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[63]

The command of the party of exempts is variously attributed to David Lamson, a private soldier from Cambridge during the French War (see Paige, 405, note),1 and to Phillips Payson, A. M., pastor of a church in Chelsea [H. U. 1754, D. D. &c.], both of whom were probably present. Bancroft says two wagons sent out to the troops with supplies were waylaid and captured by Payson, the minister of Chelsea.2 Gordon, Hist. Am. Rev., i. 313, speaking of the British in retreat, says, ‘Before they reached Menotomy, a few Americans, headed by the Rev. Mr. Payson of Chelsea, who till now had been extremely moderate, attacked a party of twelve soldiers, carrying stores to the retreating troops, killed one, wounded several, made the whole prisoners, and gained possession of their arms and stores without any loss whatever to themselves.’

After the capture, for fear of exposing the village to British vengeance, all traces of the action on the road were effaced. The wagons were drawn into the hollow to the eastward of the present Railway Station and despoiled of their contents. The dead animals were removed to a distance, and the surviving ones sent to Medford (see Smith ).3

Lieutenant Edward Thornton Gould, of the Fourth, or King's

1 Lamson is named as an Indian, first from Medford, 1767, &c.—Wyman's Charlestown, 539.

2 Major Sylvester Osborn, then 16 years old (he was the youngest member of his company), was one of the guard detached from a Danvers militia company, which marched in advance of their regiment to Menotomy, ‘and had charge of two baggage-wagons, loaded with provisions and ammunition, which were taken with eleven British soldiers on their way to meet Lord Percy. One man was killed, and another wounded, before they surrendered. The prisoners were lodged in Ipswich gaol.’—Note to King's Danvers Address. Hanson, Hist. Danvers, says the company to which Osborn belonged ‘captured a wagon near Medford, which was carrying supplies to the British. He and others were detached to escort the prize to a place of safety, and they heard the report of the fire-arms, immediately after leaving the main body.’—See Hist. Danvers, pp. 106-107, 108, 217-218.

3 The following story related by Smith concerning this affair, and regarded by many as apocryphal, is still worthy of preservation as a curiosity. The guards in fleeing followed the westerly shore of Spy Pond, till, near Spring Valley, they met an old woman, named Batherick, digging dandelions, to whom they surrendered themselves, asking her protection. She led them to the house of Capt. Ephraim Frost, and gave them up to a party of our men, saying to her prisoners, ‘If you ever live to get back, you tell King George that an old woman took six of his grenadiers prisoners.’ The squib went the rounds of the English opposition papers, ‘If one old Yankee woman can take six grenadiers, how many soldiers will it require to conquer America?’

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