Primary tabs

Extract from an Intercepted Letter of the Soldiery in Boston



Boston, April 30, 1775.

DEAR PARENTS: Before this reaches you, you may hear that our regiment has been engaged with the Provincials. The Grenadiers and Light-Infantry marched about nine at night. At six next morning four hundred and twenty-three soldiers, and forty-seven marines, in all fifteen hundred, marched to reinforce the Grenadiers and Light-Infantry, joined about one o' clock, and found them not engaged, which they had been eight hours before; for we had two pieces of cannon, which made us march slow. As soon as we came up we fired the cannon, which brought them from behind the trees, for we did not fight as you did in Germany, as we could not see above, ten in a body, for they were behind trees and walls, and fired at us, and then loaded on their bellies. We had thirty-six rounds, which obliged us to go home that night, and as we came along they got before us and fired at us out of the houses, and killed and wounded a great many of us, but we levelled their houses as we came along. It was thought there were about six thousand at first, and at night double that number. The King' s Troops lost in killed and wounded one hundred and fifty, and the Americans five hundred men, women, and children, for there was a number of women and children burnt in their houses. Our regiment has five killed and thirty-one wounded, particularly Colonel Bernard in the thigh, which all the regiment is sorry for. The shot flew thick. I got a wounded man' s gun, and killed two of them, as I am sure of. We have been busy in fortifying the Town ever since we engaged, and in


a few days we expect a good many more Troops from England, and then, we shall surely burn the whole Country before us, if they do not submit, which I do not imagine they will do, for they are an obstinate set of people. Tell Bill if he comes to Boston he may have a wife in every house he comes to, for the women are left at home while, the men go to fight the soldiers. They have formed an army, and keep guard close to our works, so that oar Gentries can talk together at ease. We were engaged from six to six. The whole Country is in arms against us, and they are headed by two of the Generals that headed our army last war; their names are Ward and Putnam. We have a great deal of shipping, but they are of little service, only to cover the Town, cannon and Troops, except the small schooners that go up in the creeks and destroy them, which they have done many of them. There is no market in Boston, the inhabitants all starving; the soldiers live on salt provisions, and the officers are supplied by the men-of-war cutters, who go up the creeks and take live cattle and sheep wherever they find them. We vex the Americans very much, by cutting down their liberty poles and alarm posts. We have had a great many died in our Regiment last winter, so that what with wounded men, and what have deserted, we have not three hundred men; and duty is so hard that we come off guard in the morning, and mount picket at night.