The Spies Who Went Out In The Cold

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De Birniere survived the rout of Gage’s only real attempt to break out of Boston and the slaughter at Bunker Hill in June. When the British left Boston forever, on March 17, 1776, among the things they left behind were De Birniere’s maps, his plan for a military post in Worcester, and his account of his days as a spy. The last was “printed for the information and amusement of the curious” by J. Gill of Court Street, Boston, in 1779. Nearly two hundred years later it should remind us that the American Revolution was not something that started on April 19, 1775—that was merely the shooting phase. The “hearts and minds of the people,” as John Adams was fond of saying, were already made up.