old docs and books
Feb 2013

General Artemas Ward

A study
Angelyn Jefferds Burley
Published By
The General Artemas Ward Memorial Museum
Shrewsbury, Mass.

An original paper read before the Bancroft Chapter, Daughters of the Revolution, in the garden of the Artemas Ward Homestead, Shrewsbury, June I3, 1950

by Angela Jefferds Burley:
Boston Branch, National League of American Pen Women — Fellow, The American Institute of Genealogy — Life Member, New England Historic Genealogical Society — Member, National Genealogical Society.

Gen. Artemas Ward
Original painting by Charles Willson Peale, now hanging in Independence Hall, Philadelphia.
This is a photograph of a copy of the original painted by E. J. Cram, now in possession of The
Bostonian Society.

General Artemas Ward
A Study

     Having been asked to write a paper about Artemas Ward the task was undertaken. It was found that Massachusetts Historical Society had five large morocco covered volumes of manuscript, the time of General Ward and his father Col. Nahum, held in trust as a valuable original source for students and historians. Notes were taken from the Index. The American Antiquarian Society graciously lent "William Ward Genealogy" and "Artemas Ward," both by Charles Martyn. Newspaper clippings, 1921, articles in Harvard Alumni Bulletin were read, wills and deeds searched. These findings now are presented:

     "In the new settlement of Shrewsbury Sunday, November 6, 1727 a fifth child was born to Lt. Nahum and Martha (How) Ward. Having drawn the name from the Bible in the the old New England way he was christened Artemas." Brought up in comfortable circumstances, his father a militia officer and the town's first representative to the General Court, he learned of the French and Indian Wars and the history of an eventful century while the family sat around the big log fire. Short periods the "school kept" were supplemented by home studies with the Rev. Job Cushing. His neat penmanship enabled him to fill out writs and legal papers for his father, an apprenticeship for his later judicial career. His early teens showed development of character setting him apart from his brothers. Rev. Job Cushing was assigned the duty which prepared him for Harvard College at the age of sixteen. He entered in 1744, graduated A.B. 1748, took his Master's degree, 1751. His father's library was above the average, and his class tutor had been Thomas Marsh, college librarian. In his day students enrolled numbered about one hundred. The breakfast served at commons then consisted of bread and a "cue of beer."

     Artemas after graduation taught school in Groton and boarded with Rev. Caleb Trowbridge. The tradition was that the young school teacher used to amuse himself by "potting ducks" from his second floor window. In other moments he managed a courtship with Sarah the minister's daughter, three years his senior whom he "brought as a bride to Shrewsbury in 1750." The Yellow House which his father purchased in 1750, a few feet south of the present Sumner house was deeded as a gift in February, 1753 "in consideration of the love and good will and affection which I bear toward my well beloved son Artemas Ward." In April 1750 Artemas opened a small general store in the rear lean-to, a shoemaker's shop selling stock ranging from dry-goods to rum. Some customers paid in cash others by homespun cloth, cyder, fish, or in labor, making a saw, staples, making a pair of leather breeches, dressing one deer skin, carting, etc. Rum was an article of thoroughly good standing, a part of every man's diet, as essential at church-raisings and ordinations as on strictly secular occasions.

     The following spring, March 4, 1751, at age of twenty-three marked the beginning of the many civic and court appointments through the years. First, tax assessor; the following June as justice of the peace; town. clerk; selectman; representative to General Court; town moderator; town treasurer; judge of Worcester County Court of Common Pleas; representative in the "Committee of Convention;" elected to the Council; delegate to -the Worcester County Convention; delegate to First and Second Provincial Congresses; president of the Council; elected to Continental Congress; Grand Committee of states; returned to Mass. House of Representatives; Speaker of the House; representative to United States Congress, aligned himself with the Federalists; reelected; Congress dissolved on March 3, 1795. He wrote his son, Henry Dana; "This day the Session of Congress closeth and this day finisheth my public political life. I shall now return to the private walks of life, and spend the few remaining days of my pilgrimage. . . in solitude; I have spent many of my days, I may say years, in the bustles of this transitory world; I hope not altogether unprofitably to my constituents, myself, & those that shall hereafter come on the stage of life."

