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Batalha de Bunker Hill, 17 de junho de 1775

Batalha de Bunker Hill, 17 de junho de 1775


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Batalha de Bunker Hill

A primeira batalha importante da Guerra da Independência Americana. No rescaldo de Lexington e Concord, as forças britânicas sob o comando de Thomas Gage ficaram presas em Boston, então ainda restritas a uma península no meio do porto de Boston. As pesadas perdas sofridas no retorno de Concord desanimaram Gage, que permitiu que os americanos fortificassem um número crescente de posições ao redor do porto. Em 26 de maio, vários regimentos de tropas britânicas chegaram a Boston, junto com três major-generais que deveriam desempenhar um papel importante na guerra - William Howe, Henry Clinton e John Burgoyne.

Os três novos comandantes ficaram consternados com a falta de atividade de Gage e conseguiram despertá-lo para uma ofensiva limitada com o objetivo de proteger Boston, capturando terreno elevado em Charlestown ao norte e Dorchester ao sul. A notícia do plano britânico chegou aos americanos, que decidiram por uma ação preventiva. Na noite de 16-17 de junho, uma força americana com cerca de 1.200 homens sob o comando do coronel William Prescott mudou-se para Breed's Hill, em vez de Bunker Hill, um pouco mais alto.

Ao mesmo tempo, Clinton estava fazendo um reconhecimento da área antes do avanço britânico planejado. Em seu retorno, ele defendeu um ataque imediato na madrugada do dia 17, mas Gage, acreditando que a medida americana era temporária, recusou a ideia. Logo ficou claro que o movimento americano era sério. Clinton agora sugere um ataque britânico em duas frentes, aproveitando sua supremacia naval, com uma força pousando na costa sul da península, aproximadamente onde o eventual ataque ocorreria, apoiado por um segundo desembarque atrás da posição americana. Gage também rejeitou essa ideia e, em vez disso, decidiu por uma única força de 2.200 homens pousando na frente das posições americanas e lançando um ataque frontal contra os rebeldes.

Talvez encorajados pelo desempenho geralmente pobre das tropas coloniais durante a Guerra dos Sete Anos, os generais britânicos foram muito condenáveis ​​aos seus oponentes americanos - Burgoyne os descreveu como uma 'ralé indisciplinada', que poderia desmoronar sob ataque de soldados regulares. O ataque foi comandado pelo General Howe, que tinha reputação de especialista em operações de infantaria leve e anfíbia. Nesta ocasião, suas habilidades devem tê-lo abandonado. Os britânicos levaram duas horas para se desdobrar e, mesmo assim, a artilharia estava mal desdobrada e teve pouco ou nenhum impacto na batalha.

Quando o primeiro ataque britânico finalmente aconteceu, foi um desastre. A tática britânica padrão para atacar fortificações era avançar em colunas, com o atirador de elite entre eles para atirar nos defensores e, no final, acertar as defesas em linha. Howe decidiu avançar na linha em vez disso. Os britânicos foram autorizados a se aproximar das linhas americanas antes de serem submetidos a um incêndio devastador que destruiu o primeiro ataque. O mesmo destino foi sofrido por um segundo ataque, embora Howe tivesse voltado às colunas. Foi só quando os americanos começaram a ficar sem munição que o terceiro ataque britânico foi capaz de romper suas defesas e se engajar na luta de baioneta da qual Howe confiava. Nesse ponto, as tropas britânicas estavam exauridas por seus esforços, e isso combinado com o fogo de cobertura dos atiradores de precisão americanos para evitar uma perseguição bem-sucedida.

Enquanto os americanos sofreram pesadas baixas, com 150 mortos e 270 feridos, as perdas britânicas foram muito piores, com 226 mortos e 828 feridos. Os britânicos em Boston ficaram totalmente desmoralizados com a vitória. Ficou claro que eles não podiam mais ações contra as posições americanas ao redor de Boston, dando aos americanos liberdade de movimento efetiva, tanto ao redor de Boston quanto nas outras colônias, onde o controle britânico foi rapidamente perdido. Gage e depois Howe persistentemente superestimaram a força das forças americanas que os cercavam, vendo pelo menos 10.000 homens em todos os momentos, um número que teria surpreendido Washington, que estava bem ciente da fraqueza de sua força durante o inverno de 1775. O americano Estande em Bunker Hill desempenhou um papel importante em convencer os britânicos da fraqueza de sua posição. Em setembro, Gage recebeu ordens de se mudar de Boston para um porto mais adequado para a marinha, mas foi só em março seguinte que seu exército, agora comandado por Howe, fez um movimento. Bunker Hill efetivamente manteve o principal exército britânico na América do Norte inativo por quase um ano.


Veja tambémLivros sobre a Guerra da Independência AmericanaÍndice de assuntos: Guerra da Independência Americana


Batalha de Bunker Hill, 17 de junho de 1775 - História

A Batalha de Bunker Hill ocorreu em 17 de junho de 1775, poucos meses após o início da Guerra Revolucionária Americana.

Boston estava sendo cercada por milhares de milícias americanas. Os britânicos estavam tentando manter o controle da cidade e controlar seu valioso porto marítimo. Os britânicos decidiram tomar duas colinas, Bunker Hill e Breed's Hill, para obter uma vantagem tática. As forças americanas souberam disso e foram defender as colinas.

Onde a batalha aconteceu?

Esta parece ser a pergunta mais fácil de todas, não é? Bem, na verdade não. Havia duas colinas que os britânicos queriam tomar para poder bombardear os americanos à distância. Eram Breed's Hill e Bunker Hill. A Batalha de Bunker Hill, na verdade, ocorreu principalmente em Breed's Hill. É apenas chamada de Batalha de Bunker Hill porque o exército pensou que eles estavam em Bunker Hill. Uma espécie de erro engraçado e é uma boa pergunta capciosa.


Bunker Hill Monument por patos
Você pode visitar Bunker Hill e subir até o topo de
o monumento para uma vista da cidade de Boston

Os britânicos foram conduzidos colina acima pelo general William Howe. Os americanos eram liderados pelo coronel William Prescott. Talvez isso devesse ter sido chamado de Batalha dos Williams! O major John Pitcairn também foi um dos líderes britânicos. Ele estava no comando das tropas que iniciaram a luta em Lexington que deu início à Guerra Revolucionária. Do lado americano, Israel Putnam era o general encarregado. Além disso, o líder patriota Dr. Joseph Warren fez parte da batalha. Ele foi morto durante a luta.

O que aconteceu na batalha?

As forças americanas descobriram que os britânicos planejavam conquistar as colinas ao redor de Boston para obter uma vantagem tática. Como resultado dessa informação, os americanos moveram secretamente suas tropas para Bunker e Breed's Hill, duas colinas desocupadas nos arredores de Boston, em Charlestown, Massachusetts. Eles construíram fortificações durante a noite e se prepararam para a batalha.

No dia seguinte, quando os britânicos perceberam o que havia acontecido, os britânicos atacaram. Seu comandante William Howe liderou três ataques até Breed's Hill. Os americanos lutaram contra as duas primeiras cargas, mas começaram a ficar sem munição e tiveram que recuar na terceira carga. Os britânicos ganharam a colina, mas seus custos foram altos. Cerca de 226 britânicos foram mortos e 800 feridos, enquanto os americanos não sofreram tantas baixas.

Embora os britânicos tenham vencido a batalha e conquistado o controle das colinas, eles pagaram um alto preço. Eles perderam centenas de soldados, incluindo vários oficiais. Isso deu aos americanos a coragem e a confiança de que poderiam enfrentar os britânicos na batalha. Muitos mais colonos se juntaram ao exército após esta batalha e a revolução continuou a crescer em força.


Bunker Hill Cannon Ball por patos
Uma bala de canhão desenterrada de Bunker Hill

A Batalha de Bunker Hill, 17 de junho de 1775

No início da guerra aberta, 20.000 milícias da Nova Inglaterra se reuniram sob o comando do Gen Artemis Ward e cercaram Boston. Os americanos descobriram por meio de espiões que o governador britânico e o general Thomas Gage pretendiam ocupar a península de Charlestown e as alturas estratégicas com vista para Boston. Dois dias antes da mudança de Gage, a conselho do Gen Israel Putnam, 1000 colonos sob William Prescott e Richard Gridley com dois pequenos canhões construídos à noite em um reduto em Breed’s Hill.

