nies, and all tlie forces now raised or to be raised by them." He is to come
immediately to camp to take command, and is now on his way. The Pro-
vincial Congress at Watertown has resolved that the president's house, with
the exception of one room, reserved by the President for his own use, be
taken, cleared, prepared and furnished for the reception of General Wash-
ington and General Lee.
The appoii]tment of General Washington is very
popular. They say he is a man in every way fitted for this position, and his
election is unanimous.
"July T,d. — General Washington is here. Yesterday he arrived, by way of
Watertown, where he was received by Congress with a congratulatory ad-
dress, and escorted to Cambridge by a troop of light horse. He went imme-
diately to his quarters at the president's house. It was just as we were re-
1 The Lowell house and the Wells house. — Ed.
26 Extracts fjvm tJie Diary of DorotJiy Dudley.
turning from church, and our curiosity to see the man of whom we have
heard so much was satisfied. He is a large man, tall and well-proportioned ;
his face noble in its suggestion of strength, and dignity, and modesty. Our
expectations are more than realized. His appearance is one to inspire con-
fidence and love, and to make us grateful for the possession of such a chief.
To-day he formally took command, under one of the grand old elms on
the Common. It was a magnificent sight. The majestic figure of the Gen-
eral, mounted upon his horse beneath the wide-spreading branches of the
patriarch tree ; ^ the multitude thronging the plain around, and the houses
filled with interested spectators of the scene, while the air rung with shouts
of enthusiastic welcome, as he drew his sword, and thus declared himself
Commander-in-chief of the Continental army. He will find his task a hard
one, that of making an army out of the rude material gathered from all parts
of our Colonies. General Ward, who already commands the troops around
Boston, Colonel Charles Lee, who has resigned his commission in the King's
service. General Philip Schuyler of New York, and Israel Putnam, " Old
Put," are appointed major-generals. These all will surely find their hands
full of work, in putting this body of fifteen thousand men into readiness for
war, there is so much confusion in camp, so little discipline, and such terri-
ble want of supplies of every kind. And this want must be kept an utter
secret from the enemy in Boston. General Washington's staff consists of
Major Thomas Mifflin of Philadelphia, first aid-de-camp, Major John Trum-
bull, son of Governor Trumbull of Connecticut, second aid-de-camp, Colonel
Joseph Reed of Philadelphia, private secretary, and Horatio Gates, adjutant-
general. Major Trumluill is quite a clever artist, and gained the favor of
the Commander-in-chief by a very correct drawing of the enemy's works in
Boston. He is a young man of fine appearance and abilities. Major Mif-
flin is a universal favorite, full of activity and enthusiasm. Colonel Reed is
a gentleman of rich culture, and invaluable to Washington as his confiden-
tial clerk. General Gates is popular and useful.
ynly \()th. — General Washington is a most wonderful commander. His
personal influence is unbounded. There is something magnetic about him,
drawing from others their fullest confidence. He is most conscientious in
his discharge of every duty, and is accomplishing miracles among the sol-
The army is l^esieging Boston from all the surrounding country, being sta-
tioned in a semicircle from Charlestown to Dorchester, eight or nine miles.
Colonel Prescott is entrenched in the woods between Cambridge and Lech-
mere's Point, and "Old Put" is at Prospect Hill. He has raised the Con-
necticut flag on the ramparts. On one side the banner has the motto, " An
Appeal to Heaven," and on the other side the three vines, the armorial
* " Under the brave old tree
Our fathers gathered in nnns, and swore
They would follow the sij;n their banners bore,
And fight U" tbe land was free." — Dr. Hohites.
Reasons for Rebellion. 27
bearings of that Colony, with the legend, " Qui Transtulit Sustinet." This
was thrown to the air immediately after the reading of the Declaration of
Congress, setting forth the reasons for taking up arms against England, and
the shouts of the soldiers were so loud as to frighten the enemy on Bunker
Hill, who rushed to arms, believing an immediate attack was to be made.
This manifesto declares that " Our cause is just. Our Union is perfect.
