A Letter from Gloucester, Cape Ann

to Isaiah Thomas, Worcester1

Gloucester, August 13, [1775]

On the 9th instant, the Falcon sloop of war, Captain [John] Lindzee hove in sight, and seemed to be in quest of two schooners from the West-Indies, bound to Salem, one of which he soon brought too; the other taking the advantage of a fair wind, put into our harbour, but Lindzee, having made a prize of the first pursued the second into the harbour, and brought the first with him. He anchored and sent two barges with fifteen men in each, armed with muskets and swivels, these were attended with a whale boat, in which were the Lieutenant and six privates; their orders were to seize the loaded schooner, and bring her under the Falcon's bow. The militia, and other inhabitants were alarmed at this daring attempt, and prepared for a vigorous opposition: The barge-men, under the command of the Lieutenant, boarded the schooner at the cabbin windows, which provoked a smart fire from our people on the shore, by which three of the enemy were killed, and the Lieutenant wounded in the thigh, who thereupon returned to the man of war. Upon this Lindzee sent the other schooner and a small cutter he had to attend him, well armed, with orders to fire upon the damn'd rebels wherever they could see them, and that he would in the mean time cannonade the town; he immediately fired a broad side upon the thickest settlements, and stood himself, with diabolical pleasure to see what havock his cannon might make. "Now, (said he) my boys, we will aim at the damn'd presbyterian Church—Well, my brave fellows, one shot more and the house of God will fall before you." While he was thus venting his hellish rage, and setting himself as it were against heaven, the Almighty was on our side; not a ball struck or wounded an individual person, although they went through our houses in almost every direction when filled with women and children; under God, our little party at the water-side performed wonders, for they soon made themselves masters of both the schooners, the cutter, the two barges, the boat, and every man in them, and all that pertained to them: In the action which lasted several hours, we lost but one man, two others wounded one of which is since dead, the other very slightly wounded. We took of the men of war's men thirty-five, several were wounded and one since dead; twenty-four were sent to head-quarters, the remainder being impressed from this and neighbouring towns, were permitted to return to their friends. Next day Capt. Lindzee warped off with but half his men, never a prize, boat nor tender, except a small skiff the wounded Lieutenant returned in.

1. Massachusetts Spy, Aug. 16, 1775.
Source: Naval Documents of the American Revolution, I, 1132-3