Affiliate Link

Dorchester Heights Taken

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

March 9. –Last Saturday night [March 2], the artillery at the fortresses of Cobble Hill and Lechmere’s Point, below Cambridge, and at Lamb’s dam in Roxbury, bombarded and cannonaded the town. The following night, the same was continued with great briskness; and the whole of Monday night, the artillery from all the above fortresses played incessantly. The shot and shells were heard to make a great crashing in the town, but we have not learnt any of the particulars of the execution done thereby. The regulars returned the fire from their batteries at West Boston, and from their lines on the Neck, very vigorously. They threw many shells into the battery at Lechmere’s Point, one into the fort on Prospect Hill, and one or two as far as fort “number two,” within a quarter of a mile of the College. 1

The grand object of the Americans was, to draw off the attention of the British from Dorchester Heights, until they could take possession of that position on Monday night. This was accomplished by three thousand men, under General Thomas. 2 The men worked with such alertness, that by morning they were in a condition to sustain any attack of the enemy. On Tuesday, the whole army were assembled at their proper posts, to act as circumstances required. It was expected and hoped that General Howe would send out such a force as he thought competent, to dislodge the Americans from Dorchester Hill; that being the case, they were prepared to push into Boston, from Cambridge, with four thousand men. We are since informed that Lord Percy was detached, with three thousand men in transports, to the castle, in order to land on Wednesday from that quarter. On Tuesday night [March 5] there was such a high gale of wind, which continued part of next day, that, glad of a plea for not attacking, they returned to Boston, and have been busy ever since, in carrying off their best effects from Boston on board their ships; and by their movements, which we can plainly discover, they are now busy in dismantling their fortifications and in getting ready to go off. This is confirmed by the captain of one of their transport vessels, who escaped from them the night before last, with all his crew. He says, on Tuesday morning, our works being discovered from the shipping, the Admiral immediately sent word of it to General Howe, informing him at the same time, that unless he could dispossess the Americans of that post, there was no safety for the fleet, and he should immediately fall down to Narraganset Road. We longed for nothing so much as their coming, but they are too prudent. It is reduced to the greatest moral certainty, that they are now preparing with all despatch, to abandon the town. This does not slacken, but rather increases the ardor of our troops to push on their works on Dorchester Hill, so that by the middle of the week, we may expect to have constructed such a battery there, as will command both the town and shipping, and if they don’t leave it before, will oblige them to hasten their departure, and, we hope, compel them to abandon many valuable articles they wish to take off with them. 3

Boston and Vicinity 1776

1 Harvard.
2 John Thomas.
3 Pennsylvania Journal, March 20.

Leave a Reply