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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 reconnoitre. 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 deserted, 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 any thing 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 at Boston; artillery carts cut to pieces in one place, gun carriages in another; shells broke here, shots buried there, and every thing carrying with it the face of disorder and confusion, as also of distress." 2
To add to the mortification of General Howe, he received, we are told, while sailing out of the harbor, despatches from the ministry, approving the resolution he had so strenuously expressed, of maintaining his post until he should receive re-enforcements.
1 Iron balls, with four sharp points, to wound the feet of men or horses.
As the small-pox 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 countenances 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 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, 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."
1 Thacher's Mil. Journal, p. 50.
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
MENT -GENERAL THOMAS TO CANADA
LETTERS OF LEE FROM THE SOUTH
IN A DANCING SCHOOL COMMITTEE OF SAFETY IN VIRGINIA - LEE'S 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 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 wait the arrival of strong re-enforcements from England, and the fleet of his brother, Admiral Lord Howe; who was to be commander-inchief 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 self-indulgent, "hated business," we are told," and never did any. Lord Howe loved it, dwelt upon it, never could leave it." Beside 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 was "silent as a rock," excepting when naval affairs were under discussion; when he spoke briefly and to the point. "My Lord Howe," said George II., "your life has been a continued series of services to your country." He
was now about fifty-one years of age, tall, and well propor tioned like his brother, but wanting his ease of deportment. His complexion was dark, his countenance grave and strongly marked, and he had a shy reserve, occasionally mistaken for haughtiness. As a naval officer, he was esteemed resolute and enterprising, yet cool and firm. In his younger days he had contracted a friendship for Wolfe; "it was like the union of cannon and gunpowder," said Walpole. Howe, strong in mind, solid in judgment, firm of purpose, was said to be the cannon;
Wolfe, quick in conception, prompt in execution, impetuous in action the gunpowder.1 The bravest man, we are told, could not wish for a more able, or more gallant commander than Howe, and the sailors used to say of him," Give us Black Dick, and we fear nothing.'
Such is his lordship's portrait as sketched by English pencils; we shall see hereafter how far his conduct conforms to it. At present we must consider the state of the American army, in the appointments and commands of which various changes had recently taken place.
It was presumed the enemy in the ensuing campaign would direct their operations against the Middle and Southern colonies. Congress divided those colonies into two departments; one, comprehending New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Maryland, was to be under the command of a majorgeneral, and two brigadier-generals; the other, comprising Virginia, the Carolinas and Georgia, to be under the command of a major-general, and four brigadiers.
In this new arrangement, the orders destining. General Lee to Canada were superseded, and he was appointed to the command of the Southern department, where he was to keep watch upon the movements of Sir Henry Clinton. He was somewhat
dissatisfied with the change in his destination. "As I am the only general officer on the continent," writes he to Washington, "who can speak or think in French, I confess I think it would have been more prudent to have sent me to Canada; but I shall obey with alacrity, and I hope with success."
In reply, Washington observes, "I was just about to congratulate you on your appointment to the command in Canada, when I received the account that your destination was altered. As a Virginian, I must rejoice at the change, but as an American, I think you would have done more essential service to the common cause in Canada. For, besides the advantage of speak
1 Barrow's Life of Earl Howe, p. 400.
ing and thinking in French, an officer who is acquainted with their manners and customs, and has travelled in their country, must certainly take the strongest hold of their affection and confidence."
The command in Canada was given to General Thomas, who had distinguished himself at Roxbury, and was promoted to the rank of major-general. It would have been given to Schuyler, but for the infirm state of his health; still Congress expressed a reliance on his efforts to complete the work " so conspicuously begun and well conducted" under his orders, in the last campaign; and, as not merely the success but the very existence of the army in Canada would depend on supplies sent from these colonies across the lakes, he was required, until further orders, to fix his head-quarters at Albany, where, without being exposed to the fatigue of the camp until his health was perfectly restored, he would be in a situation to forward supplies; to superintend the operations necessary for the defence of New York and the Hudson River, and the affairs of the whole middle department.
Lee set out for the South on the 7th of March, carrying with him his bold spirit, his shrewd sagacity, and his whimsical and splenetic humors. The following admirably impartial sketch is given of him by Washington, in a letter to his brother Augustine: "He is the first in military knowledge and experience we have in the whole army. He is zealously attached to the cause; honest and well meaning, but rather fickle and violent, I fear, in his temper. However, as he possesses an uncommon share of good sense and spirit, I congratulate my countrymen on his appointment to that department.
We give by anticipation a few passages from Lee's letters, illustrative of his character and career. The news of the evacuation of Boston reached him in Virginia. In a letter to Washington, dated Williamsburg, April 5, he expresses himself on the subject with generous warmth. "My dear general," writes he, "I most sincerely congratulate you; I congratulate the public, on the great and glorious event, your possession of Boston. It will be a most bright page in the annals of America, and a most abominable black one in those of the beldam Britain. Go on, my dear general; crown yourself with glory, and establish the liberties and lustre of your country on a foundation more permanent than the Capitol rock."
1 Force's Am. Archives, 4th Series, v., 562.