The Hudson River
Hudson River Railroad1851
Published by Bradbury and Guild
HUDSON RIVER, in many points of
view, may be considered one of the most important streams in the
world. It cannot vie with the Mississippi, or the Ohio, and other
rivers, either in size or extent; but, in all other respects,
it is altogether their superior. For steamboat and sloop navigation,
stretching as it does for one hundred and sixty miles inland,
through a rugged chain of Highlands, and carrying tide water the
entire distance, it is certainly unsurpassed.
The Hudson rises in a marshy tract in Essex county, east of
Long Lake. Its head waters are nearly four thousand feet above
the level of the sea. After receiving the waters of the Scroon
on the north, and the Sacondaga, which flows from Hamilton county,
on the west, it turns eastward until it reaches the meridian of
Lake Champlain, where it suddenly sweeps round to the southward,
and continues in a direct course to New York. One mile above Troy
it receives the Mohawk River on the west, the latter being the
largest stream of the two at their junction.
The entire length of the Hudson is three hundred and twenty-five
miles. The picturesque beauty of its banks,forming gentle
grassy slopes, or covered with forests to the water's edge, or
crowned by neat and thriving towns, now overshadowing the water
with tall cliffs, and now rising in mural precipices,and
the legendary and historical interests associated with numerous
spots, combine to render the Hudson the classic stream of the
Ships can ascend the river as far as Hudson, one hundred arid
fifteen miles, and steamboats and sloops to Albany and Troy. During
the summer months, the water is covered with vessels of all sorts
and sizes, ascending or descending the stream, from the canal
boat,of which great numbers, from the line of the Erie canal,
and entering the river at Albany, are daily towed to and from
New York,to the magnificent steamers, for which this river
for years has been famous.
The width of the river, for twenty-five
miles above New York, is about one mile. Its west bank, for nearly
this whole distance, is bounded by abrupt precipices of trap rock,
termed the PALISADES. Beyond these there is an expansion of the
river to the width of three miles, termed Tappan and Haverstraw
bays, with mountains upon the western shore seven hundred feet
in height. Passing these at Verplanck's Point, forty miles above
New York, the Highlands commence. Here the river is contracted
into narrow limits, and the water becomes of greater depth. This
mountainous region, about sixteen miles in length, may be considered
the most remarkable feature in the Hudson River scenery. The course
of the stream is exceedingly tortuous, and the hills upon both
sides rocky and abrupt. Above these Highlands the country subsides
into but a fertile hilly region, which continues for one hundred
Hudson River is named after Henry Hudson, by whom it was discovered
in 1609. He entered the southern waters of New York on the 3d
of September. Tradition says that he landed upon Long Island and
traded with the natives. He spent a week south of the Narrows
before he entered the bay. On the 14th, he proceeded up the river.
As he went along, he all the way found the natives on the west
shore more affable and friendly than those on the east, and discovered
that those on one side were at war with those on the other. In
his journal he gives the following account of his reception upon
landing at Hudson, the place which now bears his name:
"I went on shore in one of the canoes with an old Indian,
who was a chief of forty men and seventeen women, and whom I found
in a house made of the bark of trees, which was exceedingly smooth
and well finished within and all round about. I found there a
great quantity of Indian corn and beans; indeed; there lay to
dry, near the house, of these articles, as much as would load
three ships, besides what was growing in the field. When we came
to the house, two mats were spread to sit on; and immediately
eatables were brought to us on red wooden bowls, well made; and
two men were sent off with their bows and arrows to kill wild
fowl, who soon returned with two pigeons. They also killed immediately
a fat dog, and in a very little time skinned it with shells,
which they got out of the water. They expected I would have remained
with them through the night; but this I did not care to do, and
therefore went on board the ship again. It is the finest land
for tilling my feet ever trod upon, and bears all sorts of trees
fit for building vessels. The natives here were extremely kind
and good-tempered; for when they saw that I was making ready to
return to the ship, and would not stay with them, judging it proceeded
from my fear of their bows and arrows, they took and broke them
to pieces, and then threw them into the fire. I found grapes growing
here also, and plums, pumpkins, and other fruit."
It must not be forgotten that the Hudson River was the theatre
of the first successful attempt to apply steam power to the propelling
of vessels, by Fulton, in 1808, less than half a century ago!
Let the sceptic stand upon the banks of the river now, and
see the superb and swift palaces of motion shoot past, one after
the other, like gay and chasing meteors; and then read poor Fulton's
account of his first experiment, and never throw discouragement
on the kindling fire of genius.
"When I was building my first steamboat," said he
to Judge Story, "the project was viewed by the public at
New York either with indifference or contempt, as a visionary
scheme. My friends, indeed, were civil, but they were shy. They
listened with patience to my explanations, but with a settled
east of incredulity on their countenances. As I had occasion to
pass daily to and from the building yard while the boat was in
progress, I often loitered, unknown, near the idle groups of strangers
gathered in little circles, and heard various inquiries as to
the object of this new vehicle. The language was uniformly that
of scorn, sneer, or ridicule. The loud laugh rose at my expense;
the dry jest, the wise calculation of losses and expenditure;
the dull but endless repetition of 'The Fulton Folly.' Never
did a single encouraging remark, a bright hope, or a warm wish,
cross my path.
"At length the boat was finished, and the day arrived
when the trial was to be made. To me it was a most trying and
interesting occasion. I invited many friends to go on board and
witness the first successful trip. Many of them did me the honor
to attend, as a matter of personal respect; but it was manifest
they did it with reluctance, feigning to be partners of my mortification,
and not of my triumph. I was well aware that, in my case, there
were many reasons to doubt my success. The machinery was new,
and ill made; and many parts of it were constructed by mechanics
unacquainted with such work; and unexpected difficulties might
reasonably be presumed to present themselves from other causes.
The moment arrived in which the word was to be given for the vessel
to move. My friends stood in groups on the deck. I read in their
looks nothing but disaster, and almost repented of my efforts.
The signal was given, and the boat moved on a short distance,
and then stopped and became immovable. To the silence of the preceding
moment, now succeeded murmurs of discontent and agitation, and
whispers, and shrugs. I elevated myself on a platform, and stated
that I knew not what was the matter; but if they would be quiet,
and indulge me for half an hour, I would either go on, or abandon
the voyage. I went below, and at once discovered that a slight
mal-adjustment was the cause of the stopping. It was obviated,
and the boat went on; we left New York; we passed through the
Highlands; we reached Albany. Yet, even then, imagination superseded
the force of fact. It was doubted if it could be done again,
or if it could be made, in any case, of any great value."
What an affecting picture of the struggles of a great mind,
and what a vivid lesson of encouragement to genius, are contained
in this simple narrative! If Fulton and his then doubting friends
could witness now the triumphs of steam on the Hudson and
the Mississippi, the Ganges, the Indus, the Thames, the Tigris,
the Nile, and across the broad bosoms of the three great oceans,
how different would be the sensations of both from those by which
they were animated on the first experimental voyage !
HUDSON RIVER RAILROAD
THE project of building a railroad along the banks of Hudson
River, from New York to Albany, was, for a long time, deemed visionary,
and unworthy of consideration. It was argued and believed that,
even if a road could be built through the Highlands, at anything
like a reasonable expense, it could never compete with the river
steamboats, noted as they were for elegance, safety, and speed.
But the fallacy of this belief has been plainly shown.
Two important considerations, above all others, have tended
to convince the public that a railroad along the Hudson was necessary,
and ought to be built. One, and by far the greatest, is found
in the fact that during the winter months, averaging from 90 to
100 days of each year, the river is closed by the ice; and it
proved a serious inconvenience, to say the least, for a channel,
through which from one and a half to two millions of passengers
were conveyed in the summer months, to be closed for the remainder
of the year. The other was the simple saving of time upon the
way. The comparative merits of the two modes of conveyance it
does not become us to discuss. Both will have their supporters
and favorites, and both will unquestionably be forever open to
the public during two thirds of each year. In the winter, when
the river is closed, the railroad must do all the business, both
in passengers and freights, and no person can doubt, that, although
it is now immense, the superior facilities of transit opened by
the railroad will tend to increase it beyond all precedent.
THE ENTIRE LENGTH of the Hudson River Railroad, from Chamber
street to Albany, is one hundred and forty-three miles and a quarter.
As a general feature, the road is constructed directly along the
banks of the river, five feet above high tides. A proper degree
of directness is maintained, and the sinuosities of the stream
avoided, by cutting through the projecting points of land, and,
when necessary, throwing the line a short distance into shallow
water; protecting the embankment from the action of the waves
by a secure wall. Nearly one half of the whole length of the road
is thus protected. At Verplanck's Point, forty miles from New
York, the track is nearly two miles from the river, but in no
other place does it vary as much as one mile from the water's
THE GRADES of the road, considering the obstacles surmounted,
are astonishingly regular. Of the whole distance, one hundred
and fourteen miles are upon a dead level, five miles from
one to five feet per mile, thirteen miles of ten feet per mile,
and five miles of thirteen feet per mile inclination, which is
the heaviest grade upon the road. The total rise and fall is two
hundred and thirteen feet only. The shortest curve is at Peekskill
station. This is of one thousand feet radius. Besides this, there
are no curves less than two thousand feet radius, while more than
one half of the whole number are from four to ten thousand feet
radius. The whole number of curves is two hundred and seventy-nine,
there being fifty-eight and a half miles of curved line.
The ROCK EXCAVATION upon the road, as the fact of its following
the banks of the river so closely would lead anyone to suppose,
has been immense. The total amount of rock-cuttings will not vary
much from two millions of cubic yards. On the "Highland"
division alone, (Peekskill to Fishkill, a distance of sixteen
miles,) over four hundred and twenty-five thousand cubic yards
of rock were excavated.
There are EIGHT TUNNELS upon the line, between New York and
Poughkeepsie, as follows:
Name / Place
Feet in Length
1. At Oscawana, or Peg's Island
2. Abbott's Point, (Bridge Tunnel)
3. Flat Rock
4. St. Anthony's Nose
5. Garrison's, at Phillips' Hill
6. Breakneck Hill
7. New Hamburg
8. Milton Ferry
All the above tunnels are through solid rock, and are twenty-four
feet wide, and eighteen feet high. The rock is so hard that it
forms the arch of the tunnels in all cases except for a part of
the one at Breakneck Hill. Here the appearance of the rock rendered
it probable, in the mind of the engineer, that it might crumble
on being exposed to the atmosphere, and a brick lining was constructed
for the purpose of preventing the loose stone from falling upon
the track. Besides the above tunnels, of natural rock, there are
two constructed of brick at the Sing Sing prison yard.
The whole cost of the Hudson River Railroad, when entirely
finished, will not vary much from nine millions of dollars. Of
this sum the original stock subscription was for 30,165 shares,
amounting to 3,016,500 dollars. The balance is obtained from other
sources. The road was opened on the 29th of September, 1849, for
the transportation of passengers between New York and Peekskill,
a distance of forty miles. On the 6th day of December following,
an additional section of twenty-three miles was opened, extending
to New Hamburg; and on the 31st of the same month, the remaining
distance of nine miles to Poughkeepsie was brought into use.
One characteristic of this road deserves especial mention.
