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six gun battery within about 700 yards of the walls; but his 1775. artillery was too light to make a breach, and he could do nothing more than amuse the enemy, and conceal his real purpose. After continuing the siege nearly a month, he resolved on a desperate attempt to carry the place by escalade. To distract the garrison, two feigned attacks were made on the upper town by two divisions of the army under majors Brown and Livingston, while two real attacks on opposite sides of the lower town were made by two other divisions under Montgomery and Arnold. Early in the morning of the last day in the year, the signal was Dec. 31. given; and the several divisions moved to the assault, in the midst of a heavy fall of snow, which covered the assailants from the sight of the enemy. Montgomery, at the head of the New York troops, advanced along the St. Lawrence, by Aunce de Mere, under Cape Diamond. The first barrier to be surinounted, on that side, was defended by a battery, in which were mounted a few pieces of artillery, in front of wbich were a block house and picket. The guard, at the block house, after giving a random fire, threw away their arms, and Aled to the barrier; and for a time the battery itself was deserted. Enormous piles of ice impeded the progress of the Americans, who, pressing forward in a narrow defile, reached at length the block house and picket. Montgomery, who was in front, assisted in cutting down or pulling up the pickets, and advanced boldly and rapidly at the head of about 200 men, to force the barrier. By this time, one or two persons had ventured to return to the battery ; and, seizing a slow match, discharged one of the guns. Casual as this fire appeared, it was fatal. The American front was within 40_paces of the piece ; and general Montgomery, captain MontgomeM'Pherson his aid, and captain Cheeseman, two valuable young ry killed officers near his person, together with his orderly sergeant and a private, were killed on the spot. Colonel Campbell, on whom the command devolved, precipitately retired with the remainder of the division.
In the mean time, colonel Arnold, at the head of about 350 men, made a desperate attack on the opposite side. Advancing with the utmost intrepidity along the St. Charles, through a narrow path, exposed to an incessant fire of grape shot and musketry, as he approached the first barrier at the Saut des Matelots, he received a musket ball in the leg, which shattered the bone ; and he was carried off to the camp. Captain Morgan, who commanded a company of Virginia riflemen, rushed forward to the batteries, at their head, and received a discharge of grape shot, which killed one man only. A few rifles were immediately fired into the embrazures, and a British soldier was wounded in the head. With the aid of ladders, the barricade was mounted ;
1775. and the battery was instantly deserted. The captain of the
guard, with the greater part of his men, fell into the hads of the Americans. Morgan formed his men ; but, from the darkness of the night, and total ignorance of the situation of the town, it was judged unadvisable to proceed. He was soon joined by lieutenant colonel Green, and majors Bigelow and Meigs, with several fragments of coinpanies, amounting collectively to about 200 men. At day light, this gallant party was again formed; but, after a bloody and desperate engagement, in which they sustained the force of the whole garrison three hours, they were
compelled to surrender themselves prisoners of war. Massachu- From the peculiar situation of Massachusetts, it was perceived setts gen. that important advantages might be gained by employing armed eral court votes to fit vessels on the coasts, to prevent the British from collecting pro
visions from any places accessible to them, and to capture the enemy's ships loaded with military stores. The besieged army in Boston not being able to obtain provisions from the country by land, they were obliged to fit out small vessels, which committed depredations on several towns on the coast ; transports were also frequently arriving from England with provisions, men, and military supplies. The general court voted to build, or purchase, 10 vessels, and appropriated £50,000 for the purpose.
Individuals, with the consent of the civil authority of the province, Massachu
de early fitted out vessels at their own charges.2 Before the subject Island, and of a naval armament was taken up by congress, it appears, that
some of the northern colonies had acted upon it, and that three of them, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut had each
out armed vessels.
Connecticut have armed ves sels.
