Wednesday, October 31, 2018

The Battle of Bunker Hill, June 17, 1775.





Gov. Jonathan Trumbull and the Battle of Bunker Hill
First Major Battle of the American Revolution
June 17, 1775


Engraving of the Battle of Bunker Hill (June 17, 1775), based on Col. John Trumbull's painting, "The Death of General Warren at the Battle of Bunker Hill, June 17, 1775."[1]



Col. John Trumbull's version of the Bunker Hill flag depicted in his painting,
"The Death of General Warren at the Battle of Bunker Hill, June 17, 1775."


Benson J. Lossing's version of the Bunker Hill flag, as described by a descendant of a Patriot who helped raise this flag at the Battle of Bunker Hill.[2]


"When, on the Sunday following the battle of Lexington, April 19, 1775, a messenger rode here on a foam-flecked steed, entered the meeting-house in the midst of services, and cried out that the blood of their brethren had been spilled in battle and the crisis had come, scores of men sprang up in their seats, - volunteers for freedom! The services were suspended; the people hurried from the church, anxious, agitated, yet thrilling with enthusiastic courage, and beat of drum called those who would to take up arms for their country. The store of Jonathan Trumbull was set as the center from which the soldiers who now went to the relief of Boston were supplied, and it was Trumbull himself, the loyal Governor of a loyal colony, who, with his sons and his son-in-law, William Williams, labored among a crowd of others to prepare and hasten forward the supplies."[3]



Gov. Jonathan Trumbull distributing military supplies at the War Office.


The War Office, Lebanon, Connecticut.

". . . and he was still Governor when on that April morning in 1775 Trail (Israel) Bissel, spurring down from Watertown, roused every country hamlet with his news of Lexington. Never was busier man than Trumbull for the next few weeks. The gossips give a graphic picture of him at this time. From morning till night he was at his store, now turned into a supplies depot; hat, coat and vest off, gray hair floating in the breeze, dealing out tents and rations to the militia that came pouring in, packing great wagons with clothing, provisions and powder, for the newly-formed camps at Boston, reading and answering dispatches brought by breathless messengers from captains of trainbands and selectmen of the various towns, while every now and then a village trainband or militia company would march in with fanfare of drum and fife, salute him and be dismissed to the seat of war with well-chosen words of encouragement. From this time on until the close of the struggle the little store became the theater of the intensest military activity. It is as historic in its way as Faneuil Hall or the State House at Philadelphia."[4]



Gravestone of Israel Bissell, Lexington Alarm Rider
Hinsdale Cemetery, Hinsdale, Massachusetts.




Stone Marker, Cambridge, Massachusetts


"On the evening of June 16, '75, a body of one thousand men from the Massachusetts and Connecticut regiments around Cambridge, under the immediate command of Col. Prescott, was ordered to Charlestown Neck to fortify Bunker's (Breed's) Hill."[5]

At the Battle of Bunker Hill, "The number of Connecticut troops present at this engagement was about four hundred."[6] Two hundred of these men were under the command of Captain Thomas Knowlton of Ashford. Captain Knowlton's detachment was composed primarily of men from Gen. Israel Putnam's Third Connecticut Regiment and Gen. Joseph Spencer's Second Connecticut Regiment. This detachment fortified and fought at the Rail Fence.[7] Knowlton's detachment also "formed the rear-guard of the Americans in their retreat."[8]

Connecticut Officers at Bunker Hill were, "Gen. Putnam, in general command, Major Durkee, Captains Chester, Clark, . . ."[9] Captain James Clark (1730-1826) of Lebanon, would later rise to the rank of Colonel, and was present when Lafayette laid the Bunker Hill Monument cornerstone on June 17, 1825, the fiftieth anniversary of the battle. He was ninety-five years old.[10]

Rev. Ezra Stiles, D.D., President of Yale College, on May 8, 1783, preached an Election Sermon before Governor Jonathan Trumbull and the Connecticut General Assembly in Hartford, titled, "The United States elevated to Glory and Honor."[11] Rev. Stiles states, "We have sustained a force brought against us: which might have made any empire on earth to tremble--and yet our bow has abode in strength; and having obtained help of God, we continue unto this day. Forced unto the last solemn appeal, america watched for the first blood: this was shed by britons on the 19th of April, 1775; which instantly sprung an army of 20,000 into spontaneous existence, with the enterprizing and daring, if imprudent, resolution of entering boston, and forceably disburdening it of its bloody legions. Every patriot trembled till we had proved our armour, till it could be seen, whether this hasty concourse was susceptible of exercitual arrangement, and could face the enemy with firmness. They early gave us the decided proof of this, in the memorable battle of bunker-hill. * We are satisfied. This instantly convinced us, and for the first time convinced britons themselves, that americans both would and could fight with great effect."[12]



Bronze Plaque on the Bunker Hill Monument

Map of the Battle of Bunker Hill, June 17, 1775.[13]

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My first time visiting Bunker Hill was on June 14, 1975, during America's Bicentennial. I was just a child, and my parents took me to see the ceremony/reenactment of the Battle of Bunker Hill to commemorate the 200th Anniversary. I still have the Bunker Hill flag that my father bought me that day.




