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Noddle’s Island

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

May 30. –A Captain who was lately seized by Admiral Greaves and taken into Boston, has just come out; he says he was at the wharf at Noddle’s island when the battle began. The master of the Diana schooner told him, that guns were never better served than the Americans’; that not a shot missed him. 1 One man was carried on board for dead, but the next morning he came to, and had not the least wound about him; others were frightened almost to death. There is an amazing difference in the looks and behavior of the enemy since the battle, from what there was before; before there was nothing but noise and confusion, now all is still and quiet, insomuch that one can hardly perceive that there is any fleet or army there. From the general down to the common soldier, they seem to be in a great panic, and are afraid to go to bed for fear the Yankees will kill them before morning. 2


1 General Putnam, by his ingenious invention and invincible courage, having nearly expended his cannon ball before the king’s schooner, took this method to get more from the Somerset in Boston harbor: He ordered parties consisting of about two or three of his men, to show themselves on the top of a certain sandy hill, near the place of action, in sight of the man-of-war, but at a great distance, in hopes that the captain would be fool enough to fire at them. It had the desired effect, and so heavy a fire ensued from this ship and others, that the country round Boston thought the town was attacked. By this he obtained several hundred balls, which were easily taken out of the sand, and much sooner than he could have sent to head-quarters for them. —Constitutional Gazette, Sept. 23.
2 Pennsylvania Journal, June 28.


  1. Hi Frank,

    Great little detail about Gen Putnam fooling the British into firing on them! I hadn’t heard that anywhere else.

    A group of East Boston residents are planning to hold a Memorial Day boat parade along the shores of what was formerly Noddle Island to commemorate the batle…


  2. It was an ingenious plan, wasn’t it? It’s difficult to reuse ammunition in quite the same way today, though!

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