Our internal resources are great, and, if necessary, foreign assistance is
undoubtedly attainable. We gratefully acknowledge as signal instances of
divine favor toward us, that His providence would not permit us to be
called into this severe controversy, until we were grown up to our present
strength, had been previously exercised in warlike operations, and possessed
of the means of defending ourselves. With hearts fortified with these ani-
mating reflections, we most solemnly, before God and the world, declare,
that exerting the utmost energy of those powers which our beneficent Cre-
ator hath graciously bestowed upon us, the arms we have been compelled by
our enemies to assume, we will, in defiance of every hazard, with unabating
firmness and perseverance, employ for the preservation of our liberties, be-
ing with one mind resolved to die free men rather than to live slaves."
July 10th. — Fast Day. Services in church and camp. Soldiers are ordered
to attend public worship, but to take with them their arms and ammunition,
to be ready for battle at a moment's notice. I saw to-day part of a British
officer's letter to a friend in England, which failed of its destination. He
speaks eloquently of our beautiful Colony, which now is besprinkled with
forts and camps, and all the paraphernalia of war : '• The country is most
beautifully tumbled about in hills and valleys, rocks and woods, interspersed
with straggling villages, with here and there a spire peeping over the trees,
and the country of the most charming green that delighted eye ever gazed
on.'' Would that he and his countrymen were loath to disturb the quiet
beauty of this land by the terrible sights and sounds of war. Our need of
ammunition is so great that we are called upon to give up our window
weights, to be moulded into bullets ; and even the tombs in the old ceme-
tery are robbed of their leaden coats-of-arms, and Christ Church of its
metal organ-pipes for the same purpose. The very mention of powder sets
every one in a shiver. General Washington sat for a full half hour without
speaking, when, in the general council, upon his first arrival, he was told of
the great want of that death-dealing substance. But, in spite of its being
so ill-prepared for contest. General Washington acknowledges that there is
good material in the army, made up as it is " of a great number of men,
able-bodied, active, zealous in the cause, and of unquestionable courage."
General Washington himself has thrown up the first sod preparatory to
building a fort near the river; and the swamps and marshes are dotted with
laborers whose whole heart is in their work. The Soden Farm and the
pine banks and oyster banks are not to be without redoubts. This matter
of entrenchments absorbs the time and thoughts of every one.
28 Extracts from the Diary of Dorothy Dudley.
July 25///. — A company of riflemen, commanded by Captain Thompson,
has joined our army, — a most singular liody of men, dressed in Indian
costume, with brown linen hunting-jackets confined by wampum belt, leg-
gings and moccasins elaborately trimmed with beads, and a simple round hat.
Each carries a tomahawk or knife stuck in his belt, and his own unerrins:
rifle which he brought from his home in the backwoods. They have all
come a distance of four hundred, and some as many as seven hundred
miles. They are strong, muscular men, looking equal to any hardships ;
and, from what we hear of their characteristics, we may be sure they will
create havoc among the Redcoats. Since their early boyhood they iiave
been trained marksmen, having been punished every time they failed to hit
their game in the head.
August \st. — There is a young man in camp whom I have noticed again
and again as he passes the house. He is striking in appearance, though
quite small and boyish. His eyes are piercing in their brightness, and there
is something winning in his manner. His name is Aaron Burr, a son of
Rev. Aaron Burr, formerly President of Princeton College, N. J., and grand-
son of Rev. Jonathan Edwards. Things are very quiet now in both armies.
The enemy is closely hemmed in on all sides by the redoubts thrown up by
our troops. With so little ammunition it is impossible to make an attack,
or even to answer the volleys from their guns. The other day a shell from
Copp's Hill struck very near the president's house, though no harm was done,
through the heroism of a soldier who risked his life in stamping upon the
still burning fuse. General Washington has desired 'Colonel John Vassall's
house to be made ready for him, and will remove there as soon as possible.
Congress has adjourned for five weeks.
[letter from DOROTHY DUDLEY TO MISS ESTHER LIVINGSTONE OF
Cambridge, Aug. 30, 1775.
My DEAREST Esther, — I have an opportunity to send you a letter by
a messenger who goes to Philadelphia to-morrow, and hasten to improve it,
since I have written so little during the terrible months that have passed.
Let me give you a hasty sketch of our Cambridge life since the day when
American blood was shed by British troops on Lexington Common. Of
course it is all familiar to you through the public prints, — the hanging
of the lantern from the belfry tower ; the midnight cry which roused every
one from sleep ; the hurried preparations for the fight ; the defeat of the
haughty Redcoats with a loss of nearly three hundred from their ranks,
which cost our militia nearly one hundred brave men. But you can form
no idea of the horrors which fastened themselves upon the poor distressed
people of our town. Women, whose husbands had rushed to the affray,
' The Editor inserts this lively letter ai iliis jjoint because it very pleasantly complements the narra-
tive of the Diary.
