Original Document
Original Document
Reverend Henry Muhlenberg, Journal entry, September 27, 1777

Today I was requested to bury the child of one of our vestrymen at Augustus Church. When I arrived there, I found to my sorrow that a regiment of the Pennsylvania militia had taken possession of the church and schoolhouse. The church was filled with officers and men and their arms; the organ gallery was also full; one was playing on the organ and another singing an accompaniment; the floor was filled with straw and dirt, and on the alter they had their victuals. In short, I saw in miniature the horror of destruction in holy places.

I went in but did not think it prudent to say anything to the crowd as they began to mock, and some of the officers called out to the one playing on the organ to play a Hessian march. I sought Colonel Dunlap and asked him if this was the promised protection to religious and civil freedom. He excused himself by saying that it was difficult to keep up strict discipline with the militia, who were composed of all men of all nations. The schoolmaster complained with tears that they had destroyed his buckwheat patch, now ripe, and plundered and trodden down his garden vegetables. I could give him no assistance, for I was served in the same manner. My lot of three acres near the church, which was full of buckwheat in blossom, and from which I had hoped a frugal supply for the winter, had twenty head of horses and oxen in it, eating it off and treading it down. If one says a word about it, one is called a "Tory" and threatened with burning of house and stable. The other side calls us rebels.

I went home and left a message with the schoolmaster for the parents of the dead child, when they arrived, that in such circumstances I could not attend the funeral or hold a discourse in the church for their consolation. The view of the church made me melancholy.

Credit: The Reverend Dr. Henry M. Muhlenberg, "Journal." Pennsylvania Historical Society Collections, I (1853), 147-186.
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