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last drop of blood; but I cannot answer for his men."
"The works must be carried!" exclaimed Gage.
He called a council of war. The Americans might intend to cannonade Boston from this new fortification; it was unanimously resolved to dislodge them. How was this to be done? A majority of the council, including Clinton and Grant, advised that a force should be landed on Charlestown Neck, under the protection of their batteries, so as to attack the Americans in rear, and cut off their retreat. General Gage objected that it would place his troops between two armies; one at Cambridge, superior in numbers, the other on the heights, strongly fortified. He was for landing in front of the works, and pushing directly up the hill; a plan adopted, through a confidence that raw militia would never stand their ground against the assault of veteran troops; another instance of undervaluing the American spirit, which was to cost the enemy a lamentable loss of life.
BATTLE OF BUNKER'S HILL.
THE sound of drum and trumpet, the clatter of hoofs, the rattling of gun-carriages, and all the other military din and bustle in the streets of Boston, soon apprised the Americans on their rudely fortified height of an impending attack. They were ill fitted to withstand it, being jaded by the night's labor, and want of sleep; hungry and thirsty, having brought but scanty supplies, and oppressed by the heat of the weather. Prescott sent repeated messages to General Ward, asking reinforcements and provisions. Putnam seconded the request in person, urging the exigencies of the case. Ward hesitated. He feared to weaken his main body at Cambridge, as his military stores were deposited there, and it might have to sustain the principal attack. At length, having taken advice of the council of safety, he issued orders for Colonels Stark and Reed, then at Medford, to march to the relief of Prescott with their New Hampshire regiments. The orders reached Medford about 11 o'clock. Ammunition was distributed
in all haste; two flints, a gill of powder, and fifteen balls to each man. The balls had to be suited to the different calibres of the guns; the powder to be carried in powder-horns, or loose in the pocket, for there were no cartridges prepared. It was the rude turn out of yeoman soldiery destitute of regular accoutre
In the mean while, the Americans on Breed's Hill were sustaining the fire from the ships, and from the battery on Copp's Hill, which opened upon them about ten o'clock. They returned an occasional shot from one corner of the redoubt, without much harm to the enemy, and continued strengthening their position until about 11 o'clock; when they ceased to work, piled up their intrenching tools in the rear, and looked out anxiously and impatiently for the anticipated reinforcements and supplies.
About this time General Putnam, who had been to head-quarters, arrived at the redoubt on horseback. Some words passed between him and Prescott with regard to the intrenching tools, which have been variously reported. The most probable version is, that he urged to have them taken from their present place, where they might fall into the hands of the enemy, and carried to Bunker's Hill, to be employed in throwing up a redoubt, which was part of the original plan, and which would be very important should the troops be obliged to retreat from Breed's Hill. To this Prescott demurred that those employed to convey them, and who were already jaded with toil, might not return to his redoubt. A large part of the tools were ultimately carried to Bunker's Hill, and a breastwork
APPROACH OF THE ENEMY.
commenced by order of General Putnam. The importance of such a work was afterwards made apparent.
About noon the Americans descried twenty-eight barges crossing from Boston in parallel lines. They contained a large detachment of grenadiers, rangers, and light infantry, admirably equipped, and commanded by Major-general Howe. They made a splendid and formidable appearance with their scarlet uniforms, and the sun flashing upon muskets and bayonets, and brass field-pieces. A heavy fire from the ships and batteries covered their advance, but no attempt was made to oppose them, and they landed about 1 o'clock at Moulton's Point, a little to the north of Breed's Hill.
Here General Howe made a pause. On reconnoitering the works from this point, the Americans appeared to be much more strongly posted than he had imagined. He descried troops also hastening to their assistance. These were the New Hampshire troops led on by Stark. Howe immediately sent over to General Gage for more forces, and a supply of cannon-balls; those brought by him being found, through some egregious oversight, too large for the ordnance. While awaiting their arrival, refreshments were served out to the troops, with "grog," by the bucketful; and tantalizing it was, to the hungry and thirsty provincials, to look down from their ramparts of earth, and see their invaders seated in groups upon the grass, eating and drinking, and preparing themselves by a hearty meal for the coming encounter. Their only consolation was to take advantage of the delay, while the enemy were carousing, to strengthen their position. The breastwork on the left of the redoubt extended to what was called
the Slough, but beyond this, the ridge of the hill, and the slope toward Mystic River, were undefended, leav ing a pass by which the enemy might turn the left flank of the position, and seize upon Bunker's Hill. Putnam ordered his chosen officer, Captain Knowlton, to cover this pass with the Connecticut troops under his command. A novel kind of rampart, savoring of rural device, was suggested by the rustic general. About six hundred feet in the rear of the redoubt, and about one hundred feet to the left of the breastwork, was a post-and-rail fence, set in a low foot-wall of stone, and extending down to Mystic River. The posts and rails of another fence were hastily pulled up, and set a few feet in behind this, and the intermediate space was filled up with new mown hay from the adjacent meadows. This double fence, it will be found, proved an important protection to the redoubt, although there still remained an unprotected interval of about seven hundred feet.
While Knowlton and his men were putting up this fence, Putnam proceeded with other of his troops to throw up the work on Bunker's Hill, despatching his son, Captain Putnam, on horseback, to hurry up the remainder of his men from Cambridge. By this time his compeer in French and Indian warfare, the veteran Stark, made his appearance with the New Hampshire troops, five hundred strong. He had grown cool and wary with age, and his march from Medford, a distance of five or six miles, had been in character. He led his men at a moderate pace to bring them into action fresh and vigorous. In crossing the Neck, which was enfiladed by the enemy's ships and batteries, Cap