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1775. cepted the resolutions of congress. An additional proof was
given of the decision of that colony, in support of the common cause. On the arrival of captain Maitland from London, with 13,000 pounds of powder, the inhabitants boarded his vessel,
and took the powder into their possession. Gen. Wash On the 2d of July, general Washington arrived at Cambridge.? ington ar. rives at Immediately after his arrival, he reconnoitred the enemy, and Cambridge. examined the strength and situation of the American troops.
The main body of the British army, under the immediate comDisposition of the Brit- mand of general Howe, was strongly intrenching itself on Bunker's ish and Hill,» about a mile from Charlestown, and about half a mile in American armies.
advance of the works that had been thrown up by the Americans on Breed's Hill; the other division of it was deeply intrenched and strongly fortified on Boston neck, leading to Roxbury. The American army lay on both sides of Charles river. Its right occupied the high ground about Roxbury, whence it extended toward Dorchester; and its left was covered by Mystic river, a space of at least 12 miles. Intrenehments were thrown up on Winter and Prospect hills, about a mile from that division of the enemy, which lay on the peninsula of Charlestown, and in full view of it. Easterly of the works on Winter bill, towards Mystic river, redoubts were thrown up, to prevent the passage of the enemy up that river in their rear, or their landing opposite to the fort. Ai Ploughed hill, much in advance of Prospect hill, and within about half a milé on a direct line, of Bunker's hill, a breastwork was thrown up, while the enemy were incessantly cannonading the provincial troops. In November, general Putnam was ordered to erect fortifications on Cobble hill,4 about the same distance from the British works on Charlestown heights, as Ploughed hill, but nearer to Boston. When the Americans were perceived at this work, the British ships of war then lying in Charles river, as well as the forts on Bunker's hill opened a severe fire upon them ; but the fort was soon built; and it was
i Botta, Hist. War of Independence of U. States, b. 5.
2 “General Washington is chosen commander in chief, general Ward the first major general, and general Lee the second (the last has not yet accepted), and major Gates adjutant general. I hope the utmost politeness and respect will be shown to these officers on their arrival.—There is something charming to me in the conduct of Washington. A gentleman of one of the first fortunes upon the continent, leaving his delicious retirement, his family and friends, sacrificing his ease, and hazarding all in the cause of his country! His views are noble and disinterested. He declared, when he accepted the mighty trust, that he would lay before us an exact account of his expenses, and not accept a shilling for pay.” Letter of John Adams, “ Philadelphia, June 18, 1775," to Elbridge Gerry, Esq. at Cambridge. Life of E. Gerry, 88–90.
3 The British troops took possession of this hill immediately after the battle of Breed's Hill, commonly called Bunker Hill.
4 The hill on which, after the war, the late Joseph Barrell, Esq. erected a handsome seat, which, with other buildings, is now the Asylum for the Insane.
called “ Putnam's impregnable fortress.” Soon after, strong 1775. fortifications were erected at Lechmere's point. A strong intrenchment was also thrown up at Sewall's farm; and the intermediate points on the river, where troops might be landed, were occupied and strengthened. At Roxbury, where general Thomas coinmanded, a strong work had been erected on the hill, about 200 yards from the church. Troops from New Hampshire and Rhode Island, amounting to nearly 2000 men, occupied Winter hill. About 1000 men, a part of the Connecticut line, commanded by general Putnam, were on Prospect bill. The residue of the Connecticut troops, and nine regiments from Massachusetts, making in the whole between 4000 and 5000 men, were stationed at Roxbury ; the residue of the Rhode Island troops, at Sewall's farm; and the residue of the Massachusetts troops, excepting about 700 men dispersed along the coast, were placed at Cambridge.
Lord Dunmore, governor of Virginia, by his intemperate Conduct of measures advanced the cause which he aimed to overthrow. lord Dun. In April, he in the night removed the public stores from Williamsburg on board of armed vessels; and afterward left the palace at Williamsburg, and went on board the Towey man of war at York Town ; thus abdicating his government. On the 15th of October, he landed with a party at Norfolk, destroyed 17 pieces of ordnance, and carried off two more. He afterward landed several times, and destroyed or took cannon and stores of the provincials.
