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Reflections on the Battle. Burgoyne's Opinion of the Conflict. The Character of Warrer.
“The heavens, the calm pure heavens, were bright on high; Earth laughed beneath in all its freshening green; The free, blue streams sang as they wandered by; And many a sunny glade and flowery scene - Gleamed out, like thoughts of youth, life's troubled years between,” - WILLIs GAYLoRD CLARK.
while upon the green slopes, where flocks were quietly grazing but a few hours before, WAR had reared its gory altars, and the earth was saturated with the blood of its victims. Fearfully augmented was the terror of the scene, when the black smoke arose from Charlestown on fire, and enveloped the redoubt on the summit of Breed's Hill, which, like the crater of a volcano, blazed and thundered in the midst of the gloomy curtain that veiled it.
“Amazing scenes! what shuddering prospects rise!
Eulogium on WARREN, 1781.
“It was,” said Burgoyne, who, with Gage and other British officers, was looking on from a secure place near Copp's Hill in Boston, “a complication of horror and importance, beyond any thing that ever came to my lot to witness. Sure I am that nothing ever can or has been more dreadfully ter- generous and disinterestrible than what was to ed patriotism that inspirbe seen or heard at this ed the colonies. In evtime.” But it is profit- ery relation in life he was less to dwell upon the a model of excellence. gloomy scene. Time “Not all the havoc and hath healed the grief devastation they have and heart-sickness that made has wounded me were born there; and like the death of Warart, in the hands of busy ren,” wrote the wife men, has covered up for- of John Adams, July 5. ever all vestiges of the three weeks aft- #. conflict. erward. “We want
Many gallant, many him in the Senate; we noble men perished on want him in his profesthe peninsula upon that sion; we want, him in sad day; but none was the field. We mourn so widely and deeply for the citizen, the senlamented, because none ator, the physician, and
/ As was so widely and truly * / the warrior.” General loved, as the self-sacri- - 4 //a 2-2-Cool Howe estimated his inficing and devoted War- fluence, when he declarren. He was the imper- ed to Dr. Jeffries, who
sonation of the spirit of recognized the body of
* Joseph Warren, son of a Massachusetts farmer, was born in Roxbury in 1740, and graduated at Harvard College in 1759. He studied the science of medicine under Dr. Lloyd, and rapidly rose to the head, or, at least, to the front rank of that profession in Boston. Sentiments of patriotism seemed to form a part
The Energy, Boldness, and Patriotism of Warren. Masonic Honors to his Memory. The old Monument on Breed's Hill.
Warren on the field the next day, that his death was worth, to the British, five hundred of the provincial privates. Eulogy and song have aided history in embalming his memory with the
of his moral nature, and courage to avow them was always prompting him to action. He became neces-
While storms and tempests thunder at its brows
And oceans beat their billows at its feet,
It stands unmoved, and glories in its height.
Such is that haughty man; his towering soul,
Mid all the shocks and injuries of fortune,
Rises superior, and looks down on Caesar."
When John Hancock went to the Continental Congress, Warren was elected
“Erected A.D. MDCCXCIV., By King Solomon's Lodge of Free-masons, constituted in Charlestown, 1783, In Memory of Major-GENERAL Joseph WARREN and his associates, who were slain on this memorable spot June 17, 1775. None but they who set a just value upon the blessings of liberty are worthy to enjoy her. In vain we toiled; in vain we fought; we bled in vain, if you, our offspring, want valor to repel the assault of her invaders. Charlestown settled, 1628. Burned, 1775. Rebuilt, 1776.”
This monument stood forty years, and then was removed to give place to the present granite structure, known as Bunker Hill Monument. A beautiful model of Warren's monument stands within the colossal obelisk, from which I made the accompanying sketch.
Character of the Troops engaged in the Battle on Breed's Hill. Monument to Warren ordered by Congress.
immortality that rests upon the spot where he fell. He was a hero in the highest sense of the term, and so were Prescott and other compatriots in the struggle; but all were not heroes who surrounded them. Unused to war; some entirely ignorant of the sound of a cannon; inferior, by two thirds, in number, and vastly so in discipline, to the enemy, the wonder is that the provincials fought so well, not that so many used their heels more expertly than their hands. Many officers, chosen by the men whom they commanded, were totally unfitted in knowledge and spirit for their stations, and a few exhibited the most arrant cowardice. They were tried by court martial, and one was cashiered for disobedience and for being a poltroon.' But they have all passed away; let us draw the curtain of charity around their resting-places, remembering that “Hero motives, placed in judgment's scale, Outweigh all actions where the heart is wrong.”
Here let us close the volume of history for a time, and while the gentle breeze is sweeping the dust and smoke of battle from Bunker Hill,” and the tumult of distress and alarm is subsiding in Boston, let us ride out to Lexington and Concord, to visit those places consecrated by the blood of the first patriot martyrs. We have had a long, but, I trust, profitable consultation of the records of the past. I have endeavored to point out for consideration the most prominent and important links in the chain of events, wherein is remarkably manifested the spirit of true liberty which finally wrought out the independence of these American states. In brief outlines I have delineated the features of those events, and traced the progress of the principles of freedom from the little conventicles of despised and persecuted, but determined men, toward the close of the sixteenth century, who assembled to assert the most undoubted natural right, that of worshiping God as the conscience of the creature shall dictate, to the uprising of nearly two millions of the same people in origin and language, in defiance of the puissance of the mightiest arm upon earth; and the assembling of a council in their midst, of which the great Pitt was constrained to say, “I must declare and avow that in all my reading and study—and it has been my favorite study; I have read Thucydides, and have studied and admired the master states of the world—that for solidity of reasoning, force of sagacity, and wisdom of conclusion, under such a complication of circumstances, no nation or body of men can stand in preference to the general Congress of Philadelphia.”
