“In the course of the night, the ramparts had been raised to the height of six or seven feet, with a small ditch at their base, but it was yet in a rude and very imperfect state. Being in full view from the northern heights of Boston, it was discovered by the enemy, as soon as daylight appeared; and a determination was immediately formed by General Gage, for dislodging our troops from this new and alarming position. Arrangements were promptly made for effecting this important object. The movements of the British troops, indicating an attack, were soon discovered; in consequence of which orders were immediately issued for the march of a considerable part of our army to reinforce the detachment at the redoubts on Breed’s Hill; but such was the imperfect state of discipline, the want of knowledge in military science, and the deficiency of the materials of war, that the movement of the troops was extremely irregular and devoid of every thing like concert—each regiment advancing according to the opinions, feelings, or caprice, of its commander.
“Colonel Stark’s regiment was quartered in Medford, distant about four miles from the point of anticipated attack. It then consisted of thirteen companies, and was probably the largest regiment in the army. About ten o’clock in the morning, he received orders to march. The regiment being destitute of ammunition, it was formed in front of a house occupied as an arsenal, where each man received a gill-cup full of powder, fifteen balls, and one flint.
“The several captains were then ordered to march their companies to their respective quarters, and make up their powder and ball into cartridges, with the greatest possible despatch. As there were scarcely two muskets in a company of equal calibre, it was necessary to reduce the size of the balls for many of them; and as but a small proportion of the men had cartridge-boxes, the remainder made use of powder-horns and ball-pouches.
“After completing the necessary preparations for action, the regiment formed, and marched about one o’clock. When it reached Charlestown Neck, we found two regiments halted, in consequence of a heavy enfilading fire thrown across it, of round, bar, and chain shot, from the Lively frigate, and floating batteries anchored in Charles river, and a floating battery laying in the river Mystic. Major M’Clary went forward, and observed to the commanders, if they did not intend to move on, he wished them to open and let our regiment pass: the latter was immediately done.
“Soon after, the enemy were discovered to have landed on the shore of Morton’s Point, in front of Breed’s Hill, under cover of a tremendous fire of shot and shells from a battery on Copp’s Hill, in Boston, which had opened on the redoubt at day-break.
“Major-general Howe and Brigadier-general Pigot, were the commanders of the British forces which first landed, consisting of four battalions of infantry, ten companies of grenadiers, and ten of light infantry, with a train of field-artillery. They formed as they disembarked, but remained in that position until they were reinforced by another detachment.