The Ordeal of the British Infantry
This expedition . . . from beginning to end was as illplanned and ill-executed as it was possible to be. --Lieutenant John Barker, 4th (King's Own) Foot, 1775
EARLIER THAT EVENING, while Paul Revere and William Dawes were preparing to leave Boston, General Gage set I his army in motion. Many precautions were taken to prevent discovery. The soldiers were awakened in their beds, "sergeants putting their hands on them, and whispering gently to them."1 The men dressed quietly, strapped on their full cartridge boxes, and picked up their heavy muskets. They were ordered to leave their knapsacks behind, and to carry one day's provisions in their haversacks. One soldier remembered that he was told to bring 36 rounds of powder and ball. 2
The British soldiers were "conducted by a back-way out of their barracks, without the knowledge of their comrades, and without the observation of the sentries." The men were ordered to move in small parties, so as not to alarm the town. They "walked through the street with the utmost silence. It being about 10 o'clock, no sound was heard but of their feet. A dog that happened to bark, was instantly killed with a bayonet." 3
The Regulars made their way to a rendezvous chosen for its remoteness--an empty beach on the edge of the Back Bay, near
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Publication information: Book title: Paul Revere's Ride. Contributors: David Hackett Fischer - Author. Publisher: Oxford University Press. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 1994. Page number: 113.
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