History of the United States of America, from the Discovery of the Continent - Vol. 3

By George Bancroft | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XI.
EFFECTS OF THE DAY OF LEXINGTON AND CONCORD.
THE GENERAL RISING.
APRIL–JUNE 1775.

DARKNESS closed upon the country and upon the town, but it was no night for sleep. Heralds by swift relays transmitted the war message from hand to hand, till village repeated it to village; the sea to the backwoods; the plains to the highlands; and it was never suffered to droop till it had been borne north and south, and east and west, throughout the land. It spread over the bays that received the Saco and the Penobscot and the St. John’s. Its loud reveille broke the rest of the trappers of New Hampshire, and, ringing like buglenotes from peak to peak, overleapt the Green Mountains, swept onward to Montreal, and descended the ocean river, till the responses were echoed from the cliffs of Quebec. The hills along the Hudson told one to another the tale. As the summons hurried to the south, it was one day at New York; in one more at Philadelphia; the next it lighted a watchfire at Baltimore; thence it waked an answer at Annapolis. Crossing the Potomac near Mount Yernon, it was sent forward without a halt to Williamsburg. It traversed the Dismal Swamp to Nansemomd along the route of the first emigrants to North Carolina. It moved onward and still onward through boundless forests of pines to Newbern and to Wilmington. “For God’s sake, forward it by night and by day,” wrote Cornelius Harnett by the express which sped for Brunswick. Patriots of South Carolina caught up its tones at the border, and despatched it to Charleston, and through moss-clad live oaks

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