Puzzle #5: Smith, Jones and Robinson

By Muriel Bristol (Transcriber) | September 25, 2018

A puzzle posed by British puzzler Henry Ernest Dudeney. It was published in the Strand magazine in April 1930.

Smith, Jones and Robinson are the driver, fireman and guard on a train, but not necessarily in that order. The train carries three passengers, coincidentally with the same surnames, but identified with a “Mr.”: Mr. Jones, Mr. Smith and Mr. Robinson.

Mr. Robinson lives in Leeds.
The guard lives halfway between Leeds and Sheffield.
Mr. Jones’s salary is £1,000 2s. 1d. per annum.
Smith can beat the fireman at billiards.
The guard’s nearest neighbour (one of the passengers) earns exactly three times as much as the guard.
The guard’s namesake lives in Sheffield.

What is the name of the engine driver?

The salary amount of £1,000 2s. 1d., or one thousand pounds, two shillings and one penny, is significant only in that it is not evenly divisible by three.

[Answer to Puzzle #5 to follow in the next Puzzle]

Solution to Puzzle #4: Charlemagne’s Puzzle

Alcuin’s original solution involved seven steps:

  1. Take the sheep over
  2. Return – the sheep is on one side and the wolf and cabbage are on the other
  3. Take the cabbage over
  4. Return with the sheep – the cabbage is on one side and the sheep and wolf (and farmer) are on the other
  5. Take the wolf over
  6. Return – the wolf and cabbage are on one side and the sheep is on the other
  7. Take sheep over – all three have crossed over

Thus there are seven crossings, four forward and three back.

This river-crossing puzzle has spawned many “cosmetic” variations, such as fox, goose, and beans, and has appeared in the folklore of many lands. It appeared in the Simpsons episode Gone Maggie Gone with Homer Simpson trying to shuttle Maggie, Santa’s Little Helper, and a Jar of Rat Poison that Looked like Candy.

One of our more “waggish” commenters suggests a cosmetic variation of a selectman, a taxpayer, and the taxpayer’s money.

Milton’s Winter Soldier, Part Two

By Muriel Bristol | September 23, 2018

Continued from Milton’s Winter Soldier, Part One

Mount Independence

Prior to the Declaration of Independence, Mount Independence had a less grandiose name: Rattlesnake Hill.

Two years previously, Ethan Allen and his Green Mountain Boys had surprised and captured Fort Ticonderoga in May 1775. He famously did so “In the name of Great Jehovah and the Continental Congress.” He was certainly an interesting man. He had rebelled against New York prior to the Revolution. He was a rebel’s rebel. The Revolution just sort of joined him. Guns from Fort Ticonderoga had been sledged to Boston, where they were used to expel the British from that city. Under threat of those guns, mounted on Dorchester heights, the British “evacuated” on their fleet to occupy New York City instead. (Boston celebrates a city government holiday on “Evacuation Day,” which is coincidentally also St. Patrick’s Day).

Fort Ticonderoga had been built by the French in 1755 and had seen better days. It stood on the New York side of the narrow bottom of Lake Champlain at its river outlet. It had been built with an eye to blocking any approach from the south (up the Hudson River from Albany and New York). Its strong defenses were less formidable when approached from the north (down Lake Champlain from Canada).

To improve those defenses, the Colonial forces built an ancillary fortress on Rattlesnake Hill in 1776. That was a sort of hilly semi-peninsula on the Vermont side (modern Orwell, VT) of the lake. They constructed also a rough military road, with log planking and bridges to span wet places, between there and Hubbardton, Vermont, and a pontoon bridge over to Fort Ticonderoga. News of the Declaration of Independence came there on July 18, 1776 and Rattlesnake Hill became Mount Independence.

British General Guy Carleton arrived there from Canada with his army in October 1776. He abandoned this initial invasion attempt when he saw the double-fortressed position with its approximately 12,000 defenders. Most of the Colonial forces dispersed to their homes for the winter not long after. Their enlistments had expired. Only a skeleton force of 2,500 remained to hold the forts over the winter.