On the 8th of April, 1777, Congress, by resolution, ordered “that a monument be erected to the memory of General Warren, in the town of Boston, with the following inscription:
In honor of
Congress also ordered “that his eldest son be educated at the expense of the United States.”* The patriotic order for the erection of a monument has never been obeyed.
* This was Captain Callender. The court sentenced him to be cashiered, and, in an order of July 7th, Washington declared him to be “dismissed from all further service in the Continental army.” Callender felt much aggrieved, and, confronting the charge of cowardice, remained in the army as a volunteer, and fought so bravely at the battle of Long Island, the next year, that Washington commanded his sentence to be erased from the orderly-book.
* This battle should properly be called the battle of Breed's Hill, for there the great events of the day occurred. There was much fighting and slaughter upon Bunker Hill, where Putnam chiefly commanded, but it was not the main theater of action.
* Journals of Congress, iii., 98
Boston Common. Trip to Concord. Major Barrett. His Connection with the Revolution.
“How suddenly that straight and glittering shaft
“War, fierce war, shall break their forces;
Nerves of Tory men shall fail;
Seeing Howe, with alter'd courses,
Thus from every bay of ocean
Toss'd with ever-troubled motion,
MILITARY Song, 1776."
T was a glorious October morning, mild and brilliant, when I left Boston to visit Concord and Lexington. A gentle land-breeze during the night had borne the clouds back to their ocean birth-place, and not a trace of the storm was left except in the saturated earth. Health rei) turned with the clear sky, and I felt a rejuvenescence in every vein and muscle when, at dawn, I strolled over the natural glory of Boston, its broad and beautifully-arbored Common. I breakfasted at six, and at half past seven left the station of the Fitchburg rail-way for Concord, seventeen miles northwest of Boston. The country through which the road passed is rough and broken, but thickly settled. I arrived at the Concord station, about half a mile from the center of the village, before nine o'clock, and procuring a conveyance, and an intelligent young man for a guide, proceeded at once to visit the localities of interest in the vicinity. We rode to the residence of Major James Barrett, a surviving grandson of Colonel Barrett, about two miles north of the village, and near the residence of his venerated october ancestor. Major Barrett was eighty-seven years of age when I visited him, and 1848, his wife, with whom he had lived nearly sixty years, was eighty. Like most of the few survivors of the Revolution, they were remarkable for their mental and bodily vigor. Both, I believe, still live. The old lady—a small, well-formed woman—was as sprightly as a girl of twenty, and moved about the house with the nimbleness of foot of a matron in the prime of life. I was charmed with her vivacity, and the sunny radiance which it seemed to shed throughout her household ; and the half hour that I passed with that venerable couple is a green spot in the memory. Major Barrett was a lad of fourteen when the British incursion into Concord took place. He was too young to bear a musket, but, with every lad and woman in the vicinity, he labored in concealing the stores and in making cartridges for those who went out to fight. With oxen and a cart, himself, and others about his age, removed the stores deposited at the house of his grandfather into the woods, and concealed them, a cart-load in a place, under pine boughs. In such haste were they obliged to act on the approach of the British
* This song of forty-eight lines, by an anonymous writer, is entitled “A Military Song, by the Army, on General Washington's victorious entry into the town of Boston.”
Concealment of Stores at Concord. Concord Monument. The Village. Ride to Lexington
from Lexington, that, when the cart was loaded, lads would march on each side of the oxen and goad them into a trot. Thus all the stores were effectually concealed, except some carriage-wheels. Perceiving the enemy near, these were cut up and burned; so that Parsons found ol nothing of value to destroy or carry away. From Major Barrett's we rode to the monument erected at the site of the old North Bridge, where 4 the skirmish took place, and I sketched, on my way, so the residence of Colonel Barrett, depicted on page 526. The road crosses the Concord River a little z o. above the site of the North Bridge. The monu- of ment stands a few rods westward of the road leading to the village, and not far from the house of the Reverend Dr. Ripley, who gave the ground for the purpose. The monument is constructed of granite from Carlisle, and has an inscription upon a marble tablet inserted in the eastern face of the - pedestal." The view is from the green shaded lane MonumkNt at Coxcond. which leads from the highway to the monument, looking westward. The two trees standing, one upon each side, without the iron railing, were saplings at the time of the battle; between them was the entrance to the bridge. The monument is reared upon a mound of earth a few yards from the left bank of the river. A little to the left, two rough, uninscribed stones from the field mark the graves of the two British soldiers who were killed and buried upon the spot. We returned to the village at about noon, and started immediately for Lexington, six miles eastward. Concord is a pleasant little village, including within its borders about one hundred dwellings. It lies upon the Concord River, one of the tributaries of the Merrimac, near the junction of the Assabeth and Sudbury Rivers. Its Indian name was Musketaquid. On account of the peaceable manner in which it was obtained, by purchase, of the aborigines, in 1635, it was named Concord. At the north end of the broad street, or common, is the house of Colonel Daniel Shattuck, a part of which, built in 1774, was used as one of the depositories of stores when the British invasion took place. It has been so much altered, that a view of it would have but little interest as representing a relic of the past. The road between Concord and Lexington passes through a hilly but fertile country. It is easy for the traveler to conceive how terribly a retreating army might be galled by the fire of a concealed enemy. Hills and hillocks, some wooded, some bare, rise up every where, and formed natural breast-works of protection to the skirmishers that hung upon the flank and rear of Colonel Smith's troops. The road enters Lexington at the green whereon the old meeting-house stood when the battle occurred. The town is upon a fine rolling plain, and is becoming almost a suburban residence for citizens of Boston. Workmen were inclosing the Green, and laying out the grounds in handsome plats around the monument,
* The following is a copy of the inscription: