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Massachusetts Congress to Continental Congress



[Read in Congress June 27, 1775.]

In Provincial Congress, Watertown, June 20, 1775.

MAY IT PLEASE YOUR HONOUR: Having been favoured with your Resolve respecting the assumption of Government in this Colony, we seize the earliest opportunity to express our grateful sentiments for that compassion, seasonable exertion, and abundant wisdom, evidenced in your recommendation to this people on that head; and for the generous provision you have made for our support in our efforts in defence of the common liberty and essential rights of the whole Continent. As we are plunged into the accumulated distresses of a domestick war, our constant attention to the calls of our brethren in the field will leave us


but little time to contemplate the acts of ordinary legislation: but as we are impressed with the indispensable necessity of rescuing this people from the danger they are in of falling into a state of anarchy, and that our publick resolutions may be taken and executed with the greater despatch, we shall apply ourselves with all diligence to fulfil your benevolent intentions, and establish the form of Government recommended by your Honours, that so order and Government may be restored to this disturbed community.

We think it our indispensable duty to inform you, that re-enforcements from Ireland, both of Horse and Foot, being arrived, (the numbers unknown,) and having good intelligence that General Gage was about to take possession of the advantageous posts in Charlestown and on Dorchester Point, the Committee of Safety advised that our Troops should prepossess them if possible.

Accordingly, on Friday evening the 16th instant, this was effected by about twelve hundred men. About day-light on Saturday morning, their line of circumvolution, on a small hill, south of Bunker' s Hill, in Charlestown, was closed; at this time the Lively, man-of-war, began to fire upon them. A number of our enemy' s ships, tenders, cutters, scows or floating batteries, soon came up, from all which the fire was general by twelve o' clock. About two the enemy began to land at a point which leads out from Noddle' s Island, and immediately marched up to our intrenchments, from which they were twice repulsed; but in the third attack forced them. Our forces which were in the lines, as well as those sent for their support, were greatly annoyed on every side, by balls and bombs, from Copp' s Hill, the ships, scows, &c. At this time the buildings in Charlestown appeared in flames in almost every quarter, kindled by hot balls, and is since laid in ashes. Though this scene was almost horrible, and altogether new to most of our men, yet many stood, and received wounds by swords and bayonets before they quitted their lines. At five o' clock the enemy were in full possession of all the posts within the isthmus.

In the evening and night following, General Ward extended his intrenchments, before made at the stone-house, over Winter Hill. About six o' clock, P˙ M˙, of the same day, the enemy began to cannonade Roxbury from Boston Neck and elsewhere, which they continued twenty-four hours, with little spirit and less effect.

The number of killed and missing on our side is not known, but supposed by some to be about sixty or seventy, and by some considerably above that number. Our most worthy friend and President, Doctor Warren, lately elected a Major-General, is among them. This loss we feel most sensibly. Lieutenant-Colonel Parker and Major Moore of this Colony, and Major McClary from New-Hampshire, are also dead. Three Colonels, and perhaps one hundred men, are wounded. The loss of the enemy is doubtless great. By an anonymous letter from Boston, we are told that they exult much in having gained the ground, though their killed and wounded are owned about one thousand; but this account exceeds every other estimation. The number they had engaged is supposed to be between three and four thousand. If any errour was committed on our side, it was in taking a post so much exposed.

As soon as an estimate can be made of publick and private stocks of gunpowder in this Colony, it shall be transmitted without delay, which we are well assured will be small, and by no means adequate to the exigence of our case. We apprehend that the scantiness of our stock of that article, cannot fail to induce your Honours still to give your utmost attention to ways and means of procuring a full supply of it. We feel ourselves infinitely obliged to you for your past care in this respect.

We beg leave humbly to suggest, that if a Commander-in-Chief of the Army of the United Colonies should be appointed, it must be plain to your Honours, that no part of this Continent can so much require his immediate presence and exertions as this Colony.

We are, with great respect, your Honours' most obedient and very humble servants,

By order of Congress:

JAMES WARREN, President.
Attest: SAM' L FREEMAN, Secretary.

To the Honourable Continental Congress now sitting at Philadelphia.