The British planned a much more serious invasion attempt for 1777. They hoped to split New England off from the rest of the colonies. To accomplish this, General John Burgoyne’s army would proceed south across Lake Champlain from Canada and General Gage’s army would come north up the Hudson River from New York City. They planned to meet in Albany, control the Hudson River, and thus split the colonies in two.

All three Continental regiments of the New Hampshire Line marched westward from New Hampshire in May 1777 in order to reinforce Fort Ticonderoga’s skeleton garrison. It took them six or seven weeks to get there.

At the head of the Second Regiment, its commander, Colonel Nathan Hale (not the famous spy, but another one from Rindge, NH) rode on horseback with his staff. The Second Regiment’s national and regimental colors flapped in the breeze.

The Regimental and National Flags of the 2nd Regiment, New Hampshire Line

The colors they carried before them had been made in Boston in April 1777. The buff-colored national flag’s ring of thirteen interlocked state rings was based on a Benjamin Franklin design. It had also been used on Continental currency the year before. Its motto “We Are One” appeared in the center of the rings. The blue-colored regimental flag had a shield with “NH 2nd Regt” upon it and a banner or scroll appeared above with the motto “The Glory Not the Prey.” The two cantons were “mocks” or variations on the British Union Jack.

Colonial soldiers and engineers had built encampments for three brigades (enlarged or reinforced regiments) at Mount Independence in 1776.  The defenses in progress there included a large shore battery, with a another horseshoe-shaped battery or citadel above it. They also built storehouses, workshops and had begun a star-shaped picket fort. Some of this work continued in the spring of 1777, including the beginnings of three new batteries along the peninsula’s eastern shore.

Mount Independence was as yet an unarmed and undefended construction project. When the New Hampshire regiments arrived, they joined the skeleton garrison of Fort Ticonderoga.

British General John Burgoyne and his army of 7,800 British and Hessian soldiers arrived soon after at nearby Fort Crown Point on June 30, 1777. It was unoccupied and his presence went unnoticed. He next had his troops drag cannons up onto the summit of Mount Defiance (Sugarloaf Hill), which overlooked both Fort Ticonderoga and Mount Independence. (“Where a goat can go, a man can go; and where a man can go, he can drag a gun.” – British Major General William Phillips, as his men brought cannon to the top of Mount Defiance in 1777). The British occupation of Mount Defiance remained completely unnoticed until July 5, when some British-allied Indians lit a fire there.

The Colonial commander, General St. Clair, was completely surprised. British guns overlooked Fort Ticonderoga now, which made it completely untenable. He had little choice but to order an immediate evacuation of Fort Ticonderoga. The Colonial forces snuck out that night across the pontoon bridge to Mount Independence, under its British guns, and from there down the military log road to Hubbardton. They were headed for the Rutland, Vermont area.

Most of the sick and wounded were taken to bateaux boats at Skenesborough (now Whitehall, New York), while that was still possible. The baggage went there too.

Battle of Hubbardton

Colonel Seth Warner commanded the rear guard covering the Continental retreat toward Rutland, Vermont. His detail included his own Green Mountain Boys and Colonel Hale’s Second New Hampshire regiment. There were also some stragglers from other units, as well as some number of sick and wounded men.

Colonel Warner paused in Hubbardton, Vermont, on July 6, 1777, while the main force escaped down the Castleton road. He set his men to felling trees to make a obstacle of downward-facing branches on Monument Hill and to extend that position on either flank. The British did not appear that day and Colonel Warner decided to spend the night.

The next morning, July 7, at 5:00 AM, Colonel Warner’s pickets spotted approaching British scouts. There was an exchange of gunfire and the scouts retreated. A more substantial British force arrived at the bottom of Monument Hill at 6:30 AM. They attacked and were repulsed.

