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Jackson, Hall (1739-1797) to John Langdon

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC06523 Author/Creator: Jackson, Hall (1739-1797) Place Written: Camp on Butt's Hill, Rhode Island Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 29 August 1778 Pagination: 3 p. : address : docket ; 24.3 x 18.3 cm.

Written by Hall, an army physician to Colonel Langdon as a commander of militia. Says day before yesterday the British fleet arrived with reinforcements for Newport. A retreat was ordered to their first encampment at midnight last night and was carried out in good order. Reports on a general action outside Newport after the retreat. Says "Our Army fought like Trojans! ... tomorrow morning will give the bloody dogs their Quietus." Claims American losses were less than 100 killed and 200 wounded. Mentions that his brother Woodbury Langdon survived unscathed. Says his friend Samuel Sherburne took a cannon shot to the leg, necessitating an amputation below the knee. Says he wants to give a fuller account "but indeed am so fatigued with operating[,] dressing, and so sleepy that I fear you'll not be able to read what I have already wrote." Postscript says a deserter was captured, tried, and shot. Provides a partial list of officers killed and wounded.

Jackson was involved in research to cure "dropsy" - the 18th century term for pulmonary edema. He read about work with a plant called the purple foxglove and that an English doctor had made digitalis from it. Since there was no purple foxglove in America, Jackson turned botanist. He sent to England for foxglove seeds and introduced digitalis to America.

Dear Sir Camp on Butts Hill R. Island
Aug' 29 1778

The day before yesterday the British Fleet arrived at Newport with a reinforcement; our heavey Artilery and Stores being all removed it was tho't best to retreat to our first encampment which was done last Night at 12 oClock, in great good order; Livingston's Corps was left in advance as far as Wind-Mill Hill; this Morning this Morn:g at Sun rising the Enemy were discovered advancing in Columns; their advance were attacked by ours and the former were thrice repulsed with great loss as is judged as never were Troops attackd with more Spirit; reinforcements from each Army soon made the affair - general, or rather the whole Army, - fighting by details, quite from one [strikeout] side of the Island to the other - [2] it was grand! our Army fought like Trogans! At 4 oClock the enemy retired from the low ground between, Butts Hill and Quaker Hill where the action was sharpest, - and they are now on Quaker Hill; and ours on Butts, in grand Spirits and tomorrow morning will give the Bloody Dogs their Quietus; We have lost kill'd less than 100, and less than 200 wounded, And must I tell you that amongst the rest is your Dear, Brave [inserted: brother] and my friend Samuel Sherbourne [inserted: Junr.] in the first of the Day his Leg was fractured to pieces with a Canon Shot, it required an imediate Amputation below the Knee, he bore the operation like a Hero, and tho' he lost much Blood before assistance could be obtained [strikeout] yet he is in good Spirits and excellently well lodged at the widow Barker at [IversTown]. - I would willing give a more particular Accot: of matters to you, but indeed I am so fatigued with operating dressing, and so Sleepy that I fear you'l not be able to read what I have already wrote, I hope you'l excuse [strikeout] incorrectness - and after a little truce, I will be more particular and correct. - in the mean time I remain
yr most humb servt
Hall Jackson
P.S. A villain who deserted from Jackson Regt: since we come on, was taken in full action he was try'd - condemned and Shot in half an hour after - Liet Lowell of Newbury Port Killed Leut Walker of Boston mortally wounded Col Will Livingston wounded Leut Feilden, and [Hirly] Ditto} not mortal
Saml Sherburne Junr Maj Brigade)
others I have not yet attained - a list off
I have not had time to write Mrs Jackson or any one else - please to communicate

[address leaf]
Way 5
To
Colonel John Langdon
in
Portsmouth
New Hampshire

[docket]
Hall Jackson's
Letter Augt 29th 1778

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