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Monday, March 20, 2017

"Struck Severely with Such a Spectacle" - The Privateer Yankee Hero

The Privateer Yankee Hero of Newburyport was a 14 gun sloop-of-war that was part of General Washington's 1775-1776 “Wolf Pack”.  This small fleet of privateers from the North Shore region of Massachusetts routinely harassed British shipping en route to resupply British troops trapped in Boston.  Following the Evacuation of Boston on March 17, 1776, the Yankee Hero continued to patrol Cape Ann for enemy supply ships that strayed too close to the Massachusetts coast.

On June 6, 1776, she encountered the HMS Milford off of Cape Ann. Following a two hour battle, the Yankee Hero was forced to strike her colors and surrender.

On August 22, 1776, the Essex Gazette published an account of the engagement and the suspected fate of the privateer’s crew.  

“August 12. –A correspondent gives the following account of the capture of the privateer Yankee Hero: –Captain James Tracy sailed from Newburyport, in New Hampshire, on the seventh of June, in the Yankee Hero, for Boston, with twenty-six men only, including officers. This number was not a quarter of his complement; he was provisioned for a six months’ cruise, and was to take in the remainder of his men at Boston. The afternoon he went out, going round Cape Ann, he observed a sail in the offing, but in his situation did not think of looking after her. Two boats full, manned with their muskets, who had put out after the sail, came on board and informed him a number of transports had been close into the Cape that day, and fourteen men from the two boats joined him, and sent their boats on shore. He had now forty hands in the whole, (only a third of his complement,) and with these he put away for the sail, which bore E. S. E., about five leagues distance, the wind being then westerly. At six miles distance they perceived her to be a ship, and soon, from her management, to be a ship-of-war. As a contest with her must have been very unequal, Captain Tracy, who intended to make a harbor that night, ordered the brig to be put about for the shore, not then suspecting that the ship would come up with him. But he had not tacked ten minutes before the westerly wind died away, and the ship taking a fresh southerly breeze, came fast in, endeavoring to cut the brig off from the shore. After some time, the ship thus getting in the wake of the brig, the wind again came fresh to the westward, upon which the brig hauled to the wind in the best angle for the shore. The ship gave chase, and in an hour came up within half a mile, and began to fire her bow chasers, which the brig only answered with a swivel, Captain Tracy reserving his whole fire until the ship, keeping a constant fire, came up within pistol shot upon his lee quarter, when the brig gave her the best return they could make from their main and quarter deck guns, swivels, and small arms, and after kept up a constant fire. The ship was soon up alongside, and with twelve nine-pounders on a side, upon one deck, besides forecastle and quarter deck guns, and with her marines overlooking the brig as high as her leading blocks, kept up a continual fire. After some time, the ship hauled her wind so close (which obliged the brig to do the same) that Captain Tracy was unable to sight his lee guns. Upon this he backed under her stern, but the ship, which sailed much faster and worked as quick, had the advantage, and brought her broadside again upon him, which he could not evade. In this manner they lay, not a hundred feet from each other, yawing to and fro, for an hour and twenty minutes, the privateer’s men valiantly maintaining their quarters against such a superior force. About this time, the ship’s foremast guns beginning to slack fire. Captain Tracy tacked under her stern, and when clear of the smoke and fire, perceived his rigging to be most shockingly cut, yards flying about without braces, some of his principal sails shot to rags, and half his men, to appearance, dying and wounded.

Mr. Main, his first lieutenant, was among the first wounded, and Mr. Davis, one of the prize masters, fell in the last attack. In this situation they went to work to refit the rigging, and to carry the wounded below, the ship having then taken a broad sheer some way off, and none of her guns bearing. But before they could get their yards to rights, which they zealously tried for in hopes still to get clear of the ship, as they were now nearer in shore, or to part from her under the night, she again came up and renewed the attack, which obliged Captain Tracy to have recourse to his guns again, though he still kept some hands aloft to his rigging; but before the brig had again fired two broadsides, Captain Tracy received a wound in his right thigh, and in a few minutes he could not stand. He laid himself over the arm chest and barricade, determined to keep up the fire; but in a short time, from pain and loss of blood, he was unable to command, growing faint, and they helped him below. As soon as he came to, he found his firing had ceased, and his people round him wounded, and, not having a surgeon with them, in a most distressed situation, most of them groaning and some expiring.

