"...the tragedy acted by these hell hounds of an execrable Ministry with a more accursed Tyrant at their head now calls out for decision"
This installment of Letters from the Front introduces the notorious General Charles Lee, several of whose letters appear throughout the collection. Charles Lee was one of several Continental generals with a background in the British service (Horatio Gates and Richard Montgomery are other examples). Combined with his revolutionary zeal, Lee's background made him an obviously choice for high command in the new American Army. His letter to Alexander MacDougall, a prominent New York Whig, focuses on two key events of the early Revolutionary struggle: the burning of Falmouth, Massachusetts, (now Portland, Maine) by the British Navy on 18 October 1775 and New York City's entrance into the rebellion. While attention focused on Boston throughout 1775, the thirteen colonies' other major seaports were significant scenes of revolutionary struggle. New York City was one of the few that had recently hosted redcoats: British soldiers of the 18th (or Royal Irish) Regiment of Foot had arrived in the city late in 1774 and been escorted out to waiting transports in the Spring of 1775 by an angry mob. Governor William Tryon, formerly of North Carolina, remained in an attempt to maintain royal rule. Tryon was forced to retreat to the safety of a Royal Navy sloop-of-war (the Halifax) on 19 October, in a move that was probably un-related to the incident at Falmouth, which nevertheless served to galvanize Revolutionaries into action across the colonies. Lee's lack of awareness of Tryon's removal shows just how slowly news could travel in the eighteenth-century, just as his prose highlights the level of passion present in the revolutionary cause.