A morte do General Warren na batalha de Bunker Hill. Por John Trumbull & # 8211 do Museu de Belas Artes de Boston. A imagem é de domínio público através da Wikimedia.com

A posição em Bunker Hill, ao norte de Boston, estava na linha do avanço britânico planejado e diretamente sob a observação britânica, o estabelecimento secreto e necessariamente apressado da posição limitando a quantidade de comida e munição que os americanos tinham em mãos. Os navios britânicos começaram um bombardeio ineficaz à luz do dia, Gage e seus generais decidindo por um ataque imediato antes que os americanos pudessem ligar a nova fortificação com as outras. Marés, vento, águas rasas e a elevação dificultaram os esforços da Marinha Real Britânica para ajudar no ataque do exército. A primeira dificuldade britânica em lançar um ataque de infantaria à posição foi garantir transporte aquático suficiente para desembarcar a força designada de Gage de 2600 homens, a primeira onda britânica de 1000 soldados cavando e levando Ward a reforçar a posição americana para 1400 homens, enquanto Prescott tentou freneticamente firmar a resolução de suas tropas verdes e ancorar sua linha no rio Mystic. Os britânicos falharam em detectar a linha de seu ataque planejado, que foi cruzada com cristas rochosas, grama alta e cercas. O Gen Putnam fez o possível para solidificar os defensores americanos, que hesitaram em alguns casos entre fugir antes do ataque ou atacar fora das defesas.

As forças britânicas adicionais que desembarcaram em Charlestown foram atacadas pelos americanos e retaliaram queimando a cidade. O plano britânico, seguido repetidamente no curso da guerra que se seguiu, era flanquear os americanos para fora de sua posição. Neste caso, a direita britânica encontrou cercas e um
A posição americana despejou um fogo efetivo em seu avanço, apesar do bombardeio de artilharia britânica. Com o movimento de flanco falhando, Charlestown em conflagração e a noite se aproximando, Gage ordenou que toda sua força em um ataque precipitado até Bunker Hill.

A célebre ordem americana era: ‘Não atire’ até ver o branco de seus olhos ’e, com guarda-costas, paredes e cercas para estabilizá-los, os americanos obedeceram, maximizando a eficácia de seus suprimentos mínimos de munição. Enquanto a força britânica recuava com baixas, o general Henry Clinton passou por Charlestown em chamas e lançou outro ataque à esquerda americana, vitoriosa até agora, mas agora em busca de munição.

Mapa de 1775 da área de Boston (contém algumas imprecisões). Por J. DeCosta & # 8211 da Biblioteca do Congresso American Memory. A imagem é de domínio público através da Wikimedia.com

A artilharia britânica finalmente liberou os defensores americanos e os britânicos finalmente cercaram o flanco americano. Ambos os lados recorreram à baioneta enquanto os americanos se retiravam lentamente, sofrendo 310 baixas e 30 prisioneiros, tendo infligido 1.053 baixas britânicas. Apesar dos esforços da infantaria leve britânica para explorar a retirada dos americanos, resistência e reforços suficientes permaneceram para impedir o avanço, levando ao impasse na península em que a batalha de Bunker Hill havia sido travada.

Ambos os lados consideraram o engajamento uma vitória clássica de "Pirro", que não valeu os custos para o lado britânico vitorioso. Os americanos encontraram um grito de guerra e um sentimento de confiança no confronto, no qual números nunca experimentados enfrentaram, lutaram e mataram um dos melhores exércitos do mundo. O palco estava armado para mais longos anos de luta sanguinária.

Dr. Chris McNab é o editor de AMERICAN BATTLES & amp CAMPAIGNS: A Chronicle, de 1622 até o presente e é um especialista experiente em técnicas de sobrevivência urbana e na selva. Ele publicou mais de 20 livros, incluindo: How to Survive Anything, Anywhere & # 8212 uma enciclopédia de técnicas militares e civis de sobrevivência para todos os ambientes & # 8212 Special Forces Endurance Techniques, First Aid Survival Manual e The Handbook of Urban Survival. Em seu país natal, País de Gales, no Reino Unido, Chris fornece instruções sobre técnicas de caça na selva e também é um experiente instrutor de artes marciais.


A noite, os veteranos do Vietnã invadiram Bunker Hill

Os membros dos Veteranos do Vietnã contra a Guerra (VVAW) votam para permanecer em Lexington Green, desafiando uma ordem do governo local para desocupar, 30 de maio de 1971. Os VVAW foram submetidos a uma prisão em massa, mas ganharam o apoio de residentes da cidade que lhes deram caronas para o monumento Bunker Hill em Charlestown para continuar a marcha do grupo de Concord a Boston. Foto Richard Robbat.

Citando as contínuas preocupações de saúde pública sobre o COVID-19, a cidade de Boston recusou novamente este ano a emissão de uma licença permitindo que a parada anual do dia Bunker Hill, sempre esperada, prossiga pelas ruas de Charlestown.

O hiato é uma oportunidade de relembrar a história do feriado e do verão cinquenta anos atrás, quando o país estava tão politicamente dividido como está hoje, até que os veteranos do Vietnã contra a guerra, ou VVAW, insistiram em comemorar o Bunker Hill Day antecipadamente.

Bunker Hill Day foi inicialmente planejado para comemorar o papel que Massachusetts desempenhou na garantia da independência da nação e do rsquos. Lutada em 17 de junho de 1775, a Batalha de Bunker Hill foi uma vitória de Pirro para os imperiais britânicos. O recém-formado Exército Continental foi forçado a recuar, mas não antes de infligir danos suficientes para que as forças britânicas ficassem confinadas em Boston. Famosamente travada na vizinha Breed & rsquos Hill, o aniversário da batalha e rsquos foi comemorado pela primeira vez com um desfile em 1785. No quinquagésimo aniversário, a recém-formada Bunker Hill Monument Association organizou o primeiro Bunker Hill Day. Embora fosse um feriado local na época, como agora, toda a nação o observou em 1843, quando foi dedicado o obelisco de granito de 221 pés da Association & rsquos.

Depois que os imigrantes irlandeses se mudaram para o bairro no último quarto do século XIX, Charlestown tornou-se & ldquothe único lugar no planeta & rdquo, conforme notado pelo ator Will Rogers, & ldquowhere os irlandeses celebram uma vitória militar britânica. & Rdquo Um cartunista daquela época era solicitado a desenhar uma imagem do obelisco com as palavras & ldquoErected by the Irish in Memory of Patrick O'RsquoBunker of Cork. As comemorações passaram a incluir companhias de reencenadores marchando em trajes coloniais ao ritmo de pífano e tambor, bem como elementos da cultura camponesa irlandesa, incluindo carnavais, fogos de artifício e álcool. Como disse o jornalista J. Anthony Lukas, Bunker Hill Day tornou-se uma "declaração exuberante da independência de Charlestown do resto do mundo".

O final dos anos 1960 e o início dos anos 1970 foram anos difíceis para Charlestown. Para a consternação de muitos pais brancos, a legislatura de Massachusetts insistia na eliminação da segregação escolar. E, como um bairro da classe trabalhadora, Charlestown estava enviando um número desproporcional de seus filhos para lutar no Sudeste Asiático. A comunidade de Charleston se engajou no ativismo em nome dos esforços anti-busing, às vezes recorrendo à violência, entretanto, poucos se juntaram ao que se tornou o movimento anti-guerra mais ruidoso e sustentado da história dos Estados Unidos por medo de prejudicar o moral das tropas.

Ninguém poderia prever como essa comunidade, muito nervosa na primavera de 1971, responderia na noite de domingo do Memorial Day Weekend quando não os britânicos, mas uma onda de veteranos americanos do Vietnã varreram Breed & rsquos Hill em direção ao obelisco dos irlandeses. Os americanos em Charlestown fizeram seus próprios.

