A British Officer in Boston in 1775: In Two Parts. Part Ii

APRIL 25, 1775. The Townspeople have to day given up their Arms to the Select Men, who are to deliver them over to the Genl. I fancy this will quiet him a little, for he seemed apprehensive that if the Lines shou’d be attack’d the Townspeople wou’d raise and assist; they would not give up their Arms without the Genl. promising that they shou’d have leave to quit the Town as many as pleased. . . . Ever since the 19th we have been kept in constant alarm; all Officers order’d to lay at their Barracks; We can get no fresh provision, but must live upon our allowance of salt meat. We are in daily expectation of the Troops coming herewith General Howe, &c.; we then expect some alteration of Affairs. . . . Our Soldiers the other day, tho’ they shew’d no want of courage, yet were so wild and irregular, that there was no keeping ’em in any order; by their eagerness and inattention they kill’d many of our own People, and the plundering was shamefull; many hardly thought of anything else; what was worse, they were encouraged by some Officers. . . .

May 1st. We’ve hitherto since we’ve been in Camp been very lucky in dry weather. It rain’d hard this morng. for the first time. The People some days past have had leave to quit the Town, and a great many are gone out. Great additions are made to the Neck; on the right flank of the right Bastion are mounted 4 guns, and on the left of the left Bastion two Mortars; ... at the Lines the Curtain is closed up to tinroad, where there is a traverse with 2 guns which can play right up the Town of Roxbury. . . . The Rebels have elected Genl. Ward their Govr. and Commanr. in Chief. The Congress that’s sitting at Concord has resolved to have an Army of 13000 Men, this Province to find 7000, Connecticut, Newhanipshire and other Provinces the rest, the whole to be pd. by all America. Here is a report that the Mob at New York has disarmed that part of the 18th Regt. which is there and taken ’em Prisoners; whether true or not I can’t say. The Rebels have erected the Standard at Cambridge; they call themselves the King’s Troops and us the Parliaments. Pretty Burlesque! . . . We are anxiously wishing for the arrival of the Genl. Officers and Troops that are expected; we want to get out of this coop’d up situation. We con’d now do that, I suppose, but the G— does not seem to want it; there’s no guessing what he is at; Time will shew: the worst of it is we are ill off for fresh provisions, none to he bought except now and then a little pork; Our Mess has luckily got a Sheep from a Friend of Capn. Ferriers 1 on board the Asia who lays down the Harbour.

May 2d. Since the commencement of the Blockade there has been every night a reinforcement of 1 Field Officer, 5 Captns., 10 Subs., 10 Sergts., 10 Corpls., 5 Drums, 250 private mounted at Sunset and sent to the Lines, leaving 1 Capn. and 30 Men at the Neck, ’till lately when it was reduced to 200, and Officers in proportion; there has been also 100 Men and Officers in proportion constantly at work at the Lines and Blockhouse. Upon Beacon Hill there is a small work thrown up, which can command the Town; it is only a temporary thing of Casks fill’d with earth and fraised.2 . . . The General now allows to the working Men 2 gills of rum each a day. Upon our encamping We got our allowance of Batt and forage Money; he allowed us 200 days forage, which made it 8£. 15s., but tho’ he has been spoke to several times yet he won’t make up to us the 100 days forage that we were entitled to last Year. A Detatchment of 1 Sub., 1 Sergt., 1 Cor. and 20 Private from each Piquet of the 4th and 47th occupy Beacon Hill every night; in the day 1 Sergt. and 12 . . . The Guards are now to mount in half Gaiters, only carrying their Leggins with them.

4th. The late Lt. Hull of the 43d was buried to day: he was wounded and taken Prisoner on the 19th and the day before yesterday died of his wounds; they yesterday brought him to town as he had requested it. They won’t give up any of their Prisoners, but I hear they treat ’em pretty well. I wonder the G— I will allow any of their people to quit the Town ’till they return the Prisoners: one wou’d think he might get ’em if he’d try. Numbers of People are quitting the Town every day with their families and Effects; its a distressing thing to see them, for half of ’em don’t know where to go to, and in all probability must starve. . . .

We have now almost finished a Battery for 10 four and twenty Pounders at the Blockhouse; it is fronting Dorchester Hill3 where the G— I is afraid the Rebels will erect-Batteries against us.

A few days after the affair of the 19th the Detachment from Marshfield arrived here; they quitted that place in good time for the Rebels bad sent 4 or 5000 Men tliere to cut em off, which they must have done if the Vessels for our People had not arrived as they did.