The British regrouped, attacked again, and were repulsed again. British General Fraser sent now for his Hessians. Meanwhile, his Grenadiers climbed the Pittsford Ridge beyond the Colonial east flank in order to block their escape route down the Castleton road.

The Hessian reinforcements arrived about 8:30 AM and counter-attacked on the Colonial northern flank, where the British were being hard-pressed. The Second’s commander, Col. Hale, and a detachment of seventy Second Regiment men were captured. Colonel Warner decided it was time to go. The Colonials withdrew across the Pittsford Ridge as best they could.

This is considered to have been a British victory, as they held the field when it was all over, but the rear guard had accomplished its mission. They forced the British to stop, deploy their forces, and fight. All of this took time, valuable time. After the battle, British General Fraser gave up his pursuit of the Colonial main body entirely.

The Battle of Hubbardton involved approximately 2,230 troops – 1,000 to 1,200 Americans, 850 British, and 180 Germans fighting for the British. It resulted in the deaths of 41 American, 50 British, and 10 German soldiers. Of the 244 wounded, 96 were American, 134 British, and 14 German. The British took 234 American prisoners. Total casualties, including prisoners, were roughly 27 percent of all participating troops.

Milton’s Private Enoch Wingate was wounded during this rear guard action. Captain Rowell’s next muster roll listed him as one of sixteen men that had been “Missing since July 7th.”

The Second New Hampshire Regiment continued to regard the captured Colonel Hale as its commander. His name headed all their paperwork, until as late as January 1779, when Lt. Colonel George Reid was listed as commander. Hale died in captivity in September 1780.

The fancy Regimental flags also went missing. They had been packed away with the baggage on the bateaux at Skenesborough to go down river. The British got the lot.

And next came Bemis Heights? Yes.

To be continued in Milton’s Winter Soldier, Part Three


Concord Monitor. (2017, May 23). NH Gets Its Flags Back. Retrieved from www.concordmonitor.com/New-Hampshire-Gets-Its-Flags-Back-9404052

CRW Flags. (2018, July 25). Second New Hampshire Regiment, Continental Line. Retrieved from www.crwflags.com/fotw/flags/us%5Enhrcl.html

Fort Ticonderoga. (2018). Fort Ticonderoga: America’s Fort. Retrieved from www.fortticonderoga.org/

Fort Ticonderoga. (2018). Mount Defiance. Retrieved from www.fortticonderoga.org/history-and-collections/places/mount-defiance

National Archives. (n.d.) Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files (NARA microfilm publication M804, 2,670 rolls). Records of the Department of Veterans Affairs, Record Group 15. National Archives, Washington, D.C.

State of Vermont. (2018). Hubbardton Battlefield. Retrieved from historicsites.vermont.gov/directory/hubbardton/history

State of Vermont. (2018. Hubbardton Battlefield. Post-Visit Exercise: Using Primary Sources to Learn about the Battle. Retrieved from historicsites.vermont.gov/sites/historicsites/files/Documents/directory/hubbardton/Hubbardton%20Battlefield%20Post%20Visit%20Primary%20Sources%20Exercise%5B1%5D.pdf

State of Vermont. (2018). Mount Independence. Retrieved from historicsites.vermont.gov/directory/mount_independence

Wikipedia. (2018, September 16). Ethan Allen. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethan_Allen

Wikipedia. (2018, September 13). Fort Ticonderoga. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fort_Ticonderoga

Wikipedia. (2018, July 20). Mount Defiance (New York). Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Defiance_(New_York)

Wikipedia. (2018, June 20). Mount Independence (Vermont). Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Independence_(Vermont)

Wikipedia. (2018). Nathan Hale (Colonel). Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nathan_Hale_(colonel)


Non-Public BOS Session Scheduled (September 24, 2018)

By Muriel Bristol | September 21, 2018

The Milton Board of Selectmen (BOS) have posted their agenda for a BOS meeting to be held Monday, September 24.

The meeting is scheduled to begin with a Non-Public preliminary session at 5:00 PM. That agenda has three Non-Public items classed as 91-A:3 II (c), 91-A:3 II (j), and 91-A:3 II (c).