Quarenta e oito horas antes, mais de cem membros do VVAW vestidos com uniformes da selva haviam iniciado uma marcha de três dias com o objetivo de reconstituir o mítico passeio noturno de Paul Revere ao contrário. Como Revere, os veteranos antiguerra procuravam levar uma mensagem ao povo, no caso deles, que o país havia vergonhosamente invertido seu curso anterior e se tornado o tipo de agressor imperial que os colonos uma vez lutaram para vencer. A rota da marcha passou por quatro campos de batalha da Guerra Revolucionária onde os veteranos planejavam demonstrar seu respeito patriótico por seus irmãos de armas coloniais enquanto ilustravam com suas feridas físicas e espíritos angustiados o quão longe a nação havia caído de seus ideais fundadores.

A marcha dos VVAW e rsquos começou sem incidentes em Concord, onde funcionários do Serviço de Parques Nacionais concederam aos veteranos permissão para acampar próximo à Ponte Velha do Norte, e os habitantes da cidade serviram aos veteranos um jantar farto. Em contraste marcante, o Lexington Selectmen (o equivalente de Massachusetts a um conselho municipal) recusou-se a conceder aos veteranos permissão para acampar na segunda noite da marcha no sagrado Battle Green da cidade. Com a intenção de punir os veteranos pelo que mais tarde descreveu como esvaziar o ânimo das tropas ainda em perigo, o presidente do Conselho de Seletores ordenou uma prisão em massa.

Quando os veteranos foram libertados da prisão improvisada da cidade e pagaram a multa no tribunal do condado, pensaram em pular Bunker Hill, o último campo de batalha da Guerra Revolucionária em seu itinerário. A prisão em massa havia consumido muito tempo e agora eles corriam o risco de chegar atrasados ​​ao comício anti-guerra do Memorial Day em Boston Common, para o qual haviam convidado o público.

O que mais preocupava era o fato de que Charlestown talvez não fosse tão receptivo quanto as elites liberais de Lexington, muitas das quais haviam decidido ser presas com os veteranos e que mais tarde garantiriam que o presidente não fosse reeleito.

Durante um jantar preparado para eles por uma das congregações de Lexington & rsquos, os veteranos conversaram sobre o que fazer. Estimulado pela cobertura simpática da mídia nacional sobre a prisão em massa, um veterano ferido que vivia no hospital de Bedford VA encorajou os veteranos a prosseguir.

& ldquoNós já começamos a Batalha de Lexington & rdquo, ele se entusiasmou com o sucesso da VVAW até agora em liberar a energia que deu origem à nação. & ldquoO país inteiro sabe disso. Então, vamos & rsquos ir para Bunker Hill. & Rdquo

O problema do tempo perdido foi resolvido pegando carona de seus apoiadores de Lexington até Charlestown. Desembarcando na Praça Sullivan para que pudessem se aproximar respeitosamente do campo de batalha de Bunker Hill a pé como os descendentes daqueles que lutaram e morreram lá, alguns dos veteranos mais tarde lembraram que se sentiram muito preocupados com a forma como seriam recebidos.

"Será que vai ser comida e aceitação ou paus e pedras?", alguém se perguntou.

Quando os veteranos começaram a subir a colina carregando os M16s de brinquedo de aparência muito real que carregaram de Concord como um sinal de sua autoridade para falar sobre a guerra, as janelas dos prédios residenciais ao longo das ruas estreitas se abriram e gritos de alegria explodiram delas. Os veteranos serviram ao lado dos próprios filhos de Charlestown e rsquos e estavam sendo homenageados como tal. Minutos depois, quando os veteranos pisaram no solo sagrado onde tantos americanos morreram para que seus filhos pudessem ser livres, os residentes de Charlestown & rsquos prestaram testemunho silencioso enquanto os veteranos rejeitavam cerimoniosamente seu armamento em uma mensagem de que a guerra deveria acabar.

& ldquoNós amamos você e estamos felizes por estar aqui com você, & rdquo um dos veteranos ainda atordoados exclamou para esses novos apoiadores que horas antes VVAW considerou evitar. & ldquoNós devemos começar a compartilhar uns com os outros a paz de que precisamos agora. & rdquo

Na manhã seguinte, quando os veteranos saíram de suas tendas, inúmeros residentes voltaram para o seu lado, oferecendo comida e café para alimentar o impulso final dos veteranos para Boston.

Cinquenta anos atrás neste verão, o Bunker Hill Day foi celebrado cedo pelos residentes de Charlestown & rsquos e uma nova geração de ativistas anti-guerra que se uniram em torno da ideia de que a Guerra do Vietnã não refletia os valores pelos quais os colonos deram suas vidas em Breed & rsquos Hill nem os de a comunidade irlandesa-americana de Bunker Hill, cujos filhos foram forçados a lutar contra ela. Foi uma vitória do VVAW e do movimento anti-guerra tão grande quanto aqueles tradicionalmente celebrados no Dia de Bunker Hill.


Batalha de Bunker Hill

Em 17 de junho de 1775, os colonos americanos infligiram pesadas baixas britânicas em sua derrota na Batalha de Bunker Hill.

Após as batalhas de Lexington e Concord, os colonos americanos bloquearam o acesso a Boston por terra. Embora o Exército Britânico ainda controlasse as vias navegáveis, os oficiais temiam que os colonos bombardeassem a cidade das colinas circundantes. Os britânicos planejavam atacar os colonos para afastá-los de Boston.

O Congresso Provincial de Massachusetts recebeu a notícia de que os regulares britânicos iam atacar. Os colonos decidiram fortificar Bunker Hill para proteger a Península de Charlestown, ao norte de Boston. Na noite de 16 de junho de 1775, o coronel William Prescott conduziu 1.200 homens à península para os preparativos. Após alguma discussão, Breed’s Hill foi escolhido para a posição defensiva porque estava mais perto de Boston do que Bunker Hill. Eles construíram uma fortificação quadrada com paredes de barro de 1,80 metros de altura.

U.S. # 1056 é uma versão em espiral do selo acima.

Quando o general Gage, comandante dos regulares britânicos, viu as fortificações na manhã seguinte, 17 de junho, decidiu atacar naquele dia. Demorou quase seis horas para os casacos vermelhos se reunirem e várias horas mais para levá-los através do rio Charles. Às 15h, eles finalmente estavam prontos para atacar.

Enquanto isso, os colonos continuaram a estender sua defesa pelas encostas da colina usando terra, mourões e feno. Os reforços chegaram e preencheram algumas das lacunas ao longo da linha dos colonos. Sabendo que eles estavam com pouca munição, o coronel Stark, líder dos regimentos de New Hampshire, colocou uma estaca a cerca de 30 metros da cerca e ordenou que seus homens não atirassem até que os britânicos passassem a marca.

Os casacos vermelhos se aproximaram da colina da raça em longas colunas. Quando eles estavam dentro do alcance, os colonos atiraram neles e infligiram pesadas baixas. Os britânicos recuaram, se reagruparam e atacaram novamente com os mesmos resultados.

U.S. # 1351 - Embora seja chamada de bandeira de Bunker Hill, muitos historiadores acreditam que os colonos não a carregavam lá.

Depois que os reforços chegaram, os casacas vermelhas fizeram uma terceira tentativa de tomar a colina. Os colonos estavam ficando sem munição e recuaram. Os britânicos ganharam o controle da Península de Charlestown, mas pagaram um preço terrível: 226 mortos e 828 feridos - quase um terço dos soldados que participaram da batalha.

U.S. # 1564 retrata a morte do General Joseph Warren em Bunker Hill.

O coronel Prescott provou ser um líder hábil das forças coloniais. Antes da batalha, ele teria dito a seus homens: “Não atirem até que vejam o branco dos olhos deles”. Embora seus homens fossem mal treinados e tivessem pouca munição, eles serviram como defesa central da América na Batalha de Bunker Hill.

Entre as vítimas americanas naquele dia estava o general Joseph Warren. Fotografado na US # 1564, Warren era um médico de Massachusetts. Ele organizou patriotas em Boston no início da guerra e serviu como presidente do Congresso Provincial de Massachusetts. Ele também colocou Paul Revere em sua famosa cavalgada da meia-noite e lutou em Lexington e Concord. Embora tenha sido comissionado General-de-Brigada poucos dias antes da Batalha de Bunker Hill, Warren preferiu lutar ao lado de seus soldados.

U.S. # 1361 foi emitido para homenagear Trumbull e retrata Thomas Grosvenor da mesma pintura acima.

