Rebels And Redcoats


We are here, to use a common expression, “taking the bull by the horns,” attacking the enemy in their strong parts. I wish this cursed place was burned; the only use is its harbor, which may be said to be material, but in all other respects it’s the worst place either to act offensively from, or defensively. I have before wrote to your Lordship my opinion, that a large army must at length be employed to reduce these people and mentioned the hiring of foreign troops. I fear it must come to that, or else to avoid a land war and make use only of your fleet. I don’t find one province in appearance better disposed than another, though I think if this army was in New York that we should find many friends and be able to raise forces in that province on the side of government.

Gage and Howe had had enough for the present. Clinton argued vainly with them to seize Dorchester Heights. From Foster’s Hill there, he said, the rebels could do more harm to Boston than ever they might have done from Charlestown. He insisted, “if we were ever driven from Boston it would be by the enemy batteries at Foster Hill.” But Gage determinedly stood on the defensive, and soon it was evident that he would continue to do so. The one battle that never should have been fought for the hill that never should have been defended was all. The British strongly fortified Bunker Hill and then Breed’s and remained in possession of the peninsula. The rebels, after fortifying Winter Hill, built works atop Prospect Hill to the eastward, and within a week were strengthening their lines all the way round to Roxbury. And the armies settled to inactivity.