We refer to the system of signal flags, introduced to secure
safety from accidents in running the trains. Flag men are stationed
upon every mile of the road, generally at the curves, or
upon a slight acclivity, where a view of the track for some distance
can be had. Upon the approach of a train, if all is clear ahead,
the flagman displays a white signal. If there be any obstruction
in sight, or a diminished speed be required for any cause, a red
flag is displayed. During the intervals between the trains,
these men daily examine the road, to see that all is secure. If
a chair be broken, a rail loose, or a spike drawn, the evil is
at once corrected, and thus the road is kept in perfect repair.
This is a very important improvement. It may be true that more
caution is necessary upon this road, in consequence of the great
number of curves; yet there would be a less number of accidents,
were this system adopted upon other roads, where a high degree
of speed is desirable.
Commencing at the principal city station, at the junction of
Chamber and Hudson streets, the track is laid through Hudson,
Canal, and West streets, to Tenth avenue, which it follows to
the upper city station, at Thirty-fourth street. Over this part
of the route the rails are laid even with the streets, and the
cars are drawn by what is called a "dumb engine." This
is considered a great improvement over the use of horses, for
drawing the cars through the streets, where, by the corporation
regulations, locomotives are not allowed to run. This engine appears
very much like an ordinary freight car. The machinery is entirely
out of sight, and it is made to consume its own smoke. While passing
through the city, it is preceded by a man on horseback, who gives
notice of its approach by blowing a horn. At Thirty-fourth street,
the line curves into Eleventh avenue, the dumb engine is detached,
and the regular locomotive takes the train. As far as Sixtieth
street, the track is laid upon the street grades, which are somewhat
undulating. At this point the regular grades of the road begin.
Passing Manhattanville and Carmansville, the first obstacle
of any importance was the heavy rock-cutting at Fort Washington
Point, nine miles above the city. This excavation is in solid
rock, fifty-six feet deep at the highest point, and one hundred
rods in length. The rock taken from this cut amounted to nearly
fifty thousand cubic yards. It was used to construct the protection
wall near this place. From this point, suspended from high poles,
to the high ground on the opposite side of the river, are the
various telegraph lines which extend south from New York. These
were at first sunk in the stream, but they received so much damage
from the anchors of vessels navigating the river, that it was
found necessary to suspend them, in this manner, out of the reach
Twelve miles from the city, the line crosses Spuyten Duyvel
Creek. Here is a draw-bridge to allow vessels which navigate the
river to pass into the creek, and also several hundred feet of
pile bridge to allow the free passage of water in and out of the
bay. Spuyten Duyvel Creek falls into what is called Harlem River,
and separates Manhattan, or New York Island, from the main land.
From this point the line proceeds along close to the river,
passing Yonkers, Hastings', Dobbs' Ferry, Tarrytown, to Sing Sing.
This part of the line is level. At Sing Sing the road passes through
the yard of the State Prison, directly in rear of the main building.
The track is several feet below the yard. Two arches of brick,
of twenty-four feet span and six hundred feet in length, are here
constructed, one upon each side of the yard, for the purpose of
rendering it secure.
A short distance above Sing Sing, the road crosses the bay
formed by the junction of the Croton and Hudson rivers. The distance
across is about one mile. A draw-bridge is here constructed; the
remaining part of the distance being partly well protected embankments,
and partly pile bridge.
The line now crosses Teller's Point, a narrow neck of land
extending more than half way across the river, and dividing Tappan
and Haverstraw Bays, so called; the former being below, and the
latter above, this point. Here there is an extensive excavation
through sand and gravel for nearly half a mile. More than four
hundred thousand cubic yards of earth were removed from this cutting.
Passing this, the track follows again close upon the banks of
the river to Oscawana Island, where the first tunnel through solid
rock is passed. Half a mile above this, the road takes a curve
inland, to avoid Verplanck's Point. Here there is some heavy rock
cutting, and, to accommodate the road to a brick-yard near at
band, another short tunnel was made.
Between this point and Peekskill station the road makes its
greatest divergence from the river; and, at the highest point,
passes over a summit of 34 feet, by a rising and falling inclination
of 13 feet per mile.
At Peekskill, between the 42d and 43d miles, the line curves
to the left more than a quarter of a circle. A little north of
the village it is carried across the bay, at the mouth of Peekskill
Creek, a distance of three quarters of a mile; part of the distance
by a pile bridge eight hundred feet in length, with draw for vessels,
&c., and the remainder by embankment. At this point the Highland
division commences. Two miles north of Peekskill is the third
tunnel upon the line, which is denominated Flat Rock tunnel; and
within another mile the line passes through the projecting point
of Anthony's Nose, by a fourth tunnel, with heavy and extensive
rock cutting at each exit.
For a considerable distance along the Highlands, the mountains
have an elevation of from one thousand to fifteen hundred feet,
and shut down close to the water's edge. In many places the road
is formed by cutting a large portion or even the whole of its
width into the rock, leaving a perpendicular natural wall upon
the east side, from ten to thirty, and even forty, feet high.
In one case, six miles above Peekskill, where the road is formed
across the outlet of a small brook, much trouble was occasioned
by the sinking of the embankment. Several months after this portion
was graded and ready for the rails, and a portion of the track
was laid, while passing over it with a horse and car-load of rails,
the embankment for more than a hundred feet went down so suddenly
that the horse, car, and rails were overwhelmed, and two men on
the car escaped with difficulty. It is now constructed upon piles,
and probably secure. Similar difficulties, though less important,
occurred at five different points between Peekskill and West Point.
The elevated ground opposite West Point, at Phillips' Hill,
is passed by a tunnel nine hundred feet long, being the fifth
upon the road. Emerging from this, to avoid a sudden bend in the
river, the line is carried across a sort of bay, by a pile bridge
nearly a mile in length, and extending more than one third of
the distance across the stream. On reaching the shore it intersects
a short branch built for the accommodation of the iron works at
Cold Spring. The road passes directly through the village of Cold
Spring, where two formidable rock cuts were encountered.
From this point to Breakneck Hill
the road is nearly straight, notwithstanding the numerous bays
in the river, and the rocky projections from the hills, presenting
obstacles which seem to bid defiance to the skill of the engineer.
At Breakneck, the road passes the sixth tunnel, and follows
along close to the water, crossing Fishkill Creek, in rear of
Dennings' Point. Here the Highlands end. North of the creek is
a cutting in blue clay, more difficult to excavate, in some respects,
than the hard rock cuts.
North of Wappinger's Creek, which is crossed by a pile bridge
at the village of New Hamburg, the road encounters a ridge of
limestone rock, very hard and compact. Here it was necessary to
construct a tunnel of considerable length, the seventh upon the
line. To expedite the work, two shafts were sunk, one seventy-two
feet from the surface of the ground, the other to the depth of
fifty-three feet. A large portion of the tunnel excavation was
drawn up through these shafts by steam power; and the water, which
at some periods was troublesome, was disposed of in the same way.
The eighth tunnel was about one mile north of Milton Ferry.
At Poughkeepsie the line passes through the lower part of the
place, all the roads leading to the river being carried over the
railroad. North of this station are two heavy sections. Indeed,
of the twenty-six miles extending from Poughkeepsie to Tivoli,
the north line of Duchess county, seven are rock cuttings. A line
was originally surveyed from Poughkeepsie to Albany, passing through
the country away from the river, in some places being as much
as seven miles distant; but, for various reasons, it was abandoned.
Above Tivoli, with one or two inconsiderable exceptions, the
road follows close to the river the whole remaining distance to
Greenbush. As a general thing, the track is five feet above high
tide-water, and very few excavations or other works are of sufficient
importance to deserve especial notice. At Greenbush the track
is united to that of the "Troy and Greenbush" road,
six miles in length, which has been leased to the Hudson River
Company for a term of years.
The Hudson River Railroad is probably one of the very best
constructed roads in America. The road bed, generally, is thirty
feet wide at the top; the protection wall three feet in thickness,
and carried five feet above ordinary high tides; the rails weigh
seventy pounds per yard, and the outer rail, in all cases of exposure
to the river, is ten feet from the top of the wall, affording
a wide margin for the washing of the bank, and ample security
against running the cars into the water in cases of accident.
The time proposed for running the trains between New York and
Albany is four to four and a half hours. This will be likely to
vary somewhat with the season, though it is believed that it will
never exceed the longest time named. This will be a saving of
at least four hours to each passenger, over what would have been
occupied on board a steamboat,an important consideration,
certainly. By the terms of the charter, the fare through is not
to exceed three dollars at any season. This will unquestionably
be the fixed price during the winter, and must be considered very
reasonable. Whether the competition of the boats, during open
river navigation, will be such as to induce the company to reduce
the fare in the summer, time will determine. Considering the great
obstacles surmounted in constructing the road, and the saving
of time passing over it, three dollars, at all seasons, cannot
be called an unreasonable fare, while, for the winter months,
none will deny that it is extremely low.
CITIES, TOWNS, AND VILLAGES UPON
NEW YORK is the largest, most wealthy, most flourishing
of American cities; the great commercial emporium of the United
States, and one of the greatest in the world. The compact portion
of the city is built upon the southern end of Manhattan Island,
and now extends to Thirteenth street, which is the first street,
as you proceed northwardly, that runs in a straight line quite
across the island. The distance from the Battery to this point
is nearly three miles. Above this, for at least two miles further,
the space is rapidly being filled up by elegant dwelling-houses.
No city in the world possesses greater advantages for foreign
commerce and inland trade. In addition to the main sea approach
through the Narrows to the harbor, the channel through East River
to Long Island Sound, and the Hudson River, two long lines of
canals have increased its natural advantages, and connected it
with the remote west; and have rendered it the great mart of,
a vast region, now occupied by industrious millions; while its
railroad facilities of communication with every quarter have made
it the great mercantile centre of the nation. Its progress in
population, trade, and wealth, has probably never been equalled.
In 1800, the population was but 60,000; while, by the late census,
it was found to be about half a million.
Manhattan Island is fourteen miles in length, and averages,
perhaps, one and a half miles in breadth. Its greatest breadth
is at Eighty-sixth street, and is two miles and a quarter. Hudson
River bounds it upon the west, East River on the east, while on
the north it is separated from the main land by Harlem River and
Spuyten Duyvel Creek. In its natural state the surface was somewhat
hilly and marshy, but these inequalities have been reduced to
an almost complete level in that portion occupied by the city,
the ground having merely a gentle slope on each side towards the
water. The highest point upon the island is near Fort Washington,
being about 238 feet above the river.
The harbor, or bay of New York, as it is called, is one of
the finest in the world; safe, commodious, and rarely obstructed
by the ice. It is twenty-five miles in circumference, easy of
access, completely sheltered from storms, and of sufficient size
and depth of water to contain the united navies of the world.
The principal entrance between Staten and Long Islands is about
half a mile wide, and well defended by strong fortifications.
There are also batteries on several other islands, further up
the bay. The variegated scenery upon its shores, together with
the neatly built cottages, the country seats of opulent citizens,
and the fine view of the city in approaching from the "Narrows,"
impart to this harbor a beauty probably unsurpassed by that of
any other in the world.
Many of the streets at the southern extremity of the city are
narrow and crooked. The greater part of those built latterly are
laid out with more care. Broadway, the principal street, is eighty
feet wide, entirely straight, and extends from the Battery to
Union Square, a distance of nearly three miles. It is the great
promenade of the city, being much resorted to by the gay and fashionable;
and few streets in, the world exceed it in the splendor and bustle
it exhibits. Here is a continued stream of carriages, wagons,
drays, omnibuses, and all sorts of vehicles designed for business
or pleasure; on the side-walks, crowds of pedestrians saunter
along or hurry by, while the sound of various languages meets
the ear. No person possessing a spark of curiosity should fail
to look upon Broadway from the spire of Trinity church.
