Primary tabs

Extract of a Letter from a Gentleman of Philadelphia



We waited on General Washington, who I have the pleasure to inform you is much beloved and admired for his polite condescension and noble deportment. His appointment to the chief command has the general suffrage of all ranks of people here, which I think is no bad omen.

We viewed the lines, and were truly amazed at the extent and grandeur of the works, considering the short time in which they have been erected. The whole works from Winter Hill to Dorchester Neck, form a kind of semicircle round Boston, Winter Hill being the northernmost; next comes Prospect Hill, very properly named from the fine prospect it affords, from its summit, of the Towns of Boston and Charlestown, the latter now in ashes, and nothing to be seen of that fine Town but chimneys and rubbish, having been burnt, as you know, about the twentieth of June, by the British barbarians; it affords also a


distinct view of Bunker' s Hill, about one mile distant therefrom. To the southward of this hill is a chain of breastworks and redoubts till you come to Cambridge River, from whence it is continued along by Roxbury and Dorchester Neck, being in the whole extent, as near as I can judge, about eight miles. The two hills appear to me almost impregnable, having forts within breastworks strongly picketed, and in many places planted with heavy cannon; add to these their natural strength from their great elevation. To the eastward of Winter Hill lies Penny-Ferry, where the said barbarians, out of mere wantonness, burnt a house a few days since, without any prospect of advantage to themselves. This day they have been blowing up the Castle; the explosions we could see from a high lull in the neighbourhood of Winnisimit-Ferry.

The people bear their misfortunes with astonishing patience and magnanimity. It is no uncommon thing to see those who have lost one or two houses, and nearly all their effects, and some who have lost their all; yet you would discover nothing of this by their behaviour or countenances.

Gage has again agreed to let the people come out of Boston, but will not suffer more than two small boats to ply, which bring about twelve or fifteen in a day. The people say great pains are taken to persuade them to stay, by telling them that thirty thousand Hanoverians, thirty thousand Hessians, and as many Russians, are shortly expected, when they shall destroy all the Rebels at once.

We have an account from the eastward of our people having taken a man-of-war' s lender, and one or two transports. The particulars are difficult to gather or ascertain; however, seven Marine officers are brought prisoners here, and are secured. There is just arrived an account of an engagement between our people and a man-of-war at Cape-Ann, wherein our people had the advantage; but no particulars that can be relied on are come to hand.

If any men-of-war or regular mercenaries should be sent to Philadelphia, I am in hopes my fellow-citizens will give a good account of them. I have pledged myself for their good behaviour.