Struck severely with such a spectacle, Captain Tracy ordered his people to take him up in a chair upon the quarter deck, and resolved again to attack the ship, which was all this time keeping up her fire. But after getting into the air, he was again so faint that he was for some time unable to speak, and finding no alternative, but they must be taken or sunk, for the sake of the brave men that remained, he ordered them to strike to the ship.

Thus was this action maintained upwards of two hours, in a low single-decked vessel, with not half the metal the ship had, against an English frigate, whose navy has been the dread of nations, and by a quarter the number of people in the one as in the other; yet the victors exulted as though they had overcome a force as much superior as this was inferior to them. The brig had four men killed and thirteen wounded, including officers. The number in the Milford wounded is not known, though there were some. The deprivation of these brave officers and men is to be regretted by all friends to this country. With justice to Captain Burr, of the Milford, it must be acknowledged he treated with humanity and politeness the officers and men that were wounded; but to the eternal disgrace of Britain, and the present King and Parliament, let it be recorded, that in this very action above related, upwards of thirty Americans, prisoners in the Milford, were forced, at the forfeit of their lives, to fight against their countrymen; and the officers and men of the Yankee Hero, that were not wounded, are now detained in several of their ships, and may meet with the same cruel fate; an exaction that even savages have not been known to require. It is to the credit of the Hero’s men, that not one would enter upon the ship’s books, though not only urged by every persuasion, but by threats.”

Following her capture, the Yankee Hero was pressed into service for the Crown and renamed the HMS Postillion.  The vessel was part of the British Navy until it was sold in Halifax for £450.

Monday, March 13, 2017

"Their Caps Were Embroidered by Several of the Fair Sex" - Roxbury's Grenadier Company

Last month we discussed how several independent militia companies were privately raised in 1774 and 1775 by Massachusetts men in anticipation of war with England.  Thanks to a tip from Greg Theberge of the 18th Century Material Culture Resource Center, we learned of a quasi independent militia company that existed before the political and military conflicts of the 1770s.

It seems that in 1769, many of the younger men from the Town of Roxbury expressed a desire for a more military appearance within the ranks of their militia company.  In an effort to achieve this goal, many purchased clothing and equipment with their own money.

According to an article that appeared in the September 14, 1769 edition of the Massachusetts Gazette, these young men fielded at two separate militia musters in Roxbury as grenadiers with full uniforms, accouterments and mitre caps.  The caps were made and embroidered by several Roxbury women.  The motto "LOYALTY" was emblazoned across the front.

The news article praised the militia company for its military like appearance and its proficiency on the field.

Unfortunately, there are no known descriptions of what the uniforms or mitre caps looked like.  Likewise, we at Historical Nerdery are unaware of any surviving uniform.  Thus, we can only speculate as to what the Roxbury grenadier uniform may have looked like.

It should be noted these grenadiers, as well as the other men in the militia company, were commanded by a "Captain Heath".  It is likely this officer was William Heath, the future major general of the Continental Army.

Roxbury 2.jpg           

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

"Take an Exact State of Their Numbers and Equipments" - The Massachusetts Provincial Congressional Order for Inspection

While many are familiar with the recommendations of the Massachusetts Provincial Congress to organize minute man companies throughout the colony, few may know that the organization also ordered a colony wide inspection of said units to ensure they were sufficiently armed and equipped for war.

On February 14, 1775, the Provincial Congress passed a resolution instructing regimental commanders to conduct inspections of the minute and militia companies under their command to determine if they were properly supplied for war. It also ordered towns to inspect their supply of ammunition and powder ("town stock").

"Resolved, That it be and hereby is recommended to the commanding officers of each regiment of minute men that now is or shall be formed in this province, that they review the several companies in their respective regiments, or cause them to be reviewed, and take an exact state of their numbers and equipments : and where there is any company that is not incorporated into a regiment, the commanding officer thereof shall review the several companies, or cause them to be reviewed, and take a like state of their numbers and equipment - and it is also recommended to the colonels or commanding officers of each regiment of militia in this province, that they review the several companies in their respective regiments, or cause them to be reviewed, and take a state of their numbers and accoutrements, which said state of the minute men and militia, shall be, by said officers, returned, in writing, to this Congress on the first day of their next session after the adjournment. And it is further Resolved, That it be recommended to the selectmen of each town and district in the province, that on the same day they make return in writing, of the state of the town and district stock of ammunition and warlike stores to this Congress."