1 The loss of the Americans, in killed and wounded, was about 100; and 300 were taken prisoners. The prisoners were treated with the greatest humanity by general Carleton, whose conduct, from the first approach of Montgomery toward his province to the time of its abandonment by the provincials, did him the highest honour, as a general and as a man. All enmity to Montgomery, on the part of the British, ceased with his life; and respect to his private character prevailed over all other considerations. His body was taken up the next day. An e
was prepared, and he was afterward decently interred. Richard Montgomery was a gentleman of good family in Ireland, who, having married a lady and purchased an estate in New York, considered himself as an American, and had served with reputation in the late French war. His estimable qualities procured him an uncommon share of private affection : his abilities. of public esteem. His loss was deeply regretted in Europe and America. « The most powerful speakers in the British parliament displayed their eloquence in praising his virtues and lamenting his fate;" while they condemned the cause in which he fell. Congress directed a monument to be erected to his memory, with an inscription, expressive of their veneration for his character, and of their deep sense of his “many signal and important services; and to transmit to future ages, as examples truly worthy of imitation, his patriotism, conduct, boldness of enterprise, insuperable perseverance, and contempt of danger and death.” A monument of white marble, with emblematic devices, has accordingly been erected to his memory, in front of St. Paul's church in New York.
2 Bradford, Mass. i. 74.
of them two vessels, at least, fitted, armed and equipped by the 1775. colonial authorities, and at the expense of those colonies, without orders, advice, request, or intimation from congress. To these vessels congress had reference in its first measures for a naval armament.
Several letters from London being laid before congress, a Congress committee was appointed on the 5th of October, " to prepare a apply to
* those coloplan to intercept two vessels, which are on their way to Canada, wies for the laden with arins and powder.” . The committee brought in a use of them. report the same day; and congress resolved, “ That a letter be sent to general Washington, to inform him that congress, having received certain intelligence of the sailing of two north-country brigs of no force, from England, on the 11th of August last, loaded with arms, powder, and other stores for Quebec, without convoy, which it being of importance to intercept, desire that he apply to the council of Massachusetts bay, for the two armed vessels in their service, and despatch the same in order, if possible, to intercept the said two brigs and their cargoes, and secure the same for the use of the continent; also any other transports laden with ammunition, clothing, or other stores for the use of the ministerial army or navy of America: That a letter be written to the said honourable council, to put the said vessels under the general's command and direction, and to furnish him instantly with every necessary in their power, at the expense of the continent : That the general be directed to employ the said vessels, and others if he judge necessary, to effect the purposes aforesaid; and that he be informed that the Rhode Island and Connecticut vessels of force will be sent directly to their assistance : That a letter be written to governour Cooke, informing him of the above, desiring him to despatch one or both the armed vessels of the colony of Rhode Island on the same service : That a letter be written to governour Trumbull, requesting of him the largest vessel in the service of the colony of Connecticut, to be sent on the enterprise aforesaid : That the said ships and vessels of war be on the continental risk and pay, during their being so employed.”
The provincial congress of Massachusetts passed a law to en- Nov. 10. courage the fitting out of armed vessels, and to establish a court
vincial con. for the trial and condemnation of prizes. This was the first gress pass a effort to establish a naval armament, and it is “ the first avowal
law to en:
courage a of offensive hostility against the mother country, which is to be naval arfound in the annals of the revolution.” 2
1 Journals of Congress. Life of E. Gerry, 102–108, and Letters of J. Adams, in the Appendix. 2 Life of Gerry, c. 9. p. 24. VOL. II.
1775. The general court of Massachusetts passed an act "for en
couraging the fitting out of armed vessels to defend the sea coast Nov. 13. of America, and for erecting a court to try and condemn all
vessels that shall be found infesting the same.”
A committee of congress, appointed to devise ways and means Dec. 13.
for fitting out a naval armament, brought in their report, which resolves to was adopted. It was accordingly resolved, to fit out for sea 13
at 13 ships; 5 of 32 guns, 5 of 28, and 3 of 24 guns : in New Hampships.
