Skirmish at Grape Island

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

May 26. –Last Sabbath1 about ten o’clock A. M., an express arrived at General Thomas’s quarters at Roxbury, Massachusetts, informing him that four sloops, two of them armed, had sailed from Boston to the south shore of the bay, and that a number of soldiers were landing at Weymouth. General Thomas ordered three companies to march to the support of the inhabitants. When they arrived, they found the soldiers had not attempted to land at Weymouth, but had landed on Grape Island, from whence they were carrying off hay on board the sloops. The people of Weymouth assembled on a point of land next to Grape Island, but the distance from Weymouth shore to said island was too great for small arms to do much execution. Nevertheless, our people frequently fired. The fire was returned from one of the vessels with swivel guns, but the shot passed over our heads, and did no mischief. Matters continued in this state for several hours, the soldiers poling the hay down to the waterside, our people firing at the vessel, and they now and then discharging swivel guns. The tide was now come in, and several lighters which were aground were got afloat, upon which our people, who were ardent for battle, got on board, hoisted sail, and bore directly down upon the nearest point of the island. The soldiers and sailors immediately left the barn, and made for their boats, and put off from one end of the island, whilst our people landed on the other. The sloops hoisted sail with all possible expedition, whilst our people set fire to the barn, and burnt seventy or eighty tons of hay, then fired several tons which had been poled down to the water side, and brought off the cattle. 2 As the vessels passed Horse-Neck, a sort of promontory which extends into Germantown, they fired their swivels and small arms at our people very briskly, but without effect, though one of the bullets from their small arms, which passed over our people, struck against a stone with such force, as to take off a large part of the bullet. Whether any of the enemy were wounded, is uncertain, though it is reported three of them were. It is thought that they did not carry off more than one or two tons of hay. 3

 

1 May 21.
2 Virginia Gazette, June 17.
3 Rivington’s Gazetteer, June 8.

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