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Letter from General Lincoln to Thomas Cushing



Boston, July 19, 1776.

MY DEAR SIR: It is not necessary that the Council should give orders immediately that the Militia in the neighbourhood of Point Shirley, Noddle' s Island, Charlestown, Dorchester-Heights, and Nantasket, be detached, and ordered to hold themselves in readiness to march on an alarm to those posts; and that alarm posts be assigned to such Militia; that signals for an alarm should be ordered: and that publick notice be given what they are; and, at the same time, notice be given that, on a certain day, the signals will be made. This will call up the attention of the neighbourhood; the people will make such remarks with regard to them as will probably prevent their being deceived when a real alarm is designed. Also, if the signals agreed on will not sound the alarm so generally as we could wish, further measures may be taken in the matter before it be too late.

Give me leave to propose that one beacon be erected at Cape Ann, one at Marblehead, one at Malden, one at Boston, one at the Blue Hills, and one at Nantasket; that a sentry be constantly kept at each beacon, whose duty it should be to observe and report when the beacon in the neighbourhood is fired — (the expense of this will be small, as troops are stationed at each of the places, excepting Malden and the Blue Hills); that an old cannon be carried to the Blue Hills — such an one there is at Dorchester,


near the mills, with an old carriage; and one be carried to Malden; and that upon the approach of a fleet of more than — sail, an alarm be made by firing the beacons, and by a discharge of three cannon at each place successively, at one minute' s distance between each discharge between the rising and setting of the sun, and two in the night. And that on an alarm being made, the detached Militia aforesaid immediately repair to their alarm-posts, and there wait further orders.

In order that people may generally know what signals will be given on the approach of an enemy, &c˙, and when the same signals will be given for an experiment, would it not be well to have it published by the Clergy in the same manner as the Declaration of Independency is to be made known? It appears to me necessary that some order should be taken for a general spread of an alarm through this State.

I am, with esteem and regard, your most humble servant,

To the Hon˙ Thomas Cushing.