May 5th. A most shocking piece of Villany was discover’d about the time of our affair with the Rebels; it was a scheme to cut off all the Officers of the Garrison. Upon the 24th, the day we were to keep St. Georges day, the Rebels were to make a feint Attack in the night upon the Lines: a number of Men were to be posted at the Lodgings of all the Officers, and upon the Alarm Guns firing they were to put the Officers to death as they were coming out of their houses to go to their Barracks. What a set of Villains must they be to think of such a thing! but there is nothing be it ever so bad that these people will stick at to gain their ends. Upon the G-] finding this out He order’d all the Officers to lay at their Barracks, where those who are not encamped still continue. . . .

8th. . . . General after Orders. “As there are many Complaints of most scandalous drunkenness at this critical time among the Troops, that the Women of different Corps in defiance of all order sell rum and other spiritous liquors to the Soldiers; it is the Commanr. in Chief’s positive Orders the Officers commanding Regts. examine into those Complaints; and those Women who do not pay obedience to Order to be immediately seized and put on board Ship. ” There was an order of this kind some time before, but was taken little notice of notwithstanding the word immediately, which scarce a general Order has been without since we came to the Continent.

9th. We are still in the same situation, the People every day quitting tlie Town, with their effects, and those Government People of the Country coming in; of them indeed there are but few; the Rebels still keep us block’d up, not allowing any Provisions to be brought into Town; it is imagined their numbers about the Town amount to about 12000; a few days since those at Cambridge (which is Head Quarters) were muster’d, and there were 7400, at Roxbury there must be between 2 and 3000, and about Charles Town nearly the same. Upon the hill where the Church is at Roxbury they have four guns; they have plenty other Guns, but. I don't find they have any Batteries.

11th. A Vessel last night arrived from New-York. By three Officers who came in her we learn that as soon as the intelligence of our Affair on the 19th April got there, the Mob rose up, seized the Town Arms, and were going to destroy a Transport laying at a Wharf; they first went to seek for Capn. Montague, who commands a Ship of War there; they found him at dinner at a Gentleman’s house; they wanted him to give his hand that he wou’d not interfere; however he put ’em off by some means, and made his escape on board, when he immediately sent his Boats armed, and had the Transport tow’d under his ship’s stern; that part of the 18th Regt. which is there are obliged to keep close in their Barracks, only just a few going to Market. The People say they may go to England if they please, but that they won’t allow ’em to come here. Most of the Friends to Government, finding things so bad there, are gone off to England. Hancock and Adams went to New York last Saturday; they were met on the road by a Troop of Light Horse, a Company of Grenadiers and one of light Infantry (Rebel Troops), who conducted them into the Town where they had a Guard of 100 Men. When this Vessell came away the Town was in the utmost confusion, every Body arming in defence of their liberty, as they call it, which is the liberty of smuggling and breaking the Laws as they please. . . .

13th. Genl. Orders. The Reinforcement at the Lines this even, to consist of 1 Field Officer, 2 Capns., 4 Subs., 5 Sergts., 6 Corpls., 2 Drs., and 100 Private. The Commander in Chief having reed, advice that three Soldiers of the R. W. Fuziliers and 12 Marines are Prisoners in the Gaol at Worcester, and have manly despised the Offers, and defied the threats of the Rebels who have tried to seduce them to take Arms against their King, and fight against their Brother Soldiers; it is the Genls. Orders that money be given by 3d Corps to Majr. of Brigade, Monerieff, who has an opportunity of conveying it to the above Men, to prevent such brave spirited Soldiers from suffering. . . . TMs afternoon, between 2 and 3000 of the Rebels came from Cambridge, march’d over the Neek at Charles Town and up the Height above the Town, where they kept parading a long time, then march’d into the Town, and after giving the War - hoop opposite the Somerset returned as they came. At same time a body of 300 paraded in Cambridge Marsh opposite.our encampment; they placed a chain of Centries all along the Marsh and retired into the Woods. This body I suppose is the Guard of a square redoubt they have thrown up near there, and have now pitched tents in. It was expected the Body at Charles Town wou’d have fired on the Somerset, at least it was wished for, as she had everything ready for Action, and must have destroyed great numbers of them besides putting the Town in Ashes. . . . 16th. . . . From 12 oclock last night ’till 7 or 8 this morn. the Rebels continued beating to Arms, firing Cannon and small Arms, and making false fires; their reasons we have not yet learned.