91-A:3 II (c). Matters which, if discussed in public, would likely affect adversely the reputation of any person, other than a member of the public body itself, unless such person requests an open meeting. This exemption shall extend to any application for assistance or tax abatement or waiver of a fee, fine, or other levy, if based on inability to pay or poverty of the applicant.

The first and third matters (the “c” items) appear to relate again to the recent tax abatement process.

To Repeat. In November, the BOS made a serious error in setting the 2017 tax rate. It affected all of the taxpayers, i.e., about 2,700 taxpayers, to a very large degree. Various figures have been given, ranging as high as $1.4 million. In December, the BOS suggested that those affected should file for abatements, which was a bit of shell game. An abatement fund of $20,000 could not possibly resolve an unauthorized tax levy of $1.4 million. This would be the fourth meeting that devoted agenda time to hearing abatements or appeals of rejected abatements.

91-A:3 II (j). Consideration of confidential, commercial, or financial information that is exempt from public disclosure under RSA 91-A:5, IV in an adjudicative proceeding pursuant to RSA 541 [Rehearings and Appeals in Certain Cases] or RSA 541-A [Administrative Procedure Act].

The second item (the “j” item) might also relate to abatements. Of course, it could be anything at all. It has been suggested to us since last time that it might have to do with discussing revisions of employee manuals and employee insurance buyouts, issues that have been mentioned in the open sessions.

The BOS intend to adjourn their Non-Public BOS session at approximately (*) 6:00 PM, when they intend to return to Public session.

The Public portion of the agenda has new business, old business, and the approval of minutes.

Under new business is scheduled: 1) Recording Clerk Agreement (Danielle Marique), and 2) Milton EOP Acceptance (Nick Marique).

We tried to research the somewhat cryptic acronym EOP, which will no doubt be explained (and accepted) in the meeting, but cannot decide to what those initials might refer. Possibilities include, but are not limited to:

  • Early Oil Project (the development of the Chirag oilfield),
  • Earth orientation parameters, a collection of parameters that describe irregularities in the rotation of the Earth,
  • Electroosmotic pump, a device that generates flow using an electric field,
  • Enhanced Outpatient Program, a program in the California Department of Corrections to provide care to mentally challenged inmates,
  • Ethernet over Power, a type of home networking in power-line communication,
  • Executive Office of the President of the United States, a part of the executive branch of the United States government often referred to as the White House,
  • Exchange Online Protection, an email filtering service, part of Microsoft’s Exchange Online family,
  • External occipital protuberance, part of the human skull, and
  • Hellenic Cycling Federation (Greek: Ελληνικη Ομοσπονδια Ποδηλασιας), the governing body of cycle racing in Greece.

None of these seem to be likely. It could refer to anything at all. Bureaucracies love their alphabet soup (and chapter heading numbers).

Under old business is scheduled: 3) Employee Handbook Update (Heather Thibodeau), 4) Insurance Buyout Discussion Follow up (Heather Thibodeau), 5) Town Report Printing Cost Discussion (Heather Thibodeau), 6) Building Permit Fees & Policy Discussion Follow up (Heather Thibodeau), and 7) Townhouse Heating/Cooling Discussion Follow up (Erin Hutchings).

The Employee Handbook and Employee Insurance Buyout items return from last time. Townhouse heating problems appear for the fourth time.

The Town Report Printing Cost discussion will be where they break it to Selectman Lucier that printing two Town Report publications could not possibly be cheaper than printing one. (After a diversion of staff resources to confirming the obvious). He has not noticed evidently that the tax assessment information he remembers as being in the back of the Town Report in days of yore is now available in an online system (Avitar) instead. A system for which we are already paying quite a bit.

Perhaps we could save the cost of printing two reports by just printing the URL of the Avitar database in the one report?

As for wanting to publish the names of tax delinquents in the Town Report. It is not difficult to see where that might end badly, very badly.

