Description

    Battle of Bunker Hill

    [Battle of Bunker Hill]. Revolutionary War Muster Roll. A muster Roll for Col. Luke Drury signed by 37 of America's first soldiers; 16 of these signatures are men who marched to the Lexington Concord alarm. Also listed are 11 men who went to Bunker Hill. One man was "slain in battle June 17th arms lost." Among the most important American military documents extant.

    A partially printed document with the date of "1 August 1775" being the company Muster Roll of Luke Drury's company. The document measures 31.25" x 17.75" and was extended along the bottom margin to accommodate the additional names of the privates. The Muster Roll is for the period of April through July or August 1775. The verso of the document bears the signatures of 37 members of the unit acknowledging receipt of their pay at Dorchester, February 9th, 1776. Sixteen of the names signed on the back are men who fought under Drury at Lexington and Concord and were listed on a Muster Roll (which we sold in a previous sale) dated April 19, 1775, the day the first shot of the American Revolution was fired at Concord. At that time, Drury took his company of 46 men and marched to Cambridge, hounding the British on their retreat back to Boston.

    Drury, a farmer and gristmill operator, was born in Grafton, Mass. The papers traced his military career from 1773, when he was first appointed militia captain for Grafton. His minuteman company was one of the first mustered out on the day of the Lexington alarm. Drury successfully raised his company as ordered by Joseph Warren, received his commission, and joined Patriot forces at Cambridge in the regiment of Colonel Jonathan Ward. His men fought at Bunker Hill and participated in the siege of Boston. He was subsequently commissioned a lieutenant colonel and served throughout the war. His papers indicate that toward the end of the war in 1781 his company was posted to West Point and was active in maintaining the Great Chain laid across the Hudson to hinder British traffic on the river. Perhaps because of his military career, Drury was later accused of participating in Shay's Rebellion, for which he was arrested and imprisoned. His name was cleared, but he resigned his commission. He later became a state Representative, constable, deputy sheriff, and selectman of Grafton. He died in 1811 and is buried in Grafton.

    This rare Lexington Concord Alarm list dated April 19th holds 16 names of Drury's men who also signed the August 1775 Muster Roll. The names include: Ladock Putnam, William Walker, Mathias Rice, Moses Sherman, Ebenezer Phillips, Elizah Rice, Shelomilk Stow, Thomas Pratt, Isaac Brigham, Ebenzer Melendy, Ebenezer Leland, Jonah Goulding, Solomon Brook, Samuel Staraes, Peter Butler, and Ebenzer Leland.

    There are 37 signatures on the verso of the August 1775 sheet. Of those 37 signatures, 6 belong to men who fought under Drury's company for Col. Artemas Ward at the Battle of Bunker Hill. The names of the men can be found on a list provided by the National Park Service of Boston of the Roster of New Hampshire soldiers in the Battle of Bunker's Hill. Those names include, Pvt. Joseph Plumley from Alstead, Pvt. Joseph Anthony of Alstead, Pvt. John Banks of Alstead, Pvt. Eleazer Leeland of Croydon, Cpl. Jonah Stowe of Alstead, Pvt. Ebenezer Wadsworth of Alstead.

    The front of the document contains the names of five more soldiers who fought at Bunker Hill including, Samuel Adams of Walpole, William Martin of Walpole, James Martin of Walpole, Aaron Heath of Alstead and Abner Brigham of Croydon. The sheet is an extensive record of a regimental company during the early siege of Boston. The muster indicates that one private, Samuel Heard, who enlisted on May 7, was killed in battle June 17th "arms lost."

    Major General Artemas Ward created an American army right under the nose of British General Gage, in spite of overwhelming obstacles. Poor sanitation and cooking habits during his participation in the French and Indian War left Ward chronically ill in the years that followed. Slow moving and slow to react, he lacked the more gallant qualities of leadership; nevertheless Ward was trusted and respected because good family name and Harvard education. A leader of the Patriotic movement from the beginning, he helped to purge the Massachusetts Militia of all Loyalist members, thus breaking the Royal Governor's means of using it.

    The 37 signatures on the back of the document are: Thad Kempre, Edmund Dolbear, Thomas leland, William Walker, William Evans. Joseph Plumly, Joseph Anthony, Eliphet Smith, Matthias Rice, Elisha Stedwick, Moses Shuman, Aaron Willard, Ebenezer Phillips, Elizah Rice, Shelomilk Stow, Thomas Pratt, Essick Dexter, Edward Butrick, Isaac Brigham, Nathan Morse, Fortin Burnea, Ebenezer Melendy, Eb. Leland, Jonath Goulding, Solomon Brooke, George Smith, Sam'l Stearns, Ebenezer Wadsworth, Peter Butler, Benjamin Grover, Thomas Leland, John Banks and Jona. Stowe.


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    April, 2014
    3rd Thursday
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