A Batalha de Bunker Hill, que na verdade ocorreu em Breed’s Hill, mostrou que as milícias coloniais inexperientes podiam se levantar contra os britânicos bem treinados. Aumentou o apoio à independência de colônias que antes estavam indecisas. Esta batalha inicial da Guerra Revolucionária deu aos colonos a coragem de continuar em sua luta pela independência.

Clique aqui para ver a pintura de John Trumbull de Bunker Hill que aparece nos dois últimos selos deste artigo.


Opções de acesso

Este ensaio tem sua origem em um artigo de graduação escrito sob a direção do Prof. Louis Masur no Graduate Center da City University of New York. Agradeço ao Professor Masur pelos insights que ele ofereceu neste seminário e nos ensaios citados no texto.

1. Para exemplos de interpretações e comentários de historiadores da arte, ver Prown, Jules David, “John Trumbull as History Painter,” em John Trumbull: The Hand and the Spirit, ed. Cooper, Helen (New Haven: Yale University Art Gallery, 1982), 22-92 Google Scholar Jaffe, Irma, John Trumbull: Patriot-Artist of the American Revolution (Boston: New York Graphic Society, 1975) Google Scholar Boime, Albert, The Art of Exclusion: Representing Blacks in the XIX Century (Washington: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1990) Google Scholar e Masur, Louis P., “'Pictures Have Now Become a Necessity': The Use of Images in American History Textbooks,” Journal of American History 84 (03 1998): 1409 –24CrossRefGoogle Scholar. O tratamento de Masur de John Singleton Copley Watson e o Tubarão assume a liderança nesse sentido (ver Masur, “Leitura Watson e o Tubarão , ”New England Quarterly 67 [09 1994]: 427 –53) CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

2. Trumbull, John, Auto-retrato (1812 - 1816) Google Scholar, óleo sobre tela, e Samuel Lovett Waldo e William Jewett, O “Artista-patriota” (ca. 1821), óleo sobre tela, Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Connecticut. Prown data incorretamente o autorretrato como ca. 1802. Jaffe fica intrigado com o que Trumbull segura em sua mão direita, confundindo-a com uma lente de aumento e óculos. Uma inspeção cuidadosa da tela original revela o punho de uma espada (ver Prown, “John Trumbull,” 159 Google Scholar e Jaffe,, John Trumbull, 229 Google Scholar).

3. Trumbull, John, The Autobiography of Colonel John Trumbull, Patriot-Artist, 1756-1843, ed. Sizer, Theodore (Nova York: Kennedy Graphics, 1970), 3 - 6, 9 Google Scholar.


Batalha de Bunker Hill, 1775

O memorial do campo de batalha de Breed’s Hill hoje cobre cerca de dois hectares e é cercado por apartamentos e condomínios de luxo de quatro andares, cujo prédio fez parte dos esforços de arrecadação de fundos para financiar a construção do monumento. O morro é coroado por um obelisco comemorativo de 221 metros de altura, com 294 degraus até o topo, e foi designado “monumento nacional”, sob gestão do Serviço Nacional de Parques. Foi concluído em 1843 e renovado em 2007. Em 1775, quando as tropas americanas ocuparam as colinas, eles inicialmente investiram em Bunker Hill, mas perceberam que Breed’s Hill poderia ser melhor defendido, então eles se mudaram para lá. A confusão de nomes persiste até hoje. Mas não há confusão sobre o que aconteceu lá.


A turnê 2016 montada no Lexington Green sob o Minute Man Monument

Em abril de 1775, a Guerra pela Independência Americana começou em Lexington e Concord, não muito longe de Boston. Poucas pessoas perceberam na época que a revolta em Massachusetts se espalharia por todas as treze colônias, a independência seria declarada mais de um ano depois e uma guerra de oito anos começaria. A batalha de Bunker Hill provaria ser o ponto decisivo sem volta.

Após as batalhas de abril entre os fazendeiros da província e os habitantes da cidade, no auge cerca de 15.000 homens ocuparam posições ao redor da cidade para manter seus inimigos cercados. A guarnição inglesa de cerca de 6.000 sob o comando do general Thomas Gage planejava expulsar o arrogante exército americano assim que reforços chegaram. A península de Charlestown se projetava nos rios Mystic e Charles a apenas mil metros de Boston, um ponto estratégico perigoso que ambos os lados se preparavam para tomar. Em 16 de junho, o coronel William Prescott liderou 1.500 homens pelo pescoço de Charlestown, ao redor de Bunker Hill para fortificar Breed’s Hill de 62 pés de altura, logo acima da cidade.


Mapa da península de Charlestown ladeada pelos rios Mystic e Charles

Os homens de Prescott construíram um reduto de quase dois metros de altura com um degrau de tiro de madeira e, em seguida, flanqueando trincheiras descendo as encostas da colina para resistir aos ataques de flanco. A frota britânica tentou parar o trabalho com fogo de artilharia, mas sem sucesso. Os generais britânicos Howe e Pigot decidiram liderar seus homens através do rio até as planícies acima da cidade e atacar as fortificações. Ambos os lados pediram reforços quando viram o tamanho das forças opostas e nenhuma ação aconteceu até que Prescott foi aumentado por homens de Connecticut e New Hampshire, bem como pelo grande líder patriota Joseph Warren. Com a adição do 47th Foot (mais tarde conhecido como Lancashires) e dos primeiros Marines, os Redcoats formaram-se para o assalto.

Os ataques começaram às 15 horas. e os dois primeiros ataques britânicos foram interrompidos com pesadas perdas. Vários homens nas linhas americanas estavam confusos e perambulando, a maioria lutando por suas vidas. O terceiro ataque britânico levou a melhor e a luta tornou-se corpo a corpo, com os casacas vermelhas levando vantagem com sua perícia com a baioneta. O general Warren foi morto no lado americano e o major Pitcairn, que havia começado a guerra em Lexington, caiu no lado britânico. Os americanos recuaram de maneira relativamente ordenada, tendo infligido mais de mil baixas a um dos melhores exércitos do planeta, o máximo que a Inglaterra sofreria em uma batalha na guerra.


A Batalha de Bunker Hill, por Percy Moran

A batalha provaria ser uma bonança de propaganda para a causa americana e um severo aviso ao rei de que os rudes rústicos americanos resistiriam a um exército profissional quando bem liderados.


A verdadeira história da batalha de Bunker Hill

A última parada na Boston & # 8217s Freedom Trail é um santuário para a névoa da guerra.

Desta História

As forças coloniais contornaram Bunker Hill para Breed & # 8217s Hill, uma elevação menor perto de Boston e mais ameaçadora para os britânicos. (Gilbert Gates) John Trumball's A morte do General Warren na Batalha de Bunker's Hill, 17 de junho de 1775. (Museu de Belas Artes, Boston) Bunker Hill: uma cidade, um cerco, uma revolução está disponível para encomenda agora e nas lojas em 30 de abril de 2013. (Stuart Krichevsky Literary Agency, Inc.)

Galeria de fotos

& # 8220Breed & # 8217s Hill, & # 8221 uma placa diz. & # 8220 Local da Batalha de Bunker Hill. & # 8221 Outra placa mostra a famosa ordem dada às tropas americanas quando os britânicos avançaram pela não-Bunker Hill. & # 8220Não & # 8217t dispare & # 8217até ver o branco dos olhos deles. & # 8221 Exceto, os guardas-florestais dirão rapidamente que essas palavras não foram & # 8217ditas aqui. O obelisco patriótico no topo da colina também confunde os visitantes. A maioria não percebe que é o raro monumento americano à derrota americana.

Em suma, a memória da nação & # 8217s de Bunker Hill é principalmente uma besteira. O que torna a batalha de 1775 um tópico natural para Nathaniel Philbrick, um autor atraído por episódios icônicos e incompreendidos da história americana. Ele pegou o Pilgrim pousando em Mayflower e o Little Bighorn em O último ponto. Em seu novo livro, Bunker Hill, ele revisita os primórdios da Revolução Americana, um assunto carregado com mais mito, orgulho e política do que qualquer outro em nossa narrativa nacional.

