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hay, that, at dawn, a formidable-looking fortress frowned along the height. We have the testimony of a British officer already quoted, for the fact. "This morning at daybreak we discovered two redoubts on Dorchester Point, and two smaller ones on their flanks. They were all raised during the last night, with an expedition equal to that of the genii belonging to Alladin's wonderful lamp. From these hills they command the whole town, so that we must drive them from their post, or desert the place."

Howe gazed at the mushroom fortress with astonishment, as it loomed indistinctly, but grandly through a morning fog. "The rebels," exclaimed he, "have done more work in one night, than my whole army would have done in one month."

Washington had watched, with intense anxiety, the effect of the revelation at daybreak. “When the enemy first discovered our works in the morning," writes he, "they seemed to be in great confusion, and from their movements, to intend an attack."

An American, who was on Dorchester Heights, gives a picture of the scene. A tremendous cannonade was commenced from the forts in Boston, and the shipping in the harbor. "Cannon shot," writes he, are continually rolling and rebounding over the hill, and it is astonishing to observe how little our soldiers are terrified by them. The royal troops are perceived to be in motion, as if embarking to pass the harbor and land on Dorchester shore, to attack our works. The hills and elevations in this vicinity are covered with spec



cators, to witness deeds of horror in the expected conflict. His Excellency, General Washington, is present, animating and encouraging the soldiers, and they in return manifest their joy, and express a warm desire for the approach of the enemy; each man knows his own place. Our breastworks are strengthened, and among the means of defense are a great number of barrels, filled with stones and sand, and arranged in front of our works, which are to be put in motion, and made to roll down the hill, to break the legs of the assailants as they advance."

General Thomas was reinforced with two thousand men. Old Putnam stood ready to make a descent upon the north side of the town, with his four thousand picked men, as soon as the heights on the south should be assailed: "All the forenoon," says the American above cited, we were in momentary expectation of witnessing an awful scene; nothing less than the carnage of Breed's Hill battle was expected."


As Washington rode about the heights, he re minded the troops that it was the 5th of March, the anniversary of the Boston massacre, and called on them to revenge the slaughter of their brethren. They answered him with shouts. "Our officers and men," writes he, "appeared impatient for the appeal. The event, I think, must have been fortunate; nothing less than success and victory on our side."

Howe, in the mean time, was perplexed between his pride and the hazards of his posit on, In his letters to the ministry, he had scouted the

idea of "being in danger from the rebels." He had hoped they would attack him." Apparently they were about to fulfill his hopes, and with formidable advantages of position. He must dislodge them from Dorchester Heights, or evacuate BosThe latter was an alternative too mortify- ing to be readily adopted. He resolved on an attack, but it was to be a night one.


"A body of light infantry, under the command of Major Mulgrave, and a body of grenadiers, are to embark to-night at seven," writes the gay British officer already quoted. "I think it likely to be a general affair. Adieu balls, masquerades, etc., for this may be looked upon as the opening of the campaign."

In the evening the British began to move. Lord Percy was to lead the attack. Twenty-five hundred men were embarked in transports, which were to convey them to the rendezvous at Castle Williams. A violent storm set in from the east. The transports could not reach their place of destination. The men-of-war could not cover and support them. A furious surf beat on the shore where the boats would have to land. The attack was consequently postponed until the following day.

That day was equally unpropitious. The storm continued, with torrents' of rain. The attack was again postponed. In the mean time, the Americans went on strengthening their works; by the time the storm subsided, General Howe deemed them too strong to be easily carried; the attempt, therefore, was relinquished altogether.



What was to be done? The shells thrown from the heights into the town, proved that it was no longer tenable. The fleet was equally exposed. Admiral Shuldham, the successor to Graves, assured Howe that if the Americans maintained possession of the heights, his ships could not remain in the harbor. It was determined, therefore, in a council of war, to evacuate the place as soon as possible. But now came on a humiliating perplexity. The troops, in embarking, would be exposed to a destructive fire. How was this to be prevented? General Howe's pride would not suffer him to make capitulations; he endeavored to work on the fears of the Bostonians, by hinting that if his troops were molested while embarking, he might be obliged to cover their retreat, by setting fire to the town.

The hint had its effect. Several of the principal inhabitants communicated with him through the medium of General Robertson. The result of the negotiation was, that a paper was concocted and signed by several of the "selectmen" of Boston, stating the fears they had entertained of the destruction of the place, but that those fears had been quieted by General Howe's declaration that it should remain uninjured, provided his troops were unmolested while embarking; the selectmen, therefore, begged some assurance that so dreadful a calamity might not be brought on, by any measures from without.”


This paper was sent out from Boston, on the evening of the 8th, with a flag of truce, which bore it to the American lines at Roxbury. There

it was received by Colonel Learned, and carried by him to head-quarters. Washington consulted with such of the general officers as he could immediately assemble. The paper was not addressed to him, nor to any one else. It was not authenticated by the signature of General Howe; nor was there any other act obliging that commander to fulfill the promise asserted to have been made by him. It was deemed proper, therefore, that Washington should give no answer to the paper; but that Colonel Learned should signify in a letter, his having laid it before the commander-inchief, and the reasons assigned for not answering it.

With this uncompromising letter, the flag returned to Boston. The Americans suspended their fire, but continued to fortify their positions. On the night of the 9th, a detachment was sent to plant a battery on Nook's Hill, an eminence at Dorchester, which lies nearest to Boston Neck. A fire kindled behind the hill, revealed the project. It provoked a cannonade from the British, which was returned with interest from Cobble Hill, Lechmere Point, Cambridge, and Roxbury. The roar of cannonry and bursting of bombshells prevailed from half after eight at night, until six in the morning. It was to the people of Boston; but the


to desist, for the present, from the

night of terror Americans had

attempt to for

tify Nook's Hill. Among the accidents of the bombardment, was the bursting of Putnam's vaunted mortar, "The Congress."

Daily preparations were now made by the en

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