Mr. S.D. Plissken contributed to this article.


State of New Hampshire. (2016, June 21). RSA Chapter 91-A. Access to Governmental Records and Meetings. Retrieved from www.gencourt.state.nh.us/rsa/html/VI/91-A/91-A-3.htm

Town of Milton. (2018, September 7). BOS Meeting Agenda, September 24, 2018. Retrieved from www.miltonnh-us.com/uploads/bos_agendas_828_71713156.pdf

Milton in 1839

By Muriel Bristol (Transcriber) | September 21, 2018

Milton, N.H.

Strafford co. The Salmon Fall river washes its whole E. boundary, a distance of 13 miles; and a branch of the same river crosses, from the S. part of Wakefield, and unites near the centre of the E. Boundary. Teneriffe, a bold and rocky mountain, extends along the E. part of Milton, near which lies Milton pond, of considerable size, connecting with the Salmon Fall river. This town was formerly a part of Rochester, from which it was detached in 1802. It lies 40 miles N.E. from Concord, and 20 N.W. by N. from Dover. Population, 1830, 1,273.

Previous in sequence: Milton in 1823; next in sequence: Milton in 1849


Hayward, John. (1839). The New England Gazetteer. Retrieved from books.google.com/books?id=O8wTAAAAYAAJ

Selectmen Try to Avoid Dancing a Pas-de-Deux

By. S.D. Plissken | September 20, 2018

Our Board of Selectmen (BOS) try so very hard to avoid dancing a pas-de-deux (a “step-of-two,” a ballet or part of a ballet, that features two dancers only) They seem to devote a considerable amount of their time trying to work this out.

Strictly speaking, whenever two of the three of them are together that constitutes a quorum and makes for an official BOS Meeting.

Most recently, Chairman Thibeault touted the Milton Historical Society in the BOS Meeting of Monday, August 20. Rightly so. (Just don’t buy them a new roof with public money).

Vice-chairwoman Hutchings would like to go too, but has difficulties:

Hutchings: Can I have a comment on that?

Thibeault: Sure.

Hutchings: Only because Bonnie … Dutton? … calls me, every time you all have a meeting, and asks me to go to the meeting. Because I’m a member. But, because I never know if you’re going to be there and, since two of us can’t be in the same room without calling it a meeting, what can we do to …

Administrator Thibodeau: Tell me if you’re going and I’ll post a meeting.

Hutchings: But, see, sometimes I don’t know. It depends on if there’s a conflict with another meeting … I mean, what, there’s got to be a way to get around this, so that …

Thibodeau: I have to post a meeting.

Hutchings: Can we just have a standard posting? Do you go to all of their meetings?

Thibodeau: Now you’re going to …

Thibeault: Pretty much, if I can, and now that I’m one of …

Hutchings: So, can we just do a standard posting of it?

Thibeault: … the people that was elected Tuesday, I will be at almost every one.

Thibodeau. Yes, now you’re, what, vice-chair or something, or …

Hutchings: I mean it does make it difficult, with a three-member board, if I’m a member of the Historical Society and, now you’re the chairman or whatever, it does … you know, I mean, it makes it hard.

Thibeault: No, we can, … I mean, we can post it … I mean, … it’s a 91-A. We just need to be very cautious.

Hutchings: Right, can we post it?

Thibeault: We can’t make decisions about the town or talk about town business.

Thibodeau: Don’t talk about town …

Hutchings: And I get that, but can we just put a standard “blanket”? Does it have to be that we’re both going to be there? What can we do to circumvent?

Thibodeau: Well, you could say you’re not going to talk about the town.

Hutchings: Well, that goes without saying. I mean, it’s the Historical Society. It’s a total separate entity.

Thibodeau: And you’re not going to make any decisions. But, if you’re very cautious …

Thibeault: If we post it … when we’re going to go … just post it. E-mail Heather and have her post it,  … just to be as transparent as we can. Again, it’s really not a meeting.

