The Rev. Samuel Abbot Smith, in his work entitled West Cambridge on the Nineteenth of April, 1775 (Boston, 1864), pp. 66, gives an extended account of the part the place took in the battle, and preserves many traditions of the doings of the inhabitants. His sources of information were of the best, and his little book was one of the most interesting character. Dr. Paige, also, in his History of Cambridge, has presented considerable data regarding the battle in this part of the town. The local militia were called out on what is known as the ‘Lexington Alarm,’ and the minute company of this Precinct was formed on the common at day-break, ready for active service (Smith ). The Cambridge militia company of the other Parish, under the command of Capt. Samuel Thatcher, likewise ‘marched on the alarm, April 19, 1775;’ Paige stating the number of miles out and home, for which they were credited, as twenty-eight; equal to the distance, at Old Cambridge, to and from Concord. The Menotomy company probably pursued the same course, and followed the enemy to Concord, and returned in pursuit during the British retreat. houses were put to death. When we got to Menotomy there was a very heavy fire; after that we took the short cut into the Charlestown road, and we went into Charlestown without any great interruption. We got there between 7 and 8 at night, took possession of the Hill above the town and waited for boats to carry us over. We got home very late in the night. Thus ended this expedition, which from beginning to end was as ill-planned and ill-executed as it was possible to be. Even the people of Salem and Marblehead, above twenty miles off, had intelligence and time enough to march, and met us on our return; they met us somewhere about Menotomy, but they lost a good many for their pains. Thus for a few trifling stores the Grenadiers and Light Infantry had a march of about fifty miles (going and returning) through an Enemy's country; and in all human probability must every man have been cut off, if the Brigade had not fortunately come to their assistance; for when the Brigade joined us there were very few men had any ammunition left, and so fatigued that we could not keep flanking-parties out—so that we must soon have laid down our arms, or been picked off by the Rebels at their pleasure.The above statement by this officer explains why the British troops on their return punished our people so severely in the death of so many unarmed and helpless persons, particularly within the limits of this Precinct.
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