Bunker Hill: A City, a Siege, a Revolution
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What lights the spark that ignites a revolution?
What was it that, in 1775, provoked a group of merchants, farmers, artisans and mariners in the American colonies to unite and take up arms against the British government in pursuit of liberty?
Nathaniel Philbrick, the acclaimed historian and bestselling author of In the Heart of the Sea and The Last Stand, shines new and brilliant light on the momentous beginnings of the American Revolution, and those individuals – familiar and unknown, and from both sides – who played such a vital part in the early days of the conflict that would culminate in the defining Battle of Bunker Hill.
Written with passion and insight, even-handedness and the eloquence of a born storyteller, Bunker Hill brings to life the robust, chaotic and blisteringly real origins of America.
the Mystic River was well placed to see the devastation wreaked by the British cannons on the provincials standing behind the breastwork, who were forced, he wrote, “to retire within their little fort.” Prescott’s force inside the redoubt gained by this sudden inflow of desperate men, but as the breastwork was abandoned, the grenadiers were given the toehold they needed to begin to work their way around the fort from the east. Stark at the rail fence was tempted to move his men toward the
deserters at a rate that equaled, if not exceeded, what prevailed in the British army. He designed his own distinctive uniforms that ultimately led to the regiment being called “the Blues.” After just a year of defending the colony’s frontier, the Blues had become the toughest, best-trained group of soldiers in America. “If it should be said,” he wrote Governor Dinwiddie, “that the troops of Virginia are irregulars, and cannot expect more notice than other provincials, I must beg leave to differ
Two—Poor Unhappy Boston On Thomas Gage’s background and his wife Margaret Kemble Gage, see John Richard Alden’s General Gage in America, pp. 19–204. For a less sympathetic portrayal of Gage, see John Shy’s “Thomas Gage: Weak Link of Empire,” pp. 3–38, in vol. 2 of George Washington’s Generals and Opponents, edited by George Athan Billias. David Hackett Fischer in Paul Revere’s Ride quotes Gage’s letter comparing London to Constantinople or “any other city I had never seen” (p. 40). Carl Van
the Boston Port Act that ended by quoting the Athenian statesman Solon. It was far better, Solon had said, “to repress the advances of tyranny and prevent its establishment.” But once tyranny had managed to assert itself, there was only one alternative: “Demolish it.” The loyalists surrounding Gage insisted that this heated rhetoric indicated that the Port Act was doing exactly as Parliament had intended. “I hear from many,” he reported to Secretary of State Lord Dartmouth, “that the act has
the brass cannons were stored in a newly built British gun house at the edge of the common. On September 16, several Bostonians had the audacity to approach the house in broad daylight and, as the guards stepped outside, liberate the cannons, each weighing around five hundred pounds. After being lugged across a small yard, the artillery pieces were temporarily hidden in the wood bin of the nearby South Writing School before being smuggled out of the city. The British sergeant guarding the gun