Love Pickman, Salem, to Benjamin Pickman, April 1775. Pickman Family Papers. Phillips Library, Peabody Essex Museum. Transcription by Abaigeal Duda.
[Salem, April, I775.]
My Dear Son
I wish I could give you such good news of our situation, as would make your return agreeable and safe but although I know it must give you great pain I Cannot forbear writing you the Deplorable Condition we are in -- the I9 of April Gage sent a number of the Kings troops to Lexinton [sic] to take some of the Congress that wear [sic] Sitting there -- and a magazine of warlike Stores. they found about Sixty men under Arms to guard the magazine. they immediately fired on each other; and the regulars killed three of our men and wounded twenty seven. this Skirmish soon brought on a battle -- dispatches were sent on both sides -- and a reinforcement soon arrived from Boston, but our people were sent from all quarters and so over powered the Kings troops that they were obliged to retreat with the loss of a great many -- and I believe we lost as many of our men -- this unhappy Battle Opens to us the horrors of a Civil War at which will not end here -- for notwithstanding the great Consternation we are in and know not whither to make our escape from Sword or fire every moment expecting the Kings Ships to destroy the Sea ports and although we are in the greatest Confusion, a stop put to all sorts of business and the Land quite neglected -- almost every family removing with their effects to take Shelter under the roofs of any in the Country that will take them in -- yet the minds of this people are so enraged against the King and ministry, that it is as much as any ones [sic] life is worth to speak one word against their proceedings -- I went to my Farm the day after the battle with your and Clarks [sic] families but we were soon alarmed there. the Sabbath afterward the Lively was prepared to fire upon Marblehead [sic], and a Ship before Salem which we supposed would do the same there -- this was a most melancholy day. the Carts with heavy tackling coming out of the Country for twelve miles round -- and carrying off the goods and women and Children from Salem Marblehead and all the Sea ports --we thought our Selves very unsafe at the farm and therefore agreed with Doctor Prince to go with him to Hallefax but his going off raised such a Clamour, and he found it so difficult to get hands that we sent for our goods on Shoar [sic] again and I beleive [sic] it is a kind favour in providence that prevented our going for we Could not have carried enough with us to have supported us more than six months -- and must have lost all that we left as it is the resolve of the Congress that all persons who go off after the Lex’t battle forfeit their estates -- your wife and I have hired a house at Byfield and sent part of our furniture and provisions but I hope we shall not be obliged to leave the town -- we have a few friends left to share with us in the often alarm which threaten us and we hope we shall be able to make our escape in case of an attack. –
Boston is Closely besieged by a large Army which they are daily augmenting and are determined to prevent every sort of provision going in either by land or water. Doct. Goodman sent to me by way of marblehead [sic] for a Cow for Rouths Children and for any kind of provision that I could furnish them with. I endeavoyred [sic] to send a Cow and some live Stock from my farm but my attempts were fruitless. they were all taken from the man before he could get them into his Boat. some few things I have since : to them but been at the risque [sic] of my Self and Children here so that whatever they suffer it is not in my power relieve them in this great Calamity. I know you must suffer great anxiety for your family and friends here but I hope you share with us also in the kind Support of providence which we Daily experience amidst our danger. for although we are surrounded with terror and perplexity we are not forsaken nor in despair -- for the Lord preserveth us -- but this dreadful and wicked War, whose period must be long--unless some unforeseen interposition in providence which we have no occasion to expect -- for although this whole Continent are surrounded with desolation and woe -- they are nevertheless absolutely determined never to submit to the King and parliament, for they say it will forever enslave them and their posterity -- what has infatuated and enraged this Province, I know not, a people that once would have sacrificed their lives and fortunes to have preserved the King's Person and family and supported his Crown and Dignity -- My Dear Son I trust in God that he will return you in Safety to your Family and Friends --& do not forget my best respects and to all friends –
I am your most affectionate Mother