17th. The reason for the above is said to be on acet. of Dr. Franklin’s arrival at Philadelphia. . . . 18th. About 9 oclock last night a fire broke out in the Barracks of the 65th Regt. on a Wharf near the Market:4 every house on the Wharf, amounting to 41, was burnt to the Ground, and most of the things in them; the G5th lost their Arms, Cloathing, and everything; and the 47th has lost 4 Companies cloathing; the loss altogether is considerable, as they were all stores on the Wharf and full of Goods. A chest of Bullets was found in Hancock’s store.5 Coll. Abercrombie, Adjt. Genl., lately arrived from England, going up Cambridge river this morning in a Man of War’s Boat, was fired upon by several of the Rebels from the Banks; several balls went thro’ the boat, but nobody was hurt; they made the best of their way back, and I don’t hear that he has been as fond of reconnoitring since.6

Detachments from the different Corps were sent to extinguish the fire, which had began to break out again; in 4 or 5 hours they effected it.

19th. Several shots fired at the Glasgow; it’s what the fools frequently do, but without any harm, from the great distance.

20th. A Detachment of 1 Subn. and 30 sent to Crape Island,7 about 9 miles from Town in the Bay, to bring up hay.

21st. This evening the Detachment returned. The Rebels had intelligence of them and as soon as they landed they were fired on from the opposite shore, but without receiving any harm the distance being so great; the party did not return the fire but kept on carrying the hay to the boats, ’till at last the Rebels in great numbers got into Vessels and Boats and went off for the Island; the party then embarked and sailed off with what hay they had, and as they were obliged to go along shore they were fired on, when Lt. Innis 8 who commanded was at last forced to return the fire, and a few of the Rebels were killed, without any loss on our side. It was surely the most ridiculous expedition that ever was plan'd, for there were not a tenth part boats enough, even if there had been Men enough, and the Sloop which carried the Party mounted 12 guns, but they were taken out to make room, whereas if one or two had been left it wou’d have effectually kept off the Rebels; there was not above 7 or 8 Tons brought off and about 70 left which the Rebels burnt. . . .

25th. Generals Howe, Clinton, and Burgoyne arrived in the Cerberus, Cn. Chads. A Capn. and 50 Men order’d last night; did not go on account of the tide not serving; that order’d this morning went to Long Island to bring off some hay. . . .

May 28th. Yesterday afternoon about 40 of the Rebels came to Noddles Island 9 expecting to meet with hay to destroy: they set two houses on fire and began killing the Cows and Horses, which the Adml. seeing immediately dispatched the Marines from the Men of War to drive the Rebels away, and at the same time sent some Boats and an armed Schooner round the Island to intercept them; the Rebels as soon as they saw this scour’d off as fast as they cou’d and escaped by wading up to their necks; one was killed in the flight; after this there was a constant firing at each other from the opposite sides of the water, but

I believe without any mischief; there was also firing at and from the schooner and boats, which continued all night and part of this morning. I fancy we are the greatest sufferers, for some time in the night the schooner run aground within 60 yards of their shore, and after a cannonade a considerable time on both sides, having no chance of saving the schooner as the tide was going out, they were obliged to set her on fire and quit her, without being able, to save a single article; she was quite new and just that day came in from a Cruize; she mounted 4 guns and 10 swivels. A reinforcement of 100 Marines Avas sent over to the Island last night; they had last night two 3 pounders from the Cerberus with which we kept a cannonade great part of the night, and this morning two 12 pounders field pieces were sent over with a detachment of Artillery, which has been playing on the Rebels most of the morning, but I dare say without doing much harm as it was at a great distance; about 2 o’clock they left the Island and came off home. I hear AVC have 2 killed and 2 wounded with Sailors and Marines.

29th. To day the Rebels were seen again on the same Island; all the light Infantry Companies were immediately order’d to parade, which took up a long time as many Men Avere on duty and obliged to be relieved. In about 2 hours we Avere dismissed, and the Rebels left to do their business quietly, which by 6 o’clock in the even, they effected: they drove all the Cattle and Sheep off to the Main and set fire to four houses; at 8 o’clock a house was set on fire at Hog Island which is very near the other. I suppose after the light Companies were order’d, it Avas thought hardly worth while running the risk of losing any lives by endeavoring to save a trifling property which we have no connexion with, nor indeed cou’d it be worth while, for it cou’d be of little consequence to us, and their burning tlie bouses (which are only Out house and Barns I believe) can anSwer no other end than insulting us, and what we have not in our power to resent, for tho’ WE have NEW Generals come out, yet they have brought no more authority than Ave had before, which was none at all. The Corps to day waited on the three General Officers lately arrived; politely reed. . . .

