(in the handwriting of Lord Percy), now in the possession of his Grace the Duke of Northumberland, at Alnwick Castle. They are communicated for this work by our friend Rev. Edward G. Porter, of Lexington, to whom permission was given, during a visit to the castle in October, 1878, to copy and use them.
Letter from Earl Percy to Gen. Gage.Boston, 20 April, 1775.sir:—I obedience to your Excellency's orders I marched yesterday morning at 9 o'clock with the first Brigade, 2 field-pieces, in order to, cover the retreat of the Grenadiers and Light Infantry on their return from the expedition to Concord. As all the houses were shut up, and there was not the appearance of a single inhabitant, I could get no intelligence concerning them, till I had passed Menotomy, when I was informed that the Rebels had attacked His Majesty's Troops who were retiring overpowered by numbers, greatly exhausted and fatigued, and having expended almost all their ammunition; and about 2 o'clock I met them retiring through the town of Lexington. I immediately ordered the two field-pieces to fire at the Rebels, and drew up the Brigade on a height. The shot from the cannon had the desired effect, and stopped the Rebels for a little time, who immediately dispersed and endeavored to surround us, being very numerous. As it began now to grow pretty late, and we had 15 miles to retire and only our 36 rounds, I ordered the Grenadiers and Light Infantry to move off first and covered them with my Brigade, sending out very strong flanking parties, which were absolutely necessary, as there was not a stone-wall or house, though before in appearance evacuated, from whence the Rebels did not fire upon us. As soon as they saw us begin to retire, they pressed very much upon our rear guard, which for that reason I relieved every now and then. In this manner we retired for 15 miles under an incessant fire all around us, till we arrived at Charlestown between 7 and 8 in the evening, very much fatigued with a march of above 30 miles, and. Shaving expended almost all our ammunition. We had the misfortune of losing a good many men in the retreat, though nothing like the number which, from many circumstances, I have reason to believe were killed of the Rebels. His Majesty's Troops during the whole of the affair behaved with their usual intrepidity and spirit; nor were they a little exasperated at the cruelty and barbarity of the Rebels, who scalped and cut off the ears of some of the wounded men who fell into their hands. I am &c., (signed)Percy, Acting Brig. Gen. To the Honble Govr Gage.