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selfish individuals who, for interested purposes, might wish to elude them. In the midst of all this bustle, the militia were everywhere carefully trained.
Meanwhile, the privations and sufferings of the inhabitants of Boston were grievous, and their passions were highly excited; but their resentful spirit was kept in check by the presence of the troops. Supplies of provisions were sent them from the other colonies : these, however, formed but a partial and precarious resource, but the people were encouraged by the sympathy of their brethren, and by the thought that they were considered martyrs in the common cause.
Notwithstanding the portentous aspect of affairs, many of the colonists still believed that there would be no appeal to arms. Formerly their non-importa tion associations had produced the desired effect; and they flattered themselves that similar measures would again be followed with similar results; that the British ministry would never come to an open rupture with the best customers of their merchants and manufacturers, but would recede from their pretensions when convinced of the determined opposition of the Americans. On the other hand, the British ministry expected the colonists would yield; and thus both parties persisted in their claims till neither could easily give way; and in the debates on American affairs, in parliament, the partisans of the ministry spake of the colonists in the most contemptuous manner; affirmed that they were undisciplined, and incapable of discipline, and that their numbers would only increase their confusion and facilitate their defeat.
Meanwhile the colonists were not idle. On the 1st of February, the provincial congress of Massachusetts Bay met at Cambridge, and, apprehensive of being too much within the reach of General Gage, toward the middle of the month they again adjourned to Concord. They thus took decisive measures for resisting the obnoxious acts of parliament. They earnestly exhorted the militia in general, and the minute-men in particular, to be indefatigable in improving themselves in military discipline; they recommended the making of firearms and bayonets; and they dissuaded the people from supplying the troops in Boston with anything necessary for military service. The committee of safety resolved to purchase powder, artillery, provisions, and other military stores, and to deposite them partly at Worcester and partly at Concord.
In this agitated posture of public affairs, General Gage conceived it to be his duty to seize the warlike stores of the colonists wherever he could find them. With this view he ordered a small detachment, under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Leslie, on Sunday the 26th of February, to bring off some field-pieces which he understood the provincial congress had at Salem. The party landed at Marblehead, and marched to Satem, but found no cannon there. Believing they had been removed only a short time before, the commanding officer determined on pursuit. He reached a small river, on the way to Danvers, over which was a draw-bridge ; but, on his approach, some people on the other side drew it up, and alleged that, as both the bridge and road were private property, the soldiers had no right to pass that way. The party were about to use some boats, but the owners instantly scuttled them. The bridge was at length let down; but the day was so far spent, that Colonel Leslie, deeming it inexpedient to proceed much farther, returned to Boston. This ineffectual attempt showed the designs of the governor, and gave fresh activity to the vigilance of the people
The colonies were now all in commotion; and preparations were everywhere making for the general congress, which was to assemble in the month of May. New York was the only place which discovered much backwardness in the matter; and perhaps the timid and selfish policy of that province contributed no less to the war, than the audacious turbulence of the people of Massachusetts Bay; for the British ministry were encouraged by the irresolution of the people of New York to persist in their plan of coercion, from which they had been al
most deterred by he firm attitude and united counsels of the other colonies But hoping, by the compliance of New York with their designs, to separate the middle and southern from the northern provinces, and so easily subjugate them all, they determined to persevere in strong measures. The active exertions, however, of the adherents of the British ministry were defeated, even in New York, by the resolute conduct of their opponents ;, and that province sent deputies to the general congress.
Although some of the persons most obnoxious to the British government had withdrawn from Boston, yet many zealous Americans still remained in the town, observed every motion of General Gage with a vigilant eye, and transmitted to their friends in the country notices of his proceedings and probable intentions. The American stores at Concord had attracted the general's attention, and he determined to seize them. But, although he had been careful to conceal his intention, yet some intimations of it reached the ears of the colonists, who took their measures accordingly.
At eleven o'clock at night, on the 18th of April, General Gage embarked 800 grenadiers and light infantry, the flower of his army, under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Smith and Major Pitcairn, on Charles river, at Boston Neck.
They sailed up the river, landed at Phipp's farm, and advanced toward Concord. Of this movement some of the friends of the American cause got notice, just before the embarcation of the troops; and they instantly despatched messengers by different routes, with the information The troops soon perceived, by the ringing of bells and firing of musketry, that notwithstanding the secrecy with which they had quitted Boston, they had been discovered, and that the alarm was fast spreading throughout the country. Between four and five o'clock, on the morning of the 19th of April, the detachment reached Lexington, thirteen miles from Boston. Here about seventy of the militia were assembled, and were standing near the road ; but their number being so small they had no intention of making any resistance to the military. Major Pitcairn, who had been sent forward with the light infantry, rode toward them, calling out, “ Disperse, you rebels ! throw down your arms and disperse !" The order was not instantly obeyed : Major Pitcairn advanced a little farther, fired his pistol, and flourished his sword, while his men began to fire, with a shout. Several Americans fell; the rest dispersed, but the firing on them was continued ; and, on observing this, some of the retreating colonists returned the fire. Eight Americans remained dead on the field.
At the close of this rencounter, the rest of the British detachment, under Lieucenant Colonel Smith, came up; and the party, without further violence, proceeded to Concord. On arriving at that place, they found a body of militia drawn up, who retreated across the bridge before the British light infantry. The main body of the royal troops entered the town, destroyed two pieces of cannon with their carriages, and a number of carriage-wheels; threw 500 pounds of balls into the river and wells and broke in pieces about sixty flour-barrels. These were all the stores they found.
While the main body of the troops was engaged in these operations, the light infantry kept possession of the bridge, the Americans having retired to wait for Teinforcements. Reinforcements arrived ; and Mr. John Butterworth, of Concord, who commanded the Americans, ordered his men to advance; but ignorant of what had happened at Lexington, enjoined them not to fire, unless the troops fired first. The matter did not long remain in suspense. The Americans advanced ; the troops fired on them ; the Americans returned the fire; a smart skirmish ensued, and a number of men fell on each side.
The troops, having accomplished the object of their expedition, began to retreat. But blood had been shed, and the aggressors were not to be allowed to
escape with impunity. The country was alarmed'; armed men crowded in from every quarter; and the retreating troops were assailed with an unceasing but irregular discharge of musketry.
General Gage had early information that the country was rising in arms; and, about eight in the morning, he despatched 900 men, under the command of Earl Percy, to support his first party. According to Gordon, this detachment left Boston with their music playing Yankee Doodle, a tune composed in derision of the inhabitants of the northern provinces ; an act which had no tendency to subdue, but which was well calculated to irritate the colonists.
Earl Percy met Colonel Smith's retreating party at Lexington much exhausted; and being provided with two pieces of artillery, he was able to keep the Americans in check. The whole party rested on their arms till they took some refreshment, of which they stood much in need. But there was no time for delay, as the militia and minute-men were hastening in from all quarters to the scene of action. When the troops resumed their inarch, the attack was renewed; and Earl Percy continued the retreat under an incessant and galling fire of small arms. By means of his field-pieces and musketry, however, he was able to keep the assailants at a respectful distance. The colonists were under no authority ; but ran across the fields from one place to another, taking their station at the points from which they could fire on the troops with most safety and effect. Numbers of them, becoming weary of the pursuit, retired from the contest; but their places were supplied by new comers, so that, although not more than 400 or 500 of the provincials were actually engaged at any one time, yet the conflict was continued without intermission, till the troops, in a state of great exhaustion, reached Charlestown Neck, with only two or three rounds of cartridges each, although they had thirty-six in the morning.
On this memorable day, the British had 65 men killed, 180 wounded, and 28 taken prisoners. The provincials had 50 men killed, 34 wounded, and 4 missing.
The appeal to arms was now made; and the struggle about to ensue was one of the most momentous recorded in the annals of the human race; not on account of the number of combatants engaged, for neither party had at any one time above thirty or forty thousand men in the field, and often not the half of those numbers ; but because of the principles involved in it, and the consequences which it has produced.