PUBLIC SQUARES, &C.The Battery is situated
at the extreme south end of the city. It contains eleven acres.
It is neatly laid out with gravelled walks, and planted with trees.
From this place is a fine view of the harbor, the islands, and
of the shores of New Jersey and Staten Island. The Park
is a triangular area of about ten acres, enclosed by Broadway,
Chatham, and Chamber streets, and surrounded by an iron fence.
It contains the City Hall and other buildings. Besides a large
number of fine trees, it is embellished by a fountain supplied
by the Croton aqueduct. The Bowling Green, situated
near the Battery, is of an oval form, and also contains a neat
fountain supplied as above. St. John's Park, in
Hudson Square, is beautifully laid out in walks, with shade trees,
and kept in excellent order. Washington Square, or
Parade Ground, in the north part of the city, contains
about nine and a half acres, surrounded by a wooden fence. A portion
of this square was formerly the Potter's Field. Union
Square is situated at the termination of Broadway. It is of
an oval form, enclosed by an iron fence, and its centre ornamented
by a fountain. It is the neatest square in New York. There are
other squares further up the city, which are extensive, but not
yet laid out.
PUBLIC BUILDINGS, &C.The city of New York
can boast of many splendid public buildings. It has about two
hundred and fifty churches, many of which are magnificent and
costly structures. Trinity Church, standing in Broadway,
at the head of Wall street, may be considered the most splendid
edifice of the class in the city. It is built throughout of sandstone,
without galleries, and cost nearly half a million of dollars.
The height of its spire is 283 feet. Visitors have access to the
tower at all times, except when the building is occupied for religious
purposes. A small fee is expected by the person in attendance.
This tower affords the most splendid panoramic view to be seen
on this continent. Ascending the stairway, you reach a landing
on a level with the ceiling of the church, from which there is
a view of the elegant interior. You next reach the belfry, where
the chime bells are hung, which so frequently ring out their solemn
peal. Upon reaching the highest landing, a most superb view meets
your gaze. The city, busy with life and animation, lies at your
feet, spread out like a map; while, far and wide, in every direction,
the country, rivers, villages, and islands, are scattered before
you, arrayed in all the attractions with which nature and art
have invested them.
The City Hall, one of the finest buildings in New York,
has a commanding situation in the centre of the Park, and shows
to great advantage. It is built of white marble, with the exception
of the rear wall, which is of brown freestone. The corner-stone
was laid in 1803, and it was ten years in building. In the structure
are twenty-eight offices, and other public rooms, the principal
of which is the Governor's room, a splendid apartment appropriated
to the use of that functionary on his visiting the city, and occasionally
to that of other distinguished individuals. The walls of this
room are embellished with a fine collection of portraits of men
celebrated in the naval, military, or civil history of the country.
In the Common Council room is the identical chair occupied by
Washington when President of the first American Congress, which
The Exchange, on Wall street, is a noble building,
constructed of Quincy granite, well worth a visit from the stranger.
It is built upon the spot occupied by the old Exchange, which
was consumed by the great fire in December, 1835. No wood, except
for the window-frames and doors, is used in this structure.
The Custom House is also upon Wall street. It
is built of white marble, similar to the model of the Parthenon
at Athens. It is, like the Exchange, fire-proof.
Besides many other objects within the city worthy of notice,
visitors will find much to interest them in the immediate vicinity.
New York is connected with the neighboring cities and villages
by a great number of ferries, on some of which boats run the entire
night. Of these, no less than five connect New York with Brooklyn.
GREENWOOD CEMETERY is in the south part of Brooklyn,
at Gowanus, three miles from the Fulton ferry. Stages run from
nearly every boat during the day to this charming spot, carrying
passengers at a trifling charge.
This cemetery was incorporated in 1838, and contains two hundred
and forty-two acres of ground, about one half of which is covered
with wood of a natural growth. It originally contained but one
hundred and seventy-two acres; but recently seventy more have
been purchased and brought within the enclosure. Free entrance
is allowed to persons on foot during week days, but on the Sabbath
none but proprietors and their families are admitted. The grounds
have a varied surface of hills and valleys. The elevations afford
beautiful and extensive views of New York, Brooklyn, the harbor,
Staten Island, and the distant New Jersey highlands.
Greenwood is traversed by winding avenues and paths, and visitors,
by keeping the main avenue, called Tim TOUR, as indicated by the
guide-boards, will obtain the best view of the grounds and the
most interesting monuments. Unless this caution is observed, they
may not easily find the place of exit. This delightful spot now
attracts much attention, and has become a place of great resort.
The UNITED STATES NAVY YARD, at Brooklyn, will attract
the notice of visitors to that city. It is situated upon the south
side of Wallabout Bay, in the north-east part of the city. It
occupies about forty acres of ground, enclosed by a high wall.
There are here two large ship-houses for vessels of the largest
class, with workshops, and every requisite necessary for an extensive
naval depot. A dry dock constructed here cost about one million
At the Wallabout were stationed the prison-ships of the English
during the Revolutionary war, in which so many American prisoners
perished from bad air, close confinement, and ill-treatment.
ROCKAWAY BEACH, a celebrated and fashionable watering
place, on the Atlantic sea-coast, is about twenty miles south-east
of New York. The Marine Pavilion, a splendid hotel erected here
upon the beach, a short distance from the ocean, is furnished
in a style befitting its object as a place of summer resort. The
best route to Rockaway is by railroad to Jamaica, thence by stage.
FORT HAMILTON, one of the fortifications for protecting
the entrance to the bay of New York, is situated at the "Narrows,"
seven miles from the city. There is an extensive hotel here for
the accommodation of visitors. The Coney Island steamboat stops
to land and receive passengers here.
CONEY ISLAND is situated at the extreme south-west point
of Long Island, four miles below Fort Hamilton. A narrow inlet
separates it from the town of Gravesend, to which it belongs.
It has a fine beach, fronting the ocean, and is much visited during
the hot summer months for sea-bathing. A steamboat plies regularly
between the city and Coney Island during the summer.
Two railroads only extend directly into New York,the
Hudson River, and the Harlem, both of which have their passenger
stations in Chamber street. The Harlem road extends across Manhattan
island, crossing the river at Harlem, and thence follows the Bronx
River to Williams' Bridge, and in that direction to White Plains,
Croton Falls, and Dover. When completed, it will unite with the
Western (Massachusetts) road at Chatham Corners. At Williams'
Bridge the New Haven road begins, extending through New Haven,
Hartford, Springfield, and Boston, eastwardly.
YORKVILLE, upon the Harlem road, five miles from City
Hall, is a small village, one of the suburbs of New York. The
receiving reservoir is about one quarter of a mile from this place.
A tunnel through Prospect Hill, a distance of five hundred feet,
was necessary to enable the cars to run to Harlem.
HARLEM, eight miles from City Hall, is quite a manufacturing
place. It was founded by the Dutch in 1658, with a view to the
amusement and recreation of the citizens. What was then a rural
and retired spot, will soon be but a part of the city.
JERSEY CITY, west side of Hudson River, and opposite
New York, is connected with it by a ferry over a mile in length,
the boats on which are constantly plying. Population, 6856. It
is important principally as a diverging point between the north
and the south. The Philadelphia Railroad station, the dock for
the Cunard steamers, and the Paterson Railroad station, are in
Jersey City. The passengers over the Erie Railroad take the cars
of the Paterson road at Sufferns' Junction, thirty-four miles
from New York. This route is 13 miles shorter than that by way
of Piermont and the Hudson River.
The Morris Canal, uniting the Delaware River at Philipsburg
with the Hudson, terminates here. This canal is one hundred and
one miles in length, and cost $2,650,000.
HOBOKEN, directly above Jersey City, on the west side
of the river, is a popular place of resort by the citizens of
New York. The walks, which are shaded by large trees, extend for
two miles along the banks of the Hudson, terminating with the
Elysian Fields. From the heights, a short distance from the stream,
there is a beautiful and picturesque view of New York, the bay,
and the hills of Long Island, in the distance. Scattered over
these gentle acclivities are many fine villas and country-seats
of opulent citizens, which give the place an air of rural comfort
not often met with in such close proximity to a large city. A
little above this, on the same side, is WEEHAWKEN. It is close
by the water's edge, and screened in from the land view by a precipitous
ledge of rocks, which gives it the privacy usually sought for
in such places. Here it was that the well-known General Hamilton
fell in a duel with the notorious Colonel Burr. Their quarrel
was strictly a political one, arising from some expressions used
by the former, which resulted in a challenge. The parties met
on the 11th of July, 1804. At the first shot, Hamilton fell, mortally
wounded. He was taken to New York, where he died the following
day, aged forty-seven years. There was formerly a monument standing
upon the spot where he fell, but it is now removed.
MANHATTANVILLE, 7½ miles from New York, is the
first station upon the Hudson River Railroad. It is, in fact,
but a part of the city. It is a small but thriving village, pleasantly
situated, surrounded by hills. About half a mile distant, upon
the high ground, occupying a commanding situation, stands the
Lunatic Asylum. Attached to it are forty acres of land, neatly
arranged into gardens and pleasure-grounds. The view of Hudson
River and the surrounding country from this place, is very fine.
CARMANSVILLE, or 152D STREET, nine miles, is the next
station. Like the last-mentioned place, it is merely one of the
suburbs of New York. The HIGH BRIDGE, so called, carrying the
Croton Aqueduct across Harlem River, is only one mile from this
station; and, it being an easy and retired walk, affords a cheap
and pleasant way to visit that noble structure. Trinity Church
Cemetery is located here, upon the side hill, overlooking the
One mile above Carmansville, upon the top of a projecting point,
stands Fort Washington. It occupies a commanding situation. It
was held by General Washington for some time after New York was
occupied by the British, in 1776; but on the 16th of November,
in that year, it fell into the hands of the enemy, after a violent
assault,during which the assailing party lost eight hundred
men,with two thousand Americans, under Col. Magaw, as prisoners
Opposite Fort Washington, upon the brow of the Palisades, and
three hundred feet above the river, is the site of Fort Lee. Soon
after Fort Washington was captured, this also was given up, the
Americans retiring to the Highlands.
At Fort Lee the Palisade rocks begin, presenting, all along
on the west margin of the river, for many miles, a perpendicular
wall of rock, varying from two to five hundred feet in height.
These are sometimes covered with brushwood, sometimes capped with
stunted trees, and sometimes perfectly bare; but always showing
the upright cliff, which constitutes the most striking feature.
At the foot of this curious wall is a pile of broken rocks and
debris; all or most of which has evidently crumbled away from
the face of the precipice. Much of this is removed every year,
and used for building purposes. In many places there is hardly
room for a foot-path on the shore of the river; while here and
there the space is considerable; and, occasionally, a fisherman's
but is seen, built upon the very margin of the stream.
The name Palisades is given to this curious cliff, probably,
from the ribbed appearance of some portions of it, which seem
like rude basaltic columns, or huge trunks of old trees, placed
close together in an upright form, for a barricade or defence.
The water, a very few feet from the shore, is deep, being what
is termed a "bold shore," and vessels run quite close
to the cliffs. Any one who has visited the celebrated West Rock,
at New Haven, Conn., will at once associate its general appearance
with the Palisades, though the character and extent of their formation
are entirely different
TUBBY HOOK, eleven miles. This station is situated on
a romantic and secluded spot, near the northern extremity of New
York Island. The proximity of this location to the city, and the
facilities afforded by railroad for passing to and from New York,
must, in time, make this a very pleasant and desirable country
residence, though at present there are very few dwellings in the
SPUYTEN DUYVEL, twelve miles. The Creek of the same
name, which branches from the Hudson at this point, flows into
Harlem River, and forms Manhattan Island. There is a draw here,
but very few vessels ever pass it.
