indignation that it was evident a war with England would sooner or later occur.
Hence a thorough military organization was kept up, by law, through the State, and the ‘trainings’ of the summer generally culminated in an official “muster” and “sham fight,” by division or brigade, in the fall.
Not satisfied with this, volunteer musters, in which ‘Indians’ took a conspicuous part, occurred every year or two.
West Cambridge was incorporated in 1807, and the next year an Indian muster took place at Lexington, in which the West Cambridge companies were engaged.
In those days there was a militia company in the town, commanded by Capt. David Hill, and a “light horse” company, commanded by Capt. Thomas Russell.
After alluding to the celebration of July 4, 1808, Mr. Russell
In 1809 the regular muster was held at Watertown.
The West Cambridge Band was organized in 1810, with eight instruments.1 It was a pleasant and useful association, and lasted for several years.
But the volunteer muster in 1810 was the greatest gala day of the kind ever witnessed in West Cambridge, combining the attractions of a naval, military and Indian fight.
The scene was on Spy Pond, and its island and shores.
It took place on a beautiful New England day, in October, with a clear sky, bracing air, with thousands of spectators.
Troops volunteered from the neighboring towns, the object being to capture or drive off a tribe of eighty or a hundred Indians, encamped on the island, with a wigwam, etc., under two chiefs (Capt. David Hill and Capt. Ebenezer Thompson). The first aggressive act of the Indians was to capture a boat about noon, in which two persons, Capt. Abner Stearns and John Niles, were fishing.
The Indians espying them, started with two or three canoes, and after an exciting chase, rowing about the pond, captured them, took them to the island, and (it was presumed) tortured them by driving a stake through their bodies, with other barbarities then known to be their common habit.
Then the conflict began, ‘and the boldest held his breath for a time.’
The naval force was composed of eight or ten boats, rigged, manned and armed, under the command of Admiral William S. Brooks, with Rear-Admiral Barton as second.
They were both old sea-captains, and carried out their part of the programme with as much formality as if in a real battle, giving all their orders through a speaking trumpet.
The two Admirals' barge boats, rigged like small ships, with flags and streamers flying, started with all the flotilla from their anchorage near the shore, made graceful evolutions around the pond, till, reaching near the island, they cast anchor in line of battle, and opened fire on the Indians with their small cannon and musketry.
Unfortunately, in the thickest of the firing, an explosion of a few pounds of powder took place on Admiral Barton's boat, but no one was seriously hurt.
The Watertown Artillery posted on the high bank, near the old ‘lower ’