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[293] Washington the command of Boston and of a large
Chap. LIX.} 1776. Feb.
part of the harbor. Ill supplied as he was with powder, and having no resource for artillery but in the captures made from the enemy by privateers and the cannon which had been dragged overland from Lake George, he still made the necessary arrangements to occupy the position, in the hope to bring the enemy out and force them to offer battle. To that end the council of Massachusetts, at his request, called in the militia of the nearest towns. The engineer employed to devise and superintend the works was Rufus Putnam; and the time chosen for their erection was the eve of the anniversary of ‘the Boston massacre.’ To
harass the enemy and divert attention, a heavy cannonade and bombardment of the town was kept up during the two previous nights. Soon after candlelight on the fourth of March, the firing was renewed with greater vehemence than before from Cobble Hill, now Somerville, from Lechmere's Point, now East Cambridge, and from a battery in Roxbury, and was returned with such zeal by the British, that a continued roar of cannon and mortars was heard from seven o'clock till daylight. As soon as it had begun, Washington proceeded to take possession of the Heights of Dorchester. All the requisite dispositions, including the method of baffling an attack, had been deliberately considered, and prepared with consummate skill; every thing was ready; every man knew his place, his specific task, and the duty of executing it with celerity and silence. A party of eight hundred went in advance as a guard; one half of them taking post on the height nearest Boston; the other at the easternmost point, opposite the castle. They were followed

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