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[295] were all at the same time in motion, going backwards
Chap. LIX.} 1776. Mar.
and forwards, some three, some four times; beneath him, in the town, lay the British general, indifferent to the incessant noise of cannon, never dreaming of an ejectment from his comfortable winter quarters; the army that checkered the quiet place with martial show, reposed without special watchfulness or fear; the crowd of ships in the fleet rode proudly in the spacious harbor, motionless except as they turned on their moorings with the tide, unsuspicious of peril; the wretched, unarmed inhabitants of Boston, emaciated from want of wholesome food, pining after freedom, as yet little cheered by hope, trembled lest their own houses should be struck in the tumult, which raged as if heaven and earth were at variance; the common people that were left in the villages all around, chiefly women and children, driven from their beds by the rattling of their windows and the jar of their houses, could watch from the hill-tops the flight of every shell that was thrown, and waited for morning with wonder and anxiety. In England the ministry trusted implicitly the assurances of Howe, that he ‘was not under the least apprehensions of any attack from the rebels;’ the king expected that after wintering in Boston, and awaiting reenforcements, he would, in May or in the first week of June, sail for New York; the courtiers were wishing Boston and all New England sunk to the very bottom of the sea.

At about three in the morning the working party was relieved; but the toil was continued with unremitted energy, so that in one night strong redoubts, amply secure against grapeshot and musketry, crowned

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