LIFE OF DAVID PERRY.
his brings me up to our Revolutionary War. In the Spring of 1775, as there could be no accommodation of the difficulties between Great Britain and the Americans, the British troops marched out of Boston to Lexington and Concord, and killed a number of our men, which aroused every part of the country to arms! An army was immediately raised, and I was appointed a Lieutenant in Capt. Fleet's [Joseph Elliot's] company, and General Putnam's regiment. As soon as our company was full, (and it did take long to fill it) the ensign and myself marched with it to Roxbury, and quartered our men in the Loring house. In a few days the Captain and the other Lieutenant joined us. The Captain, however, was soon taken sick, and died before he had done one tour of duty. We remained there until after the 17th of June, on which day the Bunker-Hill fight took place; but my company was not in it. This was a severe battle, especially to the British, who had 1053 killed and wounded, according to their returns, including a great proportion of officers. We had 78 killed, and 86 wounded, and among the slain was the noble Gen. Warren, whose death was a great loss to our army and country. Our regiment, immediately after this battle, was collected together on Prospect-Hill, where we built a fort. The British were in possession of Bunker-Hill, about three quarters of a mile distant, and in plain sight of our works.
When the fort was completed on Prospect-Hill, our cannon were placed within point-blank shot of the enemy; and as I was walking one day with an old experienced officer, I asked him why he did not fire upon the enemy? He said, if, by our formidable appearance, we could keep them where they were, we should do well, for we had not amunition enough to last one day and a half. There was but little fighting this season, except some small skirmishes between the sentinels of the out-posts, which were soon put a stop to.
In the heat of Summer, the men were attacked with the Dysentery,
and considerable numbers of them died. The people flocked in from
the country, to see the camps and their friends, and took the disorder;
and it spread all over the New-England states: it carried off a great many
more in the country than in the camp, which seemed to dishearten the
people very much. But in the latter part of winter General Washington
marched a considerable force on to Dorchester Point, in the night,
erected temporary batteries, and conveyed his cannon to them --
and in the morning, when the British came to find their fleet exposed
to his fire, they sent word to him, that if he fired on their shipping,
they would burn the town: but if he would let them pass out of the
harbor unmolested, they would quit the place; and they did so. --
Gen. Washington expected their next object would be New-York,
and marched all his [troops immediately for that city. He] went by
land, and arrived there before the enemy did by water: but, for want
of men and ammunition, he was obliged to evacuate the city to them.