Sunday, April 23:
News of the battle of Lexington and Concord reaches New York City. A resident recorded that “this whole city was in a state of alarm; every face appeared animated with resentment. Soon after the news arrived by express, many citizens went to two transports loaded with bread, flour, etc., for the troops [i.e., provisions for the British army in Boston], and they were speedily unloaded… Many persons of influence, who have been thought inimical to the cause [i.e., Tories], now come out boldly and declare their sentiments worthy of themselves.” The city’s Sons of Liberty soon seize the city arsenal.
Meanwhile, the Massachusetts Provincial Congress is busy placing the colony on a war footing. A resolution is passed approving of an army of 30,000 men to defend Massachusetts, with 13,600 to be raised by the province and the remainder to come from neighboring colonies.
Monday, April 24:
Samuel Adams and John Hancock arrive in the town of Worcester. They are making their way to join the second Continental Congress (scheduled to begin May 10, in Philadelphia). They have been out of contact with the Massachusetts authorities since April 19, when they were nearly captured at Lexington and Concord. They complain to the Massachusetts Committee of Safety, we “find no intelligence from you and no guard… How are we to proceed? Where are our brethren? Surely we ought to be supported…” The men are especially anxious to obtain a reliable account of the battle and of what has happened since to the American militia.
Tuesday, April 25:
Samuel Adams and John Hancock have lunch with one James Jeffrey, a Massachusetts-born resident of Quebec. Adams and Hancock have a special interest in Canada. The two men formed part of a special committee “to correspond with the inhabitants of Canada.” They sent one of their number, an attorney named John Brown, to stir up support for the American cause. At the end of March, Brown wrote from Canada to say: “One thing I must mention as a profound secret. The fort at Ticonderoga must be seized as soon as possible, should hostilities be committed by the king’s troops. The people on New-Hampshire Grants [i.e., the Green Mountain Boys] have engaged to do this business, and, in my opinion, are the most proper persons for the job. This will effectually curb this province [Canada], and all the troops which may be sent here.” Jeffrey met Brown the day after this letter was written and he accompanied the bearer of the letter part of the way back to the American colonies. Jeffrey was at Ticonderoga from April 6-10, and he can provide a detailed description of the fort and its garrison.
John Brown’s Canadian trip was not a success. He travelled to Montreal where he met with various American sympathizers and distributed pamphlets, but he was unable to convince the Canadians to send delegates to the Continental Congress.
Brown has since returned to his western Massachusetts home of Pittsfield, where he has joined the local committee of correspondence. Brown and the other members (James Easton and Thomas Allen) are concerned that the Tories in nearby Kinderhook, New York will strike against his community. The committee writes to the Albany Committee of Correspondence for support. The following day, Albany demurs, noting that “we look upon [the threat] as entirely groundless.”
In Rhode Island, the danger that the Rose might bombard Newport does not prohibit the province's Assembly from convening and acting in support of Massachusetts. A resolution is passed that states “At this very dangerous crisis of American affairs; at a time when we are surrounded with fleets and armies, that threaten our immediate destruction; at a time when the fears and anxieties of the people throw them into the utmost distress, and totally prevent them from attending to the common occupations of life… it is thought absolutely necessary that a number of men be raised and embodied, properly armed and disciplined, to continue in this colony, as an Army of Observation; to repel any insults or violence that may be offered to the inhabitants; and also, if it be necessary for the safety and preservation of any of the colonies, that they be ordered to march out of this colony, and join and co-operate with the forces of our neighboring colonies.” It is widely assumed the 1,500-man army called for by the resolution will be sent to Boston.
Wednesday, April 26:
The frigate Rose seizes an American vessel as soon it as leaves Newport. The vessel, commanded by one John Brown (not the Pittsfield attorney), is carrying hundreds of barrels of flour to Providence to be used by Rhode Island’s “Army of Observation.” Brown is soon sent to Lieutenant-General Thomas Gage in Boston.
In Connecticut, the Assembly meets and requests that the governor open communications with British Lieutenant-General Thomas Gage. The mood, however, is warlike, and following the lead of Massachusetts and Rhode Island, the Assembly also authorizes an army.
Benedict Arnold, who is marching with his company of Governor’s Guards towards Boston, is appointed captain of the fifth company of the newly authorized 1st Connecticut Provincial Regiment. His colonel is David Wooster, with whom he clashed before setting out. At the moment, this organization exists only on paper as it will take some time to recruit and supply the men.
The Massachusetts authorities are unable to adequately supply the thousands of men from their own colony that have taken up arms outside Boston, much less those from neighboring colonies. One Connecticut officer notes that his troop “were not wanted at present” and that “[I] now find that most of the Connecticut troops are on the return.”
Arnold’s company remains on the march. On the road he meets Samuel Parsons, newly appointed colonel of the 6th Connecticut. Parsons complains of the lack of heavy cannon to drive the British from Boston. Arnold describes to him the weak state of Fort Ticonderoga and the large number of brass cannon that can be obtained there. Parsons will soon share this tidbit with others.