     Having placed the civic and court background before his military career gives an understanding of the esteem in which Gen. Ward was held during the period covering 44 years in which he encountered the many sides of human government.

     As justice of the peace both locally and in General Sessions at Worcester the Yellow House sitting-room had become the home court where many couples were married, minor offenders tried, and justice between disputant neighbors balanced. The combination of duties clerical and otherwise with the cumulative responsibilities undertaken had made him one of the busiest men in Shrewsbury. Col. Nahum Ward died at the age of 69 in 1754 after a much respected and enterprising life, leaving sons Artemas and Elisha executors and residuary legatees.

     Jan. 28, 1755 Artemas Ward was commissioned major of the Third Regiment of Militia in the counties of Middlesex and Worcester, and captain of the First Company in the town of Shrewsbury. Two years later May 16, 1757 he represented the town at the General Court for the short Spring session, appearing in the capitol nine days after his appointment. Boston was full of life and bustle. "The Seven Years' conflict was flaming across the civilized world and crossing the Atlantic, had locked France and England in the final struggle for supremacy in North America." The Representatives Chamber in which he took his seat under the carved wooden codfish was on the second floor of the Old State House, now standing, at the head of State Street. During Ward's initial term his assignments were in committees to consider soldiers' petitions.

     August brought his first call to arms. With news of the fall of Fort William Henry to the French and their Indian allies, and widespread fear that Montcalm would follow up his success with an assault on Fort Edward and a general eastward invasion, thousands of militiamen grasped their firelocks marching west and north toward the Fort to meet the enemy, among them Major Ward and his companies. General Webb having found Montcalm satisfied with the destruction and capture of supplies at Fort Henry and retiring to Montreal, halted all militiamen on their way, so the men marched back to their homes after a brief absence.

     In Shrewsbury Jan. 26, 1758 Ward was enlisting men for a regiment commanded by Col. William Williams against the French forces at Ticonderoga and Crown Point. This army was headed by Abercromby, the King's commander-in-chief on the continent. Ward was commissioned Major in Williams' regiment. In March the General Court fixed a rate of pay for privates at £ 1 16s. a month. In addition "each able bodied effective Man who shall voluntarily inlist ... shall be intitled to Thirty Shillings and upon his passing Muster shall receive a good Blanket and Fifty Shillings more for furnishing himself with Cloaths." This new general invasion of Canada had been planned on a large scale but the preliminary arrangements were faulty, army equipment still deficient. This expedition was at last under way, the largest single command on American soil, numbering 15,000. Among the officers closely associated with Ward in later years were Charles Lee, four years his junior, captain of a company of His Majesty's Grenadiers of the 44th Regiment; Brigadier-General Timothy Ruggles, Lieutenant-Colonel John Whitcomb, Major Israel Putnam, and Captain John Stark of the provincial forces. Those who knew him held Abercromby in slight respect, but Lord Howe, next in command, was beloved and respected by both regulars and provincials, with a true understanding of both the value and the peculiarities of the colonial troops.

     Major Ward set out in the morning of May 30 with his companies making twenty miles to Brookfield by sunset. His transcript of his diary, still preserved, contains much interesting detail: arrival at Fort Edward; June 17 and 18 building of a breastwork; visit of Abercromby and that the General "was pleased with Colo. Williams encampment.": "Ruggles & Williams' Regiment mustered by Brigdr. Genl.' Gage who did Colo. Williams ye Honor to say was his Regt. in uniform it wo'd be one of the finest he ever saw"; reached Lake George, boats loaded with flour, pork and heavy baggage. July 3 Ward was promoted to rank of lieutenant-colonel. Two days later the whole army embarked, each corps had its flags and music, men and officers were in highest spirits. They rowed northward all that day, and then, as "the Genl. gave out orders we sho'd push on," all the night following, also. The "second narrows" was reached at daybreak. A few hours later the march commenced through the forest to lay siege to Ticonderoga. With the death of Lord Howe that afternoon in a blind skirmish with a French advance party in dense thicket, the soul of Abercromby's army seemed to expire. "All in confusion," wrote Ward. Abercromby lost touch with his command after the Frenchmen were routed, collected "such parts of it" within his reach and posted them under trees where they remained all night under arms. He returned in the morning to the landing-place to find his forces awaiting him. The others, Williams' regiment among them made their way out of the forest as best they could and "returned to ye place we landed at with 160 prisoners and incamped."