May 30th. The Rebels this morning set fire to a dwelling house upon the same Island: the house WAS almost close to the shore and within reach of the Admirals Guns, which have been playing upon the Island every NOW and then most of the morning, whether because any Men were seen or only just to frighten them I don’t know: a schooner was also sent to fire along shore; they had better take care not to run aground and get burnt by the Yankies, like the last. Near this house there was an outhouse where there were several Navy stores, which the Admiral has been taking out all day, and to protect the Men at that work he sent a flat Boat witha gun in it along shore, which has been firing frequently at the Rebels I suppose. This morning the 5th, 38th, and 52d encamp’d in the Fields adjoining the Common; those Companies of the 43d which Avere on Copps Hill removed to the other part of the Regt. at Barton’s Point and 6 Companies of the incorporated Corps took up their ground. Copy of an after Order: “ As the Genl. finds proper care is not taken of the Ammunition, he directs the Commandg. Officers of Corps to order the Men’s Cartridges to be examined every day, and for every Cartridge missing, not accounted for, such soldier to be charged one penny.” Some Cattle lately brought from Halifax is to be divided among the Troops, Avho are to receive two days fresh provisions this week. . . .

June 1st. Last night a Ball passed over our Camp, fired from Town. The Cerberus this morning sailed down to Nantasket Road, to be in readiness to sail in a few days. Some of the idle Fools frequently fire small Arms at the Glasgow, and at our Camp; us they never reach, but they sometimes stick a Ball in the Ship, who never returns it tho’ she has it in her power to drive ’em to the D—1. . . .

5th. At 9 this morning the Grenrs. and Lt. Infantry assembled at their ground, where they found nothing settled, no ground marked out for them, nor was there anybody to mark it out or show them where to encamp; after waiting a considerable time, we set about pitching: the Tents as we cou’d settle ourselves, the Grenrs. on the right, the Light Infantry on the left; the whole was not finished till 6 or 7 oclock, and after all it was then wrong and we must have to move again, for the Streets are only single, by which means we have taken up twice the ground we ought. Every thing still of a Piece ! . . .

8th. At 4 this morning 2 Captns., 8 Subalns., and 200 Light Infantry were sent over to Noddles Island to bring off some Hay, which was effected without resistance. The Rebels indeed fired at ’em from the opposite shore but without doing any harm: there was a very small quantity of hay and that so bad that its only fit for litter; for such a paltry thing one wou’d think it was not worth while running the risk of losing a single Man, but I suppose the G—1 had received wrong in-

formation. Three Officers of the 43d Regt. had today a very narrow and lucky escape; being out in a Boat sailing, and not able to manage the Boat, the Wind drove ’em over to the Rebels shore who began firing on them; the Officers then had nothing but to swim for it, as they found it impossible to keep off with the Boat, so they jumped over board and were swimming for the Glasgow Man of War, who as soon as they saw their situation sent a Boat to their assistance, which picked ’em up; one was so much spent that he cou’d not have swam much longer. The Villains ashore kept all the time popping at ’em; but luckily did not hit either; they also kept firing at the Man of Wars Boat; the Glasgow fired a Cannon at them, which made the Rascals run and hide themselves; as soon as the Gentlemen were landed a boat was sent, with swivels in her and armed Men, to bring off the boat the Officers had quitted which had not reached tlie shore but was stuck on the Mud; the Rebels tried to prevent them by firing from their lurking places, but the Tars kept them aloof with the Swivels and brought the Boat off; while they were doing that, the Glasgow, seeing some Men near the House opposite, let fly a shot among ’em to keep ’em from going down to the shore to fire at the Boat; they run off and did not shew themselves again.'

9th. . . . This day a detachment of 2 Captns., 8 Subs., and 200 Men of the Corps of Light Infantry landed at Noddles Island, near 6 oclock in the morning, for the purpose of bringing off Hay, which was effected without any loss; advanced Parties took possession of the Heights, and were scandalously abused by the people from the opposite shore; the Troops took no notice of them; tho’ fired at frequently, the detachment did not fire a shot; there was a very small quantity of Hay and that good for nothing but litter; scarce worth sending 200 Men for one wou’d imagine. . . .

14th. Yesterday a Proclamation was issued by his Excellency Gent. Gage, offering his Majesty’s most gracious pardon to all who shall lay down their Arms, and return to the duties of peaceable Subjects, excepting Saml. Adams and John Hancock. Likewise for establishing the Law Martial throughout this Province.

