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were even higher and more insulting in their opposition than the Regulars. When the order issued, therefore, for embarking the troops in Boston, no electric shock-no sudden clap of thunder-in a word, the last trump could not have struck them with greater consternation. They were at their wits' end, and, conscious of their black ingratitude, chose to commit themselves, in the manner I have above described, to the mercy of the waves at a tempestuous season, rather than meet their offended countrymen." *
While this tumultuous embarkation was going on, the Americans looked on in silence from their batteries on Dorchester Heights, without firing a shot. "It was lucky for the inhabitants now left in Boston that they did not," writes a British officer; "for I am informed everything was prepared to set the town in a blaze, had they fired one cannon." †
At an early hour of the morning the troops stationed at Cambridge and Roxbury had paraded, and several regiments under Putnam had embarked in boats and dropped down Charles River to Sewall's Point, to watch the movements of the enemy by land and water. About nine o'clock a large body of troops were seen marching down Bunker's Hill, while boats full of soldiers were putting off for the shipping. Two scouts were sent from the camp to reconnoiter. The works appeared still to be occupied, for sentries were posted about them with shouldered muskets. Observing them to be motionless, the scouts made nearer scrutiny, and discovered them to be mere effigies, set up to delay the advance of the Americans. Pushing on, they found the works de
* Letter to John A. Washington, Am. Arch., 4th Series, 560.
Frothingham, Siege of Boston, p. 310.
serted, and gave signal of the fact; whereupon, a detachment was sent from the camp to take possession.
Part of Putnam's troops were now sent back to Cambridge; a part were ordered forward to occupy Boston. General Ward, too, with five hundred men, made his way from Roxbury, across the Neck, about which the enemy had scattered caltrops, or crow's feet,* to impede invasion. The gates were unbarred and thrown open, and the Americans entered in triumph, with drums beating and colors flying.
By ten o'clock the enemy were all embarked and under way: Putnam had taken command of the city and occupied the important points, and the flag of thirteen stripes, the standard of the Union, floated above all the forts.
On the following day Washington himself entered the town, where he was joyfully welcomed. He beheld around him sad traces of the devastation caused by the bombardment, though not to the extent that he had apprehended. There were evidences, also, of the haste with which the British had retreated-five pieces of ordnance with their trunnions knocked off; others hastily spiked; others thrown off the wharf. "General Howe's retreat," writes Washington, "was precipitate beyond anything I could have conceived. The destruction of the stores at Dunbar's camp, after Braddock's defeat, was but a faint image of what may be seen in Boston; artillery carts cut to pieces in one place, gun carriages in another; shells broke here, shots buried there, and everything carrying with it the face of disorder and confusion, as also of distress." ↑
To add to the mortification of General Howe, he received,
* Iron balls, with four sharp points, to wound the feet of men or horses.
+ Lee's Memoirs, p. 162.
we are told, while sailing out of the harbor, dispatches from the ministry, approving the resolution he had so strenuously expressed of maintaining his post until he should receive re-enforcements.
As the smallpox prevailed in some parts of the town, precautions were taken by Washington for its purification; and the main body of the army did not march in until the 20th. "The joy manifested in the countenance of the inhabitants," says an observer, "was overcast by the melancholy gloom caused by ten tedious months of siege"; but when, on the 22d, the people from the country crowded into the town, "it was truly interesting," writes the same observer, "to witness the tender interviews and fond embraces of those who had been long separated under circumstances so peculiarly distressing."*
Notwithstanding the haste with which the British army was embarked, the fleet lingered for some days in Nantucket Road. Apprehensive that the enemy, now that their forces were collected in one body, might attempt by some blow to retrieve their late disgrace, Washington hastily threw up works on Fort Hill, which commanded the harbor, and demolished those which protected the town from the neighboring country. The fleet at length disappeared entirely from the coast, and the deliverance of Boston was assured.
The eminent services of Washington throughout this arduous siege, his admirable management, by which, "in the course of a few months, an undisciplined band of husbandmen became soldiers, and were enabled to invest, for nearly a year, and finally to expel a brave army of veterans, commanded by the most experienced generals," drew forth
*Thacher's Military Journal, p. 50.
the enthusiastic applause of the nation. No higher illustration of this great achievement need be given than the summary of it contained in the speech of a British statesman, the Duke of Manchester, in the House of Lords. "The army of Britain," said he, "equipped with every possible essential of war; a chosen army, with chosen officers, backed by the power of a mighty fleet, sent to correct revolted subjects; sent to chastise a resisting city; sent to assert Britain's authority—has for many tedious months been imprisoned within that town by the Provincial army; who, with their watchful guards, permitted them no inlet to the country; who braved all their efforts, and defied all their skill and ability in war could ever attempt. One way, indeed, of escape, was left; the fleet is yet respected; to the fleet the army has recourse; and British generals, whose name never met with a blot of dishonor, are forced to quit that town which was the first object of the war, the immediate cause of hostilities, the place of arms which has cost this nation more than a million to defend."
We close this eventful chapter of Washington's history with the honor decreed to him by the highest authority of his country. On motion of John Adams, who had first moved his nomination as commander-in-chief, a unanimous vote of thanks to him was passed in Congress; and it was ordered that a gold medal be struck, commemorating the evacuation of Boston, bearing the effigy of Washington as its deliverer.
Destination of the Fleet-Commission of the two Howes-Character of Lord Howe-The Colonies divided into DepartmentsLee assigned to the Southern Department-General Thomas to Canada-Character of Lee, by Washington-Letters of Lee from the South-A Dog in a Dancing School-Committee of Safety in Virginia-Lee's Grenadiers-Putnam in Command at New York -State of Affairs there-Arrival of Washington-New Arrangements-Perplexities with respect to Canada-England subsidizes Hessian troops
THE British fleet bearing the army from Boston had disappeared from the coast. "Whither they are bound, and where they next will pitch their tents," writes Washington, "I know not.” He conjectured their destination to be New York, and made his arrangements accordingly; but he was mistaken. General Howe had steered for Halifax, there to await the arrival of strong re-enforcements from England, and the fleet of his brother, Admiral Lord Howe, who was to be commander-in-chief of the naval forces on the North American station.
It was thought these brothers would co-operate admirably in the exercise of their relative functions on land and water. Yet they were widely different in their habits and dispositions. Sir William, easy, indolent, and selfindulgent, "hated business," we are told, "and never did any. Lord Howe loved it, dwelt upon it, never could leave it." Besides his nautical commands, he had been treasurer of the navy, member of the board of admiralty, and had held a seat in Parliament; where, according to Walpole, he