1700s |

British Announce That Residents Are Forbidden To Leave Boston – 10/28/1775

The year is 1775 Major General Sir William Howe, the new commander in chief of the British army, makes a serious declaration to those who reside in Boston on this day. Rather than speaking to the citizens up close, he decides to deliver this notice from another location. Making his speech in Boston from the British headquarters, the Major orders citizens to become part of military companies as well as forbidding any individual from exiting the city. The reason for this was for everyone to do everything possible to maintain an effective and disciplined government within Boston.

Roughly four months ago, a man by the name of George Washington had accepted the command of the Continental Army on July 3rd, 1775. The new commander, a veteran of the war between the Indian and the French as well as being a distinguish Virginia planter, was given the position of commander in chief by the Continental Congress just two weeks prior to the attempt to turn the impromptu attack of Boston. This was started by New Englanders that were furious over the Battle of Concord and Lexington that occurred the past April into an organized congressionally revolt within the colony against the harsh rule by the parliament. 

The spontaneous attack of Boston reached its’ greatest success when Israel Putnam and William Prescott led New Englanders who accomplished wounding 838 and killing 226 members of world-renowned British army until June 17th, 1775, in which they withdrew their rag-tag group from Bunker Hill.

Despite what they had accomplished and perceived to be a tremendous victory several weeks ago, Washington seemed unimpressed when first meeting these men who considered themselves an army. Thinking back to the war between the Indian and the French, the stupidity apparent in that war was evident in these enlisted men; they had grown accustomed to being commanded by their neighbors in militias instead of elected officers. 

Immediately, Washington ordered that officers should act accordingly while the enlisted men show the proper respect toward rank. While this practice showed signs of working with this first army, it was inevitable that the New Englanders would return to their lands and as 1775 was reaching its’ end, Washington had no choice but to work with new soldiers in 1776.

Nevertheless, the British would finally leave Boston on March 27th, 1776. This was due to Washington being able to successfully take over Dorchester Heights some 13 days earlier. The victory was obtained by using a cannon, acquired at Fort Ticonderoga from the British on May 10th, 1775, that was let loose on the British-held city. 

Being fearful more of their own cannon being used on them instead of the Patriot soldiers, the British fled and the Boston citizens finally could move around in their own city; something they had not been able to do for the past six months.

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Mark Hinderberg


Retired History Professor at Vanderbilt University. Love taking a portal through time and sharing my knowledge with anyone else who loves reading about history. It is my passion and my greatest hobby.