Following the February 14th order it appears the various regimental commanders did comply with the recommendation and ordered the inspection of arms and equipment of their men. Likewise, town selectmen ordered a review of town stocks and "warlike stores". Period accounts suggest that most inspections took place between late February and the end of March.

On April 14, 1775, the Massachusetts Provincial Congress reported the returns of the inspections. "Returns of warlike stores were received from almost all the towns of the several counties of Massachusetts and Maine, except Dukes and Nantucket, April 14, 1775. The aggregate was as follows: Fire-arms- 21,549; Pounds of powder- 17,444; . Pounds of lead balls- 22,191; Number of flints- 144,699; Number of bayonets- 10,108; Number of pouches- 11,979."

Of course, on a completely unrelated side note...What is interesting about the initial February 14th order is the phrase "where there is any company that is not incorporated into a regiment." This is likely a reference to "independent companies" that were being raised throughout the colony. Independent companies were military units that were raised, organized and funded by a collection of private individuals instead of Massachusetts towns. Newburyport, Haverhill, Ipswich and West Brookfield are just a few examples of towns that had independent companies in addition to their town funded minute and militia companies. On April 19, 1775, most of these independent companies acted as minute companies.

More on Independent Companies later this week...

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

"These Sons of Violence" - Ann Hulton's View of Mob Violence in Pre-Revolutionary War Boston

Ann Hulton was a Loyalist who resided in Massachusetts Bay Colony during the 1760s and 1770s. She was also the brother of Royal Custom Officer Henry Hulton. According to J.L. Bell , the Hulton siblings resided in Brookline and as a result, were often outside the protective range of British soldiers stationed in Boston. Despite being removed from the town, Ann Hulton was still able to provide vivid accounts of the lawless behavior of many Boston residents on the eve of the Boston Massacre.

In a letter written on June 30, 1768, Hulton recounted the conduct of a familiar group she named the "Sons of Violence":

"The Mobs here are very different from those in England… here they act from principle and under countenance, no person daring or willing to suppress their outrages or to punish the most notorious offenders for any crimes whatever…These Sons of Violence, after attacking houses, breaking windows, beating, stoning and bruising several gentlemen belonging to the Customs, the Collector mortally, and burning his boat… All was ended with a speech from one of the leaders, concluding thus: ‘We will defend our Liberties and property, by the Strength of our Arm and the help of our God’…From the inherent republican and levelling principles, there is no subordination in the society. Government is exterminated and it is quite a state of anarchy. There are some sensible and good people that are greatly alarmed… the infant colonies are advancing toward a state of independency."

The following year, Hulton revealed just how dependent upon government soldiers Loyalists had become for protection from "lawless mobs". According to Hulton,

“I hope we shall be in no more dangers or alarms from lawless mobs… it is certain that our safety & quiet depends on the army and navy being here… the tyranny of the Multitude is the most arbitrary and oppressive… many persons awed by the people, are obliged to court popularity for their own security, this is only to be done by opposing [the British] government at home…Several persons were threatened for no other reason than visiting us at the Castle… it would certainly have been done with a deal more mischief, had not the troops arrived seasonably for our protection, as well as that of every person of property. Yet there are very few to be met with that will allow the right of taxation to the British Parliament, therefore we avoid [discussing] politics."

It is interesting to note that in the aftermath of the Boston Massacre trial, Hulton, like many Loyalists, mistakenly believed that mob violence would subside. From her perspective, due process and an "impartial trial" would persuade the general populace from engaging in riotous conduct.

"The impartial trial and honorable acquital of Capt: Preston and the soldiers, has the most happy effect, it has exposed the conduct of the Faction and opened the eyes of the people, in general convinced them that they had been deceived by the false opinions and false representations of Facts. . .These trials together with that of the Custom House Officers charged with Firing out of the C:H and the suborning of false witnesses which appeared on the trial, and the witnesses since commited the Perjury."

Unfortunately for Hulton and countless other Loyalists, she was wrong.   


Monday, February 27, 2017

"Lobster Son of a B----": A Loyalist Rebuke of the Boston Massacre

One of the compelling reasons many Loyalists remained faithful to the crown was the dislike of mob violence and a belief in public order and safety. Most loyalists detested the mob rule of Boston and New York City and abhorred the lack of order that resulted. As tensions grew between the colonies and England, many colonists attempted to remain neutral. However, by the eve of the American Revolution, neutrality became almost impossible.

