Every Moment Expect Them to Sally Out

in by Warren

 Author: [Anonymous], probably by Joseph Warren

Extract of a Letter from the Camp at Cambridge, June 14 [1775].

“I have the pleasure of transmitting to you an infamous proclamation of General Gage’s, which has just come to hand. I hope your body, Sir, in a continental way, will answer him in the true spirit of the times, which is universally expected here; and I doubt not may be of great use. Rather than sinking our spirits it has given us double fortitude and courage. Fourteen transports have this day arrived with troops, the number of foot is not known, of horse about 250, more are hourly expected in. We every moment expect them to sally out, and are ready to meet them; the sooner the better. If we fall, we fall in a glorious cause, but Heaven as yet appeared on our side, and yet we trust in that God which has ever preserved us.”

Source:  Pennsylvania Evening Post, June 27, 1775, Vol. I, Issue 67, page 269. Context and internal references indicate probable authorship by Joseph Warren.

Commentary:  This letter, which was published in a Philadelphia newspaper, appears to be an extract of an official communication from a Patriot leader in Cambridge to the Massachusetts delegation at the Second Continental Congress.  Official transmittal of Governor-General Thomas Gage’s proclamation of marshal law, inclusion of authoritative intelligence, and attitude of pugnacious bravado, together point to Joseph Warren as the letter’s author.  Warren was then president of the Massachusetts Provincial Congress and variously chairman or member of the Committees of Safety, Donations, and Supply.

General Thomas Gage’s proclamation, as referenced here, was printed as a Patriot broadside by Benjamin Edes under the title: “Cambridge, June 14, 1775. The following is a copy of an infamous thing handed about here yesterday, and now reprinted to satisfy the curiosity of the public.”  Joseph Warren headed a Massachusetts Provincial Congress committee that drafted a witty and sarcastic answer to Gage’s proclamation.  The rush of events surrounding the Battle of Bunker Hill precluded its appearance anywhere other than the congress’ minutes.

At this juncture Warren sought and was voted the role of fighting major general in the provincial militia, a likely stepping stone to high rank in the anticipated Continental Army.  Warren’s commission was not yet confirmed by vote of the entire provincial congress at the time of the battle of Bunker Hill on June 17, 1775

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