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    [Bunker Hill]: A Loyalists Account of the Battle of Bunker Hill Broadside. Boston, 26th of June, 1775. This Town was alarmed on the 17th Instant at break of Day, by a Firing from the Lively Ship of War; and a Report was immediately spread that the Rebels had broke Ground, and were raising a Battery on the Heights of the Peninsula of Charlestown, against the Town of Boston. Printed by John Howe, Boston, 1775.
    Measures 8 3/4" x 14", on laid paper. Light toning and edge wear, small hole at top edge, else fine.

    An uncommon broadside account of the Battle of Bunker Hill from a pro-British point of view. Nine days after Bunker Hill, this was printed and circulated by John Howe, the same loyalist printer who published General Gage's narrative of Lexington and Concord, "A Circumstantial Account of an Attack that happened on the 19th of April 1775, on his Majesty's Troops" (Evans 13869). The Bunker Hill engagement itself is quite accurately described, but relative troop strength and the casualty count are distorted, and is written to emphasize the fierce bravery and courage of the British forces-making this an interesting piece of British propaganda.

    The broadside claims that the British were outnumbered three to one, but according to Boatner's Encyclopedia of the American Revolution, the Americans had about 3,000 men under arms, while the British strength was about 2,500. The Patriots sustained an estimated 441 casualties, including 140 dead, while the British suffered at least 1,150 killed and wounded, a casualty rate of about 45%. Casualties for British officers were especially heavy. This broadside minimizes the British losses: "The Loss they [the Americans] sustained, must have been considerable, from the vast Numbers they were seen to carry off during the Action. ... About a Hundred were buried the Day after, and Thirty found wounded on the Field, some of which are since Dead. About 170 of the King's Troops were killed, and since dead of their Wounds; and a great many were wounded."

    Howe's broadside ends with "The Action has shown the Bravery of the King's Troops, who under every Disadvantage, gained a compleat Victory over Three Times their Number, strongly posted, and covered by Breastworks. But they fought for their King, their Laws and Constitution." But the "compleat Victory" of the British was in fact a hollow one that did nothing to alter the state of the Siege of Boston.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    September, 2021
    25th-26th Saturday-Sunday
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