Boston Neck (Report)

Pennsylvania Gazette/July 26, 1775

Extract from a letter from the camp at Cambridge, July 9

“Two hundred volunteers, from the Rhode Island and Massachusetts forces, undertook to burn a guard-house of the regulars on the neck, within three hundred yards of the enemy’s principal works. They detached six men, about ten o’clock in the evening, with orders to cross on a marsh up to the rear of the guard-house, and there to watch an opportunity to fire it, the remainder of the volunteers secreted themselves in the marsh, on each side of the neck, about two hundred yards from the house; two pieces of brass artillery were drawn softly on the marsh within three hundred yards, and upon a signal from the advanced party of six men, two rounds of cannon shot were fired through the guard-house; immediately the regulars, who formed a guard of forty-five or fifty men, quitted the house, and were then fired on by the musketry, who drove them with precipitation into their lines. The six men posted near the house set fire to it, and burnt it to the ground. After this they burnt another house nearer the enemy, without losing a man. They took two muskets and accoutrements, a halbert, etc., all which were bloody, and shewed evident marks of loss on the part of the regulars. The houses had been a long while made use of by the regulars as an advanced post, and gave them an opportunity of discovering our operations at Roxbury. Yesterday afternoon some barges were sounding the river of Cambridge, near its mouth, but were soon obliged to row off by our Indians (fifty in number) who are encamped near that place.

“The enemy lost a great number of officers and soldiers in the affair of the 19th of June. From several persons, who are to be credited, it exceeds 900 killed and mortally wounded, besides a great number disabled from future service. It is said almost all the officers of the army, as well as sergeants and corporals, were in the engagement, leading and forming the soldiers to mount the hill.

“This may account for so many officers being killed as ninety-two. Some accounts mention a general destruction of sergeants and corporals. We have frequent interviews with regular officers in a valley between the two fortified hills. Our sentries are not more than a hundred yards off each other. Both sides are still busy in securing themselves. There is scarcely a house in the lower part of Roxbury that is not much injured by the shot and bombs. Our people have left only one man by them, which is very remarkable, as a hundred at least were fired into Roxbury last week.”


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