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PUTNAM CONSTRUCTS BATTERIES. 123
taken possession in the night of Cobble Hill with. out molestation from the enemy, though a commanding eminence; and ir two days had constructed a work, which, from its strength, was named Putnam's impregnable fortress.
now engaged on another work on Lechmere Point, to be connected with the works At Cobble Hill by a bridge thrown across Willis' Creek, and a covered way. Lechmere Point is immediately opposite the west part of Boston; and the Scarborough ship-of-war was anchored near it. Putnam availed himself of a dark and foggy day (Dec. 17), to commence operations, and broke ground with four hundred men, at ten o'clock in the morning, on a hill at the Point. “ Thé mist," says a contemporary account, “ was so great as to prevent the enemy from discovering what he was about until near twelve o'clock, when it cleared up, and opened to their view our whole party at the Point, and another at the causeway throwing a bridge over the creek. The Scarbora ough, anchored off the Point, poured in a broadside. The enemy from Boston threw shells. The garrison at Cobble Hill returned fire.
Our men were obliged to decamp from the Point, but the work was resumed by the brave old general at night.”
On the next morning, a cannonade from Cobble Hill obliged the Scarborough to weigh anchor and drop down below the ferry; and General Heath was detached with a party of men to carry on the work which Putnam had commenced. The enemy resumed their fire.
Sentinels were placed to give notice of a shot or shell; the men would crouch down or dodge it, and continue on with their work. The fire ceased in the afternoon. nnd Washington visited the hill accompanied by several officers, and inspected the progress of the work. It was to consist of two redoubts, on one of which was to be a mortar battery. There was, as yet, a deficiency of ordnance; but the prize mortar was to be mounted which Putnam. had recently christened, " The Congress.” From the spirit with which the work was carried on, Washington trusted that it would soon be completed, “and then," said he, “ if we have powder to sport with, and Congress gives the word, Boston can be bombarded from this point."
For several days the labor at the works was “yntinued; the redoubts were thrown up, and a covered way was constructed leading down to the bridge. All this was done notwithstanding the. continual fire of the enemy.
The letter of a British officer gives his idea of the efficiency of the work.
“ The rebels for some days have been erecting a battery on Phipps' Farm. The new constructed mortar taken on board the ordnance brig, we are told, will be mounted upon it, and we expect a warm salute from the shells, another part of that vessel's cargo ; so that, in spite of her capture, we are likely to be complimented with the contents of her lading."
“ If the rebels can complete their battery, this town will be on fire about our ears a few hours after; all our buildings being of wood, or a mix
POTNAMS PRAYER FOR POWDER.
ture of brick and wood-work. Had the rebels erected their battery on the other side of the town, at Dorchester, the admiral and all his booms would have made the first blaze, and the burning of the town would have followed. If we cannot destroy the rebel battery by our guns, we must march out and take it sword in hand.”
Putnam anticipated great effects from this work, and especially from his grand mortar, “ The Congress.” Shells there were in abundance for a bombardment; the only thing wanting was a supply of powder. One of the officers, writing of the unusual mildness of the winter, observes : “ Everything thaws here except old Put. He is still as hard as ever, crying out for powder powder - powder. Ye gods, give us powder”
Mount Vernon in Danger. – Mrs. Washington invited to the
Camp. — Lund Washington, the General's Agent. — Terms on which he serves. — Instructed to keep up the Hospitality of the House. — Journey of Mrs. Washington to Camp. Her Equipage and Liveries. — Arrival at Camp. – Domestic Affairs at Head-quarters. — Gayeties in Camp. – A Brawl between Round-jackets and Rifle-shirts.
MID the various concerns of the war, and
the multiplied perplexities of the camp,
the thoughts of Washington continually reverted to his home on the banks of the Poto
A constant correspondence was kept up between him and his agent, Mr. Lund Washington, who had charge of his various estates. The general gave clear and minute directions as to their management, and the agent rendered as clear and minute returns of everything that had been done in consequence.
According to recent accounts, Mount Vernon had been considered in danger. Lord Dunmore was exercising martial law in the Ancient Dominion, and it was feared that the favorite abode of the “rebel commander-in-chief” would be marked out for hostility, and that the enemy might land from their ships in the Potomac, and lay it waste. Washington's brother, John Augustine, had entreated Mrs. Washington to leave it. The people
AFFAIRS AT MOUNT VERNON.
of Loudoun had advised her to seek refuge beyond the Blue Ridge, and had offered to send a guard to escort her. She had declined the offer, not considering herself in danger. Lund Washington was equally free from apprehensions on the subject. " Lord Dunmore," writes he,“ will hardly himself venture up this river, nor do I believe he will send on that errand. You may depend I will be watchful, and upon the least alarm persuade her to move.”
Though alive to everything concerning Mount Vernon, Washington agreed with them in deeming it in no present danger of molestation by the enemy.
Still he felt for the loneliness of Mrs. Washington's situation, heightened as it must be by anxiety on his own account. On taking command of the army, he had held out a prospect to her, that he would rejoin her at home in the autumn; there was now a probability of his being detained before Boston all winter. He wrote to her, therefore, by express, in November, inviting her to join him at the camp.
He at the same time wrote to Lund Washington, engaging his continued services as an agent. This person, though bearing the same name, and probably of the same stock, does not appear to have been in any near degree of relationship. Washington's letter to him gives a picture of his domestic policy.
"I will engage for the year coming, and the year following, if these troubles and
absence continue, that your wages shall be standing and certain at the highest amount that any one year's