Copy of a Letter from an Officer
at Boston dated 21. June 1775.

I must refer you to the public papers
for the particulars of an Action that has been very fatal to the
1st Battalion of Marines, as well as to most of the Corps concern'd in
it. On the 17th. Instt. we were order'd to March to the North
Battery in Boston, & there to wait till order'd to Embark for Charles
Town side, & which was done as soon as the Grenadiers & Light
Infantry of the Army had Landed & form'd in good order on the
Plain, at a proper and safe distance from a Redoubt, that was
render'd more formidable, by the difficult Access to it, as it stood on
the summit of a Hill rising Gradually from its Base, cover'd
with Trees stone walls, & Rails. As soon as our Battalion were
in the Boats Major Pitcairn gave directions to be landed,
as near the Redoubt as possible, as the Light Infantry had then
(tho' at a great distance) began the Attack. we Landed
accordingly where we were attack'd before I cou'd get those in
the first Boat form'd, however, we soon form'd into tolerable
order with the Loss of one Man only, and then March'd into
a Field where we form'd in Line with the 43d. & 47th. Regts. and
were then order'd to shelter ourselves by laying on the Grass.
we were soon order'd to advance and attack the natural
defences of the Redoubt and to storm that also at all Events.
we gain'd Ground on the Enemy but slowly, as the Rails
Hedges & stone walls, broke at every time we got over them
and several Men were shot, in the Act of climbing them,
we at length overcame these difficulties with very little loss
till we came to the Talus of the Redoubt at the bottom of which
was a Road with Hedges & Trees on each side besides a low
stone wall, on the part we were Jumbled together. I say

    Jumbled, as the March over the Rails &c. had shifted the
47th Regt. (that was on our Right on leaving the low Ground)
in such a manner as to divide the 2 Companies on the
right of our Battalion from the other 6 on the Left; but as
they were nearly in a Column of Files we were not far
asunder: in this situation we received a Check (tho' without
retreating an Inch) from the very heavy and severe Fire
from the Enemy in the Redoubt, and in this Spot we lost a
number of Men, besides the irreparable loss of poor Major
Pitcairne, whose worth I never was sensible of till that day
we remaind about Ten Minutes or near a Quarter of an Hour
in this dangerous situation, where the poor Fellows were
kill'd as I was directing the Files how to level their Fire,
at length half mad with standing in this situation &
doing nothing towards Reducing the Redoubt, I requested
Colonel Nesbit to form upon our Left in order that we
might advance to the Enemy with our Bayonets without
firing: this was with difficulty perform'd and Captain
Campbell coming up at this Instant, and forming upon
our Right we mounted the Hedges without firing a Shot,
and ran directly up the Talus, got into the Ditch and mounted
the Parapet. Here let me stop and mourn for a Moment
the loss of my dear, and amiable Friend Archy Campbell,
for here he fell, poor Ellis also on this fatal spot perform'd
his last services to his Country, Shea rece'd also his mortal
wound here, and Chudleigh Ragg, & Dyer were also
wounded in this Attack. I cannot pretend to describe the
Horror of the Scene within the Redoubt, when we enter'd it,
'twas streaming with Blood & strew'd with dead & dying Men
the Soldiers stabbing some and dashing out the Brains of other
was a sight too dreadful for me to dwell any longer on;
    therefore I must now tell you that the Enemy retreated
to a very strong breast work, where they had 3 pieces of
Artillery but they were drove from it soon tho' with great
loss on our part, particularly among the Officers, as you
will see by the Papers. after the Enemy, (who were from
5 to 7000,) had retreated we took post on the Heights, set
fire to Charles Town and other adjacent Houses and lay on
our Arms all that Night, [ . . . ] we lay on the
ground, and then Encamp'd on the Field of Battle or
rather in the Front of it, where we are now strongly
intrench'd and as the Post we occupy is a strong one, I do
not think the Rebels, after their defeat, will attempt to insult
us. I cannot pretend to describe any part of the Action, but what
was immediately where we were concern'd. and I believe, and
am almost certain that the 2 Companies of our right wing
with Campbells Light Company, and part of the 47th & 43d
Regts. were the first Troops that mounted the Parapet, and
had we push'd at it sooner, in small Columns, without
firing I am persuaded that our loss wou'd not have been
any thing like what it is. Logan with his Grenadiers was
on our Right and suffer'd very much. He is wounded, so is
Brisbane, and Gardner, the other Officer of the Company is
Kill'd. Avarnes Company of Grenadiers also suffer'd exceedingly
poor Finnie Kill'd, & Avarne wounded David Johnston of
the 1st Battalion is also much wounded. Jessy Adair was
one of the first who mounted the Parapet and behaved
very Gallantly. Tell Colonel Collins that as David has
written to him, I suppose He has given him an account
of this Matter therefore, as I have not a Moments time
to myself I hope he will excuse my not writing him
on this Occasion, And I wish you wou'd be so good as to
    send Macneal a Copy of this Letter as twill answer for
him as well as for you pray do this and believe me &ca.

Waller, Adjutant of Marines