For example, Dr. William Paine gave up his neutrality and declared himself a loyalist after he experienced "too many abuses" and "insults" from Patriots. Samuel Curwen, Judge of Admiralty, complained Whig “tempers get more and more soured and malevolent against all moderate men, whom they see fit to reproach as enemies of their country by the name of Tories, among whom I am unhappily (although unjustly) ranked.” The Reverend Samuel Seabury of Westchester, New York, lashed out at the patriot mobs who routinely and illegally entered and searched loyalist homes.

In 1776, Loyalist and former Boston resident James Chalmers authored the pamphlet Plain Truth. Written under the name "Candidus," the document was an all-out assault on Thomas Paine's work, Common Sense. One of the areas Chalmers addressed was the violent behavior of Boston mobs in the years before the American Revolution. 

He argued local citizens "demonstrated their commitment to mob violence, and their willingness to be led down the path to destruction by a few evil men." Chalmers even went a step further and accused Bostonians of being "committed to anarchy against the Crown."

Plain Truth contained a rare Loyalist account of the Boston Massacre.  According to Chalmers, "The soldiers fired in self-defense into an angry mob led by a few men trying to inspire a rebellion in the colonies. We have found that there were several events that occurred prior to the actual firing. On this day there were several isolated attacks on innocent British soldiers, provocation's to fight and various insults attacking the character of British Officers. Captain Goldfinch was viciously accused on not paying his debts and Private White defended his Captain's honor. Soldiers, at their duty posts, minding their own business and acting non-confrontational, were verbally assaulted by Bostonian men with epitaphs of "bloody back", "lousy rascal", "dammed rascally scoundrel", and "lobster son of a b---- ". Physical violence was done to the soldiers, unprovoked, by the mob pelting the soldiers with snowballs, icicles, and pieces of wood. These actions were continuously perpetrated on the soldiers throughout the day. John Gillespie has testified that he saw 50 men in roving patrols armed with clubs and sticks with the express purpose of attacking the soldiers. Sergeant Major Davies observed men with clubs shouting, "Now for the bloody-back rascals", "Murder", and "Kill the dogs". This was so startling to him that he changed out of his red uniform for civilian clothes. To add to the clamor of events, someone started ringing the fire bells. When these bells are rung the citizens are trained to come out of their houses to fight a fire. There was no fire but the citizens were lured out in the streets and were then incited to participate in the mob activities. All of these actions led to the tragedy of the day.

As many soldiers as possible were recalled to their barracks by Captain Thomas Preston to help defuse the mob excitement and prevent and potential violence. He then heard that a lone sentry was being assaulted outside the Custom House. Captain Preston marched a detachment of soldiers to the Custom House and ordered the soldiers to load their muskets and fix bayonets. According to Captain Preston, under an officer's code of honesty, there was never an intention to actually fire. A soldier was assaulted and knocked to the ground. It was clear that the soldiers need to protect themselves from the aggressive mob and the shots were fired in self-defense with no actual order to fire. It is clear upon knowing the facts that innocent lives of citizens were lost due to the unscrupulous actions of the mob inciters. These deaths will likely be enshrined in patriot mythology when they were, in reality unsuspecting victims of the mob inciters."

This Saturday the annual reenactment of the Boston Massacre will take place.  In preparation for this event, Historical Nerdery will post over the next few days additional Loyalist and British accounts of the events leading up to the March 5, 1770 confrontation.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

"A Soldier Received a Bad Cut on the Shoulder" - The Battle of Golden Hill

In 1767 England was in the midst of a financial crisis. Charles Townshend, the impetuous Chancellor of the Exchequer, of whom it was said, “his mouth often outran his mind”, suddenly announced that he knew how to increase revenue via taxation of the American colonies. As a result, Parliament enacted a series of laws directed at raising revenue. The Townshend Acts, as they became known, provided for an American import tax on paper, painter’s lead, glass and tea. The acts also tightened custom policies and revived the vice-admiralty courts. Although a minority within the House of Commons opposed the measure, the majority rationalized it would raise colonial revenue, punish the colonists for their ill-behavior during the Stamp Act crisis, and exercise the rights to which Parliament laid claim to in the Declaratory Act.