Johnny Tremain, Paul Revere & # 8217s Ride, hoje & # 8217s Tea Partiers & # 8212você tem que sintonizar tudo isso para chegar à história real & # 8221 Philbrick diz. Gazing out from the Bunker Hill Monument—not at charging redcoats but at skyscrapers and clotted traffic—he adds: “You also have to squint a lot and study old maps to imagine your way back into the 18th century.”

Boston in 1775 was much smaller, hillier and more watery than it appears today. The Back Bay was still a bay and the South End was likewise underwater hills were later leveled to fill in almost 1,000 acres. Boston was virtually an island, reachable by land only via a narrow neck. And though founded by Puritans, the city wasn’t puritanical. One rise near Beacon Hill, known for its prostitutes, was marked on maps as “Mount Whoredom.”

Nor was Boston a “cradle of liberty” one in five families, including those of leading patriots, owned slaves. And the city’s inhabitants were viciously divided. At Copp’s Hill, in Boston’s North End, Philbrick visits the grave of Daniel Malcom, an early agitator against the British identified on his headstone as “a true son of Liberty.” British troops used the patriot headstone for target practice. Yet Malcom’s brother, John, was a noted loyalist, so hated by rebels that they tarred and feathered him and paraded him in a cart until his skin peeled off in “steaks.”

Philbrick is a mild-mannered 56-year-old with gentle brown eyes, graying hair and a placid golden retriever in the back of his car. But he’s blunt and impassioned about the brutishness of the 1770s and the need to challenge patriotic stereotypes. “There’s an ugly civil war side to revolutionary Boston that we don’t often talk about,” he says, “and a lot of thuggish, vigilante behavior by groups like the Sons of Liberty.” He doesn’t romanticize the Minutemen of Lexington and Concord, either. The “freedoms” they fought for, he notes, weren’t intended to extend to slaves, Indians, women or Catholics. Their cause was also “profoundly conservative.” Most sought a return to the Crown’s “salutary neglect” of colonists prior to the 1760s, before Britain began imposing taxes and responding to American resistance with coercion and troops. “They wanted the liberties of British subjects, not American independence,” Philbrick says.

That began to change once blood was shed, which is why the Bunker Hill battle is pivotal. The chaotic skirmishing at Lexington and Concord in April 1775 left the British holed up in Boston and hostile colonists occupying the city’s surrounds. But it remained unclear whether the ill-equipped rebels were willing or able to engage the British Army in pitched battle. Leaders on both sides also thought the conflict might yet be settled without full-scale war.

This tense, two-month stalemate broke on the night of June 16, in a confused manner that marks much of the Revolution’s start. Over a thousand colonials marched east from Cambridge with orders to fortify Bunker Hill, a 110-foot rise on the Charlestown peninsula jutting into Boston Harbor. But the Americans bypassed Bunker Hill in the dark and instead began fortifying Breed’s Hill, a smaller rise much closer to Boston and almost in the face of the British.

The reasons for this maneuver are murky. But Philbrick believes it was a “purposeful act, a provocation and not the smartest move militarily.” Short on cannons, and the know-how to fire those they had with accuracy, the rebels couldn’t do much damage from Breed’s Hill. But their threatening position, on high ground just across the water from Boston, forced the British to try to dislodge the Americans before they were reinforced or fully entrenched.

On the morning of June 17, as the rebels frantically threw up breastworks of earth, fence posts and stone, the British bombarded the hill. One cannonball decapitated a man as his comrades worked on, “fatigued by our Labour, having no sleep the night before, very little to eat, no drink but rum,” a private wrote. “The danger we were in made us think there was treachery, and that we were brought there to be all slain.”

Exhausted and exposed, the Americans were also a motley collection of militia from different colonies, with little coordination and no clear chain of command. By contrast, the British, who at midday began disembarking from boats near the American position, were among the best-trained troops in Europe. And they were led by seasoned commanders, one of whom marched confidently at the head of his men accompanied by a servant carrying a bottle of wine. The British also torched Charlestown, at the base of Breed’s Hill, turning church steeples into “great pyramids of fire” and adding ferocious heat to what was already a warm June afternoon.

All this was clearly visible to the many spectators crowded on hills, rooftops and steeples in and around Boston, including Abigail Adams and her young son, John Quincy, who cried at the flames and the “thunders” of British cannons. Another observer was British Gen. John Burgoyne, who watched from Copp’s Hill. “And now ensued one of the greatest scenes of war that can be conceived,” he wrote of the blazing town, the roaring cannons and the sight of red-coated troops ascending Breed’s Hill.

However, the seemingly open pasture proved to be an obstacle course. The high, unmown hay obscured rocks, holes and other hazards. Fences and stone walls also slowed the British. The Americans, meanwhile, were ordered to hold their fire until the attackers closed to 50 yards or less. The wave of British “advanced towards us in order to swallow us up,” wrote Pvt. Peter Brown, “but they found a Choaky mouthful of us.”

When the rebels opened fire, the close-packed British fell in clumps. In some spots, the British lines became jumbled, making them even easier targets. The Americans added to the chaos by aiming at officers, distinguished by their fine uniforms. The attackers, repulsed at every point, were forced to withdraw. “The dead lay as thick as sheep in a fold,” wrote an American officer.

The disciplined British quickly re-formed their ranks and advanced again, with much the same result. One British officer was moved to quote Falstaff: “They make us here but food for gunpowder.” But the American powder was running very low. And the British, having failed twice, devised a new plan. They repositioned their artillery and raked the rebel defenses with grapeshot. And when the infantrymen marched forward, a third time, they came in well-spaced columns rather than a broad line.

As the Americans’ ammunition expired, their firing sputtered and “went out like an old candle,” wrote William Prescott, who commanded the hilltop redoubt. His men resorted to throwing rocks, then swung their muskets at the bayonet-wielding British pouring over the rampart. “Nothing could be more shocking than the carnage that followed the storming [of] this work,” wrote a royal marine. “We tumbled over the dead to get at the living,” with “soldiers stabbing some and dashing out the brains of others.” The surviving defenders fled, bringing the battle to an end.

In just two hours of fighting, 1,054 British soldiers—almost half of all those engaged—had been killed or wounded, including many officers. American losses totaled over 400. The first true battle of the Revolutionary War was to prove the bloodiest of the entire conflict. Though the British had achieved their aim in capturing the hill, it was a truly Pyrrhic victory. “The success is too dearly bought,” wrote Gen. William Howe, who lost every member of his staff (as well as the bottle of wine his servant carried into battle).

Badly depleted, the besieged British abandoned plans to seize another high point near the city and ultimately evacuated Boston. The battle also demonstrated American resolve and dispelled hopes that the rebels might relent without a protracted conflict. “Our three generals,” a British officer wrote of his commanders in Boston, had “expected rather to punish a mob than fight with troops that would look them in the face.”

The intimate ferocity of this face-to-face combat is even more striking today, in an era of drones, tanks and long-range missiles. At the Bunker Hill Museum, Philbrick studies a diorama of the battle alongside Patrick Jennings, a park ranger who served as an infantryman and combat historian for the U.S. Army in Iraq and Afghanistan. “This was almost a pool-table battlefield,” Jennings observes of the miniature soldiers crowded on a verdant field. “The British were boxed in by the terrain and the Americans didn’t have much maneuverability, either. It’s a close-range brawl.”

However, there’s no evidence that Col. Israel Putnam told his men to hold their fire until they saw “the whites” of the enemies’ eyes. The writer Parson Weems invented this incident decades later, along with other fictions such as George Washington chopping down a cherry tree. In reality, the Americans opened fire at about 50 yards, much too distant to see anyone’s eyes. One colonel did tell his men to wait until they could see the splash guards—called half-gaiters—that British soldiers wore around their calves. But as Philbrick notes, “‘Don’t fire until you see the whites of their half-gaiters’ just doesn’t have the same ring.” So the Weems version endured, making it into textbooks and even into the video game Assassin’s Creed.

The Bunker Hill Monument also has an odd history. The cornerstone was laid in 1825, with Daniel Webster addressing a crowd of 100,000. Backers built one of the first railways in the nation to tote eight-ton granite blocks from a quarry south of Boston. But money ran out. So Sarah Josepha Hale, a magazine editor and author of “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” rescued the project by organizing a “Ladies’ Fair” that raised $30,000. The monument was finally dedicated in 1843, with the now-aged Daniel Webster returning to speak again.

