Songs & Ballads Of the American Revolution

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BATTLE OP THE KEGS.                          215
or injured one or more of them. So far the matter was serious, and the fellow who invented the mischief may quit his conscience of the murder or injury done the lads, as well as he can. Some days after a few others of much the same appearance, and some in the form of buoys, came floating in like manner, and a few guns were, we be­lieve, fired at them from some of the transports lying along the wharves. Other than this no notice was taken of them, except, in­deed, by our author, whose imagination, perhaps as fertile as his invention, realized to himself in the frenzy of his enthusiasm the matters he has set forth." " Extract of a letter from Philadelphia, Jan. 9, 1778.—The city has been lately entertained with a most astonishing instance of the activity, bravery, and military skill of the royal navy of Great Britain. The affair is somewhat particular and deserves your notice. Some time last week, two boys observed a keg of singular construction, floating in the river opposite to the city. They got into a small boat, and in attempting to obtain the keg, it burst with a great explosion, and blew up the unfortunate boys. On Monday last, several kegs of a like construction made their appearance. An alarm was immediately spread through the city. Various reports prevailed, filling the city and royal troops with consternation. Some reported that these kegs were filled with armed rebels, who were to issue forth in the dead of the night, as did the Grecians of old from their wooden horse at the siege of Troy, and take the city by surprise, asserting that they had seen the points of their bayonets through the bung-holes of the kegs. Others said they were charged with the most inveterate combustibles, to be kindled by secret machinery, and setting the whole Delaware in flames, were to consume all the shipping in the harbor ; whilst others asserted they were constructed by art magic, would, of themselves, ascend the wharves in the night-time, and roll all flaming tbrough the streets of the city, destroying every thing in their way. Be this as it may, certain it is that the shipping in the harbor, and all the wharves in the city, were fully manned. The battle began, and it was surprising to behold the incessant blaze that was kept up against the enemy, the kegs. Both officers and men exhibited the

E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III