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of each of the different divisions of the republic. His departure for Europe,
which prevented his visiting the more southern states, and collecting local details,
interfered with his carrying this plan into execution. No second work of the
projected series having been ■wTitten, the reference to the Thirteen Legends was
removed from the later editions.

The sketch of the battle of Bunker Hill included in this novel, was carefully
written. Every effort to preserve accuracy was made. The principal historical
authorities, the state papers, official rejDorts, etc., etc., were studied. A journey
to Boston was made for the purpose of going over the ground in person. Even
almanacs, and records of the weather, were consulted, to insure greater accuracy
in detail. Tlie account of the battle is given as a selection from " Lionel



When the heavy sleep of morning fell upon his senses, visions of the past and
future mingled with wild confusion in the dreams of the youthful soldier. The form
of his father stood before him, as he had known it in his childhood, fair in the propor-
tions and vigor of manhood, regarding hmi ^vith those eyes of benignant but melan-
choly affection, which characterized their expression after he had become the sole joy
of his widowed parent. While his heart was warming at the sight, the figure melted
away, and was succeeded by fantastic phantoms, which appeared to dance among the
graves on Copp's, led along in those gambols, which partook of the ghastly horrors of
the dead, by Job Pray, who glided among the tombs like a being of another world.
Sudden and loud thunder then burst upon them, and the shadows fled into their secret
places, from whence he could see, ever and anon, glassy eyes and spectral faces,
peering out upon him, as if conscious of the power they possessed to chill the blood
of the living. His visions now became painfully distinct, and his sleep was oppressed
with their vividness, when his senses burst their unnatural bonds, and he awoke.
The air of morning was breathing through his open curtains, and the light of day
had already shed itself upon the dusky roofs of the town. Lionel arose from his bed,
and had paced his chamber several times, in a vain effort, to shake off the images that


had haunted his shimbevs, when the sounds which broke upon tlie stillness of the air,
became too plaui to be longer mistaken by a practised ear.

" Ha !" he muttered to himself, " I have been dreaming but by halves — these are
the sounds of no fancied tempest, but cannon, speaking most plainly to the soldier !"

He opened his window, and looked out upon the surrounduig scene. The roar of
artillery was now quick and heavy, and Lionel bent his eyes about him to discover the
cause of this unusual occurrence. It had been the policy of Gage to await the arrival
of his reinforcements, before he struck a blow which was intended to be decisive ; and
the .Americans were Avell known to be too scantily supplied with the munitions of war,
to waste a single charge of powder in any of the vain attacks of modern sieges. A
knowledge of these facts gave an additional interest to the curiosity with which Major
Lincoln endeavored to penetrate the mystery of so singular a disturbance. Window
after window in the adjacent buildings soon exhibited, like his own, its wondering and
alarmed spectator. Here and there a half-dressed soldier, or a busy townsman, was
seen hurrying along the silent streets, with steps that denoted the eagerness of his
curiosity. Women began to rush wildly from their dwellings, and then, as the sounds
broke on their ears with tenfold heaviness in the open air, they shrunk back into their
habitations in pallid dismay. Lionel called to three or four of the men, as they hurried
by ; but, turning their eyes wildly toward his window, they passed on without an-
swering, as if the emergency were too pressing to admit of speecli. Finding his
repeated inquiries fruitless, lie hastily dressed himself and descended to the street. As
ho left his own door, a half-clad artillerist hurried past him, adjusting his garments with
one hand, and bearing in the other some of the lesser implements of the particular
corps in which he served.

" What means the firing, sergeant ?" demanded Lionel, " and whither do you hasten
with those fusees ?"

"The rebels, your honor, the rebels!" returned the soldier, looking back to speak,
without ceasing his speed ; " and I go to my guns !"

"The rebels !" repeated Lionel — " what can we have to fear from a mob of country-
men, in such a position — that fellow has slejit from his post, and apprehensions for him-
self mingle with tliis zeal for his king !"'