15th. . . . Some of the Transports with the Troops from Ireland arrived last Sunday, and since then they have been continually dropping in, so that there are but two or three that have not arrived. The 17th Light Dragoons finished their landing yesterday and encamp’d in a field in the rear of the Light Infantry. A Rope Walk close to them is made up for their Stables.10 The 63d Regt. landed to day and encamp’d on the Common ; their Grenr. and Light Infantry Companies joined those Corps. The Genl. issued a Proclamation to day, requiring all Persons who have spiritous Liquors for Sale, or Molasses designed to be made into Rum, to make returns of the Quantities they are possessed of, and the Places where lodged, that proper Measures may be taken for the benefit of his Majesty’s Service.

N. B. All Persons concerned in these Orders, who shall neglect to comply therewith, may expect to have their Liquors seized. (The Dragoons have lost but 16 Horses on the Voyage.)

17th. At day break we were alarmed by the Glasgow firing ; we found it was at the Rebels who were erecting a Redout on the Heights of Charles Town, and at 7 oclock the Grenrs. and Light Infantry had orders to keep in readiness; at 11 were order’d to assemble, and the ten eldest Compys. of each march’d to the Long Wharf and embark’d in boats ; the 5th and 38th.likewise embark’d from the same Wharf, the 43d and 52d and remaining Comps, of Grs. and Lt. Infy. from the North Battery;11 the whole commanded by Majr. Genl. Howe set off about 1 oclock and landed on the right of Charles Town under favor of the Cannon from several Ships and Copse Hill Battery ; as soon as landed we march’d up to near the Redout and waited for the Artillery, which when it came up kept a smart fire upon the Redout for some time, but without making any Breach; the Rebels fired a few Cannon, but did no harm. Between 3 and 4 o’clock in the afternoon the whole marched to the attack, and after an obstinate resistance drove the Rebels from their Redout and a Breastwork, and from thence made them fly quite over the Neck which joins Charles Town to the Continent ; we remained at the end of the hill which commanded the Neck and kept a cannonade upon the houses beyond it, where numbers of the Rebels still lurk’d about: just about the beginning of the Attack the Town was set on fire and the whole burnt to Ashes, except a few we saved towards the Neck. In the night we lay on our Arms and threw up an entrenchment on the Hill. The 1st Batt. of Marines and 47th Regt. came over the 2d embarkation, just time enough to be at the attack.

lStli. In the morning all the Houses beyond the Neck were burnt to prevent the Rebels lurking there; they sometimes came in small parties just to take a pop at us, but the Cannon soon drove ’em off; this continued the whole day at times; at the same time the entrenchment was compleating and made to extend from the left of the Hill quite to the Water side on the right. The Rebels when drove from this retired to a Hill in the road to Cambridge; it is about 2 miles off; they are fortifying it as fast as they can;12 the 2d Battn. of Marines and 63d Regt. were sent over last night to reinforce us: this evening the Tents were sent to us and the Troops encamp’d, except the Light Infantry, who had to guard the Works.

19th. Yesterday three Gondolas (large flat boats, sides raised andmusquet proof) came up Mistick River or Bay, the water on our right, where they still remain; they cover that flank and now and then take a shot at the fellows who come down among the ruins to fire at our Men at Work ; had these boats been with us on Saturday at the time of the Attack they cou'd have been of great use, as they wou’d have taken a part of the Rebels entrenchment in flank, and in their, retreat wou’d have cut off numbers; instead of that they were on the other side, and of no manner of use. Still going on with the entrenchment, and begun a round Redout about 100 yards within it towards the right.

21st. Another round Redout in the same line with the other, but on the left, is now in great forwardness: they are fraized, and have no entrance but by a long board over the ditch, to be taken away when the people are in, so that they must defend ’em, as they can’t run away.

22d. A larger Redout of the same sort began in the center between the other two, and 60 or 100 yards in the rear . . . the three Gondolas went away; something suspected to be going on. Our Centries are advanc’d beyond the Neck ; some firing between them and the Rebels.

23d. Very quiet — the Rebels going on fast with their Works . . . great talk of some expedition tomorrow, the 63d Regt. and 2d Batt. of Marines being order’d to Boston, and the flank Companies of the 64th from the Castle.13

24th. The expedition talked of was to attack Dorchester Hill, and was to have been to day at 6 oclock in the morng. All the Troops on this side were drawn out and paraded on the Hill, and some march’d into the road; this was to alarm the Rebels on this side and keep off their attention; but soon after we heard it was put off. the Genl. hearing they had got intelligence and had reinforced that place with 4000 Men. Several shells fired from the Lines into Roxbury to set it on fire, but did not answer; the same day two Men came in as far as Brown’s House,14 when a Serjt. and a Party was sent to meet them, as it was thought they wanted to deliver themselves up, but when the party got near, the two men fired and run away, but were shot by the Party and their Arms brought in.

