Children’s Story – Lord Cornwallis’ Knee Buckles

This is a story about the Revolutionary War. This war was fought between England and the United States, when George Washington lived. At the close of the war, the United States became a free country and George Washington was its first President.

At the time of the Revolutionary War, in 1777, a brave little American girl, named Anne Randolph lived on a farm not so far from Philadelphia. Her father and her two brothers had joined the American army under the command of George Washington; so Anne and her mother were left alone to take care of the farm.

Two years before the time of this story, Anne’s father had given her a beautiful calf as a pet, and the two had become great friends. Whenever Anne went into the field, the young cow came to be petted.

At one time during the war, the English army was in Philadelphia. The soldiers, as they marched through the country, took the wheat and the corn of the farmers, and their horses and cattle as well.

One day, the soldiers came to the farm of Mr. Randolph and took Anne’s pet cow. They tied a rope about her horns and drove her away. In great grief Anne begged for her pet, but without success.

It did not take long for Anne to think what to do. She ran to the stable, saddled her pony, and then rode at full speed to see Lord Cornwallis, the general of the English army. It was a very brave thing for a little girl only twelve years old to do.

A soldier was marching back and forth in front of the general’s camp.

“What do you want?” he asked Anne, as she galloped up.

“I wish to see Lord Cornwallis,” she said.

The soldier let her pass, thinking, no doubt, that she had very important news to tell. Lord Cornwallis and some of his friends were at dinner when little Anne rushed into the room.

“What do you want, my child?” asked the general kindly.

“I want my cow, Sir. Your soldiers have taken her away, and I have come to get her. Oh, please, Sir, you must let me have her.”

“And who are you, my little girl?” asked the general kindly.

“I am Anne Randolph, and I live three miles from here with my mother. Have you seen my cow, sir?”

“Have you no father or brothers, Anne?”

“Yes, Sir, but they are in the army.”

“In which army?”

“In the American army, Sir.”

“Oh! So they are rebels, are they?”

“Oh yes, Sir; we are all rebels about here, Sir.”

“And you are a bit of a rebel yourself?”

“Yes, indeed, I was born so.”

The general threw back his head and laughed. “And your cow is a rebel too, I suppose.”

“I think so, Sir. She is the best cow I ever knew.”

“Look here, my little rebel,” said Lord Cornwallis soberly. “Don’t you know that we are here to fight the rebels?”

“Yes, Sir. But oh, Sir, I raised my cow myself. She has always been mine. She can’t belong to you. I would never steal your cow, Sir.”

The general arose. “Come here, my child. You are a brave little girl, and I promise you that you shall have your cow. And here, take these,” he said, unfastening a pair of silver knee buckles. “Keep them to remember that Lord Cornwallis can appreciate courage and truth even in a young rebel. And if the solders trouble your cow again, come to me at once.”

Then, calling a guard, he told him to go with the child through the camp in search of the cow; and when he should find the animal, to send a man to drive her home again. So Miss Anne returned home in triumph with her cow. And those sparkling knee buckles are treasured by her descendants, in memory of Lord Cornwallis and the Revolution.

“Gentlemen,” said Lord Cornwallis to his officers, after Anne had left, “this country is certain to be free, with such brave little rebels in it as this.”

May we all be as brave to stand for what we know to be right and true!

Adventure Stories from History, Harvestime Books, Altamont, Tennessee. Pages 39–41.