     Montcalm resolved to hold Ticonderoga. The next day, July 8 Abercromby, misled by his own incompetence and an engineer's faulty report ordered taking of the position at the point of the bayonet, "hurry, hurry, — reinforcements are coming, no time to bring up the cannon." Abercromby lost in killed, wounded and missing nineteen hundred and forty-four officers and men. At midnight Colonel Williams and Colonel Partridge discovered "to our great surprise" that the army was in full flight southward to its boats, and they set out to follow it. The troops returned humbled, disgusted, and defeated to the encampment left a few days earlier full of confidence and national pride. For another three months this served as main basis of the army. On Sept. 24 Ward recorded, "This day according to ye returns given in, there are but 1657 R.F. (rank and file) of the Provincials fit for duty." With the surrender of Cape Breton, and news that Montcalm had broken camp, Abercromby followed his example. Williams' regiment "setting out" October 24 marched home and was disbanded.

     After a brief stay in Shrewsbury Ward proceeded to Boston for the discharge of his bounty and billeting-money bonds. Within two months of his return he was commissioned colonel of his old regiment, the Third Middlesex and Worcester County Regiment, in which he formerly had served as captain and major. He never regained robust health after the Ticonderoga campaign, calculus, stone in the bladder, plagued him intermittently all his life. He made no effort to return to service in the field during 1759 but the next year was active in enlisting men to fill ranks of a provincial expeditionary regiment. This he was compelled to relinquish and content himself in the post of Commisary of Musters. His township offices occupied much of his time. In the House he was known to his colleagues as an indefatigable worker.
The story of Ticonderoga with footnotes may be found in Martyn's "Artemas Ward" pp. 14·26 in American Antiquarian Society, Worcester, also Boston Athenaeum.

     In 1762 Colonel Ward sold his home the Yellow House to Reverend Joseph Sumner and purchased from his brother Elisha the house opposite the old Nahum Ward home which his father had erected early in the history of Shrewsbury. The sale included seventy acres of land fronting on the Great Country Road. "Into this house, a frame structure of seven rooms (the "Old Part" of the present Artemas Ward House), he soon after moved his family (already a. typical old-time Massachusetts family of six children), arid under its roof held court and dispensed law and order for more than a score of years."

     A new era was entered by signing of the Treaty of Paris February 10, 1763. English arms had driven the French flag from the North American continent. In 1765 the Stamp Act inspired political activity of several men who figured prominently in the struggle for independence, Artemas Ward among them. His activity in patriot circles commenced with this date. September 25 the General Court opened fall session with Bernard's address on the riots, and the necessity of submission to provisions of the Stamp Act. With Ward's stand known against imperial taxation, he was added to a committee of political protest, also on another to deliver the reply to Governor Bernard's notification that a Stamp Ship had entered the harbor. June 27, 1766 Ward was a member of a committee to deliver a message concerning compensation. Bernard reached the conclusion that he was a dangerous man to hold a colonel's command. With closing of the Spring session his commission was cancelled, the message brought to him by a mounted officer in full uniform who delivered it while still seated on his horse. It was signed by "John Cotton, Dep'y Sec'y." and delivered to him on the common among a number of townspeople in Shrewsbury.

     In June 1767 the English Parliament passed the Townsend "Act for granting certain Duties in the British Colonies and Plantations of America." Massachusetts objected to forms of taxation. January 1768 the House brought a petition to the King against taxation levied by Parliament, succeeded on February 11  by Samuel Adams' "Circular Letter" to the other colonies, informing them of its action and suggesting that "all possible care" be taken that the provinces "upon so delicate a point should harmonize with each other." May 25 Ward was elected to the council in a contest with Lieutenant-Governor Hutchinson. After the first ballot showed one short of the eighteen councilors required for election and Samuel Adams had spread the news, freshly arrived, that Hutchinson had received a grant from the crown, Governor Bernard promptly retaliated by vetoing Ward. June 21 Bernard presented instructions of Lord Hillsborough, England's Colonial Secretary, that he "require of the House of Representatives, in his Majesty's Name, to Rescind the Resolution which gave Birth to the Circular Letter from the Speaker and to declare their Disapprobation of, and Dissent to that rash and hasty proceeding." June 30 the House voted on the subject, ninety-two to seventeen. It refused to rescind and 'was promptly dissolved. The Representatives who thus defied England were extolled as the "Glorious Ninety-two."

