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Skirmish on Roxbury Neck

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

July 9. –Yesterday morning, about half-past two o’clock, we were called up and informed that the regulars had attacked the lines at Roxbury. We heard distinctly the firing of small arms and artillery on Roxbury Neck, and soon discovered a great fire in that quarter, but two hours elapsed before we knew the cause, which was as follows:

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 their 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 lines, without losing a man. They took two muskets and accoutrements, a halbert, &c., all which were bloody, and showed evident marks of loss on the part of the regulars. The houses have been a long while made use of by the regulars as an advanced post, and has given them an opportunity of discovering our operations at Roxbury. 1


1 Extract of a letter from the Camp at Cambridge, July 9, in Holt’s Journal, July 27.

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