The six vessels lying in the stream were the Somerset, sixty-eight, Captain Edward Le Cross; Cerberus, thirty-six, Captain Chads; Glasgow, thirty-four, Captain William Maltby; Lively, twenty, Captain Thomas Bishop; Falcon, twenty, Captain Linzee, and the Symmetry, transport, with eighteen guns.
While one thousand men worked upon the redoubt which had been located under counsel of Gridley, Prescott, Knowlton, and other officers, the dull thud of the pickaxe and the grating of shovels were the only sounds that disturbed the pervading silence, except as the sentries’ “All’s well!” from Copp’s Hill and from the warships, relieved anxiety and stimulated work. Prescott and Putnam alike, and more than once, visited the beach, to be assured that the seeming security was real; and at daybreak the redoubt, nearly eight rods square and six feet high, was nearly complete.
Scarcely had objects become distinct, when the battery on Copp’s Hill and the guns of the Lively opened fire, and startled the garrison of Boston from sleep, to a certainty that the Colonists had taken the offensive.
General Putnam reached headquarters at a very early hour, and secured the detail of a portion of Colonel Stark’s regiment, to reinforce the first detail which had already occupied the Hill.
At nine o’clock, a council of war was held at Breed’s Hill. Major John Brooks was sent to ask for more men and more rations. Richard Devens, of the Committee of Safety, then in session, was influential in persuading General Ward to furnish prompt reinforcements. By eleven o’clock, the whole of Stark’s and Reed’s New Hampshire regiments were on their march, and in time to meet the first shock of battle. Portions of other regiments hastened to the aid of those already waiting for the fight to begin.
The details of men were not exactly defined, in all cases, when the urgent call for reinforcements reached headquarters. Little’s regiment of Essex men; Brewer’s, of Worcester and Middlesex, with their Lieutenant-Colonel Buckminster; Nixon’s, led by Nixon himself; Moore’s, from Worcester; Whitcomb’s, of Lancaster, and others, promptly accepted the opportunity to take part in the offensive, and challenge the British garrison to a contest-at-arms, and well they bore their part in the struggle.
THE AMERICAN POSITION.
The completion of the redoubt only made more distinct the necessity for additional defences. A line of breastworks, a few rods in length, was carried to the left, and then to the rear, in order to connect with a stone fence which was accepted as a part of the line, since the fence ran perpendicularly to the Mystic; and the intention was to throw some protection across the entire peninsula to the river. A small pond and some spongy ground were left open, as non-essential, considering the value of every moment; and every exertion was made for the protection of the immediate front.