     September 20 Ward was unanimously chosen Shrewsbury's representative in the "Committee of Convention." Two days later "upwards of seventy" delegates were present at the capitol with a petition to the governor to cause an assembly "to be immediately convened" which Bernard refused to receive. The delegates ignored the demand that they disperse and the convention concluded September \ 26 with a public statement, "unanimously agreed upon," which repeated the protest of the dissolved House of Representatives against taxation for revenue and against a standing army being maintained in the province. On the last day a squadron from Halifax arrived with a detachment of regulars.

     Spring of 1769 brought publication of Bernard's letters written to England the preceding year, arousing excitement and anger. He had handled the American conditions in an uncommonly adverse spirit and suggested various changes in the provincial government. Hutchinson was somewhat perturbed, having written in similar strain, but his case was deferred several years. When the General Court convened May 31,  the House addressed the governor requesting the removal of the fleet and soldiers. He retorted that he had no authority over either. The same day Ward was elected a second time to the Council, but vetoed on the morrow. Ward was added to the second committee of consideration when the House drew up a strong paper disputing Bernard's plea of impotence. Bernard replied "he could not remove the troops, but could the General Court"—and did so, to Cambridge. He was with Samuel Adams, Hancock, Otis and Col. Williams July 8 and 12 and answered the governor's messages of July 6 and 12. "Their reply, unanimously approved by the House, was, presented to Bernard July 15. It refused to appropriate money to defray the expense of quartering the troops, and strongly protested against the governor and Council having authorized disbursements on that account." Boston was continually disturbed by many-sided quarrels and culminating in the "Boston Massacre" March 5, 1770. Samuel Adams, John Adams and Dr. Joseph Warren, as other prominent citizens, muskets in hand, taking turn in policing the town both day and night. "The new General Court convened on May 30. It for the third time elected Ward to the Council, giving him I 15 out of a total 125 votes." He took his seat at the Board with twenty-four other councilors, all rather gorgeous in appearance with their white wigs and scarlet-cloth coats, acting governor Hutchinson at head of the table. At this session Ward had the pleasure of being seated in the Council with John Winthrop, his Harvard instructor in higher mathematics and natural philosophy, also with two of his college classmates.

     A brief spell of comparative peace, then in fall of 1772 a report that judges of the Superior Court were to be carried on the King's payroll brought into life the famous Committee of Correspondence. Ward was on the Council Committee March 5, 1773 protesting against the King's order, duly arrived. June 25 the Board passed twelve resolves condemning Hutchinson and Oliver letters, the thirteenth requested removal of both governor and lieutenant governor. The appeals were doomed to failure and to Massachusetts "the project came to ride upon the storm raised by the judges' salaries and the Hutchinson-Oliver letters." It revitalized the taxation controversy. Dec. 16, 1773 Samuel Adams gave the signal and his historic troop of "Mohawks" descended upon the tea-ships. The House impeached Chief Justice Peter Oliver of the Superior Court for accepting salary from the crown. The proceedings were stopped by dissolving the House, but Peter Oliver never again presided in court.

     May 10, 1774 two merchantmen brought copies of the Port Act to Boston. Three days later Gen. "Tom" Gage landed, to succeed Hutchinson as governor. May 25 the General Court convened and Gage notified the Assembly that, "by royal order it was after June 1 to meet in Salem." On June 1 the harbor of Boston was closed. June 9 the Council replied to Gage's address of May 26, prepared by Ward. It  recognized that the position was more difficult due to peculiar circumstances of the times, but hoped his administration might be a happy contrast to that of his two immediate predecessors: The chairman then was stopped by the governor, who June 14 denounced the address "as an insult upon his Majesty and the Lords of the Privy Council," and an affront to himself. June 17, 1774, a year before Bunker Hill, the House appointed delegates to a meeting of "Committees or Delegates" from all the colonies, a "Continental Congress" in Philadelphia. "Samuel Adams, key in pocket, guarding the vote, and warding off the governor's attempt to dissolve the House, by keeping the tories locked in and the governor's messenger locked out."