YONKERS, in the town of the same name, sixteen miles
from New York, is situated at the mouth of Sawmill River, which
here falls into the Hudson. This village is a favorite summer
retreat from the city, and is rapidly increasing in population.
The pleasantest locations are upon a narrow plateau, a short distance
from the river. The line of the Croton Aqueduct bends towards
the Hudson at this place, and for seventeen miles follows along
within about half a mile of the river. In one or two places it
is less than one hundred rods distant. Fordham Heights and Tetard's
Hill, noted in the war of the Revolution, are in this town.
HASTINGS', twenty miles, situated upon the line between
Yonkers and Greensburg, is the next station. There are some fine
country seats here, and a thriving village. Two miles above Yonkers,
the Palisade rocks are highest, and about opposite Hastings' they
recede from the river and disappear. One mile and a half beyond
this station is
DOBBS' FERRY, an important point during the Revolution,
when a ferry was established here. It is a place of considerable
resort during the summer. Four miles above Dobbs' Ferry, near
Tarrytown, is "Sunnyside," the beautiful residence of
Washington Irving. The villa is built upon the margin of the river,
with a neat lawn and embellished grounds surrounding it. It can
be seen from the steamboats in passing up or down the river.
Piermont, on the west bank of the Hudson, is
the starting-point of the New York and Erie Railroad, now completed.
A pier nearly one mile in length extends into navigable water,
and a ferry connects it with the Hudson River Railroad, at DEARMAN
station. Three miles and a half west is the village of Tappan,
celebrated as the head-quarters of Washington during the Revolution,
and as the place where Major Andre was executed, October 2, 1780.
TARRYTOWN, twenty-six miles from New York, is a thriving
place, situated near the northern boundary of Greensburg. The
railroad here cuts off quite a point of land and divides the village,
leaving a considerable part of it on the side next to the river.
The newly built portion is on a slight eminence east of the railroad,
and partly hid from view.
Tarrytown is famed, in the history of the American war, as
the place where Andre was arrested by Paulding and his associates.
The spot, which is well known, is about half a mile north of the
village, on the west side of the road, near a small stream which
falls into the Hudson, near at hand. The remains of Isaac Van
Wart, one of the three captors, are deposited under a monument
to his memory, at a little hamlet of Greensburg, three miles east
of Tarrytown. He died in 1828, aged 69 years.
About two miles or so up the valley of the small stream above
mentioned, sometimes called Mill River, is the place known as
Sleepy Hollow, the scene of Ichabod Crane's encounter with the
"Galloping Hessian," so graphically described by Irving,
in his Legend of Sleepy Hollow. It is a retired spot, partly overgrown
by trees, where the perfect stillness is broken only by the warbling
of the brook which runs through it. Like the story of Rip Van
Winkle, which has clothed the rugged sides of the Kaatskill Mountains
with such mysterious interest, this legend will find a place at
the neighboring firesides for all time to come.
Nearly opposite Tarrytown, on the west side of the river, is
the village of Nyack, once celebrated for its quarries
of red sandstone. The village is prettily built at the foot of
a high cliff, and makes a picturesque appearance from the eastern
SING SING, thirty-two miles from New York, is situated
partly upon elevated ground, and commands a beautiful view of
the river and the surrounding country. At this place are several
extensive marble quarries. A mineral spring, some three miles
east of the village, has some reputation for its medicinal qualities,
and a large boarding-house was erected there some years since.
Mount Pleasant Academy, for boys, is at Sing Sing. The building
is of Sing Sing marble, and stands upon one of the most retired
streets of the village, commanding an extensive prospect of the
river and adjacent country. There is also a boarding-school for
young ladies at Sing Sing, elegantly located.
The principal object of interest
here is the State Prison. It is situated upon the bank of the
Hudson River, ten feet above high water mark. The railroad runs
directly through the prison yard. The prison grounds comprise
one hundred and thirty acres, and may be approached by vessels
drawing twelve feet of water. The keeper's house, workshop, &c.,
are built of rough "Sing Sing marble," quarried from
lands owned by the state in the vicinity. The main building is
four hundred and eighty-four feet in length, running parallel
with the river, and forty-four feet in width. It is five stories
high, with two hundred cells upon each floor; in all, one thousand
The system and discipline of this prison owe their origin to
Elam Lynds, for many years agent of the Auburn prison. The convicts
are shut up in separate cells at night, and on Sundays, except
when attending religious services in the chapel. While at work,
they are not allowed to exchange a word with each other, under
any pretence whatever; nor to communicate any intelligence to
each other in writing; nor to exchange looks, or winks, or to
make use of any signs, except such as are necessary to convey
their wants to the waiters. The plan of confining each convict
in a separate cell during the night, or the "Auburn system,"
as it is called, was adopted at the Auburn prison in 1824. The
prison at that time contained but five hundred and fifty cells.
Being, therefore, totally insufficient to accommodate all the
convicts of the state, an act was passed by the Legislature, authorizing
the erection of a new one. Sing Sing was selected as the location,
and Captain Lynds as agent to build it. He was directed to take
from the Auburn prison one hundred convicts; to remove them to
the ground selected for the site of the new prison; to purchase
materials, employ keepers and guards, and to commence the construction
of the building. The reasons for taking the convicts from Auburn,
and transporting them so great a distance, instead of from New
York, were, that the convicts at the former place had been more
accustomed to cutting and laying stone, and had been brought by
Capt. Lynds into the perfect and regular state of discipline he
had established there, and which was indispensably necessary to
their safe-keeping in the open country, and the successful prosecution
of the work.
The party arrived at Sing Sing, without accident or disturbance,
in May, 1825, without a place to receive them, or a wall to enclose
them. A temporary barrack was erected to receive the convicts
at night, and they were then set at work building the prison,
each one working at his trade,one a carpenter, another a
mason, &c.,all the time having no other means to keep
them in obedience but the rigid enforcement of the strict discipline
adopted at the Auburn prison. For four years the convicts, whose
numbers were gradually increased, were engaged in building their
own prison, and finally completed it in 1829. The prisoners, since
the building was completed, have been engaged considerably in
quarrying marble from the extensive ledges in this town.
Opposite Sing Sing, across Tappan Bay, which is widest at this
point, is Verdritege's Hook, a bold headland, rising majestically
from the river. On this mountain there is a crystal lake, about
two miles in circumference, which forms the source of Hackensack
River, and which, though not half a mile from the Hudson, is elevated
three hundred feet above it. This is called Rockland Lake, from
whence large quantities of the very clearest ice are annually
sent to New York. The ice, cut into large square blocks, is slid
down to the level of the river, and, upon the opening of the spring,
it is transported in boats to the city. The Hackensack River falls
into Newark Bay, near Jersey City.
Two miles above Sing Sing, the road crosses the mouth of Croton
River, and Teller's Point, a narrow neck of land extending into
the river about a mile, and dividing Tappan and Haverstraw Bays.
This neck of land, which is almost entirely light and sandy, has
probably been formed by the earth and stones washed down by the
Croton River during the spring freshets, when a large volume of
water is poured into the Hudson at its mouth. The entire length
of the river is about forty miles.
CROTON, thirty-five miles from New York, is a short
distance above Teller's Point, in the southern part of Peekskill
township. It is a small but thriving village, and the nearest
station to the fountain reservoir, the head of the far-famed CROTON
WATERWORKS, by which the city of New York is supplied with pure
water. It is a place well worth visiting. Although not strictly
within our plan, a brief sketch of this great project may not
be uninteresting to the reader.
The building of the Croton Aqueduct
was commenced in 1835. At the charter election of that year, the
citizens of New York were required to vote for or against the
project. There were 17,330 votes thrown; 11,367 of which were
in favor of, and 5,963 against the act of incorporation. On the
4th of July, 1842, the water was let into the reservoir, and on
the 14th of October following, it was brought into the city in
the distributing pipes. The whole cost, including the high bridge
across Harlem River, was about fourteen millions of dollars.
The fountain reservoir is forty miles from New York. The dam
built at this place is about six miles from the junction of the
Croton River with the Hudson, and is 250 feet long, 40 feet high,
70 feet wide at the bottom and 7 feet at the top. It is built
of stone and cement, in a vertical form on the upstream side,
with occasional offsets, and the lower face has a curved form,
so as to pass the water over without giving it a direct fall upon
the apron at the foot; this apron is formed of timber, stone and
concrete, and extends some distance from the toe of the masonry,
giving security at the point where the water has the greatest
action. A secondary dam has been built at the distance of three
hundred feet from the masonry, in order to form a basin of water
setting back over the apron at the toe of the main dam, so as
to break the force of the water falling upon it. This secondary
dam is formed of round timber, brushwood and gravel; it may be
seen in the picture directly under the bridge which extends across
below the main structure.
Pine's Bridge, the place where Major Andre crossed the Croton
River, on his return from his interview with Arnold, occupied
a position which is now about the middle of this reservoir, and
there is at that place a bridge over the reservoir, resting upon
piers and abutments.
The hills which bound the Croton valley, where the reservoir
is formed, are so bold as to confine it within narrow limits;
for about two miles above the dam the average width is about one
eighth of a mile. At this distance from the dam the valley opens,
so that, for the length of two miles more, the width is about
a quarter of a mile; here the valley contracts again, and diminishes
the width until the flow line reaches the natural width of the
river at the head of the lake. The country immediately contiguous
to the shore has been cleared up, and all that would be liable
to impart any impurity to the water has been removed. This gives
a pleasing aspect to the lake, showing where the hand of art has
swept along the shores, leaving a clean margin.
The surface of the fountain reservoir is 166 feet above the
level of mean tide at the city of New York; and the difference
of level between that and the surface of the receiving reservoir
on the island of New York, (a distance of thirty-eight miles,)
is 47 feet, leaving the surface of this reservoir 119 feet above
the level of the mean tide. From the receiving reservoir the water
is conducted a distance of two miles in iron pipes to the distributing
reservoir, where the surface of the water is 115 feet above the
level of mean tide. This last is the height to which the water
may generally be made available in the city.
From this dam the aqueduct proceeds,
sometimes by tunnelling through solid rocks, crossing valleys
by embankments, and brooks and rivers by bridges and culverts,
until it reaches Harlem River. It is built of stone, brick, and
cement, arched over and under. It is 8 feet 5 inches high, and
the water has a descent of 13¼ inches per mile, discharging,
when running two thirds full, 60,000,000 gallons per day. The
aqueduct is carried over Harlem river upon a magnificent bridge
of hewn granite, termed the "High Bridge," 1450 feet
long, with 14 piers and 15 arches; eight of them 80 feet span,
and seven of 50 feet span, 114 feet above tide-water to the top,
and which cost nearly a million of dollars.
Previous to the completion of this bridge, the water was carried
under the river in two lines of iron pipe of 36 inches in diameter.
In the progress of preparing the foundations for the piers of
the bridge, an embankment was formed across the river, and the
pipe, leaving the aqueduct on the north side of the valley, followed
down the slope of the hill, and, crossing over the river upon
this embankment, ascended on the south side again to the aqueduct.
