed by the writer to give in the following pages a detailed statement of
the personal exploits of Major Joseph McJunkin in the Revolutionary War in this
country, together with remarks and observations concerning his contemporaries
and the interesting events of which they were in the hands of Providence, the
it be asked why such reminiscences should be published after the general history
of the principal transactions have been given to the world and the events have
already become familiar to even the cursory reader, we reply:
That it is a duty that we owe to the generation which is past to record
their fame, emulate their virtues and transmit their reputations to generations
That the men who won the independence of this Nation must forever be held
in grateful remembrance by those who enjoy the fruits of their toils, privations
and sufferings or virtuous intelligence cease to exist.
That the period of our Revolutionary struggle exhibited a very
remarkable triumph of principles over selfishness in the principal actors. But a
noble valor, an unexampled moderation and an entire consecration to the public
weal were not peculiar to Washington and those who stood with him in the first
ranks of patriots. The same feeling and spirit was widely diffused not only
among the officers of inferior grade, but the common soldier and citizen often
gave unequivocal evidence of the same disinterested patriotism.
That no State in the Union was placed in circumstances better adapted to
try the principles of its citizen soldiers than South Carolina. Those who stood
firm in this State in the darkest hour of her conflicts present no ordinary
claim for honor, which is the award of an admiring posterity.
The causes which produced these principles by which so many of our
countrymen, distinguished and obscure, were actuated can never be too easily
understood nor too sedusively cultivated. If it be true that the same cause will
produce the same effects, how rational and important is the inquiry: “What
were the causes which instilled such principles into that remarkable generation
who won the independence of this Nation, built up her institutions and handed
them down to us encircled in an imperishable halo of glory?” To ascertain
these causes, to find out these secret springs, we must look into the scenes of
retired life, the exercises of the family circle, the religious sentiments and
social habits of the people.
the following narrative such facts as have a bearing upon the preceding inquiry
will be mentioned not only in reference to our hero himself, but also to his
worthy companions in arms, so far as known to the writer.