The Nation Celebrates the Anniversary of the Battle of Bunker Hill, A Rare Print From the Library of the Family of Joseph Warren, the First Great Fallen Hero of the War

This rare print, still in its original form, belonged to George Washington Warren, the grandnephew of General Joseph Warren, and has never before been offered for sale

Purchase $6,000

The only known copies of this document are at Brown University, the Massachusetts Historical Society, and the Boston Atheneum. We found no record of this print having ever reached market

On June 17, 1775, the British army under General William Howe, supported by Royal Navy warships, attacked the defenses the colonists had...

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The Nation Celebrates the Anniversary of the Battle of Bunker Hill, A Rare Print From the Library of the Family of Joseph Warren, the First Great Fallen Hero of the War

This rare print, still in its original form, belonged to George Washington Warren, the grandnephew of General Joseph Warren, and has never before been offered for sale

The only known copies of this document are at Brown University, the Massachusetts Historical Society, and the Boston Atheneum. We found no record of this print having ever reached market

On June 17, 1775, the British army under General William Howe, supported by Royal Navy warships, attacked the defenses the colonists had erected on Bunker and Breeds Hills. The British troops moved up Breeds Hill in perfect battle formations. Patriot leader William Prescott allegedly encouraged his men “not fire until you see the whites of their eyes.” Two assaults on the colonial positions were repulsed with significant British casualties; the third and final attack carried the position after the defenders ran out of ammunition. The colonists retreated to Cambridge over Bunker Hill, leaving the British in control of Charlestown but still besieged in Boston. The battle was a tactical victory for the British because they held the ground, but it proved to be a sobering experience, involving more than twice the casualties than the Americans had incurred, including many officers. The battle had demonstrated that inexperienced Continental militia could stand up to regular British army troops in battle, at a time when the British were considered to have the finest army in the world. It encouraged revolutionaries throughout America, and made the success of such a revolution actually seem possible.

In 1823, Edward Everett, Daniel Webster, famed physician John C. Warren, and others co-founded the Bunker Hill Monument Association, which sought to memorialize that battle with a grand monument. They petitioned the Massachusetts House and Senate for recognition and support and a subsequent Act was passed giving both. Then began the work to draw interest, raise money, design the monument, and build it, a years-long effort that created the first major monument to the American Revolution, and the first public obelisk in the United States. In 1824 and 1825 they began notifying the public of their work, elected their officers, and then wrote a circular eliciting donations, and elected prominent men honorary members. They informed these men, and the responses the committee received back were from many great men of the era, including Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, Oliver Wolcott, Joseph Story, and the Marquis de Lafayette.

During Lafayette’s celebrated return to America in 1824-5, he visited all 24 states, and traveled more than 6,000 miles. More than 80 American counties, cities, towns, and countless roads were named in his honor. He toured the northern and eastern states in the fall of 1824, including Boston, where in September 3000 children ages 8-12 lined up to receive him. They “wore ribbons in their breasts, stamped with a miniature likeness of Lafayette.” There Lafayette was informed of the Bunker Hill monument project. He then headed south. It was businessman and future congressman Abbott Lawrence who first suggested to the Bunker Hill Monument Association that it enlist the Marquis de Lafayette and invite him to lay the cornerstone of the monument during his trip. In the end, Lafayette would lay the cornerstone on June 17, 1825, the anniversary.

Leading patriot Dr. Joseph Warren was part of the battle. He was killed during the fighting, the first prominent martyr to the cause.

At the time, a printed broadside was prepared to be sold to people celebrating that day.

Two printed broadsides, still together as they were printed. ‘Battle of Bunker Hill : Tune–“Yankee Doodle.”‘ Verse in fourteen four-line stanzas printed in two columns separated by a single rule, including ornamental border. Printed on same sheet with: “Ode, for the 17th of June, 1825.” The Battle of Bunker Hill is on the left within an ornamental border and Ode is on the right within an identical border.

This document belonged to George Washington Warren, the grandnephew of the fallen hero of Bunker Hill, General Joseph Warren, and has never before been offered for sale.

The only known copies of this document are at Brown University, the Massachusetts Historical Society, and the Boston Atheneum. We found no record of this print having ever reached market.

Our gratitude to the Massachusetts Historical Society for their aid in the research of this document.

Purchase Now $6,000

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