At the bottom or lowest point in this pipe a branch pipe of one
foot diameter was connected, extending a distance of 80 feet from
it at right angles and horizontally; the end of this pipe was
turned upwards to form a jet, and iron plates fastened upon it,
so as to give any form that might be desired to the water issuing.
The level of this branch pipe is about 120 feet below the bottom
of the aqueduct on the north side of the valley, affording an
opportunity for a beautiful jet d'eau, such a
one as cannot be obtained at the fountains in the city. From an
orifice of 7 inches in diameter, the column of water rises to
a height of 115 feet, when there is but two feet of water in the
Visitors to the "High Bridge" can pass and repass
upon the top with the most perfect security. It is a splendid
structure, richly worth the notice of the traveller. Persons wishing
to visit it from the city of New York can take the cars of the
Hudson River Railroad to CARMANSVILLE, which is short of one mile
distant from the Bridge.
After crossing Harlem River, the aqueduct continues to the
receiving reservoir at 86th street, covering 35 acres, and containing
150 millions of gallons. From this point the line proceeds to
the distributing reservoir at 40th street, and from thence the
water is distributed over the city by means of iron pipes.
Haverstraw, on the west side of the river, thirty-six
miles from New York, is a neat village, pleasantly situated upon
a plateau overlooking the river. It has constant communication
with the city by steamboats. Three miles above Haverstraw is Stony
Point, the site of a fort during the Revolution. Directly opposite,
on the east side of the river, is Verplanck's Point. The river
between these two points is only half a mile across, and here
was established what was called King's Ferry, the great highway
between the eastern and the middle states. The ferry was commanded
by the points of land on the two shores. Both these forts were
captured by the British in May, 1779, and their occupation by
the enemy was a great annoyance to the surrounding country; besides
which, a tedious circuit through the Highlands became necessary,
in order to keep up the communication between the two divisions
of the army. Stony Point was re-taken by a body of Americans,
under Gen. Wayne, on the 15th of July following, and the works
destroyed, though Washington did not retain possession of it.
Both forts were, however, evacuated by the British in October
of the same year. A light-house now stands upon the extremity
of Stony Point, a considerable height above the river.
PEEKSKILL, forty-two miles from New York, is one of
the most romantic places upon Hudson River. The village stands
close to the water, near the mouth of Annsville Creek, which falls
into the Hudson a short distance above. The river here takes a
sharp turn to the westward. On the opposite shore is Caldwell's
Landing, which stands at the base of the venerable Dunderburg,
or Thunder Mountain. From the top of this mountain a most lovely
view of the river below is obtained; and, in clear weather, the
city and bay of New York may be seen.
Peekskill is the birth-place of John Paulding, the master
spirit and leader of the trio who arrested Andre at Tarrytown.
Paulding died in 1818, in the 60th year of his age. A monument
has been erected over his remains, which are deposited about two
miles north of the village. It is of marble, a pyramid about fifteen
feet high, enclosed `by an iron railing.
Two miles east of the village stands the dwelling occupied
by Washington while the American army were encamped here. This,
too, was the place where Palmer was executed, by order of General
Putnam, whose memorable reply to Gov. Tryon, who wrote a letter,
threatening vengeance if he were executed, deserves an enduring
record. It briefly and emphatically unfolds the true character
of that distinguished hero. The note ran thus:
"Sir,Nathan Palmer, a lieutenant in your service,
was taken in my camp as a spy; he was tried as a spy; he was condemned
as a spy; and, you may rest assured, sir, he shall be hanged as
"I have the honor to be, &c.,
"P. S.Afternoon. He is hanged."
It was in this township, some miles south of the village of
Peekskill, where the train of circumstances commenced, by which
Major Andre was placed in the hands of the Americans, in 1780.
The story is one which will never grow old. It will be remembered
as a reminiscence of the Revolution as long as the memory of Washington
At the time of which we write, West Point was, without question,
the most important post in the United States. Its almost impregnable
strength had been increased by great expense and labor; and it
was an object upon which General Washington perpetually kept his
eye. And perhaps it is not too much to say that the possession
of that fort, by the Americans, was the turning-point of success.
It seems that Arnold, who was a spendthrift, notwithstanding
his previous brilliant reputation as an officer, had been appointed
commander in Philadelphia, after the British evacuated that city.
Here he adopted a style of living altogether beyond his means;
and he soon found himself loaded with debt. To retrieve himself
he had recourse to fraud and peculation. His conduct soon rendered
him odious to the citizens, and gave offence to government. At
length complaints were made against him; he was tried by a court
martial and sentenced to be reprimanded by the commander-in-chief.
This sentence General Washington, as gently as the circumstances
of the case would admit, carried into execution. Mortified and
soured, and complaining of public ingratitude, Arnold attempted
to effect a loan from the French minister, but without success.
Several months before this, under the assumed name of "Gustavus,"
he had opened a correspondence with Sir Henry Clinton, then at
the head of the British army at New York. There is every reason
to believe that his extreme want of money, and those various public
rebukes, hurried him to the fatal determination to sell his country
for gain. This was early in the year, and it only remained for
him to settle in his mind the manner in which this could so be
done as to produce the greatest advantage to himself. He thought
of West Point, and, his resolution being taken, all his views
and efforts thenceforward were directed to that single object.
Cautiously, so as not to awaken the slightest suspicion, he
hinted to Washington his willingness to assume the command
at West Point. He further prevailed upon Robert R. Livingston,
then a member of Congress from New York, to write to the general,
and suggest the expediency of appointing him to that station.
Various other insidious means were taken by Arnold to gain his
object, and he was at length successful; as, on the third of August,
we find him in full command, ripe for treason and revenge.
Sir Henry Clinton now saw a prospect before him which claimed
his whole attention. To get possession of West Point and its dependent
posts, with garrison, military stores, cannon, vessels, boats,
and provisions, appeared to him an object of such vast importance,
that in attaining it no reasonable expense ought to be spared.
The maturing of this plot was entrusted to Major Andre, an Adjutant
General in his command; and, to facilitate measures for its execution,
the sloop of war VULTURE conveyed him up the Hudson as far as
Teller's Point, where she dropped anchor. The place, as also that
of Andre's landing, is indicated upon the map. During the night
of September 21st, 1780,while General Washington was absent
at Hartford,with a surtout thrown over his regimentals,
Andre was put ashore in a boat and had an interview with Arnold,
upon the banks of the river without the American lines. Daylight
the next morning found their arrangements incompleted, and Andre
was induced to go to the house of one Smith, a pliant tool of
Arnold's, near Stony Point and within the American lines, and
remain concealed during the day. Here they had time to mature
During the day a gun was brought to bear upon the Vulture,
which obliged her to change her position; and at night, the boatmen
refused to carry Andre on board the sloop. To return to New York,
therefore, by land, was the only alternative left. To render his
situation more safe, Andre laid aside his uniform, and, in a plain
coat, upon horseback, he began his journey. He was furnished with
a passport in the name of John Anderson, signed by Arnold, "to
go to White Plains, or lower, if he thought proper, he being upon
public business by my direction." He was accompanied by the
aforesaid Smith. They crossed the river at King's Ferry, from
Stony Point to Verplanck's, and passed the American works at those
places without suspicion. It was now quite dark, and they were
induced, from the representation of danger which they received
from a patrolling party which they met, to stop for the night
at the house of Andreas Miller, near Crompond, about eight miles
from Verplanck's Point. At the first dawn of light, Andre, who,
according to Smith's testimony, spent a "restless night,"
roused his companion, and ordered their horses to be prepared
for an early departure. They took the road towards Pine's Bridge,
and pressed forward without interruption. Here they breakfasted
at the house of a good Dutch woman; and here Andre and Smith separated;
the former pursuing his way toward Tarrytown, while the latter
returned to his home.
Andre was now upon the "Neutral Ground," as it was
called. This part of the country was greatly infested with a set
of robbers from the "Lower " or British party, denominated
"Cow Boys." They lived within the British lines, and
stole or bought a supply of cattle for the army. It happened that
the same morning on which Andre crossed Pine's Bridge, seven persons,
who resided near Hudson's River, on the neutral ground, agreed
voluntarily to go out in company, watch the road, and intercept
any suspicious stragglers, or droves of cattle, that might be
seen passing towards New York. Four of this party were stationed
on a hill, where they had a view of the road for some distance.
The other three, named John Paulding, David Williams, and Isaac
Van Wart, were concealed in the bushes about half a mile north
of the village of Tarrytown. [See Tarrytown.] As Andre, who had
met with no interruption from Pine's Bridge, approached this spot,
Paulding stepped out and seized his horse by the bridle. The surprise
of the moment put Andre off his guard, and, instead of showing
his pass, he hastily asked, "Where do you belong?" They
answered, "Down below," meaning New York, a true Yankee
reply. Elated with the belief that he was once more among friends,
after so much danger, Andre instantly replied, "So do I"
He then foolishly declared himself to be a British officer, upon
urgent business, and begged that the men would not delay him.
But his mistake was soon apparent. He was taken into the bushes
and searched. In his boots they found six papers, as Paulding
observed, "of a dangerous tendency." Andre now proceeded
to offer his watch, his horse, and large amounts of money, to
be set free. But he pleaded in vain. The nearest military post
was at North Castle, where Lieut. Colonel Jameson was stationed.
To this place Andre was taken.
Andre still passed for John Anderson, and requested permission
to write to General Arnold to inform him that he was detained.
Col. Jameson thoughtlessly permitted the letter to be sent, and
forwarded to General Washington the papers found upon the prisoner,
with a statement of the manner in which he was taken. The General
was then on his return from Hartford, and the express took a road
different from that on which he was travelling, and passed him.
This occasioned so great a loss of time, that Arnold, having received
Andre's letter, made his escape on board the Vulture before the
order for his arrest arrived at West Point.
As soon as Andre learned that Arnold was safe, he flung off
all disguise, and assumed his true character as a British officer.
General Washington referred his case to a board of fourteen general
officers, of which Generals La Fayette and Steuben were members.
They were to determine in what character he was to be considered,
and what punishment ought to be inflicted. They treated Andre
with great delicacy and tenderness, desiring him to answer no
questions that embarrassed his feelings. But, concerned only for
his honor, he frankly confessed that he did not come on shore
under a flag, and stated so fully all facts respecting himself,
that it became unnecessary to examine a single witness. The board,
after due consideration, gave it as their opinion that Andre was
a spy; and that, agreeably to the laws and usages of nations,
he ought to suffer death. His execution took place the following
day. See Tappan.]
Andre was reconciled to death, but not to the mode of dying.
He wrote to Gen. Washington, soliciting that he might be shot,
rather than to die on a gibbet. But the stern maxims of justice
forbade a compliance with this request.
Great, but unavailing, endeavors were made by Sir Henry Clinton
to save Andre. Even Arnold had the presumption to write a threatening
letter to Washington on the subject. An exchange for Arnold was
suggested in an indirect manner, but Clinton would not listen
to the proposal. Arnold was subsequently appointed Major General
in the British army, and served out the war in that capacity.
He was also paid the sum of fifty thousand dollars. After the
war was finished he returned to England, where he died, in 1801,
at the age of sixty-one years. He lived to be despised as well
by those he served as those he attempted to betray; and his name
is held in execration by the whole civilized world.
One mile above Peekskill, the cars pass along close to the
base of Anthony's Nose. This mountain is a complete mass of rock,
partly covered in some places with stunted trees. It rises very
abruptly from the river to the height of 1128 feet. On the opposite
shore of the river is the Dunderburg, presenting a romantic spectacle.
