Imagens das páginas

general to come to an action, or to evacuate Boston. The American army was now stronger than ever. Recruiting for the two last months had been unusually successful. The regular army exceeded 14,000 men, and the militia were about 6,000. Washington, thus rein* forced, determined to fortify the heights of Dorchester* from which he could annoy the ships in the harbor, and the army in the town. To favor the execution of this plan, the town and lines of the enemy were bom*barded on the second, third, and fourth of, March. On the night of the fourth, general Thomas, with a considerable detachment, took^ possession of the heights of Dorchester. B% great exertions, this party, in the course of the night, nearly covered themselves from the shot of the enemy. The appearance of their works, caused no little surprise in the British camp. These were every hour advancing, so as to afford additional security to the Ameri* cans posted behind them. The admiral informed general Howe, that if the Americans kept possession of these heights, he would not be able to keep one of the British ships in the harbor. The enemy were now brought to the alternative which Washington wished for. They must either risk an action without their lines, or abandon the place. General Howe r> 4 preferred preferred the former, and ordered 3,000 men on this service. These were embarked, and fell down to the castle, with the intention of proceeding up the river to the attack, but Were dispersed by a tremendous storm. Before they could be in readiness to proceed, the American works were advanced to such a State of security, as to discourage any attempt against them. Washington expecting an immediate assault on the new raised works at Dorchester, and supposing that the best troops of the enemy would «be ordered on that service, had prepared to attack the town <)f Boston at the same time. Four thousand inen were ready for embarkation at the mouth of Cambridge river, to proceed on this "business ag soon as it was known that the British were gone out in force to their intended attack. It was now resolved by the British to evacuate Boston as soon as possible. In a few days after, a flag came out of Boston "with a paper, signed by four select men, intimating, "that they had applied to general Robertson, who, on an application to general Howe, was authorized to assure them, that he had no intention of burning the town, unless the troops under his command were • molested during their embarkation, or at their departure, by the armed force without."

* • When When this paper was presented to Washington, he replied, " that as it was an unauthenticated paper, and without, an address, and not obligatory on general Howe, he could take no notice of it;" but at the same time intimated his good wishes for the security of the town.

Washington made arrangements for the security of his army, but did not advance his works, nor embarrass the British in their proposed evacuation. He wished to save Boston, and to gain time for the fortification of New York, to which place he supposed the evacuating army was destined. Under this impression, he detached a considerable part of his force to that place, and with the remainder took possession of Boston, as soon as the. British troops had completed their embarkation. On entering the town, Washington was received with marks of approbation more flattering than the pomps of a triumph. The inhabitants, released from the severities of a garrison life, and from the various indignities to which they were subjected, hailed him as their deliverer. Reciprocal congratulations between .those who had been confined within the British lines, and those who were excluded from entering them, were exchanged with an ardor which cannot be described. General Washington was honored by congress with a vote of thanks. They also ordered a medal to be struck, with suitable devices, to perpetuate the remembrance of the great event. The Massachusetts council, and house of representatives, complimented him in a joint address, in which they expressed their good wishes, in the following words: "May you still go on, approved by Heaven, revered by all good men, and dreaded by those tyranta who claim their fellow men as their property." His answer was modest and proper.

[ocr errors][merged small]



Operations in and near New York and in New Jersey.—.
Battle of Lona: island.—Evacuation of York island.—
Retreat into New Jersey.—Battles of Trenton and

1 H E evacuation of Boston varied the scene,
but did not lessen the labors of Washington.
Henceforward he had a much more formi-
dable enemy to contend with. The royal
army in Boston was on a small scale, cal-
culated to awe the inhabitants of Massachu-
setts into obedience; but the campaign of
1776 was opened in New York with a force 177&
far exceeding any thing hitherto seen in
America. Including the navy and army, it
amounted to 55,000 men, and was calculated
on the idea of reducing the whole thirteen
united colonies. The operations contemplated
could be best carried on from the nearly
central province of New York, and the army
could be supplied with provisions from the
adjacent islands, and easily defended by the
British navy. For these reasons, the eva-
cuation of Boston, and the concentration of


« AnteriorContinuar »