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Letter from Peter Brown to Sarah Brown, 25 June 1775

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Cambridge June 25, 1775

Dear and Hon'd Mother

As per my Duty to you, I would in-
form you of my present state and employment, being rather
scrupulous whether you ever may receive these lines, shall
give but a short sketch of affairs, which if otherwise I would

Before these long threat'ned difficulties began among
us, I had plan'd out to go to Connecticut where I expected
to work the Summer; but the Allwise in his providence
hath very differently plann'd my summers work, which I
hope may turn to his Glory and my good.

I suppose I need not tell you acquaint you of the
manner in which the enemy first approach'd us at Con
-cord, it is more than probable you have had it in print long
since When I was first alarm [ed] I was at Westford,
whither I went to take leave of my Friends, and settle some
affairs that I had in hand, was call'd about Day-light, or a
little after, and rode as post that forenoon, before I could get
to Concord, after which I pursu'd with the rest and fought
that day, tarried at Cambridge that Night, being forbid
to go home, soon after this there was an Army establishd
all business then being stagnated, and a great deal wholly
broke up, I did not know what I could do better than to en-
list. Therefore being hearty in the cause, I did it directly
(and listed) under Captn Oliver Bates, in Collo Prescott's
Regiment with whom I tarried a while till he our Cap
tain was taken sick and went home, when Mr. Joshua
Parker by succession took his place, and makes his ground
good, in whose company I remain yet, where I do a Clerk
or Orderly Sergants business; which requires much care
but the Duty is easier, and the pay higher than a private
Soldiers --. Friday th 16 of June we were orderd to pa
rade at six 'o Clock, with one days provision and Blankets
ready for a March somewhere, but we knew not where
but we readily and cheerfully obey'd the whole that
were call'd for, were these three

Collo Prescotts, Frys, and Nicksons Regiments -- after tarrying
on parade till Nine at Night, we march'd down, on to Charles-
ton Hill against Copts hill in Boston, where we entrench'd
& made a Fort, ten Rod long, and eight wide, with a Breast
-work of about eight more, we work'd there undiscoverd till
about five in the Morning, then we saw our danger, being
against Ships of the Line, and all Boston fortified against
us, The danger we were in made us think there was treach
-ery and that we were brought there to be all slain, and I
must and will say that there was treachery oversight or
presumption in the Conduct of our Officers, for about 5 in the
morning, we not having more than half our fort done, they
began to fire (I suppose as soon as they had orders) pretty briskly
for a few minutes, then ceas'd but soon begun again, and
fird to the number of twenty minutes, (they killd but one of
our Men) then ceas'd to fire till about eleven

oClock when they
began to fire as brisk as ever, which caus'd many of our young
Country people to desert, apprehending the danger in a clearer
manner than others who were more diligent in digging, &
fortifying ourselves against them. We began to be almost
beat out, being fatigued by our Labour, having no sleep the
night before, very little to eat, no drink but rum, but what
we hazzarded our lives to get, we grew faint, Thirsty, hun
-gry and weary. --The enemy fir'd very warm from
Boston, and from on board their Ships till about 2 oClock
when they began to fire from Ships that lay in Ferry way
and from a Ship that lay in the river against us, to stop
our reinforcement, which they did in some Measure -
one cannon cut three Men in two on the neck, Our Officers
sent time after time for Cannon from Cambridge in the Morn
ing & could get but four, the Captn of which fir'd a few times
then swung his Hat three times round to the enemy and
ceas'd to fire, then about three o Clock there was a cessation of
the Cannons roaring, soon after we espied as many as 40, boats
or barges coming over, full of troops it is supposed there were
about 3000 of them, and about 700 of us left, not deserted, besides
500, reinforcement

that could not get nigh enough to us to do us any good till they saw
that we must all be cut off or some of them then they ventur'd to
advance -- When Our officers perceivd that the enemy intended to
Land, they ordered the Artillery to go out of the fort & prevent it if possible
from whence the Artillery Captn took his pieces and return'd home
to Cambridge with much haste, for which he is now confind
and it is expected must suffer death. -- The enemy landed, fronted
before us, and form'd themselves, in an oblong square, in order to
surround, which they did in part -- after they were well form'd
they advancd towards us in order to swallow us up, but they
found a Choaky mouthful of us, 'tho we could do nothing with
our small arms as yet for distance, and had but two Cannon, and
no Gunner, and they from Boston, and from the shipping firing
and throwing Bombs, keeping us down, till they almost sur
rounded us. -- But God in Mercy to us fought our battle, and
tho' we were but few in number, and suffer'd to be defeated
by our enemy, yet we were preserv [ed] in a most wonderful
manner, far beyond our expectation and to our admiration
for out of our Regiment there were but 37 kill'd 4 or 5 taken
captive, about forty seven Wounded & Oh may I never forget
Gods distinguishing Mercy to me, in sparing my Life, when
they fell on my right hand, and on my left, and close by me,
they were to the eye of reason no more expos'd than myself --
When the Arrows of death flew thick around me, I was preserv'd
while others were suffer'd to fall a prey to our Cruel enemies
O may that God whose Mercy was so far extended in my
preservation, grant me his grace to devote my future Life
to his divine service -- Nor do I conclude that the danger
is yet over, unless God in his Mercy either remove our
enemy, or heal the breach -- but if we should be call'd a-
gain to action I hope to have courage and strength to act
my part valiently in defence of our Liberties & Country
trusting in him who hath hitherto kept me, and hath cov
-er'd my head in the day of battle, and altho' we have
lost four out of our Company & several taken captive
by the enemy of America, I was not suffer'd to be touch'd I was in the fort when the enemy came in, Jump'd over the
wall and ran half a Mile, where balls flew like hail stones
and Cannon roar'd like thunder, but tho I escap'd then it may be
my turn next after asking your Prayers must conclude wishing
you the best of Blessings, still remain your Dutiful Son

Peter Brown

PS, I wish very much to come and see you, 'tis in vain to think of
that now, I desire you to write to me, direct to Peter Brown
Cambridge, to be left at Colo Prescotts Chambers in the South
Colledge, & send by way of Providence to Roxbury from whence
it will be likely to come safe my love to Polly Sally & Patty
have not leisure to write to them in particular, and Conveyance
very uncertain, hope they will excuse me this time --

Today at Cambridge, tomorrow
Tomorrow the Lord only knows where

P Brown

Mrs. Sarah Brown
Newport
Rhode Island