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Engraved for Murrays History of the American War.
Printed for T. Robson, Newcastle upon Tyne.
Some vessels at length arrived at Boston from Britain and Ireland, which in some measure alleviated the distreffes of the King's forces in the town and the camp ; and though the winter was not so severe as to answer the expectations of the provincials, the climate had so much influence as to make both parties fond of their ease, to check the spirit of enterprize, and to prevent the effusion of blood : fo that for near three inonths a great quiet prevailed.
During this state of affairs, the American cruizers and privateers, though exceedingly poor and con-, temptible, being for most part no better than whale, boats, grew daily more numerous and successful against the transports and store-ships, and among a multitude of other prizes had the fortune of taking one which gave a new colour to their military opera ' tions. This was an ordnance ship from Woolwich, which had separated from her convoy, and being herself of no force, was taken without defence by à small privateer. This vefsel contained, besides a small mortar upon a new construction, several pieces of fine brass cannon, a large quantity of small arms and ammunition, with all manner of tools, utensils, and machines necessary for camps, and artillery in the greatest abundance. The loss of this ship was much resented in England, and occafioned some severe reflections upon the admiralty, both within and without doors, for hazarding a cargo of such value and importance in a defenceless vefsel. This ship and cargo gave new strength to the provincials, and furnished them with many things they stood much in need of. Besides it gave them fresh spirits when they perceived what they could do by properly exerting their ftrength, and the natural powers and opportunities
which Providence had given them. These succefses by sea made them more attentive, and caused them in all quarters to keep á lharp "look out, while the King's fleet were through neceffity .confined to the harbour of Boton. It indeed highly provoked and chagrined the army in the town and on Bunker's Hill, to see provisions and other necessaries just snatched from them before their eyes, and when their hopes were at the height of expectation of poffefling them. Notwithstanding these severe disappoitments, the town and camp remained quiet and unmolefted by the enemy until the end of February.
When all things seemed in perfect calm on both fides, the tranquility of Boston was on the beginning of Märch unexpectedly disturbed by some sudden and; unexpected movements on the side of the colonists, This was faid to be occafioned by the Congress receiving intelligence of the prohibitory aes, and of hiring foreign troops ; upon this information, they immediately dispatched instructions to General Wash. ington, totally to change the mode of carrying on the war, and to bring the affair at Boston to the speediest decision that was possible, in order that the army might be disengaged, and at liberty to oppose the new dangers with which they were threatened. Whatever might be the reasons of this sudden alteration of affairs, a battery was opened at a place called Phipps's Farm, near the side of the water, on the night of the ad of March, from whence a severe bombardment and cannonade was carried on against the town, and repeated on the ensuing nights. This greatly alarmed the army in the town, and all hands were busily employed in quenching fires, and extin. guiling the flames of houses, the usual attendants of
such an attack. While they were employed in this fort of exercise, they saw with inexpressible surprize, on the morning of the 5th of March some considerable works appear on the other side of the town upon the heights of Dorchester Point, which had been erected in the preceding night, and from whence a twenty-four pounder and a bomb battery were soon after opened. Some British officers that were present confessed that the expedition with which these works were thrown up, with their sudden and unexpected appearance, recalled to their minds those wonderful stories of enchantment and invisible agency which are so frequent in the Eastern Romances.-They were ready to imagine that they had got into Fairy land, where fpiritual agency is supposed to supply the place of bodily exertions. They could not however but consider, that they were now dealing with a people that were in earnest, and who were not inferior to themselves in industry, to support the cause they were engaged in. Both the art and the industry of the colonists began now to be alarming to our troops ; they perceived that the men whom they had been taught to despise as cowards and poltroons, were now their equals, if not their superiors, both in application and intrepidity. The fituation of our army was now very critical. The new works, along with those which it is evident would be speedily constructed on some neighbouring hills, would command the town and a considerable part of the harbour and beach, from whence an embarkation must take place in the event of a retreat, and render the communication between the troops in the works at Boston neck and the main body, difficult and dangerous.