The Battle of Blinker Hill. 29
beside themselves with fright, started off in search of a place of safety-,
carrying with them their children and such household goods as they gath-
ered together in their haste. Mrs. Dr. Winthrop in the confusion made
her way with a number of others toward F'resh Pond, and passed through
the battle-ground at Menotomy, where lay the dead bodies of both British
and American soldiers. The fugitives were sent to Andover, as it was un-
safe for them to return to Cambridge.
The affair that day was the signal for war ; and it needed not the appeal
for volunteers to bring together hundreds and thousands of brave men on
fire with enthusiasm and eager for battle. Our town was deluged with sol-
diers for the time ; and General Heath, the superior oiificer, was at his wits'
end to keep order in the midst of so much coming and going. Many of the
men stayed but a few days, and returned to their homes to make prepara-
tions for joining the army permanently. General Artemas Ward, the vet-
eran soldier, was put at the head of affairs almost immediately, and the work
of levying an army went on rapidly.
You know about Bunker Hill, and the loss of our brave Dr. Warren, who
is deeply mourned by all. The memory of that day will live in American
hearts, so long as one spark of patriotism burns in our beloved land. Pres-
cott out-did himself, I have heard, in his efforts to spur the men on in de-
fence of their works. He walked back and forth in the redoubt, talking
cheerily all the time, and firing the men with his own flaming enthusiasm.
General Gage, watching our troops through his glass, inquired who tliis in-
trepid officer was. A brother-in-law of Colonel Prescott's told him.
" Will he fight ? " he asked.
" Yes, sir ; he is an old soldier, and will fight as long as a drop of blood
" The works must be carried," was the British general's reply.
And they were carried, as you know, tliougli with terrible loss to the Brit-
ish army. Colonel Prescott said after the battle, that he had not done
enough to satisfy himself, but we think he has immortalized his name.
Come with me, and I will show you our army, with our matchless chief at
its head. Cambridge is a military town, the Common is the parade ground,
and Massachusetts, Stoughton, Hollis, and Harvard halls, and Holden
Chapel, so lately echoing the tread of students' feet, are occupied as
barracks. The beautiful college green is disfigured by earthworks, thrown
up in the spring, in anticipation of an attack from the enemy. Christ
Church ^ is occupied by soldiers, owing to scarcity of tents. Rev. Mr. Ser-
1 "Our ancient church I its lowly tower,
Beneath the loftier spire,
Is shadowed when the sunset hour
Clothes the tall shaft in fire ;
It sinks beyond the distant eye,
Long ere the glittering vane
High wheeling in the western sky,
Has faded o'er the plain." — O. IV. Holmes.
The Tories vacate their Houses. 31
jeant, its rector, has been obliged to leave town, driven away on account of
his adherence to the King. Many houses on the Menotomy road,^ have been
given to the army as quarters, and you see military in all corners. Boston
is encircled with our troops ; actually liemmed in, though we are weak by
reason of the sad want of powder and other necessary supplies. You re-
member Colonel Vassall's - magnificent house on the road to Watertown. It
is taken by our government, and is now General Washington's head-quar-
ters. Major Henry Vassall's, on the opposite side of the road,^ is a hospital
for the wounded at Bunker Hill.
Judge Lee, being lukewarm in his Tory principles, and not interfering in
politics, is allowed to retain his fine old mansion, the frame of which was
brought from the old country, years before the present owner was born.
Mr. Jonathan Sewall,** you know, has fled, and Captain George Ruggles.^
The latter's house is filled with wounded soldiers just now, as is also Colonel
Phipps's,*' which you remember. Mr. Ralph Inman has left his estate, and
Old Put makes the house his head-quarters, his troops occupying barracks
on the grounds. On that terrible 19th of April, when the affray at Lexing-
ton had filled the very air with horror, many families, frightened from their
homes by the sounds of approaching battle, congregated at Mr. Dana's
house on Butler's Hill,'' and there our good pastor, Dr. Appleton, met his
little flock, to comfort and cheer their timid hearts, and lead their thoughts
upward to Him whose arm is strong to help in time of need. While en-
gaged in fervent prayer, the cry was heard, " The Redcoats are running,"
and with thankful haste the patriotic minister said " Amen," and the com-
You remember Dr. Appleton, with his kindly eyes and benevolent smile.
