Main content

Title: Extract of a letter from Philadelphia to Belfast
CollectionIrish Emigration Database
Sender Genderunknown
Sender Occupationunknown
Sender Religionunknown
OriginPhiladelphia, Penn., USA
DestinationBelfast, N.Ireland
Recipient Genderunknown
Relationshipre American colonies
SourceThe Belfast News-Letter, Tuesday 15 to Friday 18 August, 1775
ArchiveThe Central Library, Belfast
Doc. No.1200305
Partial Date
Doc. TypeEMG
LogDocument added by LT, 19:12:00.
Word Count775
The Public may depend on the authenticity of the
following extract of a letter from a lady in Philadelphia
to her correspondent in this town, dated June 30, 1775.
" We had a passage of six weeks, and the worst weather
I ever saw. You may easily guess my surprise on arrival
here to find the whole town in the utmost confusion, an
entire stop on all trade, and the people busied in
learning the military exercise. The inhabitants of
this place are divided into three battalions or regiments,
with each their light infantry; their uniforms are very
handsome: The first battalion's is a brown faced with
buff, and our young Quakers are the infantry belonging
to this regiment; their uniform is a lively blue faced
with buff, small hats with a black feather, and are
in general very pretty young men. The second battalion
wear brown faced with scarlet; their infantry have a
dark blue turn'd up with scarlet, and gold hatbands.
The third battalion is reckoned by far the most genteel;
their cloathing [clothing?] is also brown, faced with
white, and white ribband hatbands; their light infantry
wear a sprightly green faced with white, small black caps
with black feathers, and are all young men only Captain
Blair, and a few others: having practised more, they go
through their exercise better than any of the others, but
considering the little time they have had, (which is
only about seven weeks) they all do remarkably well. I
forgot to tell you that all except the infantry wear
in their hats small bucks tails to denote their being
Americans. The three regiments consist of about two
thousand men. Beside these we have one troop of light
horse, a train of artillery, a company of rangers, and
another of rifle men, clothed in the most antick
[antique?] dress you can imagine, of tann'd linen made
like shirts or frocks, and mocko skins [moccasins?],
resembling the Indians, down to their heels; they each
have a gun, bayonet, and hatchet, and thus equipped
they go on a fine open plain just out of the town, called
the Common, and exercise every other evening.
" We had a review of our men on last Monday was eight
days. General Washington, who is appointed commander
in chief of all the provincial forces in America,
review'd them, and expressed the greatest satisfaction.
In short, in my opinion, 'tis the most melancholy fight
i ever beheld to see so many men, both rich and poor,
struggling for their liberty; even the principal men of
the town are common soldiers, and men far beneath them,
if thought capable, are appointed officers over them.
There have been several engagements already at Boston,
but through the merciful interposition of providence,
who seems to fight for us, we have as yet come off
conquerors with only the loss of a few, in comparison
with what English are slain: Should they get the better,
which heaven forbid! our poor unhappy country must groan
under the weight of oppression and slavery. We daily
expect ships of war here, and if their coming is not
prevented, which they are taking every possible means
to do, this once flourishing city must be laid in ashes.
A little time must now determine the event. Should
the Almighty permit the victory to be ours, we shall
again enjoy liberty, and peace will smile on this once
happy land. The whole of the country are in the same
confusion as we are here; every little town or village
has its regiment of men, and the name of TORY is
scarcely to be heard of: A genteel coat of Tar and
Feathers is the reward of such. The same day we came
here, arrived a Captain McCulloch from London, and
brought passenger with him one Major Skeene, who
designed to go to Boston with intelligence to General
Gage; but our people prevented him, by securing him
for some time in the town, and keeping a guard both
day and night: He is now out on a parole of honour and
will be so I suppose for some time. You will
undoubtedly laugh at me when I assure you I often wish
to be a man; with what pleasure would I take up arms
with my brave countrymen, and like them, glory in
fighting for my liberty. It is a common remark that
Lord North has done what all the men in England never
before did, in making the Quakers take up arms. I am
but a poor politician, having never dipped before into
politicks [politics?], so can afford you but very little
entertainment: I fear I have tired you with my long
epistle, I Know not when I shall have another
opportunity of writing, but be assured I shall let no
one slip."