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George Bancroft, History of the United States from the Discovery of the American Continent, Vol. 8 20 0 Browse Search
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never more than sixty five hundred effective rank and file. But these were Chap. XLII.} 1775. July. the choicest troops, thoroughly trained, and profusely supplied with the materials of war; and as he had the dominion of the water, he was able; as from a centre, to bend them against any one point in the straggling line of their besiegers. Washington found the American army dispersed in a semicircle, from the west end of Dorchester to Maiden, a distance of nine miles. At Roxbury, where Thomas commanded two regiments of Connecticut and nine of Massachusetts, a strong work, planned by Knox and Waters, crowned the hill, and with the brokenness of the rocky ground, secured that pass. The main street was defended by a breastwork, in front of which sharpened and well-pointed trees, placed with the top towards Boston, prevented the approach of light horse. A breastwork also crossed the road to Dorchester. The men of Rhode Island were partly on Winter Hill, partly at Sewall's Farm, ne
deliberately considered, and prepared with consummate skill; every thing was ready; every man knew his place, his specific task, and the duty of executing it with celerity and silence. A party of eight hundred went in advance as a guard; one half of them taking post on the height nearest Boston; the other at the easternmost point, opposite the castle. They were followed by carts with intrenching tools, and by the working Chap. LIX.} 1776. Mar. party of twelve hundred under the command of Thomas, an officer whose great merit on this occasion is the more to be remembered from the shortness of his career. The ground, for eighteen inches deep, was frozen too hard to yield earth for the defences; but the foresight of the chief had amply provided substitutes; a train of more than three hundred carts, easily drawn by oxen over the frozen marshes, brought bundles of screwed hay to form a cover for Dorchester Neck where it was exposed to a raking fire, and an amazing quantity of gabions an
as to hold Canada, the small pox raged among the soldiers: Thomas had never been inoculated; and his journey to the camp was not ask the people to take part in continuing the war. Thomas arrived near Quebec on the first of May, and employed the ates, and attacked the American sentinels and main guard. Thomas attempted to bring his men under arms, but unable to colleurn home when their health should be restored. At Deschambault Thomas again held a council of war, and by a vote of twelvers. This pass was but fifteen leagues above Montreal; and Thomas, at Sorel, was but as many leagues distant below. The Ay but to the ravages of the British; it therefore enjoined Thomas to display his military qualities and acquire laurels. Ofntreal from the west. From the lower side news came, that Thomas had been seized by the small pox. But the commissioners, ier of being cut off and utterly destroyed. The death of Thomas on the second, left the command to Sullivan. Arriving wit