Page images

. 46


less tnan one hundred yards of their works, unmolested , and the i. poured in upon them such a deadly fire of mus ketry, that the British line was broken, and driven towards the landing place in disorder. The exertions of the officers, in rallying the troops, were successful; and they were again led on to the charge. But another equally destructive fire of the Americans proved as effectual as the first; and the troops, a second time, retreated in confusion. General Clinton, now arriving from Boston, aided General Howe, and the other officers, in restoring order, and the troops were, a third time, reluctantly led on to the attack. But the powder of the Americans was now nearly exhausted; and some of the British cannon had been brought into such a position as to rake the inside of the breast-work from end to end. The fire from the ships, batteries, and field artillery was redoubled; and, by thus attacking it on three sides at once, the British finally succeeded in carrying the redoubt at the point of the bayonet 'The provincials, however, made an obstinate resistance, ven after a retreat was ordered; defending themselves with the butt end of their muskets, and disputing the yround, inch by inch.

When the redoubt on the hill was lost, the breast-work on the left, which had been defended with similar firmness against the light infantry, was also necessarily abandoned. The provincials now retreated over Charlestown Neck, with but trifling loss, although they were raked by the guns of the Glasgow man of war, and two iloating batteries.

The British felt that this was a victory by no means to be boasted of. Their force was 3000 men; and their killed and wounded amounted to 1054. The American force was but 1500, and they lost, in killed and wounded, 453. Their chief regret was for the loss of General Warren, an ardent patriot, and highly popular officer, who fell in the engagement.

The British kept possession of Breed's Hill, and after wards seized and fortified Bunker's; which secured to them the peninsula of Charlestown; but the provincials, by fortifying Prospect Hill, held their enemies as closely besieged as before.

The courage displayed in the battle of Breed's Hill Describe the first onset.--The second. The third.- What was the result ?- What were the force and the loss on each sidel-What events

followed the battle ?

[blocks in formation]

Washington compelling the British to evacuate Boston. raised the spirits of the colonists, and made them ready to dare any dangers. They believed that intrepidity, and dexterity in the use of fire arms, would supply their deficiency of discipline. But in this they were mistaken ; and subsequent events convinced them of the error.

In July, General Washington took command of the troops intrenched round Boston, and proceeded to inspect and review them. He found the army, consisting of 14,000 men, animated with great zeal, and prepared to follow him in the most arduous undertakings; but he soon discovered that they were unacquainted with subordination, and strangers to military discipline. The supply of arms and ammunition was scanty, the troops being without bayonets, and having but nine rounds apiece of cartridges.

These difficulties were in a great measure overcome by the superior talents and perseverance of Washington. He formed the soldiers into brigades and accustomed them to obedience. He requested congress to appoint a commissary general, a quartermaster general, and a paymaster general ; a number of men were instructed in the management of artillery, and the army was soon completely ofganised and fit for service.

The troops were now regularly encamped round Boston ; and occupied a space of ground nearly twelve miles 15 length. The English had strong intrenchments on Bun

What was its moral effect on the Americans?-When did Washingto: join the army?-In what condition did he find it ?-How did he remedy ils deficiences ?-Where were the Americans encamped ?

[ocr errors]
[blocks in formation]

ker's Hill and Roxbury Neck; and were defended by Moating batteries in the Mystic river, and a ship of war lying between Boston and Charlestown. The respective forces being thus disposed, the siege of Boston continued until the succeeding spring.

In consequence of orders from the British ministry to destroy the sea-ports of the rebellious colonies, four ships, under the command of Captain Mowatt, were despatched to Falmouth, (now Portland,) in Maine, in the month at October; and, after offering disgraceful terms of submission to the inhabitants, which of course were rejected, he commenced a bombardment and speedily reduced the town to ashes. This unnecessary and cruel act of aggression only served still further to exasperate the colonies against the mother country.

In March, 1776, General Washington determined on forcing the British to evacuate Boston. Having opened his batteries and commenced a brisk cannonade on the opposite side of the city, he succeeded in occupying Dorchester Heights, on the evening of the 4th, and throwing up a fortification before morning. General Howe, who had succeeded General Gage in the chief command, an discovering that this position was occupied, saw the necessity of dislodging the Americans or instantly abandoning the place. He prepared for a vigorous attack on the works, but was prevented from landing his forces which had embarked in boats, by the occurrence of a tremendous storm. Nothing remained, therefore, but to evacuate the place.

