8 JOSEPH STEBBINS
in that county, and that the men had taken on the name of Minute men from being prepared to answer an alarm call at a minute's notice. At Marblehead the excitement ran still higher; there the rebels were drilling three or four times a week.
Richard Henry Lee, a distinguished Virginian statesman, said of the rebels at this period, they were "men trained to arms from their infancy." Does not the slaughter of British officers on Bunker Hill bear testimony to the truth of these words?
Instances might be multiplied but enough has been said to illustrate the spirit and the practice of these indomitable rebels.
I have dwelt at more length upon this subject of the early and earnest preparation for war by the patriots to show that the editor of the New Republic was very wide indeed of the mark when he recently published the following statement:—
"What, as a matter of fact, were the minute-men of the Revolution? They were citizens-at-large whom the Provincial congresses and the Committees of Safety of 1774 instructed to keep their powder-horns filled and hold themselves in readiness to shoot Britishers. They had had no military drill, and no practice except in shooting Indians and small game. They went down to defeat after defeat, they were chronically under-supplied with ammunition, they were hardly more than an armed rabble." To be sure the rebels were forced from Bunker Hill by Gage?s swarm of Regulars and shortage of powder but, in effect, this action was equivalent to a victory. Gage had little stomach for another encounter with that sort of a "rabble," and how soon the British Regulars were driven clear of all Boston land and water!
We left Joseph Stebbins while serving as lieutenant in Captain Locke's company on the Lexington alarm, Apr. 20, 1775. This company arrived at headquarters on Monday, Apr. 24, and was at once broken up, Gen. Ward evidently preferring to use this new accession of force as units for filling the ranks of his new army, rather than as a new organization to be provided for. The next day Gen. Ward issued a call for volunteers to enlist