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general to come to an action, or to evacuate Boston. The American army was now stronger than ever. Recruiting for the two last months had been unusually successful. The regular army exceeded 14,000 men, and the militia were about 6,000. Washington, thus reinforced, determined to fortify the heights of Dorchester; from which he could
the ships in the harbor, and the army in the town. To favor the execution of this plan, the town and lines of the enemy were bomo barded on the second, third, and fourth of March. On the night of the fourth, general Thomas, with a considerable detachment, took possession of the heights of Dorchester. By great exertions, this party, in the course of the night, nearly covered themselves from the shot of the enemy. The appearance of their works, caused no little surprise in the British camp. These were every hour advancing, so as to afford additional security to the Americans posted behind them. The admiral informed general Howe, that if the Americans kept possession of these heights, he would not be able to keep one of the British ships in the harbor. The enemy were now brought to the alternative which Washington wished for. They must either risk an action without their lines, or abandon the place. General Howe
preferred the former, and ordered 3,000 men on this service. These were embarked, and fell down to the castle, with the intention of proceeding up the river to the attack, but were dispersed by a tremendous storm. Bea fore they could be in readiness to proceed, the American works were advanced to such a state of security, as to discourage any attempt against them. Washington expecting an immediate assault on the new raised works at Dorchester, and supposing that the best troops of the enemy would be ordered on that service, had prepared to attack the town of Boston at the same time. Four thousand men 'were ready for embarkation at the mouth of Cambridge river, to proceed on this business as soon as it was known that the British were gone out in force to their intended áttack. It was now resolved by the British to évacuate Boston as soon as possible. In a few days after, a flag came out of Boston with a paper, signed by four select men, intimating, “ that they had applied to general Robertson, who, on an application to general Howe, was authorized to assure them, that he had no intention of burning the town, unless the troops under his command were molested during their embarkation, or at their departure, by the armed force without.”
When this paper was presented to Washington, he replied, “ that as it was an unauthenticated paper, and without an address, and not obligatory on general Howe, he could take no notice of it;" but at the same time intimated his good wishes for the security of the towý.
Washington made arrangements for the security of his army, but did not advance his works, nor embarrass the British in their
proposed evacuation. He wished to save Boston, and to gain time for the fortification of New York, to which place lie supposed the evacuating army was destined. Under this impression, he detached a considerable part of his force to that place, and with the remainder took possession of Boston, as soon as the British troops had completed their embarkation. On entering the town, Washington was received with marks of approbation more flattering than the pomps of a triumph. The inhabitants, released from the severities of a garrison life, and from the various indignities to which they were subjected, hailed him as their deliverer. Reciprocal congratulations between those who had been confined within the British lines, and those who were excluded from entering them, were exchanged with an ardor which cannot be described. General Washington was honored by congress with a vote of thanks. They also ordered a medal to be struck, with suitable devices, to perpetuate the remembrance of the great event. The Massachusetts council, and house of representatives, complimented him in a joint address, in which they expressed their good wishes, in the following words : “ May you still go on, approved by Heaven, revered by all good men, and dreaded by those tyrants who claim their fellow men as their property.” His answer was modest and proper.
CHA P. III.
CAMPAIGN OF 1776.
Battle of Long island. Evacuation of York island.-
The evacuation of Boston varied the scene, but did not lessen the labors of Washington. Henceforward he had a much more formidable enemy to contend with. The royal army in Boston was on a small scale, calculated to awe the inhabitants of Massachusetts into. obedience; but the campaign of 1776 was opened in New York with a force 1776. far exceeding any thing hitherto seen in America. Including the navy
and amounted to 55,000 men, and was calculated on the idea of reducing the whole thirteen united colonies. The operations contemplated could be best carried on from the nearly central province of New York, and the army could be supplied with provisions from the adjacent islands, and easily defended by the British navy. I'or these reasons, the evacuation of Boston, and the concentration of