Aug. 26th. The Rebels perceived throwing up Entrenchments on Winter Hill15 about 12 or 1300 Yards from our Works on Bunker’s hill; after wasting a good deal of time we at length got four long twelvers to the Lines and fired several shot at them, but without preventing them from continuing their Work; they had likewise made a Battery near the water side at a Mill on Mr. Temple’s farm, a great way off, from which they fired several shot at the Gondolas, but without doing any harm.

27th. We got two 10 inch Mortars from Boston, the Rebels still continuing their work; a few shots passed between us; in the afternoon the fellows grew very insolent and several came into the Orchard to harrass our parties in the Flechcs; half a dozen Men were sent out to drive them away, which was done, but we had a Volunteer and a private Man slightly wounded; at dusk the Mortars were tried and four shells thrown, which fell well. Continued throwing Shells every now and then for some days.

Sepr. 12th. . . . The Deserters lately come in say it is still the determination of the Rebels to attack us. . . .

17th. A Soldier of the 4th or King’s Own had his leg shot off as the relief was going to the Lines at Boston; this is the first Man who has suffer’d by the Rebels Cannon.

23d. Captn. Pawlett of the 59th Regt. had his leg shot off as he was sitting at breakfast at Boston Lines.

26th. The Cerberus Frigate returned from England, with answers to the dispatches sent home after the Action of the 17th June, reports that England is determined to go through with this Affair for which reinforcements are to be here soon. Several Deserters from the Rebels are lately come in; they all say that it is intended to attack us. . . .

Oct. 10th. Genl. Gage embark’d for England. Genl. Howe left to command here. . . .

17th. McIntosh killed in the Orchard. Last night the Rebels brought down Cambridge River two Gondolas with a Gun in each of ’em; they fired several shot at the encampment on the Common without, doing any harm, ’till at last one of their Guns burst and killed and wounded several of them. . . .

28th. Several Deserters lately come in all agree that it is intended to attack us; we have been expecting it three or four nights past; a Man come in to day says they ’ll attack to night. We shall see if they mean to put their threats in execution; if they do they must in all probability get a severe beating. The Deserters all say the Rebel Army is very tired, ill off for cloathing and most things; they are not paid what they are promised and most want to go home. . . .

Novr. 9th. To day a party of about 250 Light Infantry embarked at 11 o’clock in the flat bottom’d Boats: they landed on a Peninsula call’d Lechmere’s farm, which in spring tides is an Island; it is between Cambridge and Charlestown and within cannon shot of the Rebels Works on Prospect Hill. The Rebel Guard made their escape all but one; we brought off 12 or 14 head of Cattle; after the Party was reimbarked then a very large body of the Rebels waded to the Peninsula and fired on our Men, but without doing any execution, at the same time we firing Cannon at them from this side and from the ships and some Gondolas. While our People were on the Ground they did not dare to pass; there was some firing between them and our advanced Guard; this was all done without the loss of a Man on our side, and I think must mortify them a good deal, braving them in a manner right under their noses and under their Cannon, which indeed they seem’d to manage but badly, taking an amazing time to load.16

13th, By a Deserter from the Rebels we hear they had 9 Men killed and several wounded on the 9th.

14th. We hear that a Master of a Vessel who was some time ago sent from here to Ireland, to bring out things, has taken his ship into Marblehead and given up all to the Rebels: the Vilain bad the modesty to send in the letters. It is suspected that a store ship is taken by the Rebels; if so it will be a good prize for them, as she was loaded with Mortars, Guns, shot, shells and 400 Barrels of Powder; Capn. Parker of the Phoenix had her and 12 other Ships under his convoy, of which not one did he bring in with him, having left them one night in as fine weather as cou’d be, and just when they were coming near this Coast., the time when he was most required by them, as there are a number of Privateers about; this Man ought to suffer for his behaviour, and really the Navy wants an example now to be made as it had the beginning of last War.17 . . .

16th. A Duel fought between two Officers of the 63d on acct. of a Woman; one of them wounded in the Leg.

21st. A fall of Snow. We have had a hard frost some days.

22d. All the Troops in Boston have broke up Camp and gone into Winter Quarters except three Corps.

Deer. 2d. The 1st Play was acted; it was Zara;18 Genl. B—e staid I believe on purpose for it, as the ship has been ready some time. . . .

