From Diary of the American Revolution, Vol I. Compiled by Frank Moore and published in 1859.
November 10. –Yesterday a party of regulars from Boston, amounting to four or five hundred men, embarked in a number of barges from Charlestown Point, about one o’clock, p. m., when the tide was at a high flood, and landed upon Lechmere’s Point, under cover of a man-of-war and a floating battery, where they seized a sentinel who was drunk and asleep upon his post. The other sentinels fired upon them, and then gave the alarm to the camp upon Prospect Hill. Lechmere’s Point is a piece of high land surrounded by marsh, and when the tide is up is entirely an island. This circumstance the regulars knew, and intended to take advantage of it. Their purpose was to steal the sheep and cattle that were feeding there. They effected a landing without opposition (as indeed there were none at that time on the ground to oppose them), and began to drive the cattle to their boats. His excellency 1 ordered Colonel Thompson and his regiment of Pennsylvania riflemen to turn out immediately, and they obeyed with cheerfulness. Colonel Thompson and Colonel Mifflin 2 headed them, and passed the morass up to their breasts in water. When they were all over and formed under cover of a hill, they marched forward. Colonel Thompson gave the Indian yell, which was re-echoed back from the whole regiment, who immediately rushed out from their ambuscade, and poured in whole volleys upon the regulars, who returned the fire in great confusion, and retreated with the greatest precipitation on board their boats, firing at random upon our men, who kept up a heavy fire upon them, notwithstanding the constant blaze from the man-of-war, floating battery, and boats, which latter mounted six patteraroes, or swivels, each. The event of the skirmish is yet uncertain: doubtless they must have lost a number of men, as our shot were well planted. We fired a few shot at them from Prospect Hill, and a field-piece, we had planted for the purpose, in the valley below. Some of our men are badly wounded, but we hear of none of them who were killed. When the enemy saw they were likely to be prevented in accomplishing their purpose, with a villanous malice, characteristic of the tools of despotism, they stabbed the poor dumb cattle. During the engagement twenty-two large ships hove in sight, with troops from England and Ireland. 3
This day three dead bodies have floated along shore, supposed to be drowned by the sinking of a barge, which our field-pieces stove. The enemy had cannon placed at the water’s edge, along Charlestown Point, which, together with the large-artillery from Bunker Hill, made an incessant roar, with grape-shot, chain-shot, &c., but to no purpose. The riflemen drove them like a herd of swine down a steep place, where some of them were killed, drowned, or scared to death, in sight of their brethren in iniquity, who covered the tops of Fort Beacon and Bunker Hill to view the noble exploit of cow-stealing. The general has since ordered all the stock to be driven off the peninsula of Dorchester.
Captain Adams, of Beverly, Mass., in a privateer, has taken two prize schooners, and a sloop, laden with fish and oil from Halifax, for the besieged army in Boston; and has also retaken a sloop, off Marblehead, with two officers, six seamen, and two marines, prisoners, who were put on board to pilot her into Boston.
1 General Washington.
2 Thomas Mifflin.
3 Rivington’s Gazetteer, November 23.