Hutchings: Right. Do we have a schedule of when you guys are meeting? Cause it seems …

Thibeault: I think it’s the second Tuesday. Or the first Tuesday, the first Tuesday of the Month.

Hutchings: The first Tuesday.

Thibeault: There’s probably going to be some adjustments.

They pretty much went around in a circle and arrived back at the start: posting every time they are in the same place as a meeting.

(By the way, Vice-chairwoman Hutchings, you might want to stay away from terms like “circumvent” and “get around” when you are talking about laws, even silly ones. Just a suggestion. It leaves a bad impression).

Consider the absurdity of it all. Hmm. We might even apply a logical reductio-ad-absurdum method or test to this process. Say two of the selectmen go to a pie contest or a parade or some other event. There are many people there, perhaps hundreds. The two selectman are standing together. Oh, well, that’s a meeting, definitely. Plain as the nose on your face.

How about if they move apart, say ten feet? Or different ends of the table? Well, they can still talk at ten feet. I guess the other people present there make it a more “public” meeting. We’re right here, we can hear you.

How about if they move further apart, say fifty or sixty feet? Or sit at different, widely-spaced tables. They could still shout something out, I suppose. Alright, let’s say they are on opposite ends of the crowd, hundreds of feet apart. They would have trouble communicating, even by shouting. Are they still in the same “meeting”? Obviously not, to think that would be absurd.

But if they moved closer together again? There’s a crowd there. How could we know they didn’t do that? Someone would have to watch them all the time. Or they would have to post it as a meeting.

How about if all the selectmen wore bodycams all the time instead? No, I suppose that’s a non-starter.

Is it time to expand the BOS to a five-member board? It might solve some of the smaller issues, like a Milton Historical Society meeting. The same problems would persist for larger public events. (Politicians tend to gravitate to large public events). The quorum number would just be bigger – three, rather than two. But a five-member board might have other advantages.

Lots of NH towns do have five-member boards instead of three-member boards. Even the residents of that other Milton – Milton, Massachusetts – discussed expanding their board last year (see References below). They mentioned better representation, spreading the workload, more heads being better than fewer heads, etc.

With five-member boards, two of them are a “subcommittee” instead of a “meeting.” And subcommittees could meet to hash out problems – you know, green eyeshade stuff – like reducing our tax burden.

Maybe a really efficient subcommittee could find and figure out how to return last year’s supposed $1.4 million tax overage? The full board seems unable to work that out. Not even in an unrecorded workshop meeting. They just dance away from it.


Milton [MA] Scene. (2017, April 23). Opinion: Five Member Board of Selectmen. Retrieved from www.miltonscene.com/2017/04/opinion-five-member-board-selectmen/

Town of Milton. (2018, September 20). BOS Meeting, August 20, 2018. Retrieved from youtube/LfPichonEYQ?t=4117

Town of Milton. (2018, September 16). Special Meeting – Town Event. Retrieved from www.miltonnh-us.com/uploads/bos_agendas_826_1598026346.pdf

Town of Milton. (2018, July 4). Special Meeting – Town Event. Retrieved from www.miltonnh-us.com/uploads/index_759_2301862641.pdf

Town of Milton. (2018, June 9). Special Meeting. Retrieved from www.miltonnh-us.com/uploads/index_759_2301862641.pdf

Town of Milton. (2018, May 28). Special Meeting. Retrieved from www.miltonnh-us.com/uploads/bos_agendas_810_2871105304.pdf

Town of Milton. (2018, April 21). Special Meeting. Retrieved from www.miltonnh-us.com/uploads/bos_agendas_800_1356514139.pdf

Wikipedia. (2017, August 7). Pas de Deux. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pas_de_deux

Milton’s Winter Soldier, Part One

By Muriel Bristol | September 19, 2018

On a warm April day, an older Milton man, Enoch Wingate, stood before Judge Richard Dame in the Strafford Court of Common Pleas in Dover. He had a tale to tell, or, in proper legal parlance, a “declaration” to make.

