« AnteriorContinuar »
God of the world! the hour must come,
And nature's self to dust return ! Her crumbling altars must decay!
Her incense fires shall cease to burn ! But still her grand and lovely scenes
Have made man's warmest praises flow; For hearts grow holier as they trace
The beauty of the world below.
Lines on revisiting the Country.--BRYANT.
I STAND upon my native hills again,
Broad, round, and green, that, in the southern sky,
Orchards and beechen forests, basking lie;
A lisping voice and glancing eyes are near,
And ever-restless steps of one, who now
There plays a gladness o'er her fair young brow,
To gaze upon the mountains; to behold,
And clouds along the blue abysses rolled;
Its horrid sounds and its polluted air;
And gales, that sweep the forest borders, bear
Ay, flame thy fiercest, sun! thou canst not wake,
In this pure air, the plague that walks unseen; The maize leaf and the maple bough but take
From thy fierce heats a deeper, glossier green ; The mountain wind, that faints not in thy ray, Sweeps the blue steams of pestilence away.
The mountain wind-most spiritual thing of all
The wide earth knows—when, in the sultry time, He stoops him from his vast cerulean hall,
He seems the breath of a celestial clime,As if from heaven's wide-open gates did flow Health and refreshment on the world below.
Lines on a Bee-Hive.-MONTHLY REPOSITORY.
Ye musical hounds of the fairy king,
Who hunt for the golden dew,
With the peal of your elfin crew !
How joyous your life, if its pleasures ye knew,
Singing ever from bloom to bloom !
And the air that you breathe perfume.
But unenvied your joys, while the richest you miss,
And before you no brighter life lies : Who would part with his cares for enjoyment like this, When the tears, that imbitter the pure spirit's bliss,
May be pearls in the crown of the skies!
Account of the Battle of Bunker's Hill, 17th June, 1775.
ВотТА. The succours that the British expected from England had arrived at Boston, and, with the garrison, formed an army of from ten to twelve thousand men,-all excellent troops. Three distinguished generals, Howe, Clinton, and Burgoyne, were at the head of these re-enforcements. Great events were looked for on both sides.
The English were inflamed with desire to wash out the stain of Lexington : they could not endure the idea, that the Americans had seen them fly: it galled them to think, that the soldiers of the British king, renowned for their brilliant exploits, were now closely imprisoned within the walls of a city. They were desirous, at any price, of proving that their vaunted superiority over the herds of American militia, was not a vain chimera.
Above all, they ardently desired to terminate, by some decisive stroke, this ignominious war; and thus satisfy, at once, their own glory, the expectations of their country, the orders, the desires, and the promises, of the ministers. But victory was exacted of them still more imperiously by the scarcity of food, which every day became more alarming; for, if they must sacrifice their lives, they chose rather to perish by the sword than by famine. The Americans, on their part, were not less eager for the hour of combat to arrive: their preceding successes had stimulated their courage, and promised them new triumphs.
In this state of things, the English generals deliberated maturely upon the most expedient mode of extricating themselves from this difficult position, and placing themselves more at large in the country.
Accordingly, they directed their views towards the peninsula and neck of Charlestown. The American generals had immediate notice of it, and resolved to exert their most strenuous endeavours to defeat this new project of the enemy. Nothing was better suited to such a purpose, than to fortify diligently the heights of Bunker's Hill, which commanded the whole extent of the peninsula of Charlestown. Orders were, therefore, given to Colonel William Prescott, to occupy them with a detachment of a thousand men, and to intrench himself there by the rules of art.
But here an error was committed, which placed the garrison of Boston in very imminent danger, and reduced the two parties to the necessity of coming to action immediately- Whether he was deceived by the resemblance of name, or from some other motive unknown, Colonel Prescott, instead of repairing to Bunker's Hill, to fortify himself there, advanced farther on in the peninsula, and immediately com
menced his intrenchments upon the summit of Breed's Hill, another eminence, which oyerlooks Charlestown, from the north-east, and is situated towards the extremity of the peninsula, nearer to Boston.
The works were pushed with so much ardour, that, the following morning, the 17th of June, by day-break, the Americans had already constructed a square redoubt, capable of affording them some shelter from the enemy's fire. The labour had been conducted with such silence, that the English had no suspicion of what was passing. It was about four in the morning, when the captain of a ship of war first perceived it, and began to play his artillery. The report of the cannon attracted a multitude of spectators to the shore.
The English generals doubted the testimony of their senses. Meanwhile, it appeared important to dislodge the provincials, or at least to prevent them from completing the fortifications commenced : for, as the height of Breed's Hill absolutely commands Boston, the city was no longer tenable, if the Americans erected a battery upon this eminence.
The English, therefore, opened a general fire of artillery from the city, the fleet, and the floating batteries stationed around the peninsula of Boston. It hailed a tempest of bombs and balls upon the works of the Americans : they were especially incommoded by the fire of a battery planted upon an eminence named Copp's Hill, which, situated within the city, overlooks Charlestown from the south, and is but three fourths of a mile distant from Breed's Hill.
But all this was without effect. The Americans continued to work with unshaken constancy; and, by noon, they had much advanced a trench, which descended from the redoubt to the foot of the hill, and almost to the bank of Mystic River. The fury of the enemy's artillery, it is true, had prevented them from carrying it to perfection.
In this conjuncture, there remained no alternative for the English generals, but to drive the Americans, by dint of force, from this formidable position. This resolution was taken without hesitation, and it was followed by the action of Breed's Hill, known also by the name of Bunker's Hill; much renowned for the intrepidity, not to say the temerity, of the two parties; for the number of the dead and wounded; and for the effect it produced upon the opinions of men, in regard to the valour of the Americans, and the probable issue of the whole war.
The right wing of the Americans was flanked by the houses of Charlestown, which they occupied; and the part of this wing, which was connected with the main body, was defended by the redoubt erected upon Breed's Hill. The centre, and the left wing, formed themselves behind the trench, which, following the declivity of the hill, extended towards, but without reaching, Mystic River.
The American officers, observing that the weakest part of their line was precisely this extremity of the left wing,for the trench not extending to the river, and the land in this place being smooth and nearly level, there was danger of that wing's being turned, and attacked in the rear,— caused the passage, between the extreme left and the river, to be obstructed, by setting down two parallel palisades, or ranges of fence, and filling up the space between them with new-mown grass.
The troops of Massachusetts occupied Charlestown, the redoubt, and
a part of the trench; those of Connecticut, commanded by Captain Nolten, and those of New Hampshire, under Colonel Starke, the rest of the trench. A few moments before the action commenced, Doctor Warren,man of great authority, and a zealous patriot,--who had been appointed general, arrived with some re-enforcements. General Pomeroy made his appearance at the same time. The first joined the troops of his own province, Massachusetts; the second took command of those from Connecticut. General Putnam directed in chief, and held himself ready to repair to any point where his presence should be most wanted.
The Americans had no cavalry. Their artillery, without being very numerous, was, nevertheless, competent. They wanted not for muskets; but the greater part of these were without bayonets. Their sharp-shooters, for want of rifles, were obliged to use common firelocks; but as marksmen they had no equals. Such were the means of the Americans; but their hope was great, and they were all impatient for the signal of combat.
Between mid-day and one o'clock, the heat being intense, all was in motion in the British camp. A multitude of sloops and boats, filled with soldiers, lest the shore of Boston, and stood for Charlestown: they landed at Moreton's Point, about half a mile south-east of the summit of Breed's Hill, without meeting resistance; as the ships of war and armed vessels effectually protected the debarkation by the