The British were not annoyed in their retreat, as they might thus have been provoked to burn the town; a loss which it would have required years of profitable industry w repair. For this, and some other reasons, they were allowed to embark at their leisure, and take with them as many of the adherents to the royal cause, with their effects, as chose to accompany them. On the 17th af March their fleet sailed for Halifax. The American army. under Washington, hastened towards New York, whither ihey supposed the English were gone.

Where were the English forces ?-Describe the affair of Falmouth.What was determined by Washington in March, 1776 ?--What heighis did he occupy ?-What was done by General Howe?-Why were the British permitted to escape without loss l_Whither did the Americans proceed?—Why?





It was justly considered by congress an important point to secure the co-operation of the Canadians in their attempts to throw off the yoke of Great Britain. After endeavouring to give them a favourable disposition by means of addresses disseminated among them, calling upon them to aid in the cause of liberty, it was determined to complete the work by siezing upon the fortresses in the hands of the British government troops, and the raising the standard of the states over the conquered province. The project was feasible and only miscarried in consequence of certain untoward events in carrying it into effect.

Two expeditions were sent off in September, 1775; one under Colonel Arnold, which was to leave the camp at Roxbury, embark at Newbury for the Kennebec river, and then proceed across the wilderness of Maine to Quebec. The other, under General Schuy was to reduce the other fortresses, take Montreal and join Arnold at Quebec.

After an ineffectual attack with 1000 men on Fort St. John, situated on the river Sorel, Schuyler was taken ill and returned to Albany. General Montgomery succeeded him in the command, and captured Fort St. John. Fort Chambleé fell about the same time, and Montgomery received the surrender of Montreal, from which Governor Carleton succeeded in escaping down the river to Quebec.

Meantime Arnold had succeeded in penetrating through the forests of Maine, and appeared before Quebec on the 9th of November. His imprudence in entrusting a letter for General Schuyler to an Indian, whom he had captured in the woods, and his foolish display of his troops un their arrival, had put completely on their guard the garrison of a fortress which could only be taken by surprise, since it is as strong as Gibraltar.

Montgomery did not join him, till the 1st of December, and then their united forces were less numerous than the British garrison.

What province did congress endeavour to gain ?-How ?--What ex. peditions were sent out ? - What forts were taisen ?-When did Arnold reach Quebec ?- When did Montgomery join hiin?

[blocks in formation]

On as

The Americans suffered under the further disadvantage of illness, bad clothing and worse discipline, and the ill will of the inhabitants, caused by the misconduct of the soldiery. After attempting to summon the garrison to surrender, and having his flag of truce fired on, Montgomery resolved upon an assault, which was made on the morning of the 31st of December.

About four o'clock in the morning, in the midst of a violent storm of snow, two feints and two real attacks were siraultaneously made. The real attacks were coliducted by Montgomery and Arnold. Montgomery advancing at the head of about two hundred men, fell by the first discharge of grape shot from the works. Several of his best officers being killed, his division retreated. Arnold at the head of about three hundred men, in a different quarter, maintained a fierce and obstinate conflict for some time; but was at last wounded and repulsed, leaving many of his men in the hands of the enemy. The death of Montgomery was the subject of much regret, as he had been universally loved and esteemed. sembling, after the assault, so large a number had beer! killed or taken prisoners, that the provincials could not muster many more than four hundred effective men, who chose Arnold for their commander; and in the hope of receiving reinforcements, resolved to remain in the vicinity of Quebec.

Sir Guy Carleton acquired much honour, not only by his gallant defence of the city, but also, by the humanity with which he treated all his prisoners. The sick and wounded, he caused to be taken care of, and permitted them, when recovered, to return to their homes unmolested. The Americans were not ignorant of their own inferiority in point of numbers to the garrison, and were not without apprehensions of being attacked; but although the garrison was three times more numerous than the besieging army, it was of such a mixed and precarious character, that Carleton did not deem it prudent to march out against his enemy,

Arnold continued the siege till May, when General Thomas arriving took the command. The river soon after opened and the arrival of a fleet with reinforcements from England compelled the Americans to raise the siege

When was an assault made on Quebec ?-What was the result?who fell ?-What is said of Governor Carleton !-How long was the vege continued ? -How was the city relieved ?

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »