Primary tabs

Extract of a Letter from Weathersfield to a Gentleman in New-York



The late frequent marchings and counter-marchings into the country, were calculated to conceal the most cruel and inhuman design; and imagining they had laid suspicion asleep, they pitched upon Tuesday night for the execution. A hint being got, two expresses were sent to alarm the Congress. One of them had the good fortune to arrive; the other (Mr˙ Revere) is missing, supposed to be waylaid and slain. In the night of Tuesday, the Company of Grenadiers and Light-Infantry, from every Regiment, were transported to Charlestown in long-boats, and at daybreak began their march for Lexington, where a number of the inhabitants were assembled peaceably, without arms, to consult their safety. The Commander called them rebels, and bade them disperse. On their refusal, he fired; killed and wounded nine. They then proceeded towards Concord, marking their way with cruelties and barbarity, never equalled by the Savages of America. In one house a woman and seven children were slaughtered, (perhaps on their return.) At Concord, they seized two pieces of cannon, and destroyed two others, with all the flour, &c˙, in store, but the people secured their magazine of powder, &c.

By this time, about four hundred (no accounts make them more than five hundred) of our men assembled, and placed themselves so advantageously, without being perceived, that when the enemy were on the return, they received the full fire of our men. A heavy engagement ensued; the enemy retreating, and our men pressing on them with constant reinforcements. At Lexington, they retook their two pieces of cannon, seized the enemy' s wagons and baggage, and made about twenty prisoners; continuing to press the Regulars close to Charlestown, where they were on the point of giving up, (one account says this Brigade was almost all cut off,) but a reinforcement, under the command of Lord Percy, having been detached that morning from Boston, they joined the first detachment in the retreat, and retired with it to Bunker' s Hill, where they intrenched, and night parted them. Our number increased, and next morning would have surrounded the hill, had it not been for the situation near the water, where, on one side, they were exposed to the fire from a Man-of-War.

We lost thirty men in the action. The lowest account of the enemy' s loss is one hundred and fifty. Lord Percy, General Haldimand, and many other officers, are said to be among the slain. A gentleman of veracity assured me that he numbered, within half a mile from the place where the fight began, one hundred and fifty. The post confirms the same account.

We are all in motion here, and equipt from the Town, yesterday, one hundred young men, who cheerfully offered their service; twenty days provision, and sixty-four rounds, per man. They are all well armed, and in high spirits. My brother is gone with them, and others of the first property. Our neighbouring Towns are all aiming and moving. Men of the first character and property shoulder their arms and march off for the field of action. We shall, by night, have several thousands from this Colony on their march.


The eyes of America are on New-York; the Ministry have certainly been promised by some of your leading men, that your Province would desert us; but you will be able to form a better judgment when you see how this intelligence is relished. Take care of yourselves; we have more than men enough to block up the enemy at Boston, and if we are like to fall by treachery, by Heaven we will not fall unrevenged on the traitors; but if balls or swords will reach them, they shall fall with us. It is no time now to dally, or be merely neutral; he that is not for us is against us, and ought to feel the first of our resentment. You must now declare, most explicitly, one way or the other, that we may know whether we are to go to Boston or New-York. If you desert, our men will as cheerfully attack New-York as Boston;; for we can but perish, and that we are determined upon, or be free. I have nothing to add, but am, your friend and countryman, &c.

P˙ S˙ Colonel Murray' s son, one of the Tories, undertook to guide the Regulars in their march to Concord, and on their retreat was taken prisoner; but attempting to escape from our people, they shot him — a death too honourable for such a villain! They have made another of them prisoner, but I do not recollect his name; none of ours were taken.

Will Colonel Grant believe now that New-England men dare look Regulars in the face? Eighteen hundred of their best men retreating with loss, before one-third of their number, seems almost incredible, and I think must be called an omen for good. In every struggle Heaven has, as yet, given us strength equal to the day; its hand is not shortened, nor its arm weakened. We are now called upon to show the world "that whom we call fathers did beget us," and that we desire to enjoy the blessings they purchased for us with their lives and fortunes. We fix on our Standards and Drums, the Colony Arms, with the motto, "qui transtulit sustinet," round it in letters of gold, which we construe thus: "God, who transplanted us hither, will support us."