7th. The Fowey brought in a Privateer; she carried 10 six pounders and 8 swivels and had 75 Men; she made no resistance but endeavour’d to escape by flight. . . .

18th. The Rebels began to throw up Works at Phipp’s Farm,19 upon which the Scarborough began to fire on them; the Rebels in return fired at her from their last Work at Coblers Hill, and tho’ at a great distance struck her twice out of 6 shots.

10th. The Scarborough moved lower down the Harbour, the Rebels giving three Cheers as she passed; we fired at them from Bartons Point Battery lately made; they return’d two or three shot which went into the Town; notwithstanding all our shells and shot they continued working.

20th. A shell thrown from the 13 inch Sea Mortar at Charles Town fell in Cambridge. We have four of these with which we ought to work the Villains. The Renown arrived two days ago; she run aground down the harbour but is got off again. . . .

1776, March 2d. About 11 o’clock at night, upon a Signal being given at Cambridge, the Rebels began to bombard tlie Town of Boston, from Phipps’s Farm, Cobble’s Hill, and the Heights of Roxbury; they continued throwing in Shot and Shells ’till daybreak; the same was returned them from the Lines and the Batteries at Barton’s Point: Our Shells very bad, most of ’em bursting in the Air or not at all.

3d. At 10 this night the Rebels began again, and a warmer fire was kept up on both sides ’till daybreak; the Rebels had removed the Mortar from Phipps’ Farm to Cobble’s hill; at Roxbury they had . . . Very remarkable no hurt was done as the most of their Shot and Shells fell in the Town. Our A—t—y a little mended, a few of our Shells answering.

5th. This Morning Works were perceived to be thrown up on Dorchester Heights, . . . very strong ones tho’ only the labour of one night: 5 Regts. embarked under . . . of B. G. Jones and fell down to Castle William; in the night they were to have ... on that side, while the Grenrs. Light Infy. and some more Regts. were . . . attacked on the side next the Town; the Men were not to load but . . . fixed Bayonets: in the night itcaine on to blow such a gale . . . boat cou’d possibly land, which stopt the expedition. . . .

6th. It was determined by a Council of War to quit the Town. Orders . . . to get ready with all expedition, and to take as little baggage as . . . Transports allotted for the Troops : the Townspeople had liberty to go or stay : Artillery, Ammunition, Stores, &c.,&c., getting on board.

8th. The whole Crew of a Brig deserted last night.

9th. Tlie Rebels having been deserned carrying Materials for making a Battery to Foster’s hill 20 at Dorchester, the nearest of any to Boston ; and at 8 o’clock in the evening it being reported they were at work there, our Batteries at the Blockhouse, the New Work at the Neck and . . . Wharf began to play upon them, and kept it up all night so as to prevent their Working : they likewise fired at the Town from their different Batteries at Roxbury. All the Brass Artillery on board except a few small field pieces. Orders for all the sick Men and Wo[men to] be embarked before night.

10th. Nothing but hurry and confusion.

13th. The Rebels began a Battery nearer the point of the Peninsula, intended against the Ships. Breastworks and Abbatties thrown across some of the Streets, a dry ditch made between the two Gates at the Lines and one at the Neck ; the Gates barricaded. Every Cannon on board but some iron ones which are to be spiked.

14th. Were to have embarked last night, but the Wind came against us.

15th. The Wind being fair at 12 oclock in the day, the Troops were order'd under Arms in order to embark; but after waiting some time returned to their Quarters, the Wind having shifted.

16th. Still detained by the Wind, and still firing all last night at Foster’s hill.

17th. At 4 oclock in the Morn, the Troops got under Anns, at 5 they began to move, and by about 8 or 9 were all embarked, the rear being cover’d by the Grenrs. and Lt. Infy. The Rebels did not think proper to molest us. We quitted Boston with a fair wind and sailed down to King Road,21 which is just below Castle William. We were again firing last night at Foster’s hill, but the Rebels had in spite of that erected a Work there, by taking advantage of all our Artillery being away, except a few old Iron Guns.

After remaining 2 or 3 days at KingRoad and blowing up the Castle, the fleet fell down the Harbour to Nantasket ; the Centurion left at King Road, the Rebels brought Guns [and fire]d at her without effect. The Fleet preparing for Sea, taking In Water, &c.

In the afternoon set sail with a fine Wind, and after a pleasant Voyage arrived at Halifax late in the evening with the greatest part of the fleet.