Boston and New York City stood at the forefront of opposition to the Townshend Acts. Boston, residents quickly resorted to violence. By comparison, New York initially took a more cautious approach to the Townshend Acts and implemented a widespread boycott of goods. Specifically, on September 5, 1768, New York City merchants and tradesmen resolved

Image result for the battle of golden hill

Reflecting on the salutary [beneficial/curative] Measures entered into by the People of Boston and this City to restrict the Importation of Goods from Great Britain until the Acts of Parliament laying Duties on Paper, Glass, &c. were repealed; and being animated with a Spirit of Liberty and thinking it our Duty to exert ourselves by all lawful Means to maintain and obtain our just Rights and Privileges, which we claim under our most excellent Constitution as Englishmen, not to be taxed but by our own Consent or that of our Representatives; and in order to support and strengthen our Neighbors, the Merchants of this City, we the Subscribers [signers], uniting in the common Cause, do agree to and with each other, as follows:

First, That we will not ourselves purchase or take any Goods or Merchandise imported from Europe by any Merchant directly or indirectly, contrary to the true Intent and Meaning of an Agreement of the Merchants of this City, on the twenty-seventh of August last.

Secondly, That we will not ourselves, or by any other Means, buy any Kind of Goods from any Merchant, Storekeeper, or Retailer (if any such there be) who shall refuse to join with their Brethren in signing the said Agreement; but that we will use every lawful Means in our Power to prevent our Acquaintance from dealing with them.

Thirdly, That if any Merchant, in or from Europe, should import any Goods in order to sell them in this Province contrary to the above Agreement, that we ourselves will by no Means deal with such Importers; and as far as we can, by all lawful Means, endeavor to discourage the Sale of such Goods.

Fourthly, That we will endeavor to fall upon some Expedient to make known such Importers or Retailers as shall refuse to unite in maintaining and obtaining the Liberties of their Country.

Fifthly, That we, his Majesty’s most dutiful and loyal Subjects, Inhabitants of the City of New York, being filled with Love and Gratitude to our present most gracious Sovereign, and the highest Veneration for the British Constitution, which we unite to plead as our Birth Right; and are always willing to unite to support and maintain, give it as our Opinion, and are determined to deem that Persons who shall refuse to unite in the Common Cause, as acting the Part of an Enemy to the true Interest of Great Britain and her Colonies, and consequently not deserving the Patronage of Merchants or Mechanics.

Unfortunately, by 1769 New York colony entered into an economic depression as a direct result of the boycott. Tensions rose and in 1770, New York succumbed to violence.

On January 19, 1770, New York merchant Isaac Sears and others attempted to stop a group of British soldiers from passing out handbills criticizing local citizens. The pamphlets chastised the local citizenry over a failed attempt by regulars to destroy a liberty pole erected on Golden Hill, New York City. Sears detained some of the soldiers and marched his captives towards the mayor's office, while the rest of the British regulars retreated to their barracks to sound an alarm.

A crowd of townsfolk soon arrived along with a score of soldiers. “In the mean Time, a considerable Number of People collected opposite to the Mayor’s. Shortly after, about twenty Soldiers with Cutlasses and Bayonets from the lower Barracks made their Appearance” The soldiers, who were greatly outnumbered, were quickly surrounded. Nevertheless, the soldiers attempted to rescue their fellow soldiers held captive in the mayor’s office. “When the Soldiers came opposite to his House, they halted. Many of them drew their Swords and Bayonets; some say they all drew. But all that were present agree that many did, and faced about to the Door and demanded the Soldiers in Custody. Some of them attempted to get into the House to rescue them. Capt. Richardson and others at the Door prevented them, and desired them to put up their Arms and go to their Barracks, that the Soldiers were before the Mayor who would do them Justice. The Soldiers within likewise desired them to go away to their Barracks and leave them to the Determination of the Mayor.”

Upon seeing the soldiers draw their weapons; the townsmen quickly retreated and armed themselves. Despite attempts by local officials and officers to defuse the situation, a full scale brawl, later called the “Battle of Golden Hill”, erupted. By the end of the fight, several of the soldiers were badly bruised while one “soldier received a bad cut on the shoulder.” One Citizen was wounded in the Face and had two of his Teeth broke by a Stroke of a Bayonet. Another was stabbed and later died of his wounds.