Over time, Brahmin Charlestown turned Irish and working class, and the monument featured in gritty crime movies like The Town, directed by Ben Affleck (who has also acquired the movie rights to Philbrick’s book). But today the obelisk stands amid renovated townhouses, and the small park surrounding it is popular with exercise classes and leisure-seekers. “You’ll be talking to visitors about the horrible battle that took place here,” says park ranger Merrill Kohlhofer, “and all around you are sunbathers and Frisbee players and people walking their dogs.” Firemen also visit, to train for climbing tall buildings by scaling the 221-foot monument.

Philbrick is drawn to a different feature of the park: a statue of what he calls the “wild man” and neglected hero of revolutionary Boston, Dr. Joseph Warren. The physician led the rebel underground and became major general of the colonial army in the lead-up to Bunker Hill. A flamboyant man, he addressed 5,000 Bostonians clad in a toga and went into the Bunker Hill battle wearing a silk-fringed waistcoat and silver buttons, “like Lord Falkland, in his wedding suit.” But he refused to assume command, fighting as an ordinary soldier and dying from a bullet in the face during the final assault. Warren’s stripped body was later identified on the basis of his false teeth, which had been crafted by Paul Revere. He left behind a fiancée (one of his patients) and a mistress he’d recently impregnated.

“Warren was young, charismatic, a risk-taker—a man made for revolution,” Philbrick says. “Things were changing by the day and he embraced that.” In death, Warren became the Revolution’s first martyr, though he’s little remembered by most Americans today.

Before leaving Charlestown, Philbrick seeks out one other site. In 1775, when Americans marched past Bunker Hill and fortified Breed’s instead, a British map compounded the confusion by mixing up the two hills as well. Over time, the name Breed’s melted away and the battle became indelibly linked to Bunker. But what of the hill that originally bore that name?

It’s visible from the Bunker Hill Monument: a taller, steeper hill 600 yards away. But Charlestown’s narrow, one-way streets keep carrying Philbrick in the wrong direction. After 15 minutes of circling his destination he finally finds a way up. “It’s a pity the Americans didn’t fortify this hill,” he quips, “the British would never have found it.”

It’s now crowned by a church, on Bunker Hill Street, and a sign says the church was established in 1859, “On the Top of Bunker Hill.” The church’s business manager, Joan Rae, says the same. “This is Bunker Hill. That other hill’s not. It’s Breed’s.” To locals like Rae, perhaps, but not to visitors or even to Google Maps. Tap in “Bunker Hill Charlestown” and you’ll be directed to. that other hill. To Philbrick, this enduring confusion is emblematic of the Bunker Hill story. “The whole thing’s a screw-up,” he says. “The Americans fortify the wrong hill, this forces a fight no one planned, the battle itself is an ugly and confused mess. And it ends with a British victory that’s also a defeat.”

Retreating to Boston for lunch at “ye olde” Union Oyster House, Philbrick reflects more personally on his historic exploration of the city where he was born. Though he was mostly raised in Pittsburgh, his forebears were among the first English settlers of the Boston area in the 1630s. One Philbrick served in the Revolution. As a championship sailor, Philbrick competed on the Charles River in college and later moved to Boston. He still has an apartment there, but mostly lives on the echt-Yankee island of Nantucket, the setting for his book about whaling, In the Heart of the Sea.

Philbrick, however, considers himself a “deracinated WASP” and doesn’t believe genealogy or flag-waving should cloud our view of history. “I don’t subscribe to the idea that the founders or anyone else were somehow better than us and that we have to live up to their example.” He also feels the hated British troops in Boston deserve reappraisal. “They’re an occupying army, locals despise them, and they don’t want to be there,” he says. “As Americans we’ve now been in that position in Iraq and can appreciate the British dilemma in a way that wasn’t easy before.”

But Philbrick also came away from his research with a powerful sense of the Revolution’s significance. While visiting archives in England, he called on Lord Gage, a direct descendant of Gen. Thomas Gage, overall commander of the British military at the Bunker Hill battle. The Gage family’s Tudor-era estate has 300 acres of private gardens and a chateau-style manor filled with suits of armor and paintings by Gainsborough, Raphael and Van Dyck.

“We had sherry and he could not have been more courteous,” Philbrick says of Lord Gage. “But it was a reminder of the British class system and how much the Revolution changed our history. As countries, we’ve gone on different paths since his ancestor sent redcoats up that hill.”

Read an excerpt from Philbrick's Bunker Hill, detailing the tarring and feathering of loyalist John Malcom on the eve of the Revolutionary War, here.

About Tony Horwitz

Tony Horwitz was a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who worked as a foreign correspondent for the Wall Street Journal and wrote for the New Yorker. Ele é o autor de Baghdad without a Map, Midnight Rising and the digital best seller BOOM. His most recent work, Spying on the South, was released in May 2019. Tony Horwitz died in May 2019 at the age of 60.


The Battle of Bunker's Hill - 17 June 1775

Following the skirmishes in Massachusetts at Lexington and Concord, April 19, 1775, state militiamen from Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Vermont assembled in Cambridge and the area surrounding Boston. British General Gage and 6,500 soldiers and marines were in possession of Boston proper, while the American force consisted of over 16,000 men. Sickness and missing brought the number of effective soldiers closer to 9,000. In addition the American force was woefully short of gunpowder, having only some 30 or so half barrels of powder beyond that carried in the horns of the citizen soldiers.

In the two months following Concord, efforts were made to bring organization and order to the American Army. But the work was difficult and the progress slow. By mid-June the army was still a collection of individual Militia regiments, headed by officers who were viewed more as neighbors and fellow citizens of the common soldier rather than trained and capable leaders. The Continental Congress was working on legislation to regularize the militia and see that they were paid by the Congress, but by mid-June still had not acted To complicate matters, militia units were responsible only to their own militia commanders and their own state governments. General Artemus Ward was commanding general of the Massachusetts militia, and leading the largest contingent of troops, held nominal authority over the non-Massachusetts forces.

General Gage considered his force too small to effectively attack the Rebels and hold the countryside outside of Boston. At the same time he became concerned that the surrounding heights of Dorchester and Charlestown provided an excellent opportunity for Rebels to place cannon and threaten Boston. Consequently, he began to plan measures to secure these strategic positions. But word leaked out and the Boston Committee of Safety recommended to Ward that he pre-empt the British move and seize Bunker Hill above Charlestown. Col. William Prescott supported the plan and was asked to lead a night mission to establish a redoubt (small fort) on Bunkers Hill. Together with 300 men of Prescott's regiment, and parts of Ebenezer Bridge's and Colonel James Frye's regiment were added 200 Connecticut men under Captain Thomas Knowlton from Putnam's regiment and Captain Samuel Gridley's artillery company with two light guns. About 5pm in the evening of June 16 th this force assembled on the common in Cambridge and after a prayer set off quietly for the Horse's Neck.

Poised like a syrup drop extending into the harbor just to the north of Boston, the Charlestown peninsula is approximately one and a quarter miles long and lies between the Charles River on the West and the Mystic river on the East. On the north, the peninsula is joined to the mainland by a narrow neck which is only thirty feet wide at high tide. Bunker's Hill rises across the narrow western end of the peninsula and at 100 feet high, dominates the Neck. Any fortifications constructed there would be out of effective range of the British battery on Copp's Hill in Boston and would be too high to permit elevation of shipboard guns in the harbor. To the south and east of Bunker's Hill lies Breed's Hill, some 60 feet high gradually sloping to the harbor and Charlestown to its south and west.

Under the cover of darkness, the American force crossed the Neck and mounted Bunker's Hill. On the far slope the column stopped and a violent argument broke out among the leaders, with Prescott asserting that Ward's verbal orders had been to fortify the lower and more exposed Breed's Hill. Colonel Gridley, who was serving the role of engineer added to the ruckus contending that valuable time was being lost. At last the decision was made to make Breed's Hill the primary fortification and Bunker Hill the secondary fortification, if and when time permitted. The column moved on the Breed's Hill where at its apex, Gridley staked out the outline of a redoubt approximately 132 feet square. As the clock struck midnight, the men began to dig, throwing up dirt at a furious pace.

