Adams Family Correspondence, volume 1



Map of Boston and Vicinity during the Siege, 1775–1776 following 240[unavailable]

From the folding frontispiece map, “Boston, with its Environs,” engraved by T. Conder, London, in the second volume of William Gordon, The History of the Rise, Progress, and Establishment, of the Independence of the United States of America..., first published in London, 4 vols., 1788. (The present reproduction has been reduced from the original, and the southern portion has been xvtrimmed away to increase the legibility of the remainder.) On the whole this appears to be the most satisfactory single map, among many that were produced at the time, to illustrate the topographical features, encampments, lines, batteries, and operations of the two armies during the eleven-month siege of Boston, May 1775–March 1776. Nearly every feature bearing a legend on the map is mentioned in the letters published in the first two volumes of the Adams Family Correspondence , many of them repeatedly. One may trace the routes of Abigail Adams' visits to the headquarters of the Continental Army in the winter of 1775 and to the Roxbury lines soon after the British evacuation. One may see how Washington's successful action against Dorchester Heights and his fortification of Nook's Hill, so quaintly described by Peter Boylston Adams (who was one of the “hardy hereos” who took part in it), rendered the position of Howe's army in Boston utterly untenable. (See P. B. Adams to John Adams, 4 April 1776, p. 371–372, below.)

An English nonconformist clergyman who had arrived in America not long before the Revolution, William Gordon ministered to a congregation in Roxbury, took a personal part in the fortification of Boston Harbor after the British left Boston, and assiduously collected materials for his History from the beginning of the war. For evidence suggesting that he drew on John Adams' letter files in the preparation of his book, see the descriptive note on Isaac Smith Sr. to John Adams, 24 June 1775, p. 229–230, below.

Courtesy of the Massachusetts Historical Society.