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Attack at Dorchester

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

February 14. –About four o’clock this morning, a large party of ministerial butchers, supposed to be about one thousand, were discovered crossing the ice from Boston Neck to Dorchester Neck. The sentry immediately discharged his piece at them, and ran for the guard house to inform Captain Barnes, (commander of the guard,) who had already taken the alarm by the sentries firing their pieces; and, from information he could get of the course they were steering, judged their design was to cut off the retreat of the guard, which consisted only of sixty men. Captain Barnes immediately marched his guard off the neck to the edge of the marsh, and just escaped them, and lest the guns that had just been fired should not alarm the camp, he sent off several messengers. The enemy marched along with two field-pieces, and posted themselves in so advantageous a manner, that Captain Barnes could not attack them with the least hope of success, and he was obliged to wait for the arrival of reinforcements. In the mean time the cut-throats improved every minute of their time in setting fire to the buildings on Dorchester Neck, while they still moved toward the castle, where boats were ready to receive them. But our troops were so close upon them, that they put out the fire of six or seven of the buildings, and gained the point next to the castle, before the sons of Belial had reached their lines. They made prisoners of six of the guard and one old man, an inhabitant. 1


1 Pennsylvania Journal, March 6: –It is about two miles from the encampment at Dorchester, over the causeway, &c., to said guard house, and one mile from thence to the point next the castle.

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