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Major Spotswood to a Friend in Williamsburgh



Great-Bridge, December 9, 1775.

We were alarmed this morning by the firing of some guns after reveille beating, which, as the enemy had paid us this compliment several times before, we at first concluded to be nothing but a morning salute; but in a short time after, I heard Adjutant Blackburn call out, Boys! stand to your arms! Colonel Woodford and myself immediately got equipped, and ran out; the Colonel pressed down to the breastwork in our front, and my alarm-post being two hundred and fifty yards in another quarter, I ran to it as fast as I could, and by the time I had made all ready for engaging, a very heavy fire ensued at the breastwork, in which were not more than sixty men; it continued for about half an hour, when the King' s troops gave way, after sustaining considerable loss, and behaving like true-born Englishmen. They mounted up to our intrenchments with fixed bayonets; our young troops received them with firmness, and behaved as well as it was possible for soldiers to do. Captain Leslie, of the regulars, commanded the fort on the other side of the bridge; Captain Fordyce, of the Grenadiers, led the van with his company; and Lieutenant Battut commanded the advanced party; the former got killed within a few yards of the breastwork, with twelve privates; the Lieutenant, with sixteen soldiers, were taken prisoners-all wounded. Several others were carried into the fort under cover of their cannon; and from the blood on the bridge, they must have lost one-half of their detachment.

It would appear that Providence was on our side; for during the whole engagement we lost not a man, and only one was slightly wounded in the hand. Colonel Woodford is a brave officer, and a man I love. He has had Captain Fordyce buried with the military honours due to his rank, and all the prisoners that fell into our hands are taken the greatest care of. We have not, as yet, been able to ascertain the number of killed and wounded on their side. Three officers' fusees, with bayonets and cartouch boxes, fell into our hands; from which we judge that there were three commissioned officers killed. As soon as a general return can be made, it will be sent to the honourable Convention. I am at present in the greatest hurry, and can only give an account of what I have seen.