On this seventh day of April 1818 before me the Subscriber, one of the Judges of the Court of Common pleas for the County of Strafford in the first District in the state of Newhampshire, personally appears Enoch Wingate aged Sixty four years, resident in the town of Milton in the county of Strafford and state of Newhampshire aforesaid, who being by me first affirmed according to law doth on his solemn affirmation make the following declaration in order to obtain the provisions made by the late act of Congress intitled An act to provide for certain persons engaged in the land and naval Service of the united states in the revolutionary war.

That the said Enoch Wingate inlisted at Rochester in the state of Newhampshire in the company commanded by Captain William Rowell in the Newhampshire line Second Regiment commanded by Col. Hale in the month of April or May 1777.

That he continued to serve in said Corps in the Service of the United States untill the 22 day of June 1780, when he was discharged from said Service at Dover in the State of Newhampshire having Served three years for which he enlisted.

That he was wounded in retreating from mount Independence, rejoined the army at Bemis heights, was at the taking of Gen. Burgoyne’s Army, marched to Pennsylvania, was in the Battle of Monmouth in 1778, was with General Sullivan in the Indian Country. –

And that he is in reduced Circumstances and stands in need of the assistance of his country for support. And that he has no other evidence of his said service except the discharge hereto annexed.

Solemnly affirmed to be true and declared before me, the day and year aforesaid.

Outside, after court, I caught up with him near a tavern. Sire Wingate, you certainly saw a lot of hard service. I’d like to hear about it. It’s a warm day. Here, have a seat in the shade, let me get you a nice, cool cider.

Enoch Wingate was about twenty-three years old when he walked from the Milton-to-be part of Rochester into Rochester as-is. It was a late April morning in 1777. He probably went to participate in a militia training day. These were festive occasions – a sort of holiday almost – featuring muster gingerbread, hard cider, rum, music, and, of course, some militia drills and training.

Colonel Stephen Evans of the Fourth New Hampshire Militia Regiment sent his sergeants out from Exeter. He wanted men for the New Hampshire Line regiments. The Continental Line was a reorganization of the existing state regiments into Continental regiments. General Washington had sought – begged really – for longer enlistments and a more professional structure.

The New Hampshire Line would consist of three Continental regiments  manned with New Hampshire’s quota of volunteers or, if there were not sufficient volunteers, New Hampshire’s draftees. The older New Hampshire state regiments were the base on which these new regiments would be built. For instance, the 8th New Hampshire Regiment became the core of the new Second Regiment, New Hampshire Line. The new enlistment terms would be for three years, rather than one or less.

Likely, Wingate had read (or heard read) Thomas Paine’s recently-published polemic Common Sense. It began:

THESE are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. …

The sergeants were persuasive too. The Rochester militiamen had all seen newspapers that told of General Washington’s victories last winter at Trenton and Princeton over the British and their Hessian mercenaries. The sergeants pointed out that most of those soldiers’ enlistments had expired already. Who would now fill the ranks? Who will preserve our liberty? New Hampshire needs you. (And there is that enlistment bounty too – £20).

Wingate was one of the twenty-three Rochester men (and one from Wolfeborough) that enlisted that day. His younger cousin (or brother), Daniel Wingate, Jr., signed up too. Col. Evans recruited for the First Regiment, but the two Wingates ended up in Captain William Rowell’s Eighth Company, in the Second Regiment, New Hampshire Line.

In a week or two, all that they had to settle their affairs and make their goodbyes, they marched. From Rochester, they likely marched next either to Exeter, the capital, or to Portsmouth, where their guns awaited them. The Continental Congress had purchased three thousand French muskets. The Mercury delivered a partial shipment from Nantes, France, to Portsmouth that very same month. Those muskets would be enough to outfit some, if not all, of the New Hampshire Line regiments.

