A General of the Revolution: John Sullivan of New Hampshire

By Charles P. Whittemore | Go to book overview

II: THE FIRST YEAR OF CONFLICT
JUNE, 1775-JULY, 1776

As an army gathered at Boston to challenge the British, Sullivan was in no mood for delay. On the morning of June 27, 1775, he rode from Philadelphia toward the scene of action, accompanied for a short distance by some light infantry and "gentlemen of the militia." 1 Then he was on his way. On July 10 he reached Cambridge and joined the siege against the British who were on Charlestown Peninsula and on Roxbury Neck, guarding the approaches to Boston proper. The rebel lines, drawn in a semicircle extending from the hills facing Charlestown Peninsula through the town of Roxbury, had to keep the British from moving into the surrounding countryside. Lines and redoubts had been thrown up between the Mystic River and Dorchester Point. 2 But to succeed in holding back the enemy, the motley army drawn from the towns of New England had to be organized and disciplined.

Sullivan, after a short trip to his home, immediately threw himself into the task of creating an effective force. Washington proposed forming the army into three divisions. Sullivan's brigade, along with Nathanael Greene's, went under Charles Lee's command on the left wing, with the brigades placed respectively at Winter Hill and Prospect Hill. Artemas Ward commanded one division on the right wing in the Roxbury area, and Israel Putnam commanded the third division, called the "Corps-de-Reserve." 3

Sullivan soon had a chance to show his mettle, for Washington wished to take possession of Plowed Hill, between

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