Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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DARRAH, Mrs. Lydia, heroine. Of her birth and early life nothing is known, except that she was a Quaker. During 1777, while the British army held possession of Philadelphia, the adjutant general rented one of her chambers, a retired room, for private conferences. On 2 Dee. he went to her, required that the room be ready with fire and candles by seven o'clock, that her family retire to their beds, and that the utmost silence be kept regarding the visit. These minute directions excited her curiosity, and, divested of her shoes, she crept to the door, listened at the key-hole, and heard an order read for all the British troops to march out on the evening of the 4th and attack Washington's army, then at White Marsh, eight miles distant. Returning to her room, she feigned sleep when called by the officer, at the close of the meeting, that he might depart. Keeping the secret from her husband, she at an early hour in the morning informed the family that they were out of flour, and she would go to Frankfort, outside of the British lines, and procure some. A pass was readily procured from General Howe, and she was soon beyond the British lines, and, leaving her bag at the mill, hastened to the American army, walking in a snowy road for several miles. She met Lieutenant-Col. Craig, who knew her, and, under a solemn pledge of secrecy regarding her agency, received the information that placed the American army on its guard. She returned to the mill, procured her flour, and went home. That night she watched the British troops departing, and when they returned she did not dare to seek any information. The next evening the adjutant general asked her to walk up to his room, locked the door, and inquired whether any of the family were up when he and the other officers met. She told him they had all "retired at eight o'clock." He then said: "It is very strange ; I know you were asleep, for I knocked at your chamber-door three times before you heard me, yet it is certain that. we were betrayed. I am entirely at a loss to imagine who gave General Washington information of our intended attack. On arriving near his encampment we found his cannon mounted, the troops under arms, and prepared at every point, to meet us, and we have been compelled to march back like a parcel of fools."
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