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Battle of Lexington

From Diary of the American Revolution, Vol I. Compiled by Frank Moore and published in 1859.

The first stand made by the country in the late engagement was with only two hundred men at Concord Bridge, which the soldiers were endeavoring to pull up. The soldiers gave the first fire, and killed three or four. It was returned with vigor by the country people, and the regulars began soon to retire. The country people immediately lined the roads, which are secured with stone walls, and their numbers hourly increasing, they annoyed the regulars exceedingly, allowing them to halt but two or three times, and then in open plains for a few minutes.

A considerable body of provincials formed an ambuscade near Cambridge for the troops on their return; but the bridge having been destroyed by the first brigade in their march out, the troops took their route through Charlestown, and by that means avoided a total overthrow. The number of the regulars when the two brigades joined, is said to have been at least eighteen hundred. It does not appear that they were attacked by more than six hundred provincials until they got near to Charlestown, when a very strong reinforcement from the towns of Marblehead and Salem fell in with them, and gave them two severe fires. This quickened their pace to Bunker Hill, where they took refuge, formed in order, and remained until reinforced by the third brigade sent over from Boston to secure their retreat. This was effected without further loss.

A gentleman, who mixed with the soldiers at Charlestown ferry, says he saw at least two officers and soldiers brought over wounded in an hour. It is impossible at this time to ascertain the number of the killed and wounded on either side. A young gentleman who was within twelve miles of the field of battle informs us that the country had buried one hundred and ninety soldiers, and it is supposed a great number must have been carried off and burnt on Bunker Hill by their comrades. General Haldiman and Lord Percy are both returned safe, having been enclosed on all sides by their soldiers, during the retreat. Mr. Paul Revere, who left Boston to acquaint Messrs. Hancock and Adams of the design against them, was taken prisoner, but got clear again by a stratagem. Colonel Murray’s son, 1 who conducted the first brigade to Concord, is a prisoner, and not killed as reported. Upon the whole, Lord North’s troops have had a severe drubbing; and when we consider the disparity of numbers and discipline, and the sudden and unexpected attack against the country, we have reason to acknowledge the interposition of Heaven on that memorable day. 2

 

1 Samuel Murray, a graduate of Harvard College in 1772, proscribed in 1778, and died in 1785.
2 Pennsylvania Packet, May 1.

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