[p. 94] It was a lonely region then, not populated. There was no Fellsway and no trolley line about. No shops, no post office, no school. Hardly a house was in sight. Indeed, I remember only one; it stood somewhat south of Salem street, and was inhabited by a family whose name was ‘Gale.’ It was said to be the last house in Medford. On the north side of the highway was a large plain, nearly level. At its north end rose a high craggy ridge bearing plenty of rocks, junipers, etc. Near Salem street stood the artillerists with several field pieces, all pointing north and in extremely active and reckless service. Next north of the cannon stood companies of infantry over whose heads the cannon were supposed to fire. Far away on the rough upland were countless ‘Indians’ in wonderful paint and feathers, flitting about among the rocks and bushes and wasting lots of powder. At length the cannonading ceased, the infantry charged and the Medford boy contingent went with them. Nobody hindered the boys, but as the charge ascended the rocky battlements of the ridge the noise of musketry was fearful and the warwhoops even more so. It seemed to us that the white men were gradually forcing the red ones back. In the real historic fights this was generally the case. In the sham fights it was always so. Still, we could not tell very well, as the confusion was awful, the smoke dense, and the thunder of the cannon and the shouting endless. Evening was approaching. We had eaten nothing since breakfast, and had no money to buy any of the gorgeous pies and cookies for sale at little tables along Salem street. So the Medford boys went home tired and happy to their mothers. Unless a few ball cartridges were inadvertently used on that battle day I do not think the North Mountain was hurt much, or anything deposited in its chasms or scaurs to puzzle future historical societies. I say inadvertently, for no one who knew Miss Lucy Osgood as I did would ever venture to cannonade her wood lot, to say nothing of the poor Indians. But this is not the whole of my story. A couple of years later I again visited this battle plain. As we approached it, walking as before on Salem street, we were struck with the different character of the noises. The furious gun-fire of 1840 was no longer in evidence. The cannon reports were of rather slow recurrence and seemingly at regular intervals. The field-pieces were in their former places. The artillerists were by them, but were deliberate and very careful. No infantry were on the field. No Indians were anywhere in sight. But there were targets, two or more, standing on the lower slope of the bluff and very near the level of the plain. No blank cartridges were being used then. We could see the dust spouts as the shots struck the rugged slope. Evidently the
This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
Quaint old records.
Medford Historical Society .
Officers for the year ending January , 1911
Stage-coach days in Medford .
The Society's work-papers and addresses
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