« PrejšnjaNaprej »
his danger, and the necessity of a speedy reinforcement. The ge neral hastened away 1500 men under col. Bond, who met the ma jor about half way between the two places, seven miles from Chamblee. The danger being ended by the arrrival of the reinforcement, the major left the command to his colonel, and went forward to carry gen. Sullivan the agreeable news of all being safe, which, after the various faise distracting reports that had reached him, was received with inconceivable transport. The major lost but two men in the retreat; the loss was occasioned by their getting drunk; but from them the enemy could learn nothing of the major's real condition time enough to take the advantage of it.*
[June 18.] General Burgoyne arrived at St. John's in the evening. The Americans had taken away every thing and set fire to the forts and barracks. Major John Bigelow staid with about 40 men till they were destroyed, and at dusk pushed off his boats for Isle aux Noix, to which the whole army had repaired. Greater confusion than it had been in during the retreat, is seldom heard of; and yet the loss it sustained is too inconsiderable to be given in detail, or in sum total. From the Isle the army proceeded to Crown-Point without any danger from a pursuit-every boat that could be found being destroyed, and every thing done to impede the enemy. The Americans had also the command of Lake Champlain, and will continue masters of it until a number of vessels can be procured to give Sir Guy Carleton a superiority, and enable him to traverse it with safety. Other matters will now demand our attention.
[June 15.] The New-Hampshire representatives voted unani mously, that their delegates at the continental congress be instructed to join with the other colonies in declaring the Thirteen United Colonies, a free and independent state (not states) &c. provided the regulation of their internal police be under the dis rection of their own assembly.
It appears by a return of the inhabitants, that the sum total of all the males, females, whites and negroes, amounts to 82,394The total excess of males is 1131. The males in the continental army are 2488. If of these so many as 1357 survive the service and return, the males and females are equal. In about twenty years the inhabitants will be double the number.. "It has been found by calculations, that America has doubled her numbers even by natural generation alone, upon an average, about once in eighteen years."+ The continuance of the war, unless ex
*Major, now col. Fuller, of Newtown, informed me of the particulars in which he was concerned.
+ Letters of Mr. John Adams to Dr. Calkoen, p. 14.
cessively destructive, will make no material difference. "In the French war, which lasted from 1755 to 1763 (during which time the colonies made great exertions, and had in the field a great number of men) it was found that the population had increased nearly as fast as in times of peace .
One Mugford, who had been a master of some trading vessel, applied to gen. Ward for the command of a continental cruiser which lay unemployed. By his importuninity and professions he prevailed and had an order given him. The captain made all possible expedition, got possession of the vessel, procured powder and. ball and with twenty men pushed immediatety into Boston bay. After he was gone from the general, the latter received such a bad character of him, that he sent off an express to recal the order: but it was to late, Mugford had sailed. He was no sooner in the bay but the ship Hope of 270 tons, 4 guns, and 17 men, presented to view. She was last from Cork, and had on board. 1500 barrels of powder, beside carbines and bayonets, travelling carriages for heavy cannon, a vast variety of tools, implements and necessaries for the army and artillery. Capt. Mugford in his cruiser of fifty tons and four guns ran up to her, [May 17.] and ordered her to strike. The Hope, either from the sailors declining to fight, or from other motives, made no resistance. Commodore Banks lay a few miles off with his men of war, and in sight; and his boats might soon have been up with the ship, The captain of the Hope, sensible of this advantage, gave orders for the men to cut the top-sail halliards and ties.--Mugford heard the orders, and knew the consequence of executing them--that the sailing of the ship would be so long prevented, that the men of war's boats would recover her. He therefore opened with. vollies of oaths and execrations: and in the most horrid manner threatened the captain and every one on board with immediate death if the orders were executed, upon which the captain was so terrified as to desist. When Mugford had taken possession of his prize, he was joined by two other small cruisers, who assisted in carrying her safe through Pulling-PointGut. The inhabitants of Boston, who have been devoutly engaged in keeping the continental fast, had on leaving their respective places of worship in the afternoon, the peculiar pleasure of seeing the most valuable prize, on account of the pow den, taken since the commencement of the war, entering the harbour.
Captain Mugford having secured the Hope, and meaning to go out again without loss of time, sailed down and came to an
Letters of Mr, Adams, p. 13
anchor in Pulling-Point-Gut, with the Lady Washington, on Sunday evening. [May 19.] They were attacked, about nine o'clock, by thirteen boats from the men of war at Nantasket. The boats were beaten off, with great loss on the part of the enemy, in the deaths of the brave lieutenant, who commanded." and several of his men, but Mugford exerting himself heroically, was killed, and was the only person lost on the side of the Ame rican cruisers.
The Massachusetts general court for promoting the making of salt-petre, had some time back agreed to take in all that could be made by the first of June at five and three-pence sterling the pound. On the week that closed the period of receiving it, they had purchased in this way 102,635ib. There are such quantities yet coming in, made before the first of June, that the court passed an order to receive for some time to come, at the said price, all that shall appear to be made before that time.
The harbor of Boston had been left in a defenceless state ever since the evacuation of the town, liable to the intrusions of a small naval force, which might have entered and fired the town, or laid it under contribution. The inhabitants of that and the neighbouring towns, being dissatisfied with its continuing so, concluded upon assisting in erecting a fort upon Noddle's-Island.