200th Anniversary of the Battle of Bunker Hill
First Major Battle of the American Revolution (June 17, 1775)
Bunker Hill Monument, Charlestown, Massachusetts 
June 14, 1975


Two Bicentennial pins from 1975, including the, "I saw the whites of their eyes" 
pin from the Bunker Hill Pavilion.  





Bunker Hill flag from the 200th Anniversary of the Battle of Bunker Hill (1775-1975)



For twenty years (1997-2016), I had the honor of commanding an SAR Living History/Color Guard Unit at the annual Bunker Hill Day Ceremony at the Bunker Hill Monument in Charlestown, Massachusetts. I am happy to report that the SAR continues to participate annually today. These exercises are held every year on June 17th, and are organized and sponsored by the J.W. Conway Bunker Hill Post No. 26, The American Legion, in cooperation with the Bunker Hill Monument Association and Boston National Historical Park, under the auspices of the City of Boston.


Bunker Hill Day Ceremony Programs 1997-2016



NSSAR Bunker Hill Day Streamer
National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution






Bunker Hill Day 1997-2016


Bunker Hill Day
222nd Anniversary of the Battle of Bunker Hill
First Major Battle of the American Revolution (June 17, 1775)
Bunker Hill Monument, Boston National Historical Park, Charlestown, Massachusetts
June 17, 1997






"The Bicentennial of the Battle of Bunker Hill [June 17, 1975] was the occasion for the installation and dedication of permanent memorials commemorating the valor of participants from three New England states [Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire] in the first battlefield encounter between British and American forces in the Revolution, June 17, 1775. Two large granite markers flank each of four walkway entrances to the monument park. . . . The fourth entrance is the United States gate."[14]


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Official Bunker Hill Day Commemorative Exercises
June 17, 1998
223rd Anniversary of the Battle of Bunker Hill
First Major Battle of the American Revolution (June 17, 1775)
Bunker Hill Monument, Boston National Historical Park, Charlestown, Massachusetts








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Official Bunker Hill Day Commemorative Exercises
June 17, 1999
224th Anniversary of the Battle of Bunker Hill
First Major Battle of the American Revolution (June 17, 1775)
Bunker Hill Monument, Boston National Historical Park, Charlestown, Massachusetts









Connecticut Sons of the American Revolution fire a musket salute to the Heroes of Bunker Hill.



Earlier that year, on April 24, 1999, we also took part in the Paul Revere Society, Sons of the American Revolution's Paul Revere Landing Site Plaque Dedication Ceremony at the Charlestown Battery, where we fired the musket salute.









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Revolutionary War Encampment, Charlestown Navy Yard, 
Boston National Historical Park, Charlestown, Massachusetts, June 11, 2000



Revolutionary War camp of the New England Contingent,
Living History/Color Guard Unit of the New England District of the
National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution




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Official Bunker Hill Day Commemorative Exercises
June 17, 2000
225th Anniversary of the Battle of Bunker Hill
First Major Battle of the American Revolution (June 17, 1775)
Bunker Hill Monument, Boston National Historical Park, Charlestown, Massachusetts






Procession to the Bunker Hill Monument









New England Contingent - Sons of the American Revolution
musket salute to the Heroes of Bunker Hill





225th Anniversary Wreaths - New Hampshire Society of the Sons of the American Revolution and the Gen. John Stark Society, New Hampshire Children of the American Revolution. 


225th Anniversary Wreath at the Connecticut Gate.
Gen. Israel Putnam Branch #4 of the Connecticut Society of the Sons of the American Revolution.

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Copy of the script, ". . . ON WHICH THE FATE OF AMERICA DEPENDS'


". . . ON WHICH THE FATE OF AMERICA DEPENDS" A Historical Demonstration on the 225th Anniversary of The Battle of Bunker Hill at Bunker Hill Monument
June 17, 2000

Narrated by author and historian George C. Neumann










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Taking SAR members on a tour of Bunker Hill during the 110th National Congress of the National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution, Boston, Massachusetts, June 24-27, 2000


Over the years we participated in the annual Boston Tea Party Reenactments, starting with the 225th Anniversary in December 1998, 1999-2002, 2005, 2007-2009, we began the day at the Bunker Hill Monument, where we would walk the Freedom Trail to Old South Meeting House and the 
Tea Party Ship Museum for the reenactments

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Official Bunker Hill Day Commemorative Exercises
June 17, 2001
226th Anniversary of the Battle of Bunker Hill
First Major Battle of the American Revolution (June 17, 1775)
Bunker Hill Monument, Boston National Historical Park, Charlestown, Massachusetts





New England Contingent - Sons of the American Revolution



Wreath Laying at the Connecticut Gate, Gen. Israel Putnam Branch #4, Connecticut Society of the 
Sons of the American Revolution.