  1. John Farrier of the King’s Own. It is from allusions like these that a clew is obtained to the writer’s regiment, — E.
  2. Fraising is driving pointed stakes into the extorior of intrenehments, to prevent the enemy from scaling the trails. — E.
  3. South Boston. — E.
  4. Faneuil Hall Market. —E.
  5. As a merchant, John Hancock had a store at the head of what is now South Market Street. It was described as “ Store No. 4, at the east end of Faneuil Hall Market. A general assortment of English and India goods, also choice Newcastle Coals and Irish Butter Cheap for cash.”— E.
  6. This officer, Lieutenant - Colonel James Abercrombie, afterwards commanded one of the regiments at Bunker Hill, which attacked the redoubt, where he fought gallantly and was mortally wounded. “ He was a brave and noble-hearted soldier, and when the men were bearing him from the field he begged them to spare his old friend Putnam. ‘ If you take General Putnam alive,’ he said, 1 don’t hang him, for he’s a brave man.’ " (Frothingham’s Siege of Boston.) He died a few days after and was buried in the King’s Chapel. — E.
  7. Grape Island, near Hingham. The rebels spoken of were men from Weymouth, Braintree, aud Hingham, and among them were two brothers of John Adams. — E.
  8. Thomas Innis of the Forty-Third. —E.
  9. These were provincials sent by order of the Committee of Safety for the removal of live stock from the islands. Noddle’s Island is now East Boston. —E.
  10. The 17th Light Dragoons was the regiment which the next autumn took possession of the Old South Church and used it as a riding-school. Timothy Newell, one of the selectmen of Boston and deacon of Brattle Street Church, says in his diary, " Oct. 13th, Col. Birch of the Lighthorse Dragoons went to view our Meetinghouse [Brattle Street] which was destined for a Biding School for the Dragoons. It was designed to clear the floor, to put two feet of tan covered with horse dung to make it elastic. But when it was considered that the Pillars must be taken away which would bring down the roof, they altered their minds, —so that the Pillars saved us. Oct. 27th. The spacious Old South Meetinghouse taken possession of hy the Lighthorse 17th Regiment of Dragoons commanded by Lieut. Colo. Samuel Birch. The Pulpit, pews, and seats all cut to pieces and carried off in the most savage manner as can be expressed, and destined for a riding school. The beautiful carved pew with the silk furniture of Deacon Hubbard’s was taken down and carried to [John Amory’s] house hy an officer and made a hog stye. The above was effected by the solicitation of General Burgoyne.” — E.
  11. Now Battery Wharf. The boats were furnished by the ships of war and were under the charge of Collingwood, afterwards so famous, then a midshipman.—E.
  12. It was a corps of volunteers under Putnam who undertook to fortify this hill (Prospect Hill, Somerville, now almost entirely dug away). — E.
  13. The fort on Castle Island, where Fort Independence now stands, was called Castle William or “ the Castle.’’
  14. This house was just outside the British works on the Neck, near where Franklin Square is now, and served the British as an outpost from which to annoy the Americans. — E.
  15. A mistake. It was Ploughed Hill (Mt. Benedict, now being rapidly leveled), which was intrenched by Washington’s orders by a party of pro vincials under General Sullivan. — E.
  16. Lechmere Point is now East Cambridge. General Orders, November 10. “ In consequence of Major Genl. Clinton’s Report of His intire approbation of the Alacrity and Attention of the officers and Soldiers of the Detachment of Lt. Infantry under the Command of Lieut. Colo. Clark that Landed yesterday at Phipps Farm, the Commander in Chief desires that Lt. Colo. Clark may be informd. with the officers and Soldiers that composed this small party that he has the highest satisfaction from Major Genl. Clinton’s report. Such spirited Conduct of officers with the same soldier like obedience in the Execution of their Commands so apparent yesterday will ever insure success to the Kings Troops, whenever the Rebel Bands shou'd presume to shew themselves before them.” (Adjutant Waller’s Orderly Bonk.) The American account says that the provincial troops behaved with great spirit and were praised by General Washington in the general orders next day, and that the affair was viewed with exultation by the colonies. — E.
  17. This refers to Admiral John Byug. — E.
  18. One of a series of theatrical entertainments given under the direction of Burgoyne in Faneuil Hall. Burgoyne wrote the prologue and epilogue for this tragedy, the former of which was spoken by Francis Lord Rawdon, afterwards Earl of Moira and Marquis of Hastings, then a lieutenant of the Grenadier Company of the 5th Regiment. — E.
  19. East Cambridge. Cobble Hill mentioned below is now the site of the McLean Asylum in Somerville. — E.
  20. Also known as Nook’s Hill. This region is now South Boston. — E.
  21. Now called Presidents Road