Between these two elevations is that part of Hudson River termed
the "Horse Race," a name derived from the rapidity of
the current at this point at ebb tide.
Various stories are told concerning the manner in which one
of these mountains obtained its name. The following is generally
believed to be "genuine." Before the Revolution, a vessel
was passing up the river, under the command of Captain Hogans.
He had an enormous nose, which was frequently the subject of joking
among the crew. When immediately opposite this mountain, the mate
looked rather quizzically, first at the mountain and then at the
captain's nose. "What," said Captain Hogans, "
does that look like my nose? Well, then, let us call it Anthony's
Nose." The story was repeated on shore, and the mountain
thenceforward assumed the name, becoming an everlasting monument
to the memory of Captain Anthony Hogans and his nose.
About opposite the second tunnel, above Peekskill, stand the
two forts, Clinton and Montgomery, one upon each side of the mouth
of a small stream which falls into the Hudson at this point. These
forts were the main defences of the Highlands during the Revolution.
They were too high to be battered from the water, and surrounded
by steep and rugged bills, which made the approach to them on
the land side very difficult. To stop the ascent of the enemy's
ships, frames of timber, with projecting beams shod with iron,
were sunk in the river. A boom, formed of large trees fastened
together, extended from bank to bank; and in front of this boom
was stretched a huge iron chain. Higher up the river, upon a small
island, was Fort Constitution, and here was another boom and chain.
Forts Montgomery and Clinton, having been left with a force of
only eight hundred men, under the belief that they were secure,
were captured by the British, October 6, 1777. At that time General
Burgoyne was closely hemmed in near Saratoga, by General Gates.
Sir Henry Clinton, anxious to afford General Burgoyne an opportunity
to force his way to Hudson River, left New York on the fifth of
October with four thousand troops, and landed at Verplanck's Point.
While a part of this force led General Putnam, who was at Peekskill,
to believe that Fort Independence was the object of the expedition,
a stronger party crossed the river to Stony Point, and, pushing
inland through the mountain defiles, approached in rear of Forts
Clinton and Montgomery, of which the entire garrison did not exceed
six hundred men, and both were captured. Immediately after the
news of the surrender of Burgoyne's army, which took place October
16, the forts were evacuated by the captors.
GARRISON'S, fifty miles from New York, is the station
at which West Point passengers leave the trains. A ferry connects
the two places. Two miles below this station, on the western shore
of the river, are the BUTTERMILK FALLS. These present a very beautiful
appearance, especially when the stream is swollen by heavy rains.
The water descends, for more than a hundred feet, in two successive
cascades, spreading out in sheets of milk-white foam.
West Point, fifty-one miles from New York, is unquestionably
the most romantic place upon the Hudson River. The approach to
it is highly interesting. The village is placed upon the top of
a promontory one hundred and eighty-eight feet above the river,
where there is spread out a level plateau or terrace, more than
a mile in circumference. The declivity is very steep on all sides,
and the surrounding craggy hills seem to be nothing but masses
of rocks, fantastically heaped by nature, crowding the stream
below into a channel less than half a mile in width.
West Point is chiefly noted as the seat of the Military Academy,
established here in 1802. The landabout two hundred and
fifty acreswas ceded to the United States by New York in
1826. The buildings are two stone barracks occupied by two hundred
and fifty cadets, the limited number; a large stone building,
for military exercises in the winter, and as a depository for
models of fortifications, &c.; a two-story stone building,
with three towers, for astronomical purposes; a chapel, hospital,
mess-rooms, &c., &c., and a number of other dwelling-houses
for the officers of the institution.
The number of applications for admission to the West Point
Academy is so great that the candidate must feel his claims to
be transcendent who can calculate upon admission with any degree
of certainty. The ratio of appointments is about three for every
congressional district in four years. In selecting candidates
for admission, the descendants of revolutionary officers, and
of those who served in the last war, are considered as having
peculiar claims to notice. There is no other distinction between
the candidates, save their accredited talents and abilities to
be of public service. The age of admission is from sixteen to
The months of July and August of each year are devoted solely
to military exercises; for which purpose the cadets leave the
barracks and encamp in tents on the plain, under the regular police
and discipline of an army in time of war. For this purpose, the
cadets are organized into a battalion of four companies, under
the command of the chief instructor of tactics and his assistants.
The corporals are chosen from the third class, or cadets who have
been present one year; the sergeants from the second class, who
have been present two years; and the commissioned officers, or
captains, lieutenants, &c., from the first class, or highest
at the academy. All the other cadets fill the ranks as private
soldiers, although necessarily acquainted with the duties of officers.
In rotation they have to perform the duty of sentinels, at all
times, day or night, storm or sunshine. The drills, or military
exercises, consist in the use of the musket, rifle, cannon, mortar,
howitzer, sabre and rapier, or broad-sword; fencing, firing at
targets, &c., evolutions of troops, including those of the
line; and the preparation and preserving of all kinds of ammunition
and materials of war. The personal appearance of the corps of
cadets cannot fail to attract admiration, especially when on parade.
The uniform is a gray coatee, with gray pantaloons in winter,
and white linen in summer. The dress cap is of black leather,
bell-crowned, with plate, chain. &c.
The cadets return from camp duty to the barracks on the last
of August, and the remaining part of the year is devoted to study.
The ceremony of striking the tents and marching out of camp is
so imposing as to be well worth an effort of the visitor to be
present on that occasion. On the previous evening the camp is
brilliantly illuminated; and, enlivened with music, dancing, and
crowds of strangers, it presents quite an interesting and pleasant
Near the north-east extremity of the ground, at the projecting
point formed by an abrupt bend of the river, is a monument of
white marble, consisting of a base and a short column, on the
former of which is the simple inscription, "KOSCIUSKOerected
by the corps of Cadets, 1828." It cost $5,000. Another monument,
on a gentle hillock at the north-west extremity of the plain,
was erected to the memory of Col. E. D. Wood, a pupil of the institution,
who fell leading a charge at the sortie of Fort Erie, on the 17th
of September, 1814. On the river bank, near the parade-ground,
upon a lower level, is Kosciusko's garden, whither he was accustomed
to retire for study or reflection. Near this spot is a clear boiling
spring, enclosed in a marble reservoir, with durable and ornamental
steps leading down from the plain above, with seats upon a projection
of the rock for visitors.
There is a splendid hotel on the brow of the hill, which is
approached by a good carriage-road from the landing; or the pedestrian
may reach it by the foot-path, much shorter and more difficult.
The view from the observatory of this hotel is very fine, especially
on the north, looking towards Newburg. The dim outlines of the
Shawangunk Mountains may be distinctly seen in fine weather.
Near the steamboat landing is the rock from which a chain was
stretched across the river during the Revolution. It was broken
by the British vessels in their passage up the river, after the
capture of Forts Clinton and Montgomery; and some links of it,
near three feet long, made of bar iron two inches square, are
still preserved as a revolutionary relic.
At this time West Point was not fortified. In April, 1778,
General Gates proceeded up the river, accompanied by several eminent
engineers, to erect such impediments as should effectually prevent
the ascent, above the Highlands, of the enemy's ships. The new
fortifications were zealously prosecuted, under the direction
of Kosciusko, the Polish chieftain, at whose suggestion the works
at West Point were commenced. The principal work was Fort Clinton,
which stood upon the plateau on which the Military Academy has
since been built. This fort, in turn, was protected by several
redoubts higher up the cliff, the most important of which was
Fort Putnam, 598 feet above the river. These covered each other,
and the main garrison and ammunition stores were under bomb-proof
casements. The works were partly hewn in rock, and impregnable.
Fort Putnam and most of the others are now in ruins; but the important
situation suggests how easily and effectually the post could be
again armed, should occasion require. The ascent to the site of
Fort Putnam is tedious and difficult; but the visitor will be
repaid tenfold for his labor by the view from that elevation.
And it may be proper here to state, that the traveller who
merely passes up through this region,unquestionably the
grandest and most picturesque upon this continent,either
by steamboat or by railroad, without stopping, knows nothing at
all about the beauty of the Highlands of Hudson River. He who
possesses a vivid fancy might imagine what a wonderful view would
open, before him from the side or summit of Anthony's Nose, or
old Cro' Nest, or Bull Hill; but it would be naught else but imagination.
He must see for himself, from reality, or he loses a picture which
be would never forget. He must ramble over this almost barren
region, and do it at his leisure, or he will have no adequate
conception of the enchanting prospect which will at every step
meet his eyes.
COLD SPRING, two miles above Garrison's, fifty-four
miles from New York, is a romantic place, and owes much of its
prosperity to the iron foundery established here by Gouverneur
Kemble. The works are situated about a mile west of the village,
upon a small stream which tumbles rapidly down the mountains,
affording considerable water power. It is the largest, establishment
of its kind in the country, employing nearly five hundred hands
Undercliff, the country-seat of General George P. Morris, is
near the village of Cold Spring. It is situated upon an elevated
plateau, rising from the eastern shore of the river; and the selection
of such a commanding and beautiful position at once decides the
taste of its, intellectual proprietor. In the rear of the villa,
cultivation has placed her fruit and forest-trees with a profuse
hand, and fertilized the fields with a variety of vegetable products.
The extent of the grounds is abruptly terminated by the base of
a rocky mountain, that rises nearly perpendicular to its summit,
and affords in winter a secure shelter from the bleak blasts of
the north, in front, a circle of greensward is refreshed by a
fountain in the centre, gushing from a Grecian vase, and encircled
by ornamental shrubbery; from thence a gravelled walk winds down
a gentle declivity to a second plateau, and again descends to
the entrance of the carriage road, which leads upwards along the
left slope, of the hill, through a noble forest, the growth of
many years, until, suddenly emerging from its sombre shades, the
visitor beholds the mansion before him in the bright blaze of
day. A few openings in the wood afford an opportunity to catch,
a glimpse of the water, sparkling with reflected light; and the
immediate transition from shadow to sunshine is peculiarly pleasing.
Immediately opposite Cold Spring, rising almost perpendicular
from the water, stands the old Cro' Nest, one of the most beautiful
elevations in America. This mountain is the scene of Rodman Drake's
exquisite poem of "The Culprit Fay;" and the description
of the place is so natural and striking, that it will be quite
in place here.
" 'T is the middle watch of a summer's night,
The earth is dark, but the heavens are bright;
Nought is seen in the vault on high,
But the moon, and the stars, and the cloudless sky,
And the flood which rolls its milky hue,
A river of light on the welkin blue.
The moon looks down on old Crow Nest,
She mellows the shade on his shaggy breast,
And seems his huge gray form to throw
In, a silver cone on the wave below;
His sides are broken by spots of shade,
By the walnut boughs and the cedar made,
And through their clustering branches dark
Glimmers and dies the firefly's spark,
Like starry twinkles that momently break
Through the rifts of the gathering tempest rack.
The stars are on the moving stream,
And fling, as its ripples gently flow,
A burnished length of wavy beam,
In an eel-like, spiral line below.
The winds are whist, and the owl is still,
The bat in the shelvy rock is hid;
And nought is heard on the lonely hill
But the cricket's chirp and the answer shrill
Of the gauze-winged katy-did;
And the plaints of the mourning whip-poor-will,
Who mourns unseen, and ceaseless sings
Ever a note of wail and woe,
Till morning spreads her rosy wings,
And earth and skies in her glances glow.