     Meantime, Ward of his own county was only justice of the Court of Common Pleas on the Patriot side, others "were hastening to place themselves on the tory side." Aug. 6 the arrival of official copies of the Act, "Appointments of judges, sheriffs, and other civil officers in the hands of the governor- who was answerable only to the King." Aug. 9 the Worcester convention of committee of correspondence and delegates gathered. Aug. 30 the Second Worcester County Convention met, a two day session which brought one hundred and thirty members. A call was issued "to be at Worcester on Sept. 6 to prevent the sitting of the Court of Common Pleas and the General Sessions of the Peace under the new laws."

     The morning of Sept. 6 a Patriot Army of 6000 men filled Worcester streets and common, assembled militia-men in deep ranks extending on both sides of Main Street from Old South Church to the Court-house. At a given word the procession started, judges, officers of the court, justices of the peace and last the townspeople to the court-house, where the justices and their attendants continued into the building. They signed a document "that all judicial proceedings be stayed by the justices of the courts appointed this day, by law ... and will not endeavor to put said act into execution." Ward's signature was affixed to this document. Men were thinking of war.

     Oct. 3 Ward was put at the head of his old regiment. Oct. 11 the "Provincial Congress" elected John Hancock as president, at Concord. Oct. 11 and 12 Ward was on both initial committees "to take into consideration the state of the province." Oct. 26 a Committee of Safety was formed, a subordinate Committee of Supplies, and General Officers to command. The next day Ward was appointed second General Officer to command the militia in the event of its "being called out by the Committee of Safety."

    Feb. 9, 1775 the Congress took up the choice of general officers, reelecting Jedediah Preble, and Artemas Ward with others. Preble did not act upon his appointment so General Ward became commander-in-chief of the Massachusetts forces at the outset of armed resistance. Symptoms of insurrection showed everywhere throughout the province, with the soul-racking uncertainty of the period. Across the sea word from the English government advised the arrest and imprisonment of the Provincial Congress. Apr. 8 brought a resolve "for the raising and establishment of a provincial army," followed by "take into consideration what number of men ... will be necessary to be raised by the four New England governments for their general defence." Apr. 13 a resolution was passed "providing for six artillery companies to immediately enter on discipline, and constantly be in readiness to enter the service of the colony." The Committee of Safety reported a plan for officering the proposed provincial army, but events broke too quickly for the plan to mature. Apr. 15 the Provincial Congress adjourned. It had been a very full and hard-working session for General Ward who had been constantly on this committee which led and directed the Congress.

    The English government had ordered a water blockade June 1, 1774; American militiamen had established a land blockade Apr. 19, 1775. The express rider galloped through Shrewsbury with news of the clash at Lexington. Ward ill in bed arose next morning at daybreak, mounted his horse and set out for Cambridge, joining and passing company after company of militiamen. On Ward's arrival he took command of the besieging forces and called a council of war—the first Revolutionary council of war. Samuel Osgood acted as aide-de-camp to General Ward. James Ward, fifth general officer had exercised the command until Ward's arrival. General  Ward wrote the Provincial Congress Apr. 23 that without authority he was unable to enlist or pay the men around him. Thus prompted Congress declared raising an army of 13,600, enlistments to the end of the year. Ward's insistent demands for much needed equipment were on one occasion resented by the Committee of supplies. He ensured proper treatment of the English prisoners of War, taken Apr. 19.

     Letters from Ward told of "men believed to be in communication with the English authorities." May 10 by the treachery of Benjamin Church, Chairman of the Committee of Safety, an order went to General Thomas to return men under his command at Roxbury to Cambridge. Had Thomas obeyed this order the American forces would have been placed in great danger. Ward again wrote the Provincial Congress, calling most emphatically for attention; asserting it to be "absolutely necessary that the regiments be immediately settled, the officers commissioned, the soldiers mustered and paid, agreeable to what had been proposed by the Congress—if we would save our country." This letter was sent to President Joseph Warren May 19.

