Description

    British account of the Battle of Bunker Hill

    [Revolutionary War]. Broadside: General Thomas Gage's Account of the Battle of Bunker Hill. One sheet, 8.25" x 14", Boston, June 26, 1775. [Boston: Printed by John Howe, 1775]. The text of the broadside was taken from a letter from Gage to the Earl of Dartmouth; it was published in the London Gazette on July 22, 1775. British General Gage offers a pro-British account of the early battle nine days later. Many of Gage's facts are wrong and serve as obvious propaganda. Only minor spots appear on the clean paper. Matted and framed to an overall size of 18" x 23.5".

    Gage's account reads in part:

    "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. They were plainly seen, and in a few Hours a Battery of Six Guns played upon their Works. Preparations were instantly made for landing a Body of Men; and some companies of Grenadiers and Light-Infantry, with some Battalions, and Field Artillery, amounting in the whole to 2000 Men, under the command of Major-General Howe and Brigadier-General Pigot, were embarked with great Expedition, and landed on the Peninsula without Opposition, under Cover of some Ships of War, and armed vessels.

    The Troops formed as soon as landed: The rebels upon the Heights were perceived to be in great Force, and strongly posted. . . . Besides the appearance of the rebels' strength, large columns were seen pouring in to their assistance; but the King' s Troops advanced. The attack began by a cannonade, and notwithstanding various impediments of fences, walls, &c. and the heavy fire they were exposed to from the vast numbers of rebels, and their left galled from the houses of Charlestown, the Troops made their way to the redoubt, mounted the works, and carried it. The rebels were then forced from other strong holds, and pursued until they were entirely driven off the peninsula, leaving five pieces of cannon behind them. Charlestown was set on fire during the engagement, and most part of it consumed. The loss they sustained must have been considerable, from the vast numbers they were seen to carry off during the action, exclusive of what they suffered from the shipping. About one hundred were buried the day after, and thirty found on the field, some of whom are since dead. About 170 of the King' s Troops were killed, and since dead of their Wounds; and a great many were wounded.

    This action has shown the bravery of the King's Troops, who, under every disadvantage, gained a complete victory over three times their number, strongly posted and covered by breastworks. But they fought for their King, their laws, and constitution."

    Reference: Evans 13842.


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