Archive for July, 2008

Caleb Haskell Diary – July 1775

Posted on: July 1st, 2008 by hauleymusic No Comments

The following is a continuation of the Caleb Haskell diary.

Caleb Haskell (born July 1, 1754 – died January 12, 1829) was a fifer from Newburyport, Massachusetts.

July 1st, Saturday. — This morning, about 2 am, a hot firing began on both sides at Roxbury, which lasted four hours. We were alarmed on Prospect Hill. Two ships arrived at Boston.

July 2nd, Sunday. — This day the Hon. George Washington, Esq., Commander in Chief of the united forces in America, arrived at Cambridge. This afternoon had rain.

July 5th, Wednesday. — This morning at 3 am we were turned out. In the morning at 10 am we were alarmed by a firing at Roxbury. Proceeded to our alarm post; was dismissed in one hour; all still.

July 6th. Thursday. — This day Rev. Mr. Cleveland, our chaplain, came into camp. Attended prayers at our barracks. In the evening a man deserted from our army to the enemy.

July 7th, Friday. — This morning I was on main guard; were alarmed in the afternoon by a drum beating to arms; proceeded to our post; the alarm being false returned again.

July 8th, Saturday. — This morning at 3 am our people at Roxbury went down upon the neck; rushed upon the guard; they retreated; our men set fire to the guard house; they made heavy fire upon our party, which was returned; a smart engagement ensued on both sides. Our lines manned for two hours.

July 9th, Sunday. — This morning our chaplain came and preached in our regiment, from Chronicles 6: 34; in the afternoon from Deuteronomy 23: 9. A flag came from the enemy with a packet from General Lee. A man in a neighboring regiment was whipped twenty stripes for striking an officer.

July 10th, Monday. — This morning one of the ships fired upon some of our men, who were in the water swimming, but did no harm.

July 11th, Tuesday. — This day our people at Roxbury made another push upon the enemy guard in order to set the guardhouse on fire, which they did and received no damage, and brought off one swivel, two small arms, one halberd and a drum.

July 12th, Wednesday. — This morning our troops at Roxbury went down to Long Island; took eighteen men that were tending cattle on the island, and brought nineteen head of horned cattle and one hundred sheep.

July 14th, Friday. — This day a man at Roxbury was killed by a ball from a floating battery. The enemy are still here.

July 15th, Saturday. — Exceedingly hot, and has been this week past. We are daily employed in making strong fortifications. We also need to watch out for our drummer, as he is blind and keeps falling in the woodchuck holes.

July 16th, Sunday. — This morning heard a sermon from Ephesians 5:16; in the afternoon from Judges 5: 23.

July 18th, Tuesday. –This morning at six am the grand manifest from the Continental Congress was read to the forces, on and about Prospect Hill, which were assembled on said hill, by the Rev. Mr. Leonard, chaplain to Gen. Putnam forces. On the hill our standard was presented, with this motto; Appeal to Heaven with American Arms. After it was read Mr. Leonard made a short prayer; then were dismissed with three cheers, the firing of a cannon, and a war-whoop by the Indians.

July 19th, Wednesday. — Last evening some of our troops went down to entrenching in sight of Bunker hill. At one am this morning we were called out and manned our lines, as we expected the enemy out upon our party as soon as they were discovered; but they made no stir.

July 20th, Thursday. — This day is a Fast, appointed by the Continental Congress. Today the light house at Boston was set on fire by our people. Heard a sermon in the morning from Psalms 50:15; in the afternoon from Ecclesiastes 7:14.

July 22nd, Saturday. – This day we discovered the enemy landing of cannon on Charlestown common, and a large number of the enemy drawn up on the hill. At nine pm in the evening we were ordered to be upon our arms.

July 23rd, Sunday. — We were turned out at two am this morning; manned our lines; heard nothing of the enemy. At sunrise returned to our tents. Attended public worship today; heard a sermon in the morning from Isaiah 46: 8; in the afternoon from Luke 7: 31, 32, and 33. After services had some rain.

July 24th, Monday. — Today all the troops under command of Brigadier-General Putnam, except the Colonel Little regiment, were ordered to march from Prospect Hill, to be stationed elsewhere, their vacancies to be supplied with troops from Cambridge, Winter Hill, etc., under the command of Brigadier-General Green.

July 25th, Tuesday. — This day two regiments of the Rhode Island forces came from Roxbury and pitched their tents on Prospect Hill, near the fort.

July 26th, Wednesday. — This morning our regiment was ordered out of the Fort to man the French lines–where we for the future to repair in an alarm. A grenadier, belonging to the enemy’s side when on sentry, quitted his post, came over to us, and delivered himself a prisoner to our guards. The whole regiment off duty.

July 27th, Thursday. — This morning two of the enemy’s came over to our guards and were immediately conveyed to headquarters. No duty done in the regiment.

July 28th, Friday. — This day one hundred men on fatigue out of our regiment.

July 29th, Saturday. — The whole regiment on main guard.

July 30th, Sunday. — Last night about one am, a party of riflemen crept within the enemy sentries, but being discovered, were fired upon, which occasioned a skirmish between them and the enemy guards. Our party killed seven and took two prisoners; we lost a corporal of the riflemen taken by them. Between twelve and one am we were alarmed and all paraded. There was a cry for volunteers to follow such officers as would head them, when all our company to a man marched out, and some part of all the companies in the regiment. Then we marched to the Fort and grounded our arms to await for orders. The alarm was on account of the enemy beginning to entrench on Charlestown common, and the meaning of the volunteers was to go and beat them off. But they being under cover of their own cannon, it was thought prudent by the general, not to proceed, and by these orders we marched back. Attended public worship in the afternoon.

July 31st, Monday. — Last night, at 10 pm, we were alarmed, marched to our alarm post, were soon ordered back again. The alarm was occasioned by a brisk firing at the lower sentry. The enemy came out of their fort and drove back our sentry. All was soon quiet, and we were ordered back again and turned in. Soon after we were alarmed again with the cry, Turn out, for God sake, turn out. We paraded again, manned our lines, and there remained until after sunrise. The larger part of the night, the air was filled with the roaring of cannon and the cracking of small arms on both sides. The riflemen had engaged them on Charlestown common. From two am till after sunrise, killed a number of them and recovered five small arms, and lost not one man. At the same time they were engaged at Roxbury with small arms. Our party set fire to the new light house; killed and took all that were on the island to guard it, which were 43 in number-15 killed and 28 taken. Two of our party were killed by a cannon ball from Bunker Hill, which kept up a continual firing all day. Between sunset and dark we killed 14 of those that came out to pick up their dead.