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Letter from John Sullivan to John Adams, 15 March 1776

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Winter Hill March 15th 1776

Dear Sir

Your very acceptable Favour of the 7th Instant
Came to hand this Day. You could not have
Conferred a greater obligation on me than by giving
yourself the Trouble to write to me; but when you give
me to understand that my Services are acceptable in your
Eyes & in the Eyes of the Congress in General I already
Esteem myself fully rewarded for all my toils; & cannot
but persevere in my Endeavours to Deserve the good opinion
of the Congress & my Country--

The Enemy after having been Severely handled by our
Shot & Shells for a few nights found us in full possession
of Dochester Heights This Threw them into the utmost
Consternation they Endeavoured to Elevate their Cannons
So as to Breach our works by Sinking the Hinder wheels
of the Cannon into the Earth but after an unsucessful
Fire of about two Hours, they grew weary of it & Desisted.
They then ordered Lord Piercey with 3000 Troops [to the
Castle
?]
on board the Transports & to proceed to the Castle
from whence he was to Come and attack our works on
the South while the Granadier and Light Infantry were
to Land from Boston on the North Point of Dochester
Called Nook Point & attack our Lines on the other
Side: This was no more than we Expected & had
therefore prepared Signals at Roxbury to notify us of
the Enemys movement & upon their making an Attack
at Dochester we were to Land in our Boats on the
North of Boston And Carry the Town Sword in hand
I was appointed to Command the first Division, & General
Green the Second General Heath was to Remain

in Cambridge with the Troops Left here & the
attack was to be made by 4000 we not having
Boats to Carry more-- our Boats were prepared &
men Paraded by them Ready to Embark & all Seemed
to be in Longing Expectation for the Signal: but
the Reknowned Lord Piercey Disappointed us for he
Instead of his Prospect Glass took a Multiplying
Glass and viewed our people from the Castle & made
them fifty thousand when in fact we only Sent
our four thousand this prevented their attack & Deprived
us the pleasure of Walking the Streets of Boston
for that time The Troops then thought of nothing
but Quitting the Town and have been Ever Since preparing
for their Departure--

Sund Tuesday June 19th 1776 [The 19th of March was a Tuesday, but his writing "June" is inexplicable.]

Dear Sir

I had not time on the 15th Inst. to finish
my Letter & now beg I Leave to give you Some further
Intelligence viz. on Saturday Evening our People took
possession of Nook Hill near Boston they Continued a
Cannonading all night without hurting a Man in
the morning they found the Approaches So near & being
Suspicious that we were about taking possession of
Noddles Island they Embarked Early on Sunday
morning and fell Down to the Castle we Saw the Ships
under way about 8 in the morning & the River
full of Boats with Armed Soldiers this gave an Alarm
as Some Suspected they were about to Land at Dochester
but having a full view of them with a Glass from
Plowed Hill I found they were going on board the Ships
I then took my Horse & Rode Down to Charlestown
Neck where I had a Clear view of Bunkers Hill I
Saw the Sentrys Standing as usual with the Firelocks Shouldered


but finding they never moved I soon Suspected what
Regiment they belonged to & upon taking a Clear view
with my Glass found they were Effigies Set there
by the flying Enemy -- This Convinced me that they were
Actually fled for if they meant to Decoy us they would
have taken away Every appearance of Men by this time
I was Joined by Colo. Mifflin who with my Brigade
Major agreed to go up Sending two persons Round
the works to Examine whether there was any of them
in the Rear of the works while we went up in
the front I at the Same time Sent for a Strong party
to follow us on to the Hill to assist us in Running away
(if necessary) we found no persons there & bravely
Took a fortress Defended by Lifeless Sentries I then
brought on the party to Secure what we had So bravely
won & went Down to the other works where we
found all Abandoned but the works not Injured
in any part we hailed the ferry Boat which came
over & Informed us that they had abandoned the Town
we then gave Information to the General who ordered
me with the Troops under my Command to take
possession of Charlestown & General Putnam with
2000 men to take possession of the works in Boston
and on Monday morning his Excellency Make his
Entry into Boston & Repaired to Mr. Hancocks House
where we found his Furniture Left without Injury
or Diminution Indeed General Grant Sent for the man
Left in Charge of the House & Desired him to Examine
whether any of the Furniture was Damaged which he
Said was not (Though I believe the Brave General had
made free with Some Articles in the Cellar) Indeed the
Buildings Except the old wooden ones have suffered but very
Little by the Rebel Army we found about forty good
Cannon a fine 13 Inch mortar & great Quantity of Stores
which they in their Hurry have Left for our use they
Spiked up the Cannon but we can Easily Clear them I Shall this Day visit your House or rather mine
and Inform you what State it is Left in & for
your Sake and the Lady who gave it me
as well as my own Shall see that no Injury
is Done to it in future. Till I can have the
pleasure of Seeing you & your family in full
possession -- I Expect to march for New York in
two or three Days part of our Army having marched
Some Days Since & the whole is to follow to prevent
them getting possession of that Important Post --

I have Seen Common Sense & admire it [and
wish that your Bretheren had a Sufficient share
of it
?]
it Takes well with the Army & the
People in General & I hope So Rational a Doctrine
will be Established throughout the Continent as
the only Doctrine which will work out the Salvation
of America -- you ask me if we have any Colos.
fit for Brigadiers & who they are I will
undertake to Recommend one viz Colo Stark
who is an old veteran and has better pretensions
than any other Colo in the Army though by
Down right Dint of Blunder he was Ranked
below other Colos. in the Army when by the
very Principles the Committee pretended to go upon
he Should have been the first -- this Recommendation
I Submit to your wise Consideration I beg you
to make my most Respectful Compliments to Colo.
Hancock, Mssrs Adams, Pain and Garey & believe me
to be Dr Sir with much respect your most obedt. Servt.

Jno Sullivan

Hon. Jno Adams Esq.