At the opening of this interesting contest, the parties seemed very unequally matched. Great Britain was the most formidable state in the world. In the preceding war she had humbled the pride of the Bourbons, and triumphed over every enemy; her fleets commanded the ocean, and victory hovered over her standards. She carried on a lucrative commerce in every quarter of the globe; her flag waved in the ports of every nation; and her merchants occupied the most distinguished place in the great mart of the world. Her resources seemed inexhaustible, and her fame encircled the earth. On the other hand, the Americans were an infant people, only between two and three millions in number; they were thinly scattered over a vast extent of country, from the borders of Florida on the south to the Bay of Fundy on the north, and from the Atlantic on the east to the Alleganies on the west. Till lately, the intercourse between the provinces had been slender, and respect for the parent state was their only common feeling, and the only bond of union among them. Their pursuits, manners, and sentiments were different. They were without armies; they had a militia very partially acquainted with manual exercise. Having been much employed in hunting, many of them were expert marksmen ; but to military tactics, to t..o subordination, prompt obedience, and patient endurance of soldiers, they were entire strangers. They had no ships but those which were employed in the peaceful pursuits of commerce. They had no exchequer, and but little
money; and that little, having been gained by persevering industry and frugal habits, they were loth to expend. Their savings were chiefly laid out in the improvement of their farms.
But, unpromising as their prospects were, the Americans determined not to be wanting to themselves, and took their measures with promptitude and vigor. Intelligence of the events of the 19th of April spread rapidly over the country; and the militia, from every quarter, hastened toward Boston. On the 20th, the provincial congress chose General Ward commander in chief of the forces in Massachusetts Bay, and soon afterward named John Thomas lieutenant general Both of those officers had seen some service during the preceding war.
The provincial congress, having adjourned from Concord to Watertown, resolved that an army of 30,000 men be immediately raised, and wrote to the colonies of New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Connecticut, informing them of the events of the 19th, and earnestly requesting them to send forward as many troops as they could spare, with provisions, arms, and military stores. The Connecticut militia marched to join their countrymen in arms, under the command of Benedict Arnold and Israel Putnam-as brave a man as ever walked the earth, and who was known to his countrymen by many deeds of daring, two of which we shall here mention.
night Putnam lost seventy fine sheep and goats, and many lambs and kids were wounded.
This wolf at length became such an intolerable nuisance, that Mr. Putnam entered into a combination with five of his neighbors to hunt alternately until they could destroy her. Two, by rotation, were to be constantly in pursuit. It was known, that, having lost the toes from one foot by a steel trap, she made one track shorter than the other. By this vestige, the pursuers recognised, in a light snow, the route of this pernicious animal. Having followed her to Connecticut river, and found she had turned back in a direct course toward Pomfret, they immediately returned, and by ten o'clock the next morning the bloodhounds had driven her into a den, about three miles distant from the house of Mr. Putnam. The people soon collected with dogs, guns, straw, fire, and sulphur, to attack the common enemy. With this apparatus, several unsuccessful efforts were made to force her from the den. The hounds came back badly wounded and refused to return. The smoke of blazing straw had no effect. Nor did the fumes of burnt brimstone, with which the cavern was filled, compel her to quit the retirement. Wearied with such fruitless attempts (which had brought the time to ten o'clock at night), Mr. Putnam tried once more to make his dog enter, but in vain. He proposed to his negro man to go down into the cavern and shoot the wolf; the negro declined the hazardous service. Then it was, that their master, angry at the disappointment, and declaring that he was ashamed to have a coward in his family, resolved himself to destroy the ferocious beast, lest she should escape through some unknown fissure of the rock. His neighbors strongly remonstrated against the perilous enerprise : but he knowing that wild animals were intimidated by fire, and having provided several strips of birch bark, the only combustible material which he could obtain, that would afford light in this deep and darksome cave, prepared for his descent. Having, accordingly, divested himself of his coat and waistcoat, and having a long rope fastened round his legs, by which he might be pulled back, at a concerted signal, he entered head foremost, with the blazing torch in his hand.
The aperture of the den, on the east side of a very high ledge of rocks, is about two feet square ; thence it descends obliquely fifteen feet, then running horizontally about ten more, it ascends gradually sixteen feet toward its termination. The sides of this subterraneous cavity are composed of smooth and solid