In compliance with a resolve of the provincial congress to Oct. 18, prevent tories from conveying out their effects, the inhabitants of Falmouth
burnt. Falmouth, in the northeastern part of Massachusetts, had obstructed the loading of a mast ship. The destruction of the town was determined on, as a vindictive punishment. Captain Mowat, detached for that purpose with armed vessels by admiral Greaves, arrived off the place on the evening of the 17th of October. He gave notice to the inhabitants, that he would give them two hours “to remove the human species,” at the end of which term a red pendant would be hoisted at the maintop gallant mast-head; and that on the least resistance, he should be freed from all humanity, dictated by his orders or his inclination. Upon being inquired of by three gentlemen, who went on board his ship for that purpose, respecting the reason of this extraordinary summons, he replied, that he had orders to set on fire all the seaport towns from Boston to Halifax, and that he supposed New York was already in ashes. He could dispense with his orders, he said, on no terms but the compliance of the inhabitants to deliver up their arms and ammunition, and their sending on board a supply of provisions, four carriage guns, and the same
1775. number of the principal persons in the town, as hostages, that
they should engage not to unite with their country in any kind of opposition to Britain ; and he assured them, that, on a refusal of these conditions, he should lay the town in ashes within three hours. Unprepared for the attack, the inhabitants by entreaty obtained the suspension of an answer till the morning, and einployed this interval in removing their families and effects. Considering opposition as unavailing, they made no resistance. The next day, Mowat commenced a furious cannonade and bombardment; and a great number of people, standing on the heights, were spectators of the conflagration, which reduced many of them to penury and despair : 139 dwelling houses, and 278 stores were burnt. Other seaports were threatened with confiagration, but escaped ; Newport, on Rhode Island, was compelled
to stipulate for a weekly supply, to avert it. Expedition while the reduction of Ticonderoga and Crown Point by the to Canada.
provincials furnished encouragement to more extensive operations, the movements of Sir Guy Carleton, the king's governor in Canada, seemed to require them; for congress had reason to believe, that a formidable invasion of their northwestern frontier was intended from that quarter. The manageinent of military
affairs in this northern department, had been committed to the Gen. Schuy. generals Schuyler and Montgomery. General Schuyler adler's address dressed the inhabitants, inforining them, “ that the only views of habitants. congress were to restore to them those rights, which every sub
ject of the British empire, of whatever religious sentiments he may be, is entitled to, and that in the execution of these trusts, he had received the most positive orders to cherish every Canadian, and every friend to ihe cause of liberty, and sacredly to guard their property.” On the 10th of September, about 1000 American troops effected a landing at St. John's, the first British port in Canada, lying 115 miles only to the northward of Ticonderoga ; but found it advisable to retreat to Isle aux Noix, 12 miles south of St. John's. An extremely bad state of health soon after inducing general Schuyler to retire to Ticonderoga, the command devolved on general Montgomery. That enterprising officer in a few days returned to the vicinity of St. John's, and opened a battery against it. The reduction of Fort Cham
to the in
1 In the debate in parliament upon the petition and memorial from Quebec complaining of the Quebec act, lord North had avowed the intention of arming the Canadians. Governor Carleton had already received a commission, authorizing him to muster and arm all persons residing within the province of Canada; and, as occasion should require, to march and embark the levies to any of the provinces of America, to pursue and prosecute, either by sea or land, all enemies, pirates, or rebels, either in or out of the province, and, if it should so please God, to vanquish, to take them, and, so apprehended, according to law, to put them to death, or to preserve them alive at his discretion.
the few Briment proces, and sent with abouillen was more
blee, by a small detachment, giving him possession of six tons of 1775. gunpowder, enabled him to prosecute the siege of St. John's with vigour. General Carleton advanced against him with about Gen. Mont800 men ; but, in attempting to cross the St. Lawrence with the powery intention of landing at Longueil, he was attacked by colonel Chamblee. Warner with 300 Green Mountain boys, and compelled to retire with precipitancy. This repulse induced the garrison of St. John's to surrender, on honourable terms of capitulation. While Nov. 3. the siege of St. John's was depending, colonel Ethan Allen was St. John's. taken prisoner by the British, near Montreal, with about 38 of his men. He was loaded with irons, and sent to England.