The townspeople now began to pour from tiieir dwellings in scores; and Lionel
imitated their example, and took his course toward the adjacent height of Beacon Hill.
He toiled his way up the steep ascent, m company with twenty more, without exchang-
ing a syllable with men who appeared as much astonished as himself at this early
interruption of their slumbers, and in a few minutes he stood on the little grassy plat-
form, surrounded by a hundred interested gazers. The sun had just lifted the thin
veil of mist from the bosom of the waters, and the eye was permitted to range o^•er a
wide field beneath the light vapor. Several vessels were moored in the channels of the
Chai'les and Mystiek, to cover the northern approaches to the place ; and as he beheld


the column of white smoke that was wreathing about the masts of a frigate among
them, Lionel was no longer at a loss to comprehend whence the firing proceeded.
While he was yet gazing, imcertain of the reasons which demanded this show of war,
immense fields of smoke burst from the side of a ship of the line, who also opened her
deep-mouthed cannon, and presently her example was followed by several floatuig
l)atteries, and Ughter vessels, until the wide amphitheatre of hiUs that encu-cled Boston
was filled with the echoes of a hundred pieces of artillery.

" What can it mean, sir ?" exclaimed a young officer of his own regiment, address-
ing Major Lincoln — " the sailors are in downright earnest, and they scale their guns
with shot, I know, by the rattling of the reports !"

" I can boast of a vision no better than your own," returned Lionel ; " for no enemy
can I see. " As the guns seem pointed at the opposite peninsula, it is probable a party
of the Americans are attempting to destroy the grass which lies newly mourn in the

The young officer was in the act of assenting to this conjecture, when a voice was
heard above their heads, shouting —

" There goes a gim from Copp's ! They needn't think to frighten the people -ftith
their rake-helly noises ; let them blaze away till the dead get out of their graves — the
Bay-men will keep the hUl !"

Every eye was immediately turned uj)ward, and the wondering and amused specta-
tors discovered Job Pray, seated in the grate of the beacon, his countenance, usually
so vacant, gleaming with exultation, while he continued waving his hat high in air,
as gun after gim was added to the uproar of the cannonade.

" How now, fellow !" exclaimed Lionel ; " what see you ? and where are the Bay-
men of whom you speak ?"

"Where?" returned the simpleton, clapping his hands with chUdish delight — "why,
where they came at dark midnight, and where they'D stand at open noon-day ! The
Bay-men can look into the wmdows of old Funnel at last, and now let the reg'lars come
on, and they'll teach the godless murderers the law !"

Lionel, a little irritated with the bold language of Job, called to him in an angry
voice —

" Come down from that perch, fellow, and explain yourself, or this grenadier shall
Uft you from your seat, and transfer you to the post, for a little of that wholesome
correction which you need."

" You promised that the gramiies should never flog Job ag'in," said the changeling,
crouching down in the grate, whence he looked out at his threatened chastiser with a
lowermg and sullen eye — " and Job agreed to run your a'r'nds, and not take any of the
king's crowns in pay."

" Come down, then, this instant, and I will remember the compact."

Comforted bv this assurance, which was made in a more friendly tone, Job threw
14 ■


liiiiiself carelessly from his iron seat, and clinging to the post, he slid swii'tly to the
earth, where Major Lincoln innuediately arrested him by the arm, and demanded —

"Where are those Bay-men, I once more ask?"

" There !" repeated Job, pointing over the low roofs of the town, in tlie direction
of the opposite peninsula. " They dug their cellar on Breed's, and now they are
fixing the underpinnin', and next you'll see what a raising they'll invite the people to!"