Prescott next detailed a company to patrol the shore and another to lay by close to the town. About 4 o'clock, the lookout on His Majesty's sloop-of-war Lively, with 20 guns, spotted the work on the redoubt and sounded the alarm. Captain Thomas Bishop immediately beat to quarters and opened fire on the redoubt. Bishop who had recently been found guilty by court-martial for deliberated neglect of duty over the disposition of the proceeds of a captured Spanish ship was doubtless determined not to be caught neglectful again. The Admiral of the fleet, sent a boat to stop the shooting but then seeing the problem for himself in the improving light, ordered his ships and the Copp's Hill battery to open fire on the redoubt.

Gage called a hasty council of war. After exploring a number of options with Generals Clinton and Howe, Gage decided on an amphibious assault with a landing on Moulton's Point below Breed's Hill. In the meantime, Prescott's men had consumed their one-day's ration in the course of digging the redoubt and a lucky cannonball had crashed the two barrels of water that had been brought along. As the cannonade continued, the men in the redoubt began to question the wisdom of remaining under fire. In the light of full day, British troops could be seen across the harbor assembling in Boston. Colonel Prescott was determined to fight. He had already quelled the men's fears by leaping to parapet after the first man was killed by a cannon shot, and slowly strolling along its exposed top to demonstrate the relative lack of danger from cannon fire. Now with the British preparing operations against them they were ready to leave. In fact some did leave, heading up and over Bunker's Hill and on to the Neck and Cambridge.

In the meantime, General Issac Putnam had ridden out to confer with Col Prescott soon after the Lively opened fire. Soon he rode back to Cambridge in search of General Ward to urge the reinforcement of Prescott. Ward was concerned that reinforcing Prescott would weaken his forces elsewhere and felt he had to wait to learn for certain where the British would attack. By 11 o'clock two British gondolas approached the Neck as close as possible and began firing at anything that moved along the neck. What actual affect this effort had remains unclear, though there were some casualties. By noon the British were in the boats and Howe with about 1,500 men embarked at one. Whether Ward had issued reinforcement orders or not before the British made their move, he did so now, sending orders to nine Massachusetts regiments, John Stark's and James Reed's New Hampshire regiments, and several artillery companies. All was confusion, with each regiment moving as it thought best and all the time men and officers dropping off and melting into the woodwork. The scene at the neck was chaotic. Several Massachusets regiments blocked the entrance fearful of crossing under direct cannon fire.

Colonel's Stark and Reed of the New Hampshire troops got the order to advance at two in the afternoon. Hastily assembling their men, they discovered that many were short of powder and shot. When the men were issued shot, time was lost as the men beat the shot into the proper caliber for the weapon each carried. When the New Hampshire troops arrived at the entrance to the Neck and found the Massachusetts troops blocking the way, Major Andrew McClary pushed his way to the frond and asked, "If Massachusetts didn't happen to need the road just then, would they mind moving over to let New Hampshire through?" The Massachusetts men moved smartly into the ditches as Stark and Reed calmly marched their men across the Neck.

By two, Howe had his troops landed and surveyed situation and determined that he needed more men. He sent a boat back across to Boston requesting reinforcements. The artillery battery that had been brought over by boat was now deployed on the forward slope of Breed's hill and opened fire at 3 pm. By now two recently appointed American general's had arrived on the scene: Dr. Joseph Warren and General Seth Pomeroy. Neither wished for command and asked but to be directed to where the fighting was expected to be the hottest. They went to the redoubt and greatly cheered the now weary and thirsty defenders.

By three, Howe's reinforcements had arrived and he formed the men on line in three ranks. In the meantime, Stark and the New Hampshire troops and some other units had arrived and using a stone fence and placing hay between an existing fence and hastily assembled wood fence extended the breastworks from the redoubt left to the water. As the British advanced, the Americans determined not to fire until the British were close. Stark had placed a stake in the ground 30 yards in front of his fence and urged his men to wait until the enemy passed the stake before firing. In the redoubt, Prescott is said to have instructed his men not to shoot until they saw the whites of their eyes. On Bunker's Hill a strange collection of men gathered. Some who had straggled in from the neck and others who had given themselves leave from the ensuing fight. General Isaac Putnam tried sorely to roust the men either to commence work on the Bunker Hill defenses or to go in support of Prescott and Stark. All his efforts, even threatening at sword point, were of no avail. The only regimental commander who was with him was Col. Samuel Gerrish, who depending on accounts was either trying to help Putnam or hiding himself. Generally considered a coward, Gerrish managed to elude scandal until a skirmish several weeks after Bunker's Hill showed his true colors.

When the British closed to thirty yards the Americans opened fire with devastating effect. In some companies 7 out of 10 were killed in others 9 of 10 died. The survivors stumbled back down the hill. When Howe returned to the bottom, he asked why the artillery battery had ceased firing while they were still approaching the Americans. To his chagrin he discovered that boxes of 12 pound shot had been sent over and that the artillery had only 6 pound cannons. Howe ordered them to shoot grape shot and sent back across the water for the proper shot. On Howe's left the American Company, still in the town, had taken to firing into his left flank. The Admiral landed and asked if burning the town might be of assistance and Howe readily agreed. The Admiral returned to his fleet and ordered the firing of red hot shot into Charlestown. The town of 400 buildings caught fire in 50 places and immediately went up in a huge conflagration.

The British came on twice more with similar losses. The third try succeeded, just barely in over-running the redoubt. The men with Prescott being out of powder and trying to make do by braking the powder out of artillery casings and using scrap metal for bullets. Finally, in the midst of hand-to-hand fighting Prescott called a retreat and the survivors scrambled over the back of the redoubt and trough the narrow exit. Joseph Warren was killed when he was shot in the back of the head.

Finally several more American Regiments got across the neck in good order and passing to the right of Bunker's Hill laid down a covering fire for Prescott's men. Gardner was first and was soon wounded. Michael Jackson took over for him and was soon joined by companies of Connecticut troops. Soon the British advanced on them and were in a bloody stand-up fight. In good order the troops fell back turning time and again to lay down delaying fire. Thus, did most of the men escape across the Neck to Cambridge.

The British wanted to pursue but the men were just played out. Howe proceeded to fortify Bunker's Hill and the Americans began throwing up breastworks on the far approaches to the Neck. In the initial British report, 19 officers and 207 enlisted men were killed, 70 officers and 738 enlisted men were wounded. On the American side, numbers varied, but Ward's record book showed 115 killed and 305 wounded.

Carrington, Henry B. "Battles of the American Revolution", Promontory Press, New York. 1877.

Elting, John R. "The Battle of Bunker's Hill", Philip Freaneu Press, Monmouth, N.J. 1975

Johnson, Curt. "Battles of the American Revolution", Roxby Press, London. 1975

Scheer, George F. And Rankin, Hugh F. "Rebels and Redcoats", Da Capo Press, New York. 1957.

Bodwells at Bunker Hill

At least two Bodwells were in the thick of things at Bunker's Hill:

Parker Bodwell 1750 was a Private in Capt John Davis' company, Col. James Frye's Regiment. Parker was in the return of men in camp at Cambridge May 17, 1775.

Eliphalet Bodwell 1738 served as a 2 nd Lieutenant in Capt. John Davis' company, Frye's Massachusetts regiment.

A third Bodwell, Joshua Bodwell 1736 was also a member of Col. Frye's regiment at the time to the Lexington and Concord conflict and was present at Bunker's Hill. The History of Essex County, Massachusetts, p. 298 presents the June 17 th rooster of Capt. John Davis' company. Joshua was reported to be "in train" on June 17 th . This could mean "in transit" or "in training" but might signify that Joshua was not present at the battle.

Nevertheless, the archives of the State House of Massachusetts contain the names of those who went from Methune on the 19 th of April and also the names of the Methuen company who fought at the battle of Bunker's Hill:

2 nd Lieutenant Eliphalet Bodwell

This muster roll mad for seven day from April 19 th -Sworn to by John Davis.

Most of Frye's regiment was assigned to Col. Prescott and worked to build and defend the redoubt and adjacent breastwork. One source cites Frye as being sick at the beginning of the battle and not with the men, another has him wounded during the battle. Though it is possible that both Bodwell men were not assigned to Prescott, by weight of probability-most of Frye's men were assigned to Prescott-they probably were there. Most likely they were supporting the redoubt or the breastwork adjacent to and east of the redoubt.

