"They are now convinced that Americans will fight, & seem loth to make any further Trial of their Bravery."
Following the Battle of Bunker Hill, Congressional forces settled into an uneasy siege of Boston, concerned at the potential for a British break-out assault, but unwilling to reduce the pressure on the "ministerial troops." The Siege would continue until March 1776, when the British abandoned their post, retreating by sea to Halifax, Nova Scotia. Most of the documents in the Letters from the Front series chronicle this siege, which has largely been overlooked by recent writers on the American Revolution. As will be seen in this and other letters, the siege loomed large in the minds of contemporaries.
This installment provides a view of the siege in its relatively early days, through the eyes of William Tudor. A 1769 graduate of Harvard College, Tudor had trained as a lawyer under John Adams in Boston during the pre-war years. In July 1775, General Washington appointed him to serve as the Judge Advocate of the Continental Army at Boston, responsible for guiding courts martial and other elements of the military justice system. Tudor would rise to the position of Judge Advocate General of the entire army the following year, and also ranked as Lieutenant-Colonel of Henley's Additional Continental Regiment. Tudor's dual posts remind us that, unlike in the modern army, regimental officers were often permanently detached from their units to serve in other capacities. Tudor's letter provides vivid details on the siege, weighing in especially hard on the rifleman who had arrived from Virginia and Pennsylvania in the late summer. His concern with events to the southward, particularly as regarded the economy, demonstrates how American soldiers retained their links to their civilian origins while engaged in our founding struggle.