'Tis the hour of fairy ban and spell:
The wood-tick has kept the minutes well;
She has counted them all with click and stroke,
Deep in the heart of the mountain-oak;
And he has awakened the sentry-elve,
Who sleeps with him in the haunted tree,
To bid him ring the hour of twelve,
And call the fays to their revelry."
Above Cold Spring we have Bull Hill, 1586 feet, Breakneck Hill,
upon the extremity of which so many steamboat passengers have
tried to imagine the profile of a human face, or "Turk's
face," 1187 feet; and Beacon Hill, the last of the range
of Highlands upon the eastern shore, 1685 feet high. On the western
shore, Butter Hill, 1529 feet, closes the range. This latter elevation
forms a more impressive sight to the traveller than the others,
from its immense masses of towering rock, its sudden rise from
the river, and its great height. The village of Cornwall lies
directly at the foot of Butter Hill, on the north.
FISHKILL, sixty miles from New York, is a busy, thriving
town. The station is at Fishkill Landing, the centre of the town
being some miles back from the river. The manufacturing village
of Matteawan lies about a mile from the Landing near the north
of Matteawan Creek, which supplies its water-power. The situation
of this village is romantic in the highest degree. The stream
falls rapidly, affording constant power for several factories
of the largest class. The village is completely hemmed in by steep
and rugged hills, rendering the scene picturesque and pleasing.
A railroad from Providence, R. I., to Fishkill, by way of Hartford,
Conn., has been projected, and partly built. As the Newburg branch
of the Erie Railroad has its terminus directly opposite, this
would make a direct line to Buffalo and the great West.
The stranger, who wishes to carry away a distinct impression
of this section of the Hudson, will not fail to visit Beacon Hill,
just back of the village, the last summit of the Highlands of
any considerable altitude as the range dips off to the north-east;
and, it may be added, the highest one upon the river. An hour's
ride, partly through the fine arable lands of Dutchess, and partly
through the thick overhanging foliage of the mountain road, brings
you to the summit. A few occasional glimpses through the trees,
with now and then a broader opening at some curve of the road,
beautiful though they be, give you but a slight foretaste of the
magnificent prospect reserved for you upon the summit. This summita
rounded peak of primitive granite, bare, or only tufted here and
there with a few groups of small trees, with no habitations or
traces of cultivation upon itaffords a view at once one
of the grandest and most beautiful that can be found in America.
Rising, as it does, rather abruptly from the plain, on the east
bank, the spectator, gazing from its height upon the scene before
him to the west and north, is placed, as it were, upon the boundary
of a vast picture, which is continued by the Highlands in the
south, the summits of Shawangunk range in the west, and the Catskill
in the north, quite round the entire view. Within this circle
the materials of the beautiful and the picturesque are arranged
with all the grandeur, the softness, the beauty of detail, that
the most fastidious connoisseur of fine scenery can desire. Before
you lies the Hudson, swollen into a lovely expanse or bay, meandering
to the north until it is lost in the distance, sprinkled through
its whole course with the white sails of the numberless vessels
that float upon its surface. Sloping away from its banks rise
the fine cultivated fields; the clustered villages, the elegant
villas, and the neat cottages gleaming through the tufts of foliage
that surrounds them. As the distance intervenes, these all gradually
mingle into one indistinct and undulating carpet of green, colored
with various tints by the ripe and ripening grain. It was early
in the autumn when we climbed the summit of this mountain on foot.
The foliage had been changed to many gaudy hues by the frost,
and to us, used as we are to ascend every eminence in our wanderings,
where the beauties of nature can be seen to advantage, this view
appeared to surpass all others, not in grandeur, but in beauty.
Beacon Hill was a station for the display of bonfires during
the Revolution, which, from its elevated position, denoted the
movements of the enemy to the inhabitants for a great distance
through the surrounding counties.
Newburg, directly opposite Fishkill, and with
which place there is a constant communication by means of a ferry,
is one of the largest and most important towns upon Hudson River.
The village stands upon a pretty acclivity, rising with a sharp
ascent from the river. The view from the steamboats, as they approach
the landing, is surpassingly beautiful.
Newburg was originally settled by emigrant Palatines, in 1798.
The present population is about ten thousand. A large amount of
business is transacted here by the surrounding towns; the main
street, upon market days, presenting the thronged and busy appearance
of a city, being crowded with teams, and lively with the bustle
of traders. Two or three steamboats ply constantly with New York,
during the summer months, to do the freighting and other local
business of the place. A large part of this must unquestionably
be hereafter done by the Hudson River Railroad.
A branch of the Erie Railroad, leaving the main line at Chester,
twenty miles distant, has its termination at Newburg. This branch
furnishes a direct line to Buffalo and the great West.
From the top of the hill, in the rear of the village, there
is a very fine and extensive prospect. The villages of Fishkill
and Matteawan, upon the east bank of the river, especially, make
a very graceful appearance.
A short distance south of Newburg village still stands the
old stone mansion in which General Washington held his head-quarters
when the army was encamped here during the Revolution. It is visited
by many as a spot rendered sacred by its former occupant, and
by the cause in which he fought. Americans will not soon forget
the noble answer of Gen. Washington, written from this place,
to Lewis Nicola, who had, as the head of a party of officers,
suggested to him the propriety of establishing a monarchy and
making him a king. His reply, considering that at that time the
war was literally at an end, and the independence of his country
established, is worthy of record. It ran as follows:
"Newburg, 22d May, 1782.
"Sir,With a mixture of great surprise and astonishment,
I have read with attention the sentiments you have submitted to
my perusal. Be assured, sir, no occurrence in the course of the
war has given me more painful sensations than your information
of there being such ideas existing in the army apt you have expressed,
and which I must view with abhorrence and reprehend with severity.
For the present, the communication of them will rest in my own
bosom, unless some further agitation of the matter shall make
a disclosure necessary.
"I am much at a loss to conceive what part of my conduct
could have given encouragement to such an address, which to me
seems big with the greatest mischiefs that can befall my country.
If I am not deceived in the knowledge of myself, you could not
have found a person to whom your schemes are more disagreeable.
At the same tinge, to do justice to my own feelings, I must add,
that no man possesses a more sincere wish to see ample justice
done to the army than I do; and as far as my power and influence
in a constitutional way extend, they shall be employed to the
utmost of my abilities to effect it, should there be occasion.
Let me conjure you then, if you have any regard for your country,
concern for yourself or posterity, or respect for me, to banish
these thoughts from your mind, and never communicate, as from
yourself or any one else, a sentiment of the like nature.
"I am, sir, &c.,
LOW POINT, sixty-four miles, is in the north part of
the town of Fishkill. It is a small settlement.
NEW HAMBURG, sixty-seven
miles, is situated directly at the mouth of Wappinger's Creek,
a considerable stream, which has its rise in the northeast part
of Dutchess county, near the Connecticut line. The village is
situated upon both sides of the river's mouth, across which there
is a good bridge. A ferry connects it with Hampton, across the
Hampton, opposite New Hamburg, is a small settlement,
in the south part of the town of Marlborough. Two miles above
is Milton, another village in the same town.
MILTON FERRY, or Barnegat, sixty-nine miles and a half
from New York, in the township of Poughkeepsie, is noted for its
great number of lime-kilns. A ferry connects it with Milton, on
the west bank of the river.
POUGHKEEPSIE, seventy-four miles from New York, is the
"half-way" station upon the Hudson River Railroad. It
will justly rank with the first villages in New York or New England.
Occupying an elevated position, it is seen conspicuously, both
in ascending and descending the stream. The river bank is of considerable
height, and projects into the stream, forming two promontories.
The southern one, termed "Call Rock," so covers the
landing that it is not seen from steamboats until they are quite
near the wharf.
Poughkeepsie was settled by the Dutch in 1735. It is now the
court town of Dutchess county, next to the richest in the state.
The village is very compactly built, spacious, and well paved,
the population about twelve thousand. Like Newburg, this place
is a general trading depot for the large number of flourishing
country villages in the immediate neighborhood. On a busy day,
the throng upon Main-street would do no discredit to the principal
thoroughfares of a large city.
The Collegiate School is pleasantly situated upon College Hill,
half a mile north-east of the village. Its location is one of
unrivalled beauty, commanding an extensive prospect of the river
and surrounding country. Indeed, the stranger can hardly ascend
any moderately elevated ground in the neighborhood,and we
may say the same of the entire distance upon the banks of the
Hudson,without witnessing a continual succession of fine
landscape views. And herein consists the charm of Hudson River
A small creek, called "Fall Creek," after meandering
over the plain back of the village, falls into the Hudson just
above the railroad station, by a succession of rapids which furnish
considerable water-power. This was one of the most difficult sections
upon the road to build. Several ferry-boats ply between Poughkeepsie
and the villages upon the opposite shore.
New Paltz, a small village directly opposite
Poughkeepsie, is the landing for passengers for the town of the
same name, lying some eight miles west. It has a ferry to Poughkeepsie.
HYDE PARK, eighty-one miles. Both the village and the
landing are directly upon the river. There are several fine country-seats
upon the banks north and south of the village. Near this place
the Crumelbow Creek falls into the Hudson, and affords a considerable
Pelham, nearly opposite Hyde Park, is connected
with it by a ferry. It is partly in the town of Esopus.
STAATSBURG, eighty-four miles and a half. This is a
small village. The station here is half a mile from the river,
one of the greatest detours upon the line.
RHINEBECK, ninety miles, is a place of considerable
size, situated upon a fertile plain, two miles from the river.
The station is at Rhinebeck Landing, where the steamboats land
and receive passengers.
Rondout, directly opposite, upon the mouth of
Rondout Creek, or Wallkill River, is connected with it by a ferry.
Two miles north-west is Kingston, a large and thriving village.
Two miles above Rondout, upon the Wallkill, is the village of
Eddyville, the termination of the Delaware and Hudson Canal. These
villages are all in the town of Kingston, and are rapidly increasing
in population and wealth.
The Delaware and Hudson Canal, beginning at Eddyville, ascends
the valley of the Wallkill, and passes into the valley of the
Nevisink River, which it follows to its junction with the Delaware,
at Port Jervis. It then follows up this river to its junction
with the Lackawaxen; thence up the latter river to its termination
at Honesdale, Penn. Its length is 109 miles, with 950 feet of
rise and fall, by 106 locks. It cost two millions two hundred
and fifty thousand dollars. It is used chiefly for the transportation
of coal. By using the railroad extending from Honesdale to the
Wyoming coal-field, at Carbondale, sixteen miles, it affords a
cheap and direct entrance for coal into the heart of the state.
After the taking of Forts Montgomery and Clinton, in 1777,
[see Peekskill,] part of the British fleet ascended the Hudson
to this place, where the commander, General Vaughan, caused the
village to be burned, and great quantities of provisions and stores
to be destroyed. Here his further progress was stayed by the appalling
news of the surrender of Burgoyne's whole army, and he made a
hasty retreat with his vessels to New York. Soon after, the Americans
fortified West Point, and the towns above that fort were never
afterwards troubled by the incursions of the enemy.
BARRYTOWN, or Lower Red Hook Landing, ninety-five miles
and a half, and TIVOLI, or Upper Red Hook Landing, one
hundred miles, are both within the town of Red Hook, some miles
from the central village. Opposite Tivoli, upon the mouth of Esopus
Creek, is the flourishing town of Saugerties. This is a
place of quite recent and rapid growth. The creek has a fall of
47 feet, which furnishes a large amount of water-power. Several
manufacturing establishments have been erected, besides which
there are the Ulster iron works, white lead works, and an age
manufactory. A handsome bridge has been thrown across the creek,
uniting the two portions of the village, standing upon both sides
of the stream. There is constant communication with Tivoli by
means of a ferry.