The instant the spot was named, all those eyes which had hitherto gazed at the
vessels themselves, instead of searching for the object of their hostility, were turned
on the green eminence which rose a little to the right of the village of Charlestown,
and every doubt was at once removed by the discovery. The high, conical summit of
Bunker Hill lay naked, and unoccupied, as on the preceding day ; but on the extremity
of a more humble ridge, which extended witliin a short distance of the water, a low
bank of earth had been thrown up, for purposes which no military eye could mistake.
This redoubt, small and inartificial as it was, commanded by its position the whole
of the inner harbor of Boston, and even endangered, in some measure, the occupants
of the town itself It was the sudden appearance of this magical mound, as the mists
of the morning had dispersed, which roused the slumbering seamen ; and it had
already become the target of all the guns of the shipjjing in the bay. Amazement at
the temerity of their countrymen held the townsmen silent, whOe ISIajor Lincoln, and
the few oflicers who stood nigh him, saw, at a glance, that this step on the part of
their adversaries would bring the aifairs of the leaguer to an instant crisis. In vain
they turned their wondering looks on the neighborhig eminence, and around the
diflerent points of the jieniusula, in quest of those places of support with which
soldiers generally intrench their defences. The husbandmen opposed to them had
seized upon the point best calculated to annoy their foes, without regard to the con-
sequences ; and in a few short hours, favored by the mantle of night, had thrown up
their work with a dexterity that was only exceeded by their boldness. The truth
flashed across the brain of Major Lincoln with his first glance, and he felt his cheeks
glow as he remembered the low and indistinct murmurs, which the night air had
wafted to his ears, and those inexplicable fancies which had even continued to haunt
him till dispersed by truth and the light of day. Motioning to Job to follow, he
left the hill with a hurried step, and when they gained the common, he turned, and
said, sternly, to his companion —

" Fellow, you have been privy to this midnight work !''

" Job has enough to do in the day, without laboring in the night, when none but
the dead are out of their places of rest," returned the lad, with a look of mental
imbecility, which immediately disarmed the resentment of the other.

Lionel smiled as he again remembered his own weakness, and repeated to
himself —

" The dead ! aye, these are the works of the Uving ; and bold men are they who


have ilured to do the deed, lint tell me, Job — for 'tis iu vain to attempt deceiving
me any longer — what number of Americans did you leave on the hill, when you crossed
the Charles to visit the graves on Copp's, the past night ?"

" Both hills were crowded," returned the other — " Breed's ■with the people, and
Copp's with the ghosts — Job believes the dead rose to see their children digging so
nigh them!"

" 'Tis probable," said Lionel, who believed it wisest to humor the wild conceits of
the lad, in order to disarm his cunning ; " but, though the dead are invisible, the
living may be counted."

"Job did count five hundred men marching over the nose of Bunker, by star-light,
with their picks and spades ; and then he stopped, for he forgot whether seven or eight
hundred came next."

" And after you ceased to count, did many others pass ?"

" The Bay colony isn't so poorly oft" for men, that it can't muster a thousand at a

" But you had a master workman on the occasion ; was it the wolf-hunter of Con-
necticut ?"

" There is no occasion to go from the province to find a workman to lay out a cellar !
— Dickey Gridley is a Boston boy !"

" jVh ! he is the chief! we can liave nothing to fear then, since the Connecticut
woodsman is not at their head !"

" Do you think old Prescott, of Pepperel, wUl quit the hill while he has a kernel of
powder to burn ? — no, no. Major Lincoln, Ralph himself an't a stouter warrior ; and
you can't frighten Ralph !"

" But if they fire their cannon often, their small stock of ammunition will be soon
consumed, and then they must unavoidably run."

Job laughed tauntingly, and with an appearance of high scorn, before he an-
swered —

"Yes, if the Bay-men were as dumb as the king's troops, and used such big guns!
but the cannon of the colony want but little brimstone, and there's but few of them. —
Let the rake-hellles go up to Breed's ; the j)eop!e will teach them the law !"

Lionel had now obtained all he expected to learn from the simpleton, concerning
the force and condition of the Americans; and as the moments were too precious to be
wasted in vain discourse, he bid the lad repair to his quarters that night, and left him.
On entering his own lodgings. Major Lincoln shut himself uj) in his private apartment,
and passed several hours in writing, and examining important papers. One letter, in
particular, was w'ritten, read, torn, and rewritten, five or six times, until at length he
placed his seal, and directed the important paper with a sort of carelessness that de-
noted his patience was exhausted by repeated trials. These documents were intrusted
to Meriton, with orders to deliver them to their several addresses, unless countermanded


before the following day ; and the young man hastily swallowed a late and light lireak-
fast. While shut up iu Ms closet, Lionel had several times thrown aside liis pen to
listen, as the hum of the place penetrated to his retirement, and announced the excite-
ment and bustle wliich pervaded the streets of tlie town. Having at length completed
the task he had assigned himself, he caught up his hat, and took his way, with liasty
steps, into the centre of the place.

