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[232] affirm or who can deny, that mischievous persons on
Chap. LVI.} 1776. Jan.
shore may not have found amusement in feeding the flames? But the American commanders, Howe and Woodford, certainly made every effort to arrest them; and troops without tents would hardly in midwinter have burned down the houses that were their only shelter.

When Washington learned the fate of the rich emporium of his own ‘country,’ for so he called Virginia, his breast heaved with waves of anger and grief; ‘I hope,’ said he, ‘this, and the threatened devastation of other places, will unite the whole country in one indissoluble band against a nation, which seems lost to every sense of virtue and those feelings which distinguish a civilized people from the most barbarous savages.’

On the first day of January, 1776, the tri-colored American banner, not yet spangled with stars, but showing thirteen stripes of alternate red and white in the field, and the united red and white crosses of Saint George and Saint Andrew on a blue ground in the corner, was unfurled over the new continental army round Boston, which, at that moment of its greatest weakness, consisted of but nine thousand six hundred and fifty men.

On that day free negroes stood in the ranks by the side of white men. In the beginning of the war they had entered the provincial army: the first general order, which was issued by Ward, had required a return, among other things, of ‘the complexion’ of the soldiers; and black men, like others, were retained in the service after the troops were adopted by the continent.

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