6 JOSEPH STEBBINS
band of patriots under Gen. Artemas Ward already gathering and encircling Gage in its toils. The blood of the colony was at fever heat and Gage had tapped the first vein at Concord.
By general consent Gen. Ward had been placed at the head of the movement against Gage, and had been directed to raise an army of 30,000 men for this object. At the outbreak of the Revolution, Ward was one of the leading men of Massachusetts in both civil and military life, and in June, 1775, the second Continental Congress appointed him first Major-General, ranking next to Washington in the American army.
A letter in my possession gives bits of information, not elsewhere found, as to how the Deerfield company fared on the way, and how they were received by Gen. Ward. This letter is singularly devoid of sentiment. There is not a word regarding the main cause of the war, and not a hint is found concerning the reception they received from the people as they struggled along. It is addressed to "Col. Selah Barnard" at Deerfield, and written by Isaac Parker, Clerk of the Company. The letter is given in full.
Waltham April 24 [Monday] 1775
Sir having an Opportunity to send by the Barror we thought it Best to Acquaint you as well as we could of our wellfare, we are safe arrived and are took our Quarters at Brewers to night But we are not able to tell whether this will be our Quarters long, our Regement is not all arrived, Liut Col Williams [Samuel] arrived with his Company Last Saturday night we have had rain every day since we set out which made the traveling very wet and hard, But our men are in good Spirits and everyBody else we see—we shall not need any Provision, for we can Draw our allowance to morrow if we please, But we think Best to use our own as long as it Last—tomorrow enlisting orders are to be given out to Raise a standing army. Several of the other provinces have Sent and offered to Raise their part, those that enlist are to have one Coat and forty shilling a month, it is thought all the Cash that can be sent will be much wanted, and we think if it could be obtain to send our money now in the Collectors* hand Down—you will Doubt-____________________________________________________________
*The "Collectors" were men selected by the rebels for the purpose of collecting the pay of the rebel soldiers. It was feared that the tax collectors might prove to be Tories and refuse to pay the rebel soldiers. The wages of the soldiers were always paid in specie which was collected at stated times by the "Collectors" and held subject to the orders of the soldiers who were liable to be in the field on pay day.