     On the afternoon of May 20 the Provincial Congress had resolved "that the president be desired to deliver to General Ward the commission prepared for him as general and commander-in-chief of the Massachusetts forces." Thus Ward formally received his commission, Samuel Dexter of Dedham having first "administered the oath" to him. Of the army beyond the borders of Massachusetts only New Hampshire's troops were under Ward's direct authority, but Connecticut and Rhode Island forces paid him obedience.

     June 15 brought the famous "Bunker Hill" resolution to fortify the hill. The 16th. Ward issued his orders for the movement and Col. Prescott was given command of the detachment, a total of about 1200, "to proceed that evening to Bunker Hill, build fortifications ... and defend them until he should be relieved." At noon Ward and other officers went out towards Charlestown peninsula "to reconnoiter Bunker Hill and its surroundings." Meantime "that mid-summer night's madness"—the substitution of Breed's Hill for Bunker Hill, and the deliberate marking out of a redoubt on the lower hill directly facing Boston. As day broke the 17th, the English discovered it, 'yesterday evening an empty hill; at dawn, a fortified enemy position, The Americans kept steadily at work while the English ships and forts opened fire. Putnam called at headquarters before going out to view the night's labors. On his return he urged sending of reinforcements. Stark's regiment at Medford was ordered forward. Ward refused to change the disposition of his forces or to weaken his center at Cambridge until the English plans were shown. About one o'clock the alarm sounded, bells rang, the drums beat to arms. The English commander at last had shown his hand, and Ward ordered a strong force forward to meet him. The English had removed the immediate menace of Breed's Hill but he was no nearer freedom of action than before. The battle just fought had definitely decided the outcome of the siege of Boston, the period of occupation merely so many months of "marking time." Gage's report to the King changed this and in five weeks time word was received that the King considered it not only advisable but "necessary to abandon Boston before the winter."

     General Ward was charged with hesitancy and indecision but witnesses proved such statements very far from the truth, and settled by new contemporary evidence and the better consideration of the old. Authority from the Continental Congress was given for election of representatives to a General Court. Connecticut and Rhode Island formally placed their troops under Ward's command, quickly followed by word that the thirteen colonies represented in the Continental Congress had united in action and had adopted both the rebellion and its army.

     June 18th and 19th. Ward wrote letters to the Committee of Supplies and to the Provincial Congress for immediate equipment. June 24th. Provincial Congress ordered the dispatch of appeals to Connecticut, Rhode Island and New Hampshire for an "immediate augmentation of their troops. "This same Saturday (the twenty-fourth) brought news of the Continental Congress election (June 15) of George Washington (lately Colonel Washington of Virginia) to the supreme command of the American forces; that (June 17) Ward had been made second in command, and Charles Lee, third." "Advice of the appointments had been sent in letters by Hancock and others. Though intended for official information only, it filtered through rapidly and became camp gossip within forty-eight hours." "It is unnecessary to re-tell the story of the appointment of Washington as commander-in-chief. Careful students no longer find in it any reflection upon Ward. They have read John Adams' testimony and know that in the Congress which held the decision the greatest number were for Ward to head the continental armies, but that his title to first place was sacrificed by the New England statesmen to meet the overwhelming necessity of uniting the colonies." June 26 Congress delegated Benjamin Church and Moses Gill as a committee to Springfield to escort Washington and Lee "to the army before Boston."

     On June 30th. Ward received Hancock's letter transmitting his commission as first major-general. (The Mass. Hist. Soc. owns this letter and the Library of Congress Ward's letter accepting his commission.) Two days later Washington, weary from the journey and the ceremonies en route, rode quietly into the little town of Cambridge. Ward welcomed his successor in the same spirit of whole-hearted unpretentious sincerity with which he had received his appointment.

     July 9th. Ward was present at Washington's first formal council of war. (Washington continued the three-divisions plan of the army.") July 22nd. the largest division, that of the right wing, was assigned to Ward. Three days later he rode to Roxbury and assumed command. "The occasion was made one of ceremony. Five regiments were marched towards Cambridge to meet him and waited upon him into Roxbury." His headquarters a mansion built about 1723 by Col. Francis Brinley and in the right wing reception room Ward and his staff held council. Aug. 3rd. he took part in a perturbed council of war, the crisis of nearly empty magazines. Oct. 8th. he "took part in a council of war to decide upon the number of men needed to continue the siege."