General Montgomery next proceeded toward Montreal. On - 12. his approach, the few British troops there repaired on board the shipping, in hopes of escaping down the river ; but general Prescot and several officers, with about 120 privates, were intercepted, and made prisoners on capitulation ; 11 sail of vessels, with all their contents, fell into the hands of the provincials. Governor Carleton was conveyed away in a boat with muffled paddles to Trois Rivieres, whence he proceeded to Quebec. Arrives be
fore QueGeneral Montgomery, leaving some troops in Montreal, and bec sending detachments into different parts of the province to encourage the Canadians and to forward provisions, advanced with his little army, and expeditiously arrived before Quebec.
General Washington, early foreseeing that the whole force of Arnold Canada would be concentrated about Montreal, had projected leads a de..
tachment to an expedition against Quebec in a different direction. His plan Canada. was, to send out a detachment from his camp before Boston, which was to march by the way of the Kennebeck river; and, passing through the dreary wilderness lying between the settled parts of the province of Maine and the St. Lawrence, to penetrate into Canada about 90 miles below Montreal. This arduous enterprise was committed to colonel Arnold, who, with 1100 men, consisting of New England infantry, some volunteers, a company of artillery, and three companies of riflemen, commenced his march on the 13th of September. After sustaining almost incredible hardships, he in six weeks arrived on the plains
Nov.9. of Canada, and immediately encamped at Point Levi, opposite to Arrives Quebec.2 The unexpected appearance of an army, “emerging near Que
1 The garrison consisted of about 500 regulars, and more than 100 Canadian volunteers. There were in the fort 17 brass ordnance, 2 eight inch howitzers, 7 mortars, and 22 iron ordnance, a considerable quantity of shot and small shells, and about 800 stand of small arms, beside a small quantity of naval stores.
2 The soldiers were often obliged to carry their boats and rafts on their backs for miles along the Kennebeck, on account of the rocks and shoals in that river. In passing the swampy grounds, after traversing the length of the Kennebeck, they became sickly. Provisions also began to fail them. So great were their
1775. out of the depths of an unexplored wilderness," threw the city
into the greatest consternation. In this moment of surprise and terror, Arnold might probably have become master of the place, could he have crossed the St. Lawrence; but the small crafts and boats in the river were removed out of his reach. A delay of several days was by this untoward circumstance rendered inevitable; and the critical moment was lost. The inhabitants, English and Canadians, though discontented before, now united for their common defence. Alarmed for the immense property which Quebec contained, they became voluntarily embodied and armed. The sailors landed, and were at the batteries to serve the guns. Colonel M'Lean at the mouth of the Sorel, receiving intelligence of the danger that threatened the capital, advanced by forced marches to Quebec, where he arrived on the evening of the 13th of November, with a body of new raised emigrants. On the 14th, Arnold, having at length been supplied with canoes by the Canadians, crossed the St. Lawrence in the night; and, ascending the same abrupt precipice which Wolfe had climbed before him, formed his small corps on the heights near the memorable plains of Abraham. The defendants by this time were considerably superior in number to the assailants. Arnold had no artillery. An offensive operation was therefore impracticable. Neither the number nor condition of his troops would justify him in hazarding an action. His men amounted to no more than 700; nearly one third of their muskets had been rendered useless in the march through the wilderness; and their ammunition had sustained great damage. In these circumstances, his only hope must have been founded on the defection of the Canadians. He accordingly paraded some days on the heights near the town, and sent two flags to summon the inhabitants; but they were fired at, and no message was admitted. Thus frustrated in his last hope, he drew off his detachment to Point aux Trembles, 20 miles above Quebec, and there waited the
arrival of Montgomery. Dec. 1.
General Montgomery, having sent several small detachments ont into the country to strengthen his interest with the Canadians and gomery joins col. obtain supplies of provisions, proceeded expeditiously with the
residue of his army, amounting to about 300 men to Point aux Trembles, where he joined colonel Arnold, and marched directly to Quebec. General Carleton, who was now in the city, had taken the best measures for its defence, and was prepared to receive him. In a few days, the American general opened a
distresses, that col. Enos returned to Cambridge with his whole division, which, it is believed, must otherwise have starved. One or two dogs were afterward killed and eaten by the soldiers; a few of whom ate their cartouch boxes, breeches, and shoes.