The men called them “Charlesville” muskets, because they were made at the armory in Charleville-Mézières, France. They were the newer model, the 1766 one, not the older 1763 model. (There would be a 1777 model next). They fired a smaller 69-caliber bullet versus the British Brown Bess’ 75-caliber. The ammunition was lighter to carry. The muskets were lighter also than the British Brown Bess muskets while still having good stopping power. They were accurate out to 110 yards against a mass of men. The ramrod had been redesigned. They were long and sleek, with a bayonet way out on the business end.

Wingate’s had a walnut stock and its State, battalion, and serial number were stamped on the barrel: NH 2 B No. – well, forty-one years on, he forgets the exact number – 500 something.

But how came you to be wounded at Mount Independence? For that matter, where is it and what happened there?

Aah, I could tell you something about that, he said, while looking into his empty mug.

To be continued in Milton’s Winter Soldier, Part Two


Colonial Quills. (2012, October 7). Muster Day Gingerbread. Retrieved from colonialquills.blogspot.com/2012/10/muster-day-gingerbread.html

Independence Hall Association. (1999-2018). The Crisis by Thomas Paine. Retrieved from www.ushistory.org/paine/crisis/

National Archives. (n.d.) Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files (NARA microfilm publication M804, 2,670 rolls). Records of the Department of Veterans Affairs, Record Group 15. National Archives, Washington, D.C.

Society of the Cinncinati. (2010). New Hampshire in the American Revolution. Retrieved from www.societyofthecincinnati.org/pdf/downloads/exhibition_NewHampshire.pdf

Wikipedia. (2018, August 9). Charleville Musket. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charleville_musket

The Year of the Squirrel

By Andrea Starr | September 18, 2018

You may have noticed the unusually large numbers of squirrels around us. Sadly, many are seen as large numbers of squirrel roadkill.

What on earth is happening? A number of newspaper articles, radio broadcasts, television segments have tried to answer that question.  In sum, the past two years of high acorn density have produced a rodent population boom, leading to a rise in traffic-related squirrel fatalities as the youngsters grow up and move out.

For more detail, The Exchange’s particularly informative and interesting radio broadcast from September 10 is worth a listen.  (In Appreciation of Squirrels (57:16), from NH Public Radio (NHPR)). It seeks to explain it all: acorns, squirrels, crows, foxes, coyotes, and even bears.


Concord Monitor. (2018, August 30). From fruit thieves to road kill, squirrels are everywhere this summer. Retrieved from https://www.concordmonitor.com/squirrels-acorns-road-kill-nh-19800800

Concord Monitor. (2018, September 7). No Avoiding the Influx of N.H. Squirrels. Retrieved from https://www.concordmonitor.com/squirrel-hunting-20010236

The Exchange (NHPR). (2018, September 10). In Appreciation of Squirrels & The Latest on Emerald Ash Borer. Retrieved from https://www.npr.org/podcasts/381443862/the-exchange

Farmers’ Almanac. (2018, September 11). What’s Going On With All The Dead Squirrels? Retrieved from https://www.farmersalmanac.com/dead-squirrels-32602

Frohn, Jim (UNH Extension). (2017). Acorns, Acorns Everywhere. Retrieved from https://extension.unh.edu/blog/acorns-acorns-everywhere

Greene, Britta (NHPR). (2018, August 29). It’s a Banner Year for Rodent Roadkill. Here’s Why. Retrieved from https://www.npr.org/podcasts/381443862/the-exchangehttp://www.nhpr.org/post/its-banner-year-rodent-roadkill-heres-why

Manchester Union-Leader. (2018). ‘Never seen this many’ dead gray squirrels says NH Fish and Game biologist. Retrieved from http://www.unionleader.com/animals/never-seen-this-many-dead-gray-squirrels-says-nh-fish-and-game-biologist-20180830

WMUR. (2018, August 30). Yes, there have been a lot of dead squirrels on NH roads. Retrieved from https://www.wmur.com/article/yes-there-have-been-a-lot-of-dead-squirrels-on-nh-roads/22863676