Monday, February 6, 2017

"We do voluntarily Inlist ourselves" - The Independent Massachusetts Militia Companies of 1775

Over the past year, Historical Nerdery has been collecting data on the militia and minute companies of Massachusetts. As we progressed with our research, we unexpectedly uncovered references to several "independent" militia and minute companies in the colony. Admittedly, it was our belief that Massachusetts independent militia companies were more of a 19th century phenomenon. Traditionally, these units received no public assistance, were armed and equipped with private funds and usually composed of men from the higher social and economic echelons of Massachusetts society.

Although not as widespread as their 19th century counterparts, it appears that at least four independent units existed in Massachusetts on the eve of the Battles of Lexington and Concord. Research suggests these units were very similar to their 19th century counterparts and operated as minute companies on April 19, 1775.

It should be noted we excluded the Boston Corps of Cadet's from our "independent" militia company grouping because the unit was not operational in late 1774 and early 1775.

The first independent company we encountered was the Ipswich Minute Company. Unlike other Massachusetts towns, the Ipswich minutemen were organized pursuant to a private covenant not a town resolution. Members of the unit were responsible for arming and equipping themselves and dues were charged to the membership. The January 14, 1775 covenant states “We whose names are hereunto subscribed, do voluntarily Inlist ourselves, as minute men, to be ready for military operation, upon the shortest notice. And we hereby Promise & engage, that we will immediately, each of us, provide for & equip himself, with an effective arm, Bayonet, Pouch, Knapsack, & Thirty rounds of Cartridges ready made. And that we may obtain the skill of compleat Soldiers, We promise to Convene for exercise in the Art of Military, at least twice every week.”

The West Brookfield Minute Company drafted a similar covenant. “We the subscribers, soldiers inlisted from the several Militia companies within this town, and organized into a company called the Minute Company, do solemnly covenant that we will as soon as possible be provided and equipt with an effective firearm, cartouch box (or bullet pouch), 30 rounds of powder and bullets, and knapsack. That we will exert our best abilities to acquire the art military. That we will yield a ready obedience to the commands of our officers, and hold ourselves in readiness to march upon the earliest notice from our Commanding officers, and hazard our lives in resisting any armed force that shall attempt by force to put in execution the late revenue Acts — should any attempt be made between this time and the first of July next.”

Another company was Captain James Brickett's Company of Haverhill. Brickett’s Company was originally formed as an artillery unit. When its members were unable to procure an artillery piece, it reorganized itself into an “independent corps”. On the eve of the American Revolution, Brickett’s Company was essentially operating as a minute company. The company passed several resolutions regarding preparations for war. “That we will meet together (on the first and third Mondays of September, October and November following, and on the first and third Mondays of the six Summer months annually till the Company shall agree - to dissolve the same) for the exercise of Arms and Evolutions, And that the role shall be called two hours before Sunset, and the Company shall be dismissed at Sunset N. B. If it be fowl weather tho Day appointed, the Company shall meet the next fair Day.” Shortly thereafter, the men voted to adopt “the exercise as ordered by His Majesty in the year 1764.” Two months later, Brickett’s “independent corps” voted “that we hire Mr George Marsdin for 4 days at 12s a day, & that he be paid out of the fines.” As discussed in a previous posting, Brickett's Company even passed a resolution to have uniforms made.

The last independent company we encountered (so far) was the Newburyport Independent Marine Company. Organized by the Newburyport Marine Society, the unit was composed of merchants, sea captains and ship builders. According to the Essex Journal the "independent military society " assembled for a drill on September 21, 1774. “Wednesday last the independent military society in this town met at the town-house compleat in arms and ammunition: After having been reviewed by their officers chosen by the society, they performed the manual exercise and filings, after which they marched to the Mason's arms tavern, and there performed the evolutions ; and from thence marched to Mr. William Tell's (a gentleman that has always not only talked, but acted upon the genuine principles of patriotism), who had prepared an elegant entertainment for the society ; after spending a few very agreeable hours with a number of gentlemen (whom Mr. 'Feel had invited) in conversation, repast, and drinking a number of loyal and patriotic toasts, the society again rally, march to the town-house, and after firing three vollies lodged their arms. All was conducted with the greatest order and good humour.”

Of course, we will explore this phenomenon further and would love to hear from our readers whether they are aware of other "independent" Massachusetts companies that operated in 1775.