Wreath Laying at the New Hampshire Gate, New Hampshire Society of the 
Sons of the American Revolution.

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Official Bunker Hill Day Commemorative Exercises
June 17, 2002
227th Anniversary of the Battle of Bunker Hill
First Major Battle of the American Revolution (June 17, 1775)
Bunker Hill Monument, Boston National Historical Park, Charlestown, Massachusetts







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Official Bunker Hill Day Commemorative Exercises
June 17, 2003
228th Anniversary of the Battle of Bunker Hill
First Major Battle of the American Revolution (June 17, 1775)
Bunker Hill Monument, Boston National Historical Park, Charlestown, Massachusetts




New England Contingent - Sons of the American Revolution
musket salute to the Heroes of Bunker Hill






Wreath Laying at the Connecticut Gate, Gen. Israel Putnam Branch #4 of the 
Connecticut Society of the Sons of the American Revolution.


Wreath Laying at the New Hampshire Gate, New Hampshire Society of the 
Sons of the American Revolution.



Wreath Laying at the Massachusetts Gate, New England Contingent, New England District,  
Sons of the American Revolution.


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Official Bunker Hill Day Commemorative Exercises
June 17, 2004
229th Anniversary of the Battle of Bunker Hill
First Major Battle of the American Revolution (June 17, 1775)
Bunker Hill Monument, Boston National Historical Park, Charlestown, Massachusetts













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230th Anniversary Wreath Laying Ceremony for Captain Thomas Knowlton and the Connecticut men who fortified and fought at the Rail Fence during the Battle of Bunker Hill (June 17, 17775), 
Charlestown, Massachusetts, June 17, 2005




Rail Fence Marker


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Official Bunker Hill Day Commemorative Exercises
June 17, 2005
230th Anniversary of the Battle of Bunker Hill
First Major Battle of the American Revolution (June 17, 1775)
Bunker Hill Monument, Boston National Historical Park, Charlestown, Massachusetts



Annual Bunker Hill Day Services at St. Francis de Sales Church 
on the top of Bunker Hill



New England SAR with the NSSAR President General on the steps of St. Francis de Sales Church 
on the top of Bunker Hill


Procession to the Bunker Hill Monument


Massachusetts Society SAR Color Guard


Bunker Hill Day Ceremonies








New England Contingent SAR and Massachusetts SAR Color Guard at the 
Col. William Prescott Statue


Wreath at the Connecticut Gate
There are four gates at the Bunker Hill Monument
The Connecticut Gate, The Massachusetts Gate, The New Hampshire Gate, 
and the United States Gate.

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Official Bunker Hill Day Commemorative Exercises
June 17, 2006
231st Anniversary of the Battle of Bunker Hill
First Major Battle of the American Revolution (June 17, 1775)
Bunker Hill Monument, Boston National Historical Park, Charlestown, Massachusetts






















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Sons of the American Revolution Honor Guard
(The Connecticut Line CTSSAR)
NPS Bunker Hill Museum Grand Opening Ribbon Cutting Ceremony
Bunker Hill Monument, Charlestown, Massachusetts, June 14, 2007






NPS Battle of Bunker Hill Diorama, Bunker Hill Museum

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Official Bunker Hill Day Commemorative Exercises
June 17, 2007
232nd Anniversary of the Battle of Bunker Hill
First Major Battle of the American Revolution (June 17, 1775)
Bunker Hill Monument, Boston National Historical Park, Charlestown, Massachusetts




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Official Bunker Hill Day Commemorative Exercises
June 17, 2008
233rd Anniversary of the Battle of Bunker Hill
First Major Battle of the American Revolution (June 17, 1775)
Bunker Hill Monument, Boston National Historical Park, Charlestown, Massachusetts
























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Official Bunker Hill Day Commemorative Exercises
June 17, 2009
234th Anniversary of the Battle of Bunker Hill
First Major Battle of the American Revolution (June 17, 1775)
Bunker Hill Monument, Boston National Historical Park, Charlestown, Massachusetts



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Official Bunker Hill Day Commemorative Exercises
June 17, 2010
235th Anniversary of the Battle of Bunker Hill
First Major Battle of the American Revolution (June 17, 1775)
Bunker Hill Monument, Boston National Historical Park, Charlestown, Massachusetts


