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Accounts of American Revolution and Battle of Noddle Island

Transcript from Virginia Advertiser in 1775--a Circumstantial Account of the Late Battle at Chelsea, Hog Island.

On Saturday last a party of the American army at Cambridge, to the number of between 2 and 300 men, had orders to drive off the livestock from Hog and Noddle's Island, which lie near Chelsea and Winnesimmet, on the N.E. side of Boston harbour. From Chelsea to Hog Island, at low water, it is but about knee high, and from that to Noddle's Island about the same.

The stock on the former belonged to Mr. Oliver Wendell, at Boston, and Mr. Jonathan Jackson, at Newburyport; that on Noddle's Island was owned by Mr. Williams, of Boston, who hires the Island.

About 11 o'clock, A.M. between 20 and 30 men went from Chelsea to Hog Island, and from thence to Noddle's Island, to drive off the stock, which was there, but were interrupted by a schooner and a sloop, dispatched from the fleet in Boston harbour, and 40 marines, who had been stationed on the island to protect the livestock. However, they sent off 2 fine English stalions, 2 colts, and 3 cows; killed 15 horses, 2 colts, and 3 cows, burnt a large barn, full of salt hay, and an old farmhouse.

By this time they were fired on from the schooner and sloop, and a large number of marines in boats, sent from the several men of war; upon which they retreated to a ditch on the marsh, and kept themselves undiscovered, till they had an opportunity to fire on the marines, when they shot down two dead, and wounded two more, one of whom died soon after.

They then retreated to Hog Island, where they were joined by the remainder of their party from Chelsea, and drove off all the stock thereon, viz. between 3 and 400 sheep and lambs, some cows, horses, &c.

During this, there were firings between the provincials and the schooner, Sloop, boats, and marines on the other island. Having cleared Hog Island, the provincials drew up on Chelsea Neck, and sent for a reinforcement of 300 men, and 2 pieces of cannon (four pounders) which arrived about 9 o'clock in the evening.

Soon after which, Gen. Putnam went down and hailed the schooner, and told the people that, if they would submit, they should have good quarters, which the schooner returned with 2 cannon shot; this was immediately answered with 2 cannon from the provincials.

Upon this a very heavy fire ensued from both sides, which lasted until 11 o'clock at night, when the fire from the schooner ceased, the fire from the shore being so hot, that her people were obliged to quit her, and take to the boats, a great number of which had been sent from the ships to their assistance, and also a large reinforcement of marines, sent to Noddle's Island, with 2 twelve pounders.

The schooner 2 being thus left, drove ashore, where about break of day, the provincials carried some hay under her stern, and set her on fire, the sloop keeping up a small fire upon them; at which time a heavy cannonading was begun, at Noddle's Island hill, with the 12 pounders upon the provincials.

Also, Gen. Putnam kept a heavy fire upon the sloop, which disabled her much, and killed many of her men, so that she was obliged to be tow'd off by the boats, when the firing ceased, excepting a few shot which were exchanged between the party at Chelsea. and the marines on Noddle's Island.

Thus ended this long action, without the loss of one provincial, and only four wounded by the bursting of his own gun, another only lost his little finger. - The loss of the enemy amounted to 30 killed and 50 wounded. The provincials took out of the schooner 4 double fortified 4 pounders, twelve swivels, chief of her rigging and sails, many clothes, some money, &c. which the sailors and marines left behind, they having quitted in great haste.

The Revolutionary War Battle America Forgot: Chelsea Creek, 27–28 May 1775 September 2013 The New England Quarterly


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