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The royal historian, Andrews, gives the following or English account of the battle of Bunker's Hill, together with the circumstances which preceded and followed it.

 

PRELIMINARY STATEMENTS

"On the 12th of June (1775), a proclamation was issued by the British Government at Boston, offering a pardon, in the King's name, to all who laid down their arms and returned to their homes and occupations. Two persons only were excepted--Mr. Samuel Adams and Mr. John Hancock--whose guilt was represented as too great and notorious to escape punishment. All who did not accept of this offer, or who assisted, abetted, or corresponded with them, were to be deemed guilty of treason and rebellion, and treated accordingly. By this proclamation it was declared that as the Courts of Judicature were shut, martial law should take place, till a due course of justice could be re-established.

"But this act of Government was as little regarded as the preceding. To convince the world how firmly they were determined to persevere in their measures, and how small an impression was made by the menaces of Britain, Mr. Hancock, immediately after his proscription, was chosen President of the Congress. The proclamation had no other effect than to prepare people's minds for the worst that might follow.

"The reinforcements arrived from Britain; the eagerness of the British military to avail themselves of their present strength, and the position of the Provincials, concurred to make both parties diligent in their preparation for action. It was equally the desire of both: the first were earnest to exhibit an unquestionable testimony of their superiority, and to terminate the quarrel by one decisive blow; the others were no less willing to come to a second engagement (the first being that of Concord and Lexington), from a confidence they would be able to convince their enemies that they would find the subjugation of America a much more difficult task than they hod promised themselves.

"Opposite to the northern shore of the peninsula upon which Boston stands, lies Charleston, divided from it by a river (Mystic) about the breadth of the Thames at London Bridge. Neither the British nor Provincial troops had hitherto bethought themselves of securing this place. In its neighbourhood, a little to the east, is a high ground called Bunker's Hill, which overlooks and commands the whole town of Boston.

"In the night of the 16th of June, a party of the Provincials took possession of this hill, and worked with so much industry and diligence, that by break of day they had almost completed a redoubt, together with a strong intrenchment, reaching half a mile, as far as the River Mystic to the east. As soon as discovered they were plied with a heavy and incessant fire from the ships and floating batteries that surrounded the neck on which Charleston is situated, and from the cannon planted on the nearest eminence on the Boston side.

"This did not, however, prevent them from continuing their work, which they had entirely finished by mid-day, when it was found necessary to take more effectual methods to dislodge them.

"For this purpose a considerable body was landed at the foot of Bunker's Hill, under the command of General Howe and General Pigot. The first was to attack the Provincial lines, the second the redoubt. The British troops advanced with great intrepidity, but on their approach were received with a fire behind from the intrenchments, that continued pouring during a full half hour upon them like a stream. The execution it did was terrible; some of the bravest and oldest officers declared that, for the time it lasted, it was the hottest service they had ever seen. General Howe stood for some moments almost alone, the officers and soldiers about him being nearly all slain or disabled; his intrepidity and presence of mind were remarkable on this trying occasion.

"General Pigot, on the left, was in the meantime engaged with the Provincials who had thrown themselves into Charleston, as well as with the redoubt, and met with the same reception as the right. Though he conducted his attack with great skill and courage, the incessant destruction made among the troops threw them at first into some disorder; but General Clinton coming up with a reinforcement, they quickly rallied and attacked the works with such fury that the Provincials were not able to resist them, and retreated beyond the neck of land that leads into Charleston.

"This was the bloodiest engagement during the whole war. The loss of the British troops amounted in killed and wounded to upwards of 1,000. Among the first were 19, and among the last 70 officers. Colonel Abercrombie, Major Pitcairn, of the Marines, and Majors Williams and Spenlowe, men of distinguished bravery, fell in this action, which, though it terminated to the advantage of the King's forces, cost altogether a dreadful price.

"The loss on the Provincial side, according to their account, did not exceed 500. This might be true, as they fought behind intrenchments, part of which were cannon proof, and where it was not possible for the musketry to annoy them. This accounts no less for the numbers they destroyed, to which the expertness of their marksmen chiefly contributed. To render the dexterity of these completely effectual, muskets ready loaded were handed to them as fast as they could be discharged, that they might lose no time in reloading them, and they took aim chiefly at the officers....

"The great slaughter occasioned on the left of the British troops, from the houses in Charleston, obliged them to set fire to that place. The Provincials defended it for some time with much obstinacy, but it was quickly reduced to ashes; and when deprived of that cover, they were immediately compelled to retire.

"But notwithstanding the honour of the day remained to the British troops, the Americans boasted that the real advantages were on their side. They had, said they, so much weakened their enemies in this engagement, as to put an entire stop to their operations. Instead of coming forth and improving their pretended victory, they did not dare to venture out of the trenches and fortifications they had constructed round Boston.

"The only apparent benefit gained by the troops was that they kept possession of the ground whereon Charleston had stood; they fortified it on every side, in order to secure themselves from the sudden attacks that were daily threatened from so numerous a force as that which now invested Boston....

"The Provincials, on the other hand, to convince the troops how little their success had availed them, raised intrenchments on a height opposite Charleston, intimating to them that they were ready for another Bunker's Hill business whenever they thought proper, and were no less willing than they to make another trial of skill.

"Their boldness increased to a degree that astonished the British officers, who had, unhappily, been taught to believe them a contemptible enemy, averse to the dangers of war, and incapable of the regular operations of an army. The skirmishes were now renewed in Boston Bay. The necessities of the garrison occasioned several attempts to carry off the remaining stock of cattle and other articles of provision the islands might contain. But the Provincials, who were better acquainted with the navigation of the bay, landed on these islands, in spite of the precaution of the numerous shipping, and destroyed or carried off whatever could be of use; they even ventured so far as to burn the light-house, situated at the entrance of the harbour, and afterwards made prisoners of a number of workmen that had been sent to repair it, together with a party of marines that guarded them." (Dr. Andrews' History of the Late War, etc., Vol. I., Chap. xiii., pp. 300-306; published under royal authority in 1785.)