Cannon were rattling over the rough pavements, followed by ammimition wagons,
and officers and men of the artillery were seen in swift pursuit of their pieces. Aide-
de-canips were riding furiously through the streets, charged with important messages ;
and here and there an officer might be seen issuing from his quarters, with a countenance
in which manly pride struggled jJowerfully with inward dejection, as he caught the last
glance of anguisli, which followed his retiring form, from eyes that had been used to
meet his own with looks of confidence and love. There was, however, but little time
to dwell on these flitting glimpses of domestic woe, amid tlie general liustle aiid glitter
of the scene. Now and then, the strains of martial music broke up through the wind-
ings of the crooked avenues, and detachments of the troops wheeled by, on their way
to the appointed place of embarkation. While Lionel stood a moment at the corner of
a street, admiring the firm movement of a body of grenadiers, his eye fell on the pow-
erful frame and rigid features of M'Fuse, marching at the head of his company with
that gravity which regarded the accuracy of the step amongst the important incidents
of life. At a short distance from him was Job Pray, timing his paces to the tread of
the soldiers, and regarding the gallant show with stupid admiration, while his ear un-
consciously drank the inspiring music of tlieir band. As this fine body of men passed
on, it was immediately succeeded by a battalion, in which Lionel Instantly recognized
the facings of liis own regiment. The warm-hearted Polwarth led its forward files,
and, waving liis liand, he cried —

" God bless you, Leo, God bless you — we shall make a fair stand-up fight of this ;
there is an end of all stag-hunting."

The notes of the horns rose above his voice, and Lionel could do no more than re.
turn his cordial salute ; when, recalled to his purpose by the sight of his comrades, he
turned and pursued his way to the quarters of tlie commander-in-chief.

The gate of Province-House was thronged with military men ; some waiting for
admittance, an<l others entering and departing with the air of those who were charged
with tlie execution of matters of the deepest moment. The name of Major Lincoln was
h.ardly announced before an aide appeared to conduct him into the presence of the
governor, with a jioliteness and liaste that several gentlemen, who had been in waiting
for hours, deemed in a trifling degree unjust.

Lionel, however, having little to do with mui-niurs which he did not hear, followed
his conductor, and was immediately ushered into the apartment, where a council of war
liad just closed its deliberations. On tlie tlireshold of its door, he was compelled


to give way to au officer, who was departing Lu haste, aiid whose powerful frame
seemed bent a httle m the intensity of thought, as his dark, inUitary coimtenauce
lighted for an instant with the salutation he returned to the low bow of the young
soldier. Aroimd this chief, a group of younger men immediately clustered, and as they
departed in company, Lionel was enabled to gather from their conversation, that tliey
took their way for the field of battle. The room was fiUed with officers of high rank ;
though here and there was to be seen a man in civU attire, whose disappointed and
bitter looks aunoimced him to be one of those mandamus coimsellors, whose evil advice
had hastened the mischief their wisdom could never i-epair. From out a small circle of
these mortified ci\-ilians, the unpretending person of Gage advanced to meet Lionel,
formiug a marked contrast, by the simpUcity of its dress, to the military splendor that
was glittering arovmd him.

"Li what can I oblige Major Lincoln?" he said, taking the young man by the hand
cordially, as if glad to be rid of the troublesome counsellors he had so unceremoniously

" ' Wolfe's own' has just passed me on its way to the boats, and I have ventured to
intrude on your excellency to inquire if it were not time its major had resumed his

A shade of thought was seated for a moment on the placid features of the general,
and he then answered, with a friendly smile —

" 'Twill be no more than an .affiiir of outposts, and must be quickly ended. But
should I grant the request of every brave yoimg man whose spirit is uj) to-day, it might
cost his majesty's service the life of some officer that would make the purchase of tlie
pile of earth too dear."

" But may I not be permitted to say, that the fiimOy of Lincoln is of the province,
and its example should not be lost on such an occasion ?"

" The loyalty of the colonies is too well represented here to need the sacrifice,"
said Gage, glancing his eyes carelessly at the expecting group behind him. " My
coimcil have decided on the officers to be employed, and I regret that Major Lincoln's
name was omitted, siace I know it wiU give him pain ; but vahiable lives are not to
be lightly and minecessarUy exposed."

