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stowage-room, chairs, tables, and the like, they destroyed and burnt them. A prodigious quantity of mahogany furniture has been in this way demolished. When they were gone off, upon search being made, fires were discovered in several houses, so circumstanced as to evidences design of setting the house on fire; but that was happily frustrated.
General Robertson, under an official cover, seems to have been as great a plunderer as any, and to have connived at the rascally conduct of smaller villains. He might possibly answer to himself for the part he was acting, by viewing what he secured as an equivalent for the many thousands he has out at interest and in property in your Colony and elsewhere, should the same be seized. The press will be employed shortly in communicating to the publick the sufferings of the Bostonians, drawn up by one who has been there the whole time, and well credited; and if that does not determine the Colonies never more to admit the Kings Troops into the Continent, I shall think it strange. Since the Ministerialists have left their works, every one that surveys them is convinced what a most hazardous attempt it would have been to have endeavoured to force them, and are better satisfied with that seeming inactivity, but really Fabian delay, that was wisely adopted by our patriotick, sensible commanders. Strain every nerve, hazard life, rather than admit of the Regulars possessing themselves of your city. But it is likely they are going to Halifax; or if not, that you will be strongly reinforced before they can reach you. Many of the ships have sailed. A number of good large iron cannon have been left, which, when we have un-spiked them, (several are already,) will serve to fortify the town. Two good mortars fell into the water at the wharf as they were attempting to put them on board, and another was left upon the common, spiked up.
It is reported that Manly has taken a ship laden with Scotch Tories, and their property.
EXTRACT OF A LETTER FROM AN OFFICER OF DISTINCTION IN THE BRITISH ARMY, TO A PERSON IN LONDON, DATED BOSTON, MARCH 317, 1776.
For these last six weeks, or near two months, we have been better amused than could possibly be expected in our situation. We had a theatre, we had balls, and there is actually a subscription on foot for a masquerade. England seems to have forgot us, and we endeavoured to forget ourselves. But we were roused to a sense of our situation last night, in a manner unpleasant enough. The Rebels have been for some time past erecting a bomb-battery, and last night began to play upon us. Two shells fell not far from me. One fell upon Colonel Monktons house, and broke all the windows, but luckily did not burst until it had crossed the street. Many houses were damaged, but no lives lost. We expect some carcasses to-night, if the fear of destroying their own property does not prevent it. What makes this matter more provoking is, that their barracks are so scattered, and at such a distance, that we cannot disturb them, although, from a battery near the water-side, they can reach us easily.
March 4.Bad news from New-York this morning. A man who calls himself Lord Stirling, (I believe one of his family has a right to the title, but passed eldest, and this gentleman plays alone,) put himself at the head of three thousand men, in conjunction with that arch Rebel Lee, and has driven all the well-affected people from the town of New-York. If something is not speedily done, his Bri-tannick Majestys American dominions will probably be confined within a very narrow compass. The Rebel Army is not brave, I believe; but it is agreed on all hands that their Artillery officers are at least equal to our own. In the number of shells that they threw last night, not above three failed. This morning we threw four, and three of them burst in the air.
March 5.This is, I believe, likely to prove as important a day to the British Empire as any in our annals. We underwent last night a very severe cannonade, which damaged a number of houses, and killed some men. This morning, at daybreak, we discovered two redoubts on the hills on Dorchester-Point, and two smaller works on their flanks. They were all raised during the night, with an expedition equal to that of the Genii belonging to Aladins wonderful lamp. From these hills they command the whole town, so that we must drive, them from their post, or desert the place. The former is determined upon, and five regiments are already embarked. A body of Light-Infantry under the command of Major Musgrave, (an excellent officer,) and a body of Grenadiers, are to embark to-night at seven. I think it is likely to be so far a general affair, that we shall take our share in it. Adieu balls, masquerades, &c.; for this may be looked upon as the opening of the campaign.
It is worth while to remark with what judgment the leaders of the Rebels take advantage of the prejudices and work upon the passions of the mob. The 5th of March is the anniversary of what they call the bloody massacre, when in (I think) 1769 [in 1770] the Kings Troops fired on the people in the streets of Boston. If ever they dare stand us, it will be to-day; but I hope to-morrow to be able to give you an account of their defeat.
March 6.A wind more violent than anything I ever heard, prevented our last nights purposed expedition, and so saved the lives of thousands. To-day they have made themselves too strong to make a dislodgment possible. We are under their fire whenever they choose to begin, so that we are now evacuating the town with the utmost expedition, and leaving behind us half our worldly goods. Adieu! I hope to embark in a few hours.
March 7.When the transports came to be examined, they were void of both provisions and. forage. If any are got on board to-day, it will be as much as can be done. Never were troops in so disgraceful a situation; and that not in the least our own fault, or owing to any want of skill or discretion in our commanders, but entirely owing to Great Britain being fast asleep. I pity General Howe from my soul. *
Transport, March 9.I have slept one night on board. The troops are embarking as fast as possible. I mistook, when I imagined the works already made could destroy the town; but the Rebels possess a hill so situated, that if they pleased to erect a battery, it would entirely consume us. They as yet have not proceeded to make a work, nor do they attempt to molest us in our embarkation. It appears as if there was at least a tacit agreement between Washington and General Howe.
March 10.To-day the horse transports are ordered to fall down to Castle-William, a fort about three miles from the town in our possession; it commands the harbour, and the troops now there will embark the last. The retreat from the town of Boston is to be covered by a large body of Grenadiers and Light-Infantry, and the Fifth and Tenth Regiments. The Fowey, a man-of-war of twenty-eight guns, commanded by Captain George Montagu, covers the retreat by water. A packet is to sail, I hear, as soon as the Army is clear of the town; so probably I shall have it in my power to inform you whether we are attacked in our retreat or not; if I have, I will.
Nantasket-Road, March 17.According to my promise, I proceed to give a brief account of our retreat, which was made this morning between the hours of two and eight. Our troops did not receive the smallest molestation, though the Rebels were all night at work on the near hill which I mentioned to you in my last letter, and we kept a constant fire upon them from a battery of four twenty-four-pounders. They did not return a single shot. It was lucky for the inhabitants now left in Boston they did not; for I am informed everything was prepared to set the town on a blaze had they fired one cannon. The Dragoons are under orders to sail to-morrow for Halifaxa cursed cold, wintry place, even yet; nothing to eat, less to drink. Bad times, my dear friend. The displeasure I feel from the very small share I have in our present insignificancy is so great, that I do not know the thing so desperate I would not undertake, in order to change our situation.
* Whitehall, May 3, 1776.General Howe, Commander-in-Chief of his Majestys Forces in North-America, having taken a resolution on the 7th of March to remove from Boston to Halifax, with the troops under his command, and such of the inhabitants, with their effects, as were desirous to continue under the protection of his Majestys Forces; the embarkation was effected on the 17th of that month with the greatest order and regularity, and without the least interruption from the Rebels. When the Packet came away, the first division of the transports was under sail, and the remainder were preparing to follow in a few days; the Admiral leaving behind as many of the ships-of-war as could be spared from the convoy, for the security and protection of such vessels as might be bound to Boston.London Gazette