I must tell you an anecdote characteristic of him, in the days when Har-
vard College harbored roguish students within its walls, in place of its
present occupants. The Doctor had a number of hens. Some mischievous
boys, thinking to have a feast at his expense, one night made a visit to
1 Now North Avenue. — Eu.
2 Now the home of the poet, Longfellow, who says of it : —
"Once, ah, once, within these walls,
One whom memory oft recalls,
The Father of his Country dwelt;
And yonder meadows broad and damp,
The fires of the besieging camp.
Encircled with a burning belt.
Up and down these echoing stairs,
Heavy with the weight of cares,
Sounded his majestic tread ;
Yes, within this very room
Sat he in those hours of gloom,
Weary both in heart and head." — Ed.
3 The Batchelder house.— Ed. •* Mr. John Brewster's house. — Ed.
5 Wells house. — Ed. '' On Arrow Street.— Eu.
1 Now Dana Hill. — Ed.
32 Extracts frovi the Diary of Dorothy Dudley.
his hen-roost. The good Doctor had an inkhng of their errand, and stationed
himself in the friendly shadow of a tree, to watch and listen. There were
two of them — one remained below as sentinel, the other climbed the roost
to procure the game. One by one he wrung the necks of the astonished
and unresisting fowls, and tossed them to the ground. At last he came to
the old rooster, and called down in a whisper : " Say, Jack, here 's the old
rooster. Shall we take him ? " Jack, meanwhile, had been alarmed by a
rustling noise behind him, and, turning, discovered his pastor. Without
a word he precipitately departed, leaving his friend alone. He, too, had
heard the sound, though ignorant of its cause. Again he cautiously spoke :
" Quick, Jack, say shall we take him ? " A voice in the same tone replied,
" Yes, we '11 have him. He '11 make a nice stew. Hand him down." Down
he came, and with him the thief, who, in consternation, recogftized, not the
partner of his guilt, but the good man -whom they were robbing. Not a
word was spoken ; silently each went his waw In a day or two the whole
class, of which these were members, received a cordial invitation to dine
with the Rev. Doctor. Every one complied, and they sat down to a dinner fit
for a prince. There were roast fowls, and fricasseed fowls, and broiled fowls,
with all sorts of tempting dishes, to sharpen the appetite. The Doctor
was in his pleasantest mood, and chatted sociably witli his guests during
the whole of the repast. When they had eaten to their satisfaction, he or-
dered another dish to be brought on, saying, " You must every one have
some of this nice stew, made from the old rooster. It is very good." No
one dared refuse, and in no other way was allusion made to the occasion,
which furnished this admirable dinner. The Doctor, you may be sure, was
not troubled afterwards by thieves.
So you have seen Mrs. Hancock. Is she not charming ! One cannot
wonder at Madame Lydia Hancock's fondness for her, and resolve to secure
the treasure for her nephew. You have heard how carefully she guarded
her against the approach of any invader upon Mr. John Hancock's rights.
I visited Lexington, the other day, and trod the ground so lately w^t
with the blood of our noble minute-men ; went into Mr. Clarke's house,
where " King " Hancock, and " Citizen " Adams, were lodged that mem-
orable night before the battle, and walked under the tree, which I am told
sheltered them during part of that time of terror. I saw the bullet in the
wall of the attic chamber where the family were hid at the time, and where
Madame Hancock very narrowly escaped death, a ball grazing her cheek as
it passed. After the battle Mr. Hancock, who had his coach and four at
hand, left the town, accompanied by his Aunt Lydia and Miss Dorothy
Ouincy,! and rode to one of tlie neighboring villages, and from there by
slow stage to Fairfield, Connecticut. Madame Hancock is well acquainted
with Mr. Timothy Edwards, a son of Rev. Jonathan Edwards, and at his
house they stopped, and John Hancock and Dorothy Ouincy were made
' This was a niect: of the " Dorothy Q.," inimortalized in Dr. Holmes's happy poem. — Ed.
yohn Hancock marries-
man and wife. Mr. Edwards has a nephew hving with him, whom he has
adopted, and treats in all respects as his own son. Aaron Burr is his name.
He is a young man of fascinating manners, and many accomplishments.