In the beginning of May a number of volunteers both laity and clergy, repaired thither from time to time, and aided in the work till it was finished: while the poorer class were rewarded for their labours. Something having been done for the security of the harbor, general Benjamin Lincoln, while the court was sitting, entertained the thought of driving the British shipping from Nantasket, and planned a scheme for effecting it. They consisted of a fifty gun ship, commanded by commodore Banks, the Milford man of war, the Yankee Hero privateer, taken by the last and seven large transports lately arrived with highlanders, an armed brig and two schooners. The highlanders were supposed to be at least seven hundred. On Thursday the 13th of June, the Bostonians were acquainted by beat of drum, that an expedition was going to be undertaken against the enemy at Nantasket. Detachments from colonels Marshall and Witney's regiments, and a battalion of train, commanded by col. Crafts, were embarked at the Long wharf, together with cannon, ammunicion, provisions, &c. and proceeded for Pettick's Island and Hull, where they were joined by more troops and sea-coast companies so as to make near six hundred men at each place. Militia from the towns in the vicinity of Boston harbour, with a detachment from the train and some field pieces, took post on Moon Island, at Hoff's-Neck, and at point Alderton. A detachment.
tachment from the continental army under col. Whitcomb, with two eighteen pounders and a thirteen inch mortar, &c. were embarked for Long-Island, and there took post. The troops did not arrive at the several places of destination till near morn ing; but when arrived, were active and alert in the highest degree. The cannon were soon planted, and a shot from LongIsland announced their design; on which a signal was made for the fleet to get under way. The commodore bore and returned the American fire with spirit, till a shot from Long-Island pierced his upper works, when he got under sail. Several shells were thrown at him, which might hasten his departure.
Thus was free egress and ingress to the harbour for all friendly vessels, recovered on that very day on which, two years before, the sailing of every one of that kind from the port of Boston ceased by virtue of a British act of parliament. This circumstance was not thought of when the expedition commenced, but was merely accidental, though it could not be overlooked when it had happened. The same day the house of assembly received a letter from the president of the general Convention of Virginia, enclosing their resolutions with respect to independency.
Commodore Banks omitting to leave cruisers in the bay, af forded an opportunity to the American privateers of taking a number of highlanders. Three days after his quitting it [June 17.] the George and Annabella transports entered, after a pas sage of seven weeks from Scotland, during the course of which they had not an opportunity of speaking a single vessel that could give them the smallest information of the British troops having evacuated Boston. They were attacked in the morning by four privateers, with whom they engaged till evening; when the privateers bore away, on which the transports pushed for Boston harbour, not doubting but that they should receive protection, either from a fort or ship of force stationed for the security of British ships. They stood up for Nantasket Road, when an American battery opened upon them, which was the first serious proof they had of the situation of affairs at the port to which they were destined. They were too far embayed to retreat, as the wind had died away, and the tide of flood was not half expended. The privateers with which they had been engaged, joined by two others, made toward them. They pie pared for action. By some misfortune the Annabella got aground so far a-stern of the George, that the latter expected but a feeble support from her musketry. About eleven at night, the privateers anchored close by, and hailed them to strike the British flag. The mate of the George, and every sailor on board, K
the captain excepted, refused to fight any longer; but every officer and private of the seventy-first regiment, who were in the ship, stood to their quarters with ready obedience to the lieute-> nant-colonel. On their refusing to strike, the action was renewed, when after a sharp combat of an hour and a half, they had expended every shot belonging to their artillery. They were then obliged to yield, there being no power of escaping, nor the most distant hope of relief. Their killed were eight privates and major Menzies, beside seventeen wounded. The major was buried with the honors of war at Boston. The prisoners experienced the utmost civility and good treatment. A week before the capture of these transports, the Ann, in the same service, was taken and carried into Marblehead, though commodore Banks was then at Nantasket. The number of highlanders ta ken is two hundred and sixty-seven privates, forty-eight others, beside the honorable Archibald Campbell, lieutenant-colonel to the second battalion of the seventy-first regiment.
[July 3.] On motion in the Massachusetts assembly, it was voted unanimously, "that if congress shall think proper to declare the colonies independent, this house will approve of the measure."
There is no doubt of its being approved by all the colonies but there has been manceuvreing in order to produce the neces→ sary disposition among the New-Yorkers; of which you wilk form the best idea from the following letter, written the beginning of May, from New-York, in answer to one of the preceding month from Philadelphia-"Soon after I received your let ter, I sent for colonel Sears, Mr. John Smith and some others, whom I knew to be staunch, to spend an evening with me, that I might converse with them upon the subject (supposed to be that of taking up government.) It would not do to show your letter, or even hint that I had received it; but an opportunity for intro ducing the subject soon offered. A captain of my guard came and reported, that the committee of safety had sent some persons to the main-guard, who had no complaint lodged against them. I immediately sent to the committee, and they sent a sub-committee to wait upon me. I asked them what charge they had to lay against the prisoners. They informed me one was a collect or who had not accounted for the money he had collected, and had abused their congress. The others were in for different crimes. I told them that I could by no means consent to have free citizens subjected to trials by court-martial. They must try them by proper courts, if such there were; and if not, the of fenders must run at large, till necessity obliged them to constitute the proper courts. This opened the door for me, and I took