Lionel bowed ui submission ; and, after commimicating the little he had gathered
from Job Pray, he turned away, and found himself near another officer of high rank,
who smiled as he observed his disappointed coimtenance, and, taking him by the arm,
led him from the room, with a freedom suited to his fine figure and easy air.

" Then, like myself, Lincoln, you are not to battle for the king to-day," he said, on
gaining the antechamber. " Howe has the luck of the occasion, if there can be luck
in so vulgar an affair. But allons; accompany me to Copp's, as a spectator, since they
deny us parts in the drama ; and perhaps we may pick up materials for a pasquinade,
though not for an epic."

110 P A G E S A N D IM C T U R E S .

" Pardon me, General Burgoyne," said Lionel, " if I view the matter with more
serious eyes than yourself."

"Ah ! I had forgot that you were a follower of Percy in the hunt of Lexington !"
interrupted the other ; " we will call it a tragedy, then, if it better suits your humor.
For myself, Lincoln, I weary of these crooked streets and gloomy houses, and, having
some taste for the poetry of nature, would have long since looked out upon the
deserted fields of these husbandmen, had the authority, as well as the mclination,
rested with me. But Clinton is joining us; he, too, is for Copp's, where we can all take
a lesson in arms, by studying the manner in which Howe wields his battalions."

A soldier of middle age now joined them, whose stout frame, while it wanted the
grace and ease of the gentleman who still held Lionel by the arm, bore a martial
character to which the look of the quiet and domestic Gage was a stranger ; and, fol-
lowed by their se^•eral attendants, the wliole party immediately left the government-
house to take their destined position on the eminence so often mentioned.

As they entered the street, Burgoyne relinquished the arm of his companion, and
moved with becoming dignity by the side of his brother general. Lionel gladly
availed himself of this alteration to withdraw a little from the group, whose steps he
followed at such a distance as permitted him to observe those exhibitions of feeUng, on
the part of the inhabitants, which the jiride of the others induced them to overlook.
Pallid and anxious female faces were gleaming out upon them from every window,
while the roofs of the houses, and the steeples of the churches, were beginning to
throng with more daring and equally interested spectators. The drums no longer
rolled along the narrow streets, though, occasionally, the shrill strain of a fife was
heard from the water, announcing the movements of the troops to the opposite
peninsula. Over aU was heard the incessant roaring of the artUlery, which, untired,
had not ceased to rumble in the air suice the ajjpearance of light, until the ear, accus-
tomed to its presence, had learnt to distinguish the lesser sounds we have recorded.

As the party descended into the lower passages of the town, it appeared deserted
by every thing having life ; the open windows and neglected doors betraying the
urgency of the feeUugs which had called the population to situations more favorable
for observing the approacliing contest. This ajipearance of intense curiosity excited
the sympathies o/ even the old and practised soldiers ; and, quickening their paces, the
whole soon rose from among the gloomy edifices to the open and unobstructed view
from the hill.

The whole scene now lay before them. Nearly in their front was the village of
Charlestown, with its deserted streets and silent roofs, looking like a place of the dead;
or, if the signs of life were visible within its open avenues, 'twas merely some figure
moving swiftly in the solitude, like one who hastened to quit the devoted spot. On
the opposite point of the south-eastern face of the peninsula, and at the distance of a
thousand yards, the ground was already covered by masses of human beings, in scarlet.

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with their arms glittering in a noon-day sun. Between the two, though in the more
immediate vicinity of the sUent town, tlie rounded ridge, already described, rose
abruptly from a flat tliat was boimded by the water, until, having attained an elevation
of some fifty or sixty feet, it swelled gradually to the little crest, where was planted
the humble object that had occasioned all this commotion. The meadows, on the
right, were stUl peaceful and smiling, as in the most quiet days of the province, though
the excited fancy of Lionel imagined that a sullen stillness lingered aboiVtJhe neglected
kilns in their front, and over the whole landscape, that was in gloomy consonance with
the approaching scene. Far on the left, across the waters of the Charles, the American
camp had poured forth its thousands to the hills ; and the whole population of the

Online LibraryJames Fenimore CooperPages and pictures, from the writings of James Fenimore Cooper → online text (page 11 of 43)