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General Artemas Ward's Provincial Army at the Siege of Boston

By Brough, Keith , Alan


Description
This volume is a collection of articles written by Frank A. Gardner, M. D., giving the organization and history of all the Massachusetts Regiments which took part in the war of the Revolution. They were published quarterly in The Massachusetts Magazine from 1908-1918.

Summary
One of the surprises which greets the newly interested student of the American Revolution is the "state of preparedness" which existed at the very beginning of open hostilities. Many people think as the British did at first, that the Colonials were little better than an armed mob. These preparations had been going on for years however, under the guidance of men who had done good service for the Crown in the French and Indian War. Many of the officers were veterans of Louisburg and the Crown Point expedition, and had learned to be good organizers as well as fighters. Furthermore, a strong militia organization had been maintained in the years following the earlier struggle and the military spirit, natural to the race, had been fostered and developed. This work stands as proof of the strength of the army and the ability of its officers as organizers.

Excerpt
MAJOR GENERAL ARTEMAS WARD was born in Shrewsbury Nov. 26, 1727. He was the son of Col. Nahum & Martha (Howe) Ward. He graduated from Harvard in 1748. On Jan. 28, 1755, he was commissioned Captain of the First Company of militia of Shrewsbury and Major in the “3rd regiment of militia in the county of Middlesex and Worcester. . . whereof Abraham Williams, Esq. is Colonel.” Early in 1758 he was commissioned Major in the regiment of Col. Wm. Williams, raised “for the general invasion of Canada,” and took part in Abercrombie’s Ticonderoga campaign, being promoted to Lieut. Col. on July 3, 1758. On July 1, 1762 he became Colonel of the Third Regiment of militia of Middlesex and Worcester counties, continuing in its command until 1766. The episode of his removal is part of the political history of Massachusetts. It followed close upon his alignment against the prerogative party, in the political unrest fomented by the Stamp Act — and it was a summary action, put into effect without notice by the following communication delivered by a special mounted messenger: “Boston, June 30, 1766. To Artemas Ward, Esq. Sir— I am ordered by the Governor to signify to you, that he has thought fit to supersede your commission of Colonel in the Regiment of Militia, lying in part in the County of Worcester and in part in the County of Middlesex, and your commission is superseded accordingly. I am, Sir, your most Ob’t and Humble Sv’t Jno. Cotton, Dep,ty Sec,y.” In return, Colonel Ward sent his compliments to the Governor as follows: “Tell him that I consider myself twice honored, but more in being superceded than in being commissioned, and that I thank him for this” (holding up the letter to the messenger) “since the motive that dictated it, is evidence that I am, what he is not, a friend to my country.” Gen. Ward did not again hold military command until the fall of 1774 when his old regiment, throwing aside the crown commissions, elected him colonel — this action preceding by 24 days his election as General Officer by the Provincial Congress. Gen. Ward was early prominent in the civil life of his community. He became a Justice of the Peace at the age of 23 and held at various times many town offices — town and church “moderator,” selectman, town clerk, assessor and treasurer. In 1757 he was elected representative to the General Court — the first of 16 terms in that capacity. In 1762 he was appointed Justice of the Court of Common Pleas for Worcester Co. In 1768 the House elected him to the Council — the outcome of a sensational contest with the supporters of Lieut. -Gov. Hutchinson- but his appointment was vetoed by Gov. Barnard. He was again elected to the Council in 1769 and again negative. He was elected for the third time in 1770, finally being permitted to take his seat at the Board. He was continuously re-elected thereafter until the days of the “mandamus” councilors, immediately preceding the Revolution. He was a prominent member of the first and second Provincial Congresses (1774 & 1775), both of which appointed him second General Officer of the military forces of the province. Gen. Ward was in Shrewsbury at the time of the Lexington-Concord fight. Though ill and in bed, he lost no time in getting to Cambridge, arriving there, nearly 40 miles away, on the day following. Gen. Preble the First General Officer, being incapacitated, he immediately took the supreme military command. Gen. Ward was the responsible central figure of the hastily gathered, undisciplined, fluctuating army of militiamen which, then and there, commenced the siege of Boston — but he was without authority to enlist the men, pay them or hold them, except by the strength of the common-cause spirit and the force of his own personality and that of other military and civilian leaders.

Table of Contents
Introduction: The Patriot Army at the Seige (sic) of Boston Chapter 1: Colonel John Glover’s Marblehead Regiment Chapter 2: Colonel William Prescott’s Regiment Chapter 3: Colonel Ephram Doolittle’s Regiment Chapter 4: Colonel Timothy Danielson’s Regiment Chapter 5: Colonel John Fellows’s Regiment Chapter 6: Colonel Ebenezer Bridge’s Regiment Chapter 7: Colonel Timothy Walker’s Regiment Chapter 8: Colonel Theophilus Cotton’s Regiment Chapter 9: Colonel James Frye’s Regiment Chapter 10: Colonel Ruggles Woodbridge’s Regiment Chapter 11: Colonel Thomas Gardner’s Regiment Chapter 12: Colonel Samuel Gerrish’s Regiment Chapter 13: General William Heath’s and Colonel John Greaton’s Regiments Chapter 14: Colonel Ebenezer Learned’s Regiment Chapter 15: Colonel Paul Dudley’s Regiment Chapter 16: Colonel John Mansfield’s Regiment Chapter 17: Colonel Asa Whitcomb’s Regiment Chapter 18: Colonel John Nixon’s Regiment Chapter 19: General John Thomas’s and Colonel John Bailey’s Regiments Chapter 20: Colonel John Paterson’s Regiment Chapter 21: General Artemas Ward’s and Colonel Jonathan Ward’s Regiments Chapter 22: Colonel Moses Little’s Regiment Chapter 23: Colonel Joseph Read’s Regiment Chapter 24: Colonel Jonathan Brewer’s Regiment Chapter 25: Colonel David Brewer’s Regiment Chapter 26: Colonel Edmund Phinney’s 26th Regiment Appendix: Regimental lists from Orderly Book of Colonel William Henshaw Notes:

 

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