Washington, George, 1732-1799. The writings of George Washington from the original manuscript sources: Volume 4
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To JOSEPH REED Cambridge, March 19, 1776.

    My dear Sir: We have at length got the ministerial troops in this quarter on shipboard. Our possessing Dorchester Heights, as mentioned in my last, put them (after they had given over the design of attacking us) into a most violent hurry to embark, which was still further percipitated on Sunday morning by our breaking ground on Nukes' Hill, (the point nearest the town,) the night before. The whole fleet is now in Nantasket and King's Roads, waiting for I know not what, unless to give us a parting blow, for which I shall endeavour to be prepared.

    The hurry in which they have embarked is inconceivable; they have not, from a rough estimate, left less than £30,000 worth of his majesty's property behind them, in provisions and stores, vessels, rugs, blankets, &c.: near thirty pieces of fine heavy cannon are left spiked, which we are now drilling, a mortar or two, the H. shells, &c. in abundance, all their artillery-carts, powder-wagons, &c., &c., which they have been twelve months about, are left with such abuse as their hurry would permit them to bestow; whilst others, after a little cutting and hacking, were thrown in the harbour, and now


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are visiting every shore. In short, you can scarce form an idea of the matter. Valuable vessels are left with only a mast or bowsprit cut down, some of them loaded; their works all standing, upon examination of which, especially that at Bunker's Hill, we find amazingly strong: twenty thousand men could not have carried it against one thousand, had that work been well defended. The town of Boston was almost impregnable; every avenue fortified. I have already marched the riflemen and five regiments for New York; I cannot spare more, whilst the fleet hover in our harbour. So soon as they are fairly gone, more will follow with all expedition, as I shall do myself, as I suppose New York to be the object in view. I write you in much haste, and therefore can only add that I am, etc.

    P.S. I impatiently wish to see you. 47

[Note:The text is from Reed's Life and Correspondence of Joseph Reed. ]