He was much charmed with Miss Ouincy, I have heard, and she in turn was
not insensible to his attractions, but Madame Hancock kept a jealous eye
upon them both, and would not allow any advances upon tlie part of the
young man, toward the prize reserved for her nephew. When the knot was
tied that made them one, she felt at liberty to breathe. Immediately after
the wedding, they set out for Philadelphia, which has been their home ever
> This portrait is from the one by Copley, now in Faneuil Hall. — Ed.
34 Extracts from the Diary of DorotJiy Dudley.
I wish you were with me this delightful summer weather. I sometimes
cannot believe that this busy military camp, with its noise and confusion,
its drum-beating and parades, its variegated appearance, so in contrast
to the quiet look it was wont to wear, can be tlie same town of Cam-
bridge I remember a year ago. In my walks I frequently meet sad re-
minders of the reality of the war ; sometimes the slow, limping gait, and
the dull thud of a crutch, will call my attention ; again a tell-tale sling, will
speak of the strength gone from an arm once full of energy in the country's
service, or an empty sleeve, or weary liaggard, face, will touch the deepest
depths of gratitude and pity.
Old Mrs. Trowbridge, who is, you know, the soul of goodness, is inde-
fatigable in doing for the comfort of the soldiers in the hospitals. I have
been with her several times, to carry dainties for their flagging appetites,
and to do many little things to ease the pain and weariness that creep into
every hour. It is a pleasure to be able to break the monotony of the long
days, and sometimes I have taken a book — perhaps Bunyan's good old
Allegory, which is ever fresh and full of life — or better, the Bible, the one
book which never grows old, and wliich yields from its inexhaustible well of
treasure, something suited to the individual need of every one who seeks
to draw therefrom. The brightening look chasing away the cloud which
shadowed many a face, has been more than enough to reward me for my
little effort. Very glad I am, if I can make tiie brave men forget them-
selves in their eager stories of battle and camp-life, before the cruel bullet
brought death to their door. Bunker Hill, I have had rehearsed to me, in
all the different aspects it wore to those who were sharers in its glory and
its loss. And the French War, too, has furnished theme for many tales of
adventure and daring courage, from the lips of veterans in the service.
The Widow Vassall's house, which serves as a hospital, I have been
oftener to than to others, because of its nearness to my home. Tiiis house
has a history of its own dating back I don't dare to say how many years, but
somewhere in the last century, and was once the residence of good old Gov-
ernor Belcher. I have heard that Governor Belcher's wife was once on trial
for her life in England for the murder of her first husband, Mr. Steele. It
seems he had long contemplated suicide, and at last accomplished the deed,
shooting himself through the brain with a jiistol. Mrs. Steele, seizing the
weapon from his hand, was found by a servant of the family standing, it was
averred, in a most suspicious attitude. Upon the testimony of this witness
slie was tried for murder, Ijut acquitted, having ])een proved entirely inno-
cent of the crime.
Major Henry Vassall, a brother of Colonel Jolin Vassall, died about si.\
years ago and left the house in tlie hands of his widow. It is a very fine
old mansion, showing signs of wealth in its owners, and there are some pe-
culiarities in its style of building. Major Ajipleton called my attention one
day to a large panel in the wall near the fire-place, opening which he stepped
The Brattle House and Grounds. 35
into the cavity and shut the door. I found it hard to believe my eyes as I
saw him disappear in the wall, but afterwards made assurance doubly sure
by peeping into the closet myself and discovered ample space for hiding
treasures of any description, and for secreting a fugitive could he find air to
keep him alive. The grounds of the Vassall house extend to those of the
Brattle estate, which Major Mifflin has just taken as his residence. These
grounds are exquisitely laid out, and are really the finest in New England.
Many of the convalescent soldiers, able to stroll about in the soft summer
air, have found welcome for them to the Brattle grounds in the nodding
leaves and grasses and the sweet odors of the flowers and the gentle call
of the fountain. The kind Major and his gentle lady, herself delicate in
health, both extend warm sympathy and hospitality to our brave soldiers.
So you see, my friend, that my life for a time runs in a different current
from its wont. Our hands are soldiers' property now ; jellies are to be made,
lint to be scraped, bandages to be prepared for waiting wounds. Embroidery
is laid aside and spinning takes its place. Oh, there is such urgent need for
economy ! No one, out of the secret, would believe how little ammunition
is in the possession of our army. If you will walk with me through the old
burying ground I will show you holes in the tombs of our revered ancestors,