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Extract of a Letter from Watertown to a Gentleman in Philadelphia



Our new Assembly met yesterday, and only chose a Speaker and a Clerk. I shall now endeavour to inform you what has happened in the military way since my laSt˙ The attempt on Long-Island, the taking off all the stock, and afterwards returning to burn the buildings, &c˙, (which you will have in the papers,) was certainly a bold intrepid manoevre, and as such, astonished our enemies. The barges full of armed men were afraid to attack our whale-boats at a proper distance, and the armed vessels, either agitated by fear, or destitute of judgment, did it without execution. The next thing that took place was, the possessing and fortifying a post by Brown' s house, on the neck, near their lines; this has been effected with the loss of only one man, and he not employed there, though they worked in open sight of them, and exposed to an incessant fire from their cannon, which our people treated with the extremest contempt, not so much as leaving their work or firing a shot. No general movement has taken place. There was an appearance of one the day before yesterday, on the Roxbury side, but they disappointed General Thomas, who commands there, and made an excellent disposition to receive them. Roxbury is amazingly strong. I believe it would puzzle ten thousand troops to go through it, I mean of the best in the world. I am just told that our boats have this day been at the Light-House, and burnt it, in spite of the firing from the men-of-war and a number of boats. I hear it was executed by three hundred Rhode-Islanders, without any loss. It is said they are more afraid of our whaleboats than we are of their men-of-war; and a few aimed vessels, I am well convinced, would produce great consequences. Captain Derby, who went to England with the account of the battle of the nineteenth of April, returned two days ago. He was there eight days, and came away before General Gage' s packet arrived. He says trade and stocks were amazingly affected in that short time. Lord Dartmouth sent for him three times, but he refused to go; and when he threatened him, he decamped, got on board, and came off without clearing or entering. By a letter from London by him, I fancy General Gage is to expect no re-enforcement this fall. The troops are very sickly in Boston, and greatly reduced.