Edward Sylvester Ellis
Porter & Coates, 1888
On the sultry third of July, 1778, Fred Godfrey, a sturdy youth of eighteen years, was riding at a breakneck speed down the Wyoming Valley, in the direction of the settlement, from which he saw columns of smoke rolling upward, and whence, during the few pauses of his steed, he heard the rattling discharge of firearms and the shouts of combatants.
"I wonder whether I am too late," he asked himself more than once, and he urged his splendid horse to a greater pace; "the road never seemed so long."
Ah, there was good cause for the anxiety of the lad, for in that lovely Wyoming Valley lived those who were dearer to him than all the world beside, and whatever fate overtook the settlers must be shared by him as well. He had ridden his horse hard, and his flanks glistened with wet and foam, but though every foot of the winding road was familiar to him, it appeared in his torturing impatience to be double its usual length.
Fred Godfrey had received the promise of his father, on the breaking out of the Revolution, that he might enlist in the patriot army so soon as he reached the age of seventeen. On the very day that he attained that age he donned the Continental uniform, made for him by loving hands, bade his friends good-bye, and hastened away to where Washington was longing for just such lusty youths as he who appeared to be several years younger than he really was.
Fred was a handsome, athletic youngster, and he sat his horse with the grace of a crusader. Although the day was warm, and his face glowed with perspiration, he wore his cocked hat, blue coat with its white facings, the belt around the waist and another which passed over one shoulder ere it joined the one around the middle of his body, knee-breeches, and strong stockings and shoes. His rifle was slung across his back, and a couple of loaded single-barreled pistols were thrust in his belt, where they could be drawn the instant needed.