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 ing their valuables and in seeking places of greater safety. The few who remained, witnessed, at about the middle of the day on the 19th, the appearance on the main street in Menotomy, of a second detachment of British troops, which comprised the reinforcement under the command of Lord Percy that had marched out from Boston, at nine o'clock that morning, through Roxbury, and over the Great Bridge to Cambridge, and thence through Menotomy by the great road to Concord to support the first detachment. One who saw the passing column on the road at Menotomy,1 and heard the measured tread of the veteran and disciplined regulars, said their burnished arms and bright bayonets, glittering in the sunlight, looked ‘like a flowing river.’ ‘A little girl, named Nabby Blackington, as they marched by, was watching her mother's cow while she fed by the road-side; the cow took her way directly through the passing column, and the child, faithful to her trust, followed through the ranks bristling with bayonets. “We will not hurt the child,” they said.’—Smith.2 The detachment under Percy on their way to Lexington found every house on the road deserted. The militia were engaged in the distant conflict, and the main body of the detachment met no opposition in Cambridge, beyond the removal of the planks from the Great Bridge at the passage of the Charles River. These not being removed altogether, but piled by the bridge, were speedily replaced, and caused the main body little delay. But the wagon-train carrying the provisions and supplies for the troops was detained so long by this occurrence, that it lost the protection of the main body, and became so far
2 Gordon in his Hist. Am. Revolution, says, ‘The brigade marched out playing, by way of contempt, Yankee Doodle, a song composed in derision of the New Englanders, scornfully called Yankees. A smart boy observing it, as the troops passed through Roxbury, made himself extremely merry with the circumstance, jumping and laughing, so as to attract the notice of his lordship, who, it is said, asked him at what he was laughing so heartily; and was answered, ‘To think how you will dance by and by to Chevy Chave.’ It is added, that the repartee stuck by his lordship the whole day.’ Gordon, who was pastor of the Third Church in Roxbury (the Jamaica Plain Church), gives also an interesting history of the origin of the term Yankee.—See his Hist. Am. Rev, i. 312-13.
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