shire 1, in Massachusetts 2, in Connecticut 1, in Rhode Island 2, in Pennsylvania 4, and in Maryland 1. A committee was appointed with full powers to carry the report into execution with all possi
ble expedition. This report gave birth to the American navy. Military. The advantages that had been anticipated in Massachusetts,
taken from armed vessels, were soon experienced. Captain Manly, of by Ameri. can armed Marblehead, who was early at sea, on the 29th of November
took an ordnance brig from Woolwich, containing, beside a large brass mortar, several pieces of one brass cannon, a large quantity of small arms and ammunition, with all kinds of tools, utensils, and machines, necessary for camps and artillery; and, nine days after, three ships, from London, Glasgow, and Liverpool, with various stores for the British army. 3
South Carolina was early and vigorous in making military preparations; but the whole quantity of powder in the province did not exceed 3000 pounds. The occasion requiring extraordinary methods for obtaining a supply, the council of safety formed a plan for making an attempt on the island of New Providence, and taking thence the powder and other military stores. A fast sailing ship was fitted out, of which captain Lamserer was appointed to take the command ; but, when ready to sail with 12 volunteers, he was ordered by express to proceed towards St. Augustine, to intercept a brig hourly expected off that bar, loaded with military stores and Indian's goods. He surprised and boarded the brig, and brought off from her 15,000 pounds of gunpowder. The captors, spiking the guns of the powder vessel, sei sail for Carolina, steered for Beaufort, and, passing by the inland navigation, delivered their prize to the council of safety, whilst their pursuers were looking for them at the bar of Charlestown. The supplies
1 Life of Gerry, 109, and Appendix A. 505–512, where the Act is inserted. “ This Act,” says Mr. Adams, “is one of the most important documents in hist
2 Journals of Congress, and Life of R. H. Lee. | 3 Captain Manly's prize was, doubtless, the vessel from England, brought into Cape Ann, mentioned by general Heath under intelligence of 30 November: “ There was on board one 13 inch mortar, 2000 stand of arms, 100,000 flints, 32 tons of leaden ball,” &c. Heath's Memoirs, 31.
4 Moultrie's Memoirs of Amer. Revolution, i. 38. Ramsay, Hist. S. Car. i. 242. Moultrie says, they brought off 17,000 lbs. of gunpowder; which increased the stock of Carolina to 31,000 lbs.
vides the se
for a Post
obtained by these means were of vast importance to the Ameri- 1775. can army, which was in very great want of ammunition and mm military stores.
Congress resolved, that a body of forces, not exceeding 5000, Congress be kept up in the New York departinent, for the purpose of defending that part of America, and for securing the Lakes, and curity of protecting the Frontiers from incursions or invasions; that a Post the la Master General be appointed for the United Colonies, and that frontier ; a line of posts be appointed, under the direction of the post to master general, from Falmouth in New England to Savannah in Office ; Georgia ; and that an Hospital be established for an army con- and for'a sisting of 20,000 men. Benjamin Franklin was unanimously Hospital. chosen post master general.
Colonel Moultrie, 13 September, received an order from the Order for council of safety for taking Fort Johnson, on James island. ja Colonel Motte, with a party of the new raised provincials, was appointed to execute this first military enterprise under the authority of that council. Before he landed on the island, the fort was dismantled, the guns were dismounted, and the British sta- now distioned there had retired on board their ships, lying off Sullivan's mantled by
the British; island. The next night captain Heyward, with 35 of the Charlestown artillery, landed at the fort, and had three cannon mounted immediately. A flag being thought necessary, for the taken pospurpose of signals, colonel Moultrie, who was requested by the 5 council of safety to procure one, had a large blue flag made, Americans. with a crescent in the dexter corner, to be in uniform with the troops. This was the first American flag, displayed in South First Amer. Carolina.
ican flag. The debates in parliament show with what argument and Debates in eloquence the measures of the ministry were opposed, and the parliar rights of the colonies vindicated. In a debate in the house of commons on the question of an address to the king, Mr. Fox Mr. C. J. concluded his speech with advising administration to place Fox. America where she stood in 1763, and to repeal every act, passed since that period, which affected either her freedom, or her commerce. Lord North, in reply, observed, that if the Lord North. scheme of repealing every American act, passed since 1763, were adopted, there was certainly an end to the dispute ; for from that moment America would be independent of England. The measures, he subjoined, which administration meant now to
1 Journals of Congress. The first resolution was passed on the 25th of July, on which day it was resolved that a farther sum, to the value of one million of Spanish milled dollars be struck in bills. The resolution for the Post Office, and the election of Dr. Franklin as post master, were on the 26th ; and the resolution for the establishment of a Hospital was on the 27th.
2 Moultrie, Memoirs Amer. Revol. i. 86–90. Ramsay, Hist. S. Car. i. c. 7.