From " The History of Essex County, Massachusetts, p. 299" we have the following:

The tradition is that the company came near being surrounded toward the end of the battle, and that as the enemy came up on each hand a British soldier ran up to Capt. Davis, saying, "You are my prisoner." Capt. Davis, who was a resolute, powerful man, replied, "I guess not," at the same time running the soldier through with his sword.


Battle of Bunker Hill, 17 June 1775 - History

Among the most notorious battles of the American Revolution, the 1775 Battle of Bunker Hill was a pivotal battle for American Colonists in their bid for independence. Battered down by attacks from the British Army during the Siege of Boston, the events of June 17, 1775 provided much needed encouragement for the colonists as well as sending a clear message to the British that the war would not be won quickly or easily.

Prelúdio da Guerra

On June 15, 1775, the colonists began to see signs that the British planned to occupy the area known as Dorchester Heights, an area in the southern part of Boston that provides a view of both the city of Boston and the tactically important Boston Harbor. The hill is part of the Charleston peninsula, located strategically between the Mystic and Charles Rivers. British troops began to amass forces just off of the coast, and militiamen decided that they must prevent the buildup of British forces in the area. As evening fell on June 16, Colonel William Prescott led more than twelve hundred soldiers from Cambridge to fortify the area around Bunker’s Hill. Rather than leave forces on Bunker’s Hill itself, Colonel Prescott ordered his troops to take position by digging into a 160 by 30 foot redoubt on nearby Breed’s Hill. This infuriated British General Thomas Gage, who ordered his army of more than 4600 who had previously occupied the city of Boston to capture the position. As Gage’s men waited for the tide to rise to allow troops to enter from Mystic River, the colonists used the cover of night to increase the fortifications to their position. Colonel Stark brought his troops from New Hampshire, and the number of soldiers prepared for battle rose to between three and four thousand.

The Battle of Bunker Hill

As dawn broke on the morning of June 17th, the British found themselves in the unpleasant position of being on the wrong side of the newly fortified earthen bunker created by the colonists. General Gage sent 2300 British forces, under the command of Major General William Howe, to take the hill. As soon as the Brits could be roused from sleep, they began to fire on the entrenched colonials. The volley of fire kept up, uninterrupted except for the loading of weapons, until nearly three o’clock in the afternoon. The remaining inhabitants of nearby Charleston were forced to flee as their city was set afire by the British fleet at sea. Likely baffled by the colonists’ refusal to return fire, the British were forced to wait for the tide to turn favorable so that the barges of redcoats could advance upon the American colonists. The colonists, handicapped by a shortage of ammunition, remained behind their fortifications on Breed’s Hill as they waited, under orders to hold fire until the British soldiers were within sight of their weapons.

When the tides finally allowed the British to take positions on land, the redcoats assembled in orderly lines to unleash a frontal assault on the colonists. As the British troops advanced, the colonists waited behind their dirt and brush fortifications until troops came within fifty yards of the fortifications. When the British were close enough, the Americans launched a deadly volley of fire which the British troops were ill-prepared to meet.

Many of Gage’s troops, expecting the colonists to be scared away by their mere presence, had fixed their bayonets and failed to even load their muskets. British forces, also suffering from a shortage of ammunition, were ordered not to fire until they were within range of the colonists. It was during the Battle of Bunker Hill that Major General Howe was purported to have given the command “Don’t fire until you see the whites of their eyes!” As the troops in their brightly colored uniforms and carrying heavy equipment marched in neat lines through farmer’s fields and over stone walls, the colonists continued to fire from behind embankments.

Shocked by the American colonists’ resistance, the troops fell back. Major General Howe ordered his troops to advance again, demanding that they walk over the bodies of their dead and wounded on a second assault, only to be forced back again by the colonists. On their third advance, the British soldiers were able to break through the colonial lines and overrun their meager fortifications to claim the hill. American soldiers, defeated as much by lack of ammunition and supplies as by the military capabilities of the British Army, were forced to flee.

The Aftermath

While the battle was a victory for the British, since they were able to capture Breed’s Hill, the losses suffered dealt a devastating blow to the redcoats. Of the more than 2300 men who advanced at Major General Howe’s order, 226 were killed and another 928 were wounded. The American forces took heavy losses as well, with 139 killed and 278 wounded. The Battle of Bunker Hill lasted a mere three hours, but it was among the deadliest in the American Revolution. Despite their losses, many of the American colonists felt that the battle had provided them with a victory in other ways, sending a clear message that the American soldiers were able to take a stand against the British army and win by using traditional war tactics. American colonists everywhere realized that the British Army was not an invincible force too mighty to reckon with, and more men were willing to join the fight for independence. The battle also strengthened the will of colonists to fight, and surprisingly, created sympathy for the American cause back in England.

Shortly after, George Washington would lead his own contingent of men to Dorchester Heights, forcing the British to give up their hard-won land. The British soldiers who had already occupied the city of Boston made no attempt to engage the colonists away from the relative safety of the city until they awoke in April to find Ticonderoga’s cannon pointed directly at them. The Battle of Bunker Hill is arguably the most important battle fought between the British and the newly formed American militia not because it was a victory in fact, but because it gave the American people a rallying cry as they marched onward through the bloody war for American Independence.


On This Day in History -17 de junho de 1775

On this day in history, June 17, 1775, patriots lose the Battle of Bunker Hill, the first major battle of the American Revolution and the bloodiest of the entire war. o Battle of Bunker Hill began when patriots surrounding Boston learned that British commanders were planning to break out and take the hills around the city. The very green and untrained militia was surrounding the city after chasing the British back to Boston after the opening shots of the war at the Battles of Lexington e Concórdia.

The British were planning to break out of the town on June 18, but a businessman from New Hampshire visiting the city alerted the patriots after overhearing the plan. At this time, the militia was under the command of Massachusetts General Artemas Ward. The Continental Army was only authorized in Philadelphia on the 14th and George Washington appointed its leader on the 15th. The events that unfolded on Bunker Hill and Breed's Hill occurred several weeks before Washington arrived and took over.

On the night of June 16, 1200 soldiers entered the Charlestown Peninsula north of Boston under Colonel William Prescott. Prescott's orders were to build fortifications atop Bunker Hill on the northwest part of the peninsula. Prescott disobeyed the orders and built atop Breed's Hill instead, which was further south and closer to Boston. This defiance of orders was typical of American movements at the time since the militia was made up of units from different counties and cities with no established chain of command.

Across the water in Boston, British General Thomas Gage was informed of the American movements early on the 17th. He began preparing an assault on the peninsula, but the soldiers took their time and didn't begin landing until late in the afternoon. By 3:00 the British began their first assault. American commanders had ordered their soldiers not to fire until the British were within close range in order to assure that every bullet would count since they were very low on ammunition.

The first British assault turned into a massacre as the Americans fired on them as they marched up the hill on Prescott's position. Colonel John Stark repelled another attack on the left flank by British Major General William Howe. Dozens and dozens of British soldiers fell and the survivors were forced to retreat. A second assault had the same results. The British regrouped once again for a third assault, but this time the Americans on Breed's Hill ran out of ammunition. British soldiers crawled over their own dead comrades to get to the top of the hill where hand to hand combat began. The British, who were better equipped with bayonets, finally drove the Americans back across Bunker Hill and across the Charlestown Neck.

o Battle of Bunker Hill was a victory for the British since they took the peninsula, but at an enormous cost, suffering over 1,000 casualties! 226 were killed and over 800 injured. A large chunk of Britain's officer corps in North America was killed or wounded, including the entire field staff of General Howe. The Americans lost 115 killed and 300 wounded, including the President of the Massachusetts Provincial Congress, Dr. Joseph Warren.

News of the battle shocked London to its core. It finally realized that the Americans were not the "rabble" they were thought to be, but a formidable fighting force. The battle also hardened Americans and persuaded many to join the revolutionary cause. The battle was a strategic stalemate, having no real value to either side, but to strengthen their resolve. George Washington would arrive in July and begin the task of forming the militia into an orderly and effective army. They would finally force the British to abandon Boston the following year.


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Comentários:

  1. Zayne

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  2. Dickran

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  3. Tusho

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