Thursday, March 06, 2008

"that would not lay down and deliver up their arms"

An Express
Just arrived from

Camp at Cambridge, Oct. 24, 1775.


THE inclosed information being of the highest importance, I thought it proper to transmit it to you with all dispatch,

I am Sir,
Your obedient servant,

"On the Service of the United Colonies.

To the Hon. Nic holas Cooke, Esq; Dep. Gov. of Rhode-Island, Providence.


Falmouth, Monday, 16th Oct. 1775.

THE Canteaux ship of sixteen guns, commanded by Captain Mowat, a large ship, schooner, and a sloop armed, anchored below the town the 17th inst. At 3 o'clock P.M. they weighed and came up, and anchored within gun shot, and immediately Capt. Mowat sent a letter on shore to the town, giving them two hours to move their families out, as he had orders to fire the town. The town immediately chose a committee of three gentlemen, and sent them on board to know the reason of the town's being set on-fire. He returned for answer, that his orders were to set on fire all the sea-port towns between Boston and Halifax, and that he expected New-York was then burnt to ashes. He farther laid, that when he received orders from the Admiral, he desired that he might shew some lavour to the town of Falmouth, which the Admiral granted (I suppose as Capt. Mowat was under particular obligations to some-gentlemen at Falmouth for civilities shewn him when in captivity amongst them) and which savour was to spare the town till 9 o'clock, Wednesday morning, in case we would send him off eight small arms, which the town immediately did.

Wednesday morning being the 18th, the Committee went on board of Capt. Mowat again, in order to save the town; he said he would save the town till he heard from the Admiral, in case we would send off four carriage guns, deliver up all our small arms, ammunition, &c. and send four gentlemen of the town as hostages, which the town would not do. About half past nine in the morning he began to fire from the four armed vessels, and in five minutes set fire to several houses. He continued firing till after dark the same day, which destroyed the largest part of the town. He farther informed the Committee that he should proceed to Portsmouth, and destroy that place also. The foregoing is as near the facts as I am able to remember. Witness my hand.


Prospect-Hill, Octobet 24. 1775.


BY an express that arrived from Falmouth last night,we learn the greatest part of the town is in ashes. The enemy fired about three thousand shot into it, and a large number of carcases and bombs, which set the town on fire, the enemy landed once or twice to set fire to the stores, they lost eight or ten men in the attempt, and had one taken prisoner, the inhabitants got out a very considerable part of their furniture, no person killed or wounded during the whole time of their firing; the enemy produced orders from admiral Graves, to burn all the towns from Boston to Halifax, Capt. Mowat informed the committee at Falmouth, there had arrived orders from England about ten days since, to burn all the sea port towns on the continent, that would not lay down and deliver up their arms, and give hostages for their future good behaviour; he also acquainted them that he expected the city of New-York was in ashes; by these accounts we may learn what we have to expect, I think Newport should be fortified in the best manner it can be, doubtless the enemy will make an attempt to get the stock off the island; provision should be made to defeat them; death and desolation seems to mark their foot steps, fight or be slaves is the American motto, the first is by far the most eligible. In haste I am with esteem, your most obedient humble servant.


To the Hon. Nicholas Cooke, Esq; in Providence, (per Express.)

No comments: