Skirmish on York Island

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

November 9. –Hitherto the achievements of our little army on York Island have been extremely fortunate. The genius that presides there seems to be of the enterprising kind. Last campaign it was thought a matter of great hardihood and praise to burn the enemy’s guard house at Roxbury, on Boston Neck, and a few houses in Charlestown,1 under cover of the night; but here such exploits are conducted in open day.

This morning, we found the enemy once more in possession of the rock from whence we had routed them yesterday. About eighty men, under the command of Colonel Penrose, of Philadelphia, and Major Hubley, (late an officer at the northward,) resolved to dislodge them a second time. As the men were in high spirits, and the barn and dwelling-house which the guard occupied at but a small distance, the colonel proposed storming them. We soon regained the rock, and, with surprising rapidity, the houses, notwithstanding an incessant fire from the enemy’s artillery, main guard, and a small redoubt in an orchard adjoining the guard, that commanded the road. The Hessians were soon obliged to abandon their posts. We killed on the spot about ten, and the rest either escaped or were burned in the houses, which some of our men, without orders, immediately fired.

It is something remarkable that on our side we had only one man wounded. Perhaps the sally was so unexpected as to have entirely disconcerted and confused the enemy. As it is, no men ever behaved more resolutely or bravely than ours.1

 

1 Pennsylvania Evening Post, Nov. 21.

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