     Under the new Massachusetts government Ward was appointed Oct. 17th. chief justice of the Court of Common Pleas for Worcester County. "The last two months of 1775 and the first of 1776 constituted a nerve-racking period for the American commanders." Mar. 13 Washington conferred with Ward in Roxbury at the council in Ward's headquarters. Howe had completed his long delayed plans for the final embarkation from Boston and on Sunday morning, Mar. 17 "the final scenes of the evacuation continued without interruption, and about nine o'clock the last boats shoved off from the wharves." "Quickly thereafter Ward entered the town over Boston Neck, riding at the head of five hundred troops under the immediate command of Colonel Learned." "The capital of Massachusetts after eleven months' siege thus returned to the control and possession of the provincial patriots."

     On Mar. 27 the greater part of the English fleet set sail for Halifax. "The first chapter of the Revolution thus came to a victorious climax. England's plan for the subjugation of Massachusetts had utterly failed." Ward's health had declined and after the successful occupation of Dorchester Heights he tendered his resignation to Washington also to Hancock as President of the Continental Congress. On Mar. 29 Washington requested Ward "to take the command in Boston and, following, the general continental command in Massachusetts after the main army's departure for New York." The same day that Washington set out for New York, Apr. 4, "Ward formally assumed the command in Massachusetts of both the land forces and the heterogeneous little fleet in the continental pay."

     The conditions to be faced were enough to discourage the strongest. They constituted a cruel burden for a sick man, but no one was available of sufficient experience or ability to relieve him, and he manfully stood it out. Congress heeded Ward's second request to give up his command because of his poor health, and on Apr. 23 accepted his resignation. This availed him nothing as no competent general officer could be spared to take his place. Washington requested him to continue in command despite his suffering and ill health. May 30 Ward was again elected to the Council. In July Ward received orders from Washington "that all of his five continental regiments march to join the northern and New York armies." Ward welcomed the news "that Heath had been appointed in his place," and on March 20 gladly turned the garrison over to its new general. Ward now devoted full attention to duties and responsibilities of the Council, acting as its president many times.

     For the year 1780 he was elected a delegate to the Continental Congress. On June 2 he set out from Shrewsbury with his personal attendant Daniel Newton, both on horse-back. Eleven days were consumed on the road. June 14 Ward took his place in the Congress sitting in Independence Hall. He was reelected to Congress, 1781. An overseer at Harvard (by virtue of membership in the Council.) On a committee to try to bring Hancock to a reckoning of the funds of Harvard College. In Shay's Rebellion a strange thing happened. Ward, no orator, but now at this moment spoke. "In clear and forcible argument he pleaded the insurgents' own cause against themselves and opposed their attempts at political self-destruction." For nearly two hours he spoke. The greater part of 1789-1790 he spent in semi-retirement on his farm in Shrewsbury. He was elected representative to United States Congress and in October 1791 traveled by stage coach. Ward aligned himself with the Federalists. He was reelected to the Third United States Congress.

     The Third Congress dissolved Mar. 3, 1795, and General Ward welcomed its end as the self-appointed termination of his career. He had enlarged the homestead during 1784 and 1785, changed it from a seven room home to a more imposing dwelling of eleven rooms. His son, Walter, had come with his family of four to live in the "New Part." Unequal to his judicial duties General Ward terminated his long career as a judge in 1797. His letters showed him in his old age, as in his younger years, full of kindly love for his children and the members of their families. He died a little before seven the evening of Oct. 28, 1801, thus closed the career of Artemas Ward. Washington had died the year before. The Federal Party had lost the fourth presidential election and never again achieved importance. "A new chapter, embodying new thoughts and new conceptions, opened with the nineteenth century and the presidency of Thomas Jefferson."

Scanner's note: Some typos have been fixed, but the rather random punctuation and awkward sentence structure is in the original.

Harvard University operates the Artemas Ward House Museum.

Wikipedia: Artemas Ward

Charles Martyn; The Life of Artemas Ward, The First Commander-in-Chief of the American Revolution.; (1921), reprinted 1970: Kennikat Press, Port Washington, N.Y.; ISBN 0-8046-1276-5 [Available on]

Andrew H. Ward, Memoir of Major General Artemas Ward in New England Historical and Genealogical Register, Volume 5; July, 1851.