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Extract of a Letter Received in Philadelphia, Dated Cambridge



Last Friday we were informed by our out sentries at the foot of Bunker' s Hill, that the enemy had cut down several large trees, and were busy all night in throwing up a line and abattis in front of it. In the evening orders were given to the York County Rifle Company, to march down to our advanced post on Charlestown Neck, to endeavour to surround the enemy' s advanced guard, and to bring off some prisoners; from whom we expected to learn the enemy' s design in throwing up the abattis on the neck. The Rifle Company divided, and executed their plan in the following manner: Captain Dawdle, with thirty-nine men, filed off to the right of Bunker' s Hill, and, creeping on their hands and knees, got into the rear of the enemy' s sentries, without being discovered. The other division, of forty men, under Lieutenant Miller, were equally successful in getting behind the sentries on the left, and were within a few yards of joining the division on the right, when a party of Regulars came down the hill to relieve their guard, and crossed our Riflemen under Captain Dowdle, as they were lying on the ground in an Indian file. The Regulars were within twenty yards of our Riflemen before they saw them, and immediately fired. The Riflemen returned the salute, killed several, and brought off two prisoners and their muskets, with the loss of Coporal Crouse, who is supposed to be killed, as he has not been heard of since the affair.

In return for this, the enemy alarmed us last night in their turn. At one o' clock this morning a heavy firing of small-arms and cannon occasioned our drums to beat to


arms. The Army was immediately ordered under arms to their posts. The firing continued in three different Quarters — Roxbury, Sewall' s Point, at the mouth of Cambridge River, and at the advanced posts at Charlestown Neck. Some hours elapsed before we knew the design of the enemy, which was this: we had surrounded some of their out guards the night before, which induced them to serve our sentries in the same manner. They sent two flat-bottomed boats to Sewall' s Point to attack our redoubt there; sallied out at Roxbury, and set fire to the George Tavern, our advanced guard house. Our people attacked, beat them in, and took one prisoner, who is expected here every minute. The flat-bottomed boats, after a useless fire of many hours, returned. The picket guard of the enemy on Charlestown Neck attacked and drove in our advanced guard of sixty men, who, being re-enforced by General Lee' s orders, recovered their ground, and beat off the enemy, killed several, and brought off seven muskets, without losing a man, although our men engaged them under their guns, within point blank shot of their lines. We are just informed that two hundred and fifty of the Marblehead sailors have formed on Plowed Hill, and have drove in all the out guards of the enemy. The enemy do not appear to be very fond of coming out. We shall harass them continually, and for this reason want the aid of the Riflemen, as only one company as yet came in.