“The LORD fighteth for them”
As resistance from the American colonists against the “long train of abuses” heaped upon them by the British crown increased, so did the British military’s efforts to quell it. The British had control of Boston, and its harbor, with its warships. General Washington, with the aid of heavy winter weather as cover, was able to move significant artillery toward Boston. On the night of March 2, 1775, he ordered 2000 of his troops and artillery to positions the Dorchester Heights above Boston. The weather was perfect for their endeavor, as a foggy haze hung thick and heavy over the city of Boston, but on the Heights above, the night was clear and moonlit.
Imagine the chagrin of His Majesty’s redcoats when they awoke next morning to see all the newly constructed rebel fortifications high above them. A British officer reported to a London newspaper: “They were all raised during the night, with an expediency equal to that of the genie belonging to Aladdin’s wonderful lamp. From these hills they command the whole town, so that we must drive them from their post, or desert the place.”
British General Howe quickly decided to prepare to mount a nighttime attack, with his nearly ten thousand troops, as well as reinforcements expected from ships stationed in the harbor. With the overwhelming superiority in troops, weapons, and the mild weather, Howe planned a pre-dawn surprise attack. But there came in the night a dramatic, even miraculous change in the weather. Without warning, a fierce storm arose, so violent, many of the town’s windows were shattered, and fences were knocked down throughout the region.
Two of the British troop transport ships were blown into the shoreline, unable to deliver the assault force to its assigned destination. The gale blew fiercely across the crowded harbor, and with it, chaos ensued as ships were blown from their moorings. On the high ground above the port, driving sleet made the still frozen earth near the crest of Dorchester Heights virtually impassable. Howe had no choice but to call off his planned attack, which allowed the Americans to continue strengthening their own positions. Under a flag of truce General Howe told Washington he would evacuate the city and leave it standing if the Americans would agree not to fire upon the them as they left Boston for the ships in harbor.
Abigail Adams wrote to her husband John regarding the surrender of Boston, “The more I think of it the more amazed I am that they should leave such a harbor, such fortifications, such entrenchments, and that we should be in peaceable possession of a town which we expected would cost us a river of blood.”
Washington attended church services that Sunday, where Pastor Abiel Leonard preached from Exodus 14:25 – And took off their chariot wheels, that they drave them heavily: so that the Egyptians said, Let us flee from the face of Israel; for the LORD fighteth for them against the Egyptians.
General Washington freely acknowledged the intervention of the hand of God sending that fierce storm, in giving them the victory.