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Official Bunker Hill Day Commemorative Exercises
June 17, 2011
236th Anniversary of the Battle of Bunker Hill
First Major Battle of the American Revolution (June 17, 1775)
Bunker Hill Monument, Boston National Historical Park, Charlestown, Massachusetts







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Official Bunker Hill Day Commemorative Exercises
June 17, 2012
237th Anniversary of the Battle of Bunker Hill
First Major Battle of the American Revolution (June 17, 1775)
Bunker Hill Monument, Boston National Historical Park, Charlestown, Massachusetts


Connecticut Line/Connecticut SAR, Massachusetts SAR and Charlestown Militia
fire a musket salute to the Heroes of Bunker Hill.


Wreath Laying at the New Hampshire Gate, New Hampshire Society of the 
Sons of the American Revolution.



Wreath Laying at the Massachusetts Gate, Massachusetts Society of the 
Sons of the American Revolution.











Connecticut Line/Connecticut SAR, Massachusetts SAR and Charlestown Militia
fire a musket salute to the Heroes of Bunker Hill.
















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Official Bunker Hill Day Commemorative Exercises
June 17, 2013
238th Anniversary of the Battle of Bunker Hill
First Major Battle of the American Revolution (June 17, 1775)
Bunker Hill Monument, Boston National Historical Park, Charlestown, Massachusetts



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Official Bunker Hill Day Commemorative Exercises
June 17, 2014
239th Anniversary of the Battle of Bunker Hill
First Major Battle of the American Revolution (June 17, 1775)
Bunker Hill Monument, Boston National Historical Park, Charlestown, Massachusetts




Official Bunker Hill Day Commemorative Exercises
June 17, 2015
240th Anniversary of the Battle of Bunker Hill
First Major Battle of the American Revolution (June 17, 1775)
Bunker Hill Monument, Boston National Historical Park, Charlestown, Massachusetts



























































The Connecticut Line/Connecticut SAR, Massachusetts SAR Color Guard, and
New Hampshire SAR at the Col. William Prescott Statue

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Official Bunker Hill Day Commemorative Exercises
June 17, 2016
240th Anniversary of the Battle of Bunker Hill
First Major Battle of the American Revolution (June 17, 1775)
Bunker Hill Monument, Boston National Historical Park, Charlestown, Massachusetts


The Connecticut Line/Connecticut SAR, Massachusetts SAR Color Guard, and
New Hampshire SAR at the Col. William Prescott Statue





References:

1) The American Revolution, A Picture Sourcebook, John Grafton, Dover Publications, Inc., New York, 1975, Page 31.
2) The Pictorial Field-book of the Revolution; or, Illustrations, by Pen and Pencil, of the History, Biography, Scenery, Relics, and Traditions of the War for Independence., Benson J. Lossing, Volume 1, Harper & Brothers, Publishers, New York, 1860, Page 541.
3) Early Lebanon, Mary Clarke Huntington, The Connecticut Quarterly, An Illustrated Magazine, Devoted to the Literature History, and Picturesque Features of Connecticut, Vol. II, January to December, Hartford, Conn., 1896, Page 254.
4) In olde Connecticut; being a record of quaint, curious and romantic happenings there in colonial times and later, Charles Burr Todd, The Grafton Press, New York, 1906, Pages 136-137.
5) Record of Service of Connecticut Men in the War of the Revolution, Adjutants-General, Hartford, 1889, Page 58.
6) Ibid.
7) Ibid.
8) Col. Thomas Knowlton, Ashbel Woodward, M.D., The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, Vol. XV, No. 1, January, 1861, The New England Historic-Genealogical Society, Samuel G. Drake, Publisher, Boston, 1861, Page 7.
9) Record of Service of Connecticut Men in the War of the Revolution, Adjutants-General, Hartford, 1889, Page 58.
10) Captain James Clark, of Bunker Hill Renown: his Ancestors and Descendants, Mary Clarke Huntington, The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, Vol. XXVIII, No. 2, New York, April, 1897, Pages 65-71.
11) The United States Elevated to Glory and Honor (1783), Ezra Stiles D.D., Reiner Smolinski, Editor, Electronic Texts in American Studies, 41, Libraries at University of Nebraska-Lincoln
12) Ibid. Page 37.
13) The American Revolution, A Picture Sourcebook, John Grafton, Dover Publications, Inc., New York, 1975, Page 30.
14) Bunker Hill Bicentennial, June 17, 1975, Memorial Gateways Dedicated to Connecticut, Massachusetts and New Hampshire, The Connecticut Bicentennial Gazette, Volume IV, Number 6, June 1975, The American Revolution Bicentennial Commission of Connecticut, Hartford, Pages 1, 4-5. 




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