GERMANTOWN, or East Camp, one hundred and four miles.
This town was settled by the Palatines, in 1710.
OAK HILL, one hundred and eleven miles. This station
is in the southern extremity of Greenport. Passengers for Catskill
leave the cars at this station crossing the Hudson by a ferry-boat
which plies between the two places.
Catskill, or Kaatskill, as the Dutch still call it, the seat
of justice of Greene county, stands upon the banks of Catskill
Creek, near its confluence with the Hudson. The mouth of the creek
makes a fine harbor for sloops and boats; and a long, narrow dyke,
walled with stone, connects the village with a small island near
the middle of the river, affording a commodious landing for the
steamboats. It is essentially a very Dutch appearing village;
and here, as well as at many other Dutch towns upon the Hudson,
the old inhabitants still retain their mother tongue, and the
perpetual jabber, so easy to recognize, is frequently heard. It
should be added that, besides the language, most of the descendants
of tile Dutch retain also the frugality of their forefathers.
About a mile from the village is a limestone cave, said to
have an extent of nearly half a mile.
From Catskill, stages run several
times each day to the CATSKILL MOUNTAIN HOUSE, a distance of twelve
miles. The time required for the ascent is four hours; half the
time being sufficient to return. The journey up the mountain is
safe, yet rather tedious and difficult. For a greater part of
the way the road is very uneven, and the last portion of it a
very steep ascent in a zig-zag direction. When once there, the
traveller will be amply rewarded for his exertions.
"The Mountain House is a large, irregular building, but
spacious, and comfortably furnished. It stands upon the table
rock, a few yards from the sheer vergean elevation of eighteen
hundred feet above the apparent plain, and twenty-seven hundred
above the level of the river. There is a narrow strip of green
just in front, under the long and capacious piazza, beautifully
ornamented with young fir and cedar trees, and a variety of shrubs.
Then comes a strip of bare rock, overlooking the awful abyss.
"A sea of woods is at your feet, but so far below, that
the large hills seem but slight heavings of the green billowy
mass; before you lies a vast landscape, stretching far as the
eye can take in the picture; a map of earth, with its fields,
its meadows, its forests, and its villages and cities scattered
in the distance; its streams and lakes diminished, like the dwellings
of man, into insignificance. Through the midst winds the sweeping
river, the mighty Hudson, lessened to a rill; or it might be likened
to a riband laid over a ground of green. Still further on are
the swelling uplands, and then far along the horizon mountains
piled upon mountains, melting into the distance, rising range
above range, till the last and loftiest fades into the blue of
the sky. Over this magnificent panorama the morning sun pours
a misty radiance, half veiling, yet adding to its beauty, and
tinting the Hudson with silver. Here and there the bright river
is dotted with sails, and sometimes a steamboat can be seen winding
its apparently slow way along. The clouds, that fling their fitful
shadows over the country below, are on a level with youeven
the birds seldom soar higher than your feet; the restingplace
of the songster, whose flight can no longer be traced from the
plain, is still far below you."
Two miles from the hotel are the Kaaterskill Falls, upon a
stream flowing from two lakes, each about a mile and a half in
circumference, and about half a mile in the rear of the house.
After a west course of about a mile and a half, the waters fall
perpendicularly 175 feet, and, pausing momentarily upon a ledge
of rock, precipitate themselves 85 feet more, making the whole
descent of the cataract 260 feet. Below this point the current
is lost in a dark ravine, through which it seeks the valley of
the Catskill. The water-fall, with all its boldness, forms, however,
but one of the interesting features of the scene. From the edge
of the falls is beheld a dreary chasm, whose steep sides, covered
with dark ivy and thick summer foliage, seem like a green bed
formed for the waters. Making a circuit from this spot, and descending
about midway of the first falls, the spectator enters an immense
natural amphitheatre behind the cascade, roofed by a magnificent
ceiling of rock, having in front the falling torrent, and beyond
it the wild mountain dell, over which the clear blue sky is visible.
The falls on the west branch of the Kaaterskill have a perpendicular
descent of more than 120 feet, and the stream descends in rapids
and cascades 400 feet in 100 rods. The Kaaterskill has a devious
and very rapid course, of about eight miles, to the Catskill,
near the town. The falls are best seen from below, and the view
from the Pine Orchard is better between three o'clock and sunset
than in the middle of the day.
HUDSON, one hundred and fifteen miles, a city, port
of entry, and capital of Columbia county, stands at the head of
ship navigation. The main portion of the town is built upon a
bold promontory, sixty feet above the river, commanding a fine
view of the surrounding country.
The city is regularly laid out, the streets crossing each other
at right angles, with the exception of two near the river, which
follow the direction of the shore. The main street extends south-east
more than a mile, to Prospect Hill, which is 200 feet high.
Near the station and steamboat landing are several warehouses,
which, with the steamboats and shipping at the wharves, afford
ample evidence of the enterprise of the inhabitants. The Hudson
and Berkshire Railroad, thirty-three miles in length, extending,
to West Stockbridge, Mass., where it unites with the Western and
Housatonic roads, terminates at Hudson. Distance to Boston by
this route, 193 miles. Passengers for Lebanon Springs take this
route as far as Edwards' Depot, which is but eight miles from
the Springs. From thence they are taken by stage.
Athens, opposite Hudson, is connected with it
by a ferry. The village is built along the shore about a mile
and a half. The ground rises gradually from the shore, affording
some fine sites for country-seats. The shore is bold and rocky,
and the channel close to the village.
STOCKPORT, one hundred and twenty miles, lies at the
mouth of Kinderhook Creek, a stream of considerable size, having
its rise in Hancock, Mass. Within three miles of the Hudson, this
stream falls 160 feet, affording, to a limited extent, water-power
for several mills. At Columbiaville, at the mouth of Claverack
Creek, which falls into the Kinderhook near Stockport, there are
several large manufactories, and quite a village.
STUYVESANT, one hundred and twenty-five miles, is a
flourishing village, that sends large quantities of produce annually
to the New York market. Kinderhook passengers land at this place.
Kinderhook is the birth-place of Ex-President Martin Van Buren,
who now resides about two miles south of the village. It is six
miles from the river.
Coxsackie, one mile south of Stuyvesant, on the
opposite shore, is a place of business. Nutter Hook, directly
opposite, is a bustling little place, and has some shipping.
New Baltimore, four miles above Coxsackie, is
a thriving village, a landing for the river boats. Above this
place the river is dotted with a large number of small islands,
which, when covered with foliage, present a fine prospect.
SCHODACK, one hundred and thirty-one miles, and Coeyman's
directly opposite, are small villages.
CASTLETON, one hundred and thirty-five miles. There
is a bar forming in the river, near this place, that threatens
considerable injury to navigation. Indeed, the river, at several
points above, at low water, is difficult to ascend, in consequence
of sand-bars which are continually changing. A large amount of
money has been expended in deepening the channel, but it soon
fills up again.
GREENBUSH, one hundred and forty-three miles, is the
northern terminus of the Hudson River Railroad. The Troy and Greenbush
road, six miles in length, is run by the former company under
a lease. Passengers can cross the ferry here to Aibany, or continue
on to Troy, trains being run every hour, and immediately upon
the arrival of the New York trains. The western terminus of the
Albany and Boston is also at Greenbush. Extensive depot accommodations
have already been erected here, which will soon be increased,
and the vast business in freighting done by the various roads
will tend to render this village a very important point.
Albany city, the capital of New
York, is directly opposite Greenbush, with which there is constant
communication by means of a ferry. The city is built upon a flat
alluvial tract of land, along the margin of the river, from 15
to 100 rods wide, back of which it rises abruptly, attaining,
within the space of half a mile, an elevation of 153 feet, and
in one mile 220 feet above the river. Beyond this the surface
is level. The older portions of the city are laid out very irregularly,
and some of them are very narrow. The streets recently built are
more spacious and regular. State street is from 150 to 170 feet
wide, and has a steep ascent to the top of the hill. Many of the
private, and more especially the public, buildings of Albany have
fine situations, and overlook an extensive and a beautiful prospect.
The Capitol, which stands at the head of State street, on the
hill, is a large stone edifice, 115 feet long, and 90 feet broad,
fronting east, on a fine square. It contains spacious and richly
furnished apartments for the accommodation of the Senate and Assembly,
and various rooms for other public purposes. From the observatory
at the top, which is accessible to visitors, a fine view of the
city and surrounding country is obtained. The City Hall is on
the east side of the same square, facing west, and is constructed
with marble, with a gilded dome. The Albany Academy, built of
freestone, adjoining the square, has a park in front of it; and
both squares are surrounded by an iron fence, and constitute a
large and beautiful public ground, laid out with walks, and ornamented
with trees. The Exchange, at the foot of State street, is a commodious
building of granite, constructed a few years since. The Post-office
is in this building. It has also an extensive reading-room, supplied
with papers and periodicals, both American and foreign, to which
strangers are admitted without charge.
The situation of Albany for trade and commerce can hardly be
surpassed. Besides its natural advantages, railroads now centre
here from each of the four cardinal points; and the Erie and Champlain
Canals add immensely to her resources.
TROY city is situated on the east bank of the river, at the
head of tide water. It is a port of entry, and capital of Rensselaer
county. It is celebrated for its beauty and healthiness; most
of its streets are wide, laid out at right angles, and planted
with trees. Mount Ida, directly in the rear of the south part
of the city, and Mount Olympus in the north, are distinguished
eminences, affording fine views of the country. The city is abundantly
supplied with water, by iron pipes, from a basin in Lansingburg,
75 feet above the city. It has numerous hotels, some of which
are admirably kept.
WEST TROY, a suburb of Troy, on the opposite side of the river,
is a manufacturing village, rapidly increasing in business and
importance. A fine macadamized road extends from this place to
Albany, a distance of six miles. Coaches run hourly over the road.
Like her rival, Troy has her morning and evening line of steamboats
to New York, which are in no degree behind the Albany boats in
comfort, speed or elegance. The fare to New York is usually the
same from both cities.
Saratoga Springs are easily reached from either Albany or Troy.
From Albany, by the Albany and Schenectady Railroad, sixteen miles;
thence, by the Saratoga and Schenectady Railroad, twenty-one miles,total,
thirty-seven miles. From Troy there are two routes, viz., one
by way of the Troy and Schenectady Railroad, twenty miles, and
thence as by Albany route,forty-one miles; the other by
the Rensselaer and Saratoga Railroad, terminating at Balston Spa,
twenty-four miles, thence by Saratoga Railroad, seven miles, total,
The traveller to Buffalo has the choice of two routes. The
first is by a continuous line of railroads, viz., the Mohawk and
Hudson Railroad, sixteen miles in length; the Utica and Schenectady
Railroad, seventy-seven; the Syracuse and Utica, fifty-four; the
Auburn and Syracuse, twenty-six; the Auburn and Rochester, seventy-seven;
the Tonawanda, extending from Rochester to Attica, forty-two miles,
and the Attica and Buffalo Railroad, to Buffalo, thirty-three
miles; whole distance, three hundred and twenty-five miles. There
are usually three through trains daily, one starting in the morning,
and another in the evening, after the arrival of the eastern cars
and the morning steamboats from New York. This is the shortest
and decidedly the most expeditious and agreeable route.
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