My recent post on the military history of the Lake Champlain region omitted mention that volunteer soldiers from this area – the town of Dracut, to be specific – participated in many of these engagements. In his poem “The War Place: The War of Independence” (reproduced below), Paul Marion makes use of the diary of a Dracut resident who fought in and around Champlain.
The War Place
The War of Independence
Late July 1776, “Marched for Cannada” from Dracut
“to Chelmsford to Westford
to Groton to Pepperal
to Ashby to Ashbinham
to New Ypswich to Ringe
to Jaffrey to New Molbury
to Swansey to Keen to Surry
to Westmoreland to Walpole to Charlestown N.H.
to Springfield to Wethirsfield
to Cavendish to Saltish
to Ludlow to Sasbury to Clarodin
to Rutland to Caselton
to Mount Independence
October ye 5 1776”
Isaac, Asa, Elijah, Zachariah,
all carried down to the lake
“sick with the small pox.”
I worked in camp.
News of fighting in New York. 2,000 dead.
One night a rumor of spies,
so we kept to our tents and watched.
Guard duty. We cleaned our pieces,
expecting the King’s troops.
The last Sunday, enemy boats landed—
“We fired 2 Cannon from ye Sandy Redout
and heard we killed some men.”
Hunting with 2 sergeants, I killed a buck.
One night we had a very hot fire.
The 26th. A red-letter day. Left for Dracut.
Through Saratoga, Still Water, Half Moon,
meals of “Cyder, Bisket & Chees.”
At Albany, “Crost the River to Green Bush,”
then east across Massachusetts.
Bought a horse. Headed home.
This piece includes passages from the diary of Micah Hildreth of Dracut, written in 1776. The source is The History of Dracut by Silas R. Coburn (1922). With his brothers William and Josiah, 26-year-old Micah joined Captain Peter Coburn’s Dracut militiamen when they engaged British troops at Lexington, Mass., on April 19, 1775. He later fought at Bunker Hill and in the siege of Boston in late 1775.