From the Green Dragon Tavern to Mount Warren

Rally the boys! Hasten the chiefs! Our Warren’s there and bold Revere. With hands to do, and words to cheer!   ~~The words written along the top of the back bar in the Green Dragon Tavern in Boston.20171002_162513

And Warren was there. You just had to look a little harder to find him.

My seven day return trip to Boston was a pilgrimage I’m sure few people take. My husband and I were determined to find evidence that Dr. Joseph Warren was indeed still in and around Boston.

Green Dragon Tavern. The Sons of Liberty regularly met here. Aside from the back bar, he was listed on the menu with his fellows, who each had a menu item. We ate and drank at the tavern four nights.

Boston Museum of Fine Arts. The museum is massive. It was no easy feat finding the gallery where John Singleton Copley’s paintings hung. The painting of Joseph Warren hung on a wall between the paintings of John Hancock and Mercy Otis Warren. Copley’s paintings of Samuel Adams and Paul Revere were also in the gallery. The paintings are almost life-size and breathtaking!

We found John Trumbull’s painting of The Death of General Warren at the Battle of Bunker’s Hill, June 17, 1775 in a different gallery. It was small and somewhat faded and hung out of the reach of tourists. 20171001_13150720171001_130322

The State House. Joseph was mentioned in a small exhibit on the second floor. What looks like a hacksaw to the right behind the sword’s tip is a doctor’s bone saw.  Resized_20171002_105640Resized_20171002_105655001

The Old South Meeting House. Joseph delivered two Boston Massacre Orations in the meeting house. One in 1772, and one in 1775. This was where the patriots met to build a revolution. To my dismay, the Plexiglas in which his likeness and achievements is etched, reflected light (even without a flash) and the camera shot was impossible to see. This is the pulpit from which he gave his oration. 20171002_112939

King’s Chapel. After the Siege of Boston ended in March 1776, Joseph’s remains were identified and removed from Bunker Hill. The Freemasons made the arrangements for their Grand Master’s funeral, which was held in King’s Chapel in the heart of Boston.  20171002_115031-e1509317395218.jpg

Boston City Hall Plaza. The house where Joseph lived with his family and his medical apprentices was once located here. It’s recently been in the news. Joseph’s biographer and others are intent on erecting a monument on the grounds proclaiming that this was the spot where the Revolutionary War began because Joseph dispatched Revere and Dawes to Lexington from his house. This is a view of the plaza (where the event tents are) from the Bell in Hand tavern across the street. The WWII Holocaust Memorial is the green glass between the two locations.   20171002_173833

Bunker Hill. Dr. Joseph Warren and Colonel William Prescott are the only names on the Massachusetts Gate. While my husband climbed the monument, I sat inside the adjoining building and watched the tourists largely dismiss the seven foot tall statue of his likeness, which commanded the attention in the sparse room. It saddened me to witness how obscure he really is.  img_252420171003_114611

Warren Tavern. Located a few blocks from the Bunker Hill monument, the tavern, named for him, dates to 1780 and is dedicated wholly to all things Joseph Warren. Of course he was never there, but the tavern was a favorite watering hole for his close friend, Paul Revere. We visited Bunker Hill and ate at Warren Tavern on my birthday.

The Clarke-Hancock House in Lexington. Joseph was never there, but he dispatched Paul Revere and William Dawes to this house to warn John Hancock and Samuel Adams that the British regulars were out. We were the only tourists there at the time. 20171004_125932

Harvard. Of the three buildings that made up the Harvard campus when Joseph attended from 1755 to 1759, only one original building is still standing — his dormitory, Massachusetts Hall.  Washington housed his army in the dormitory in 1775 – 1776.

The Roxbury Latin School. We didn’t visit the school where Joseph was a student and later a teacher after graduating from Harvard. There is a statue of him in the school’s courtyard that was once located in Warren Square in his childhood town of Roxbury. The General Joseph Warren Society contributes to the school’s annual fund. This picture is from the school’s website.

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Grand Lodge of Masons of Massachusetts. We didn’t visit the masonic lodge, that houses a museum, because we discovered it on our last day in Boston while riding the tourist trolley. Grand Master Joseph Warren has to be in that museum…. 31093493_GpIzqNkv6ZjrESqvRWu_ySSiPzBCAK8nI4o9_LZjtqA

Forest Hills Cemetery, Jamaica Plains, MA.  I believed if Joseph remains hadn’t been moved from Granary Burying Ground in Boston, where some of his fellows are buried, like Samuel Adams and Paul Revere, and a place thousands of tourists visit daily, history may not have forgotten him. But the magnificent beauty of Forest Hills Cemetery where he’s buried changed my mind. As soon as I saw the cemetery gates, I knew he belonged there. The cemetery is expansive and magnificent: full of beautiful gravestones, monuments, statues, and gracefully curving roads. Forest Hills Cemetery

The road where his burial site is located is called Mount Warren.

Joseph’s remains are buried in a joint family plot with his paternal grandmother, Deborah Warren; his mother and father, Mary and Joseph Warren; his oldest son, Joseph; his youngest brother, Dr. John Warren; and John’s son also named John. A glacial boulder selected by the Warren family serves as a giant tombstone. The remains of each person was, at one time, buried in their own grave. Except for Joseph’s, it appears that the original tombstones surround the boulder.

A statue of Joseph stands atop the boulder. The statue was erected on October 22, 2016 by the 6th Masonic District that hosted a ceremony where their Grand Master dedicated a new memorial to “the namesake of our Distinguished Service Medal, M.W. Joseph Warren” in conjunction with members of the Warren family. The flags on his grave site are new, so someone is visiting.

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Forest Hill Cemetery Gates

General Artemas Ward is buried in Forest Hills, and there’s speculation that William Dawes is also buried there.

Vine Lake Cemetery. We traveled to Medfield, MA to visit the grave of the woman who was nanny to Joseph’s four children and assumed to be his fiance at the time of his death: Mercy Scollay. My husband gathered acorns from the ground around Joseph’s grave site and placed them on Mercy’s grave. The inscription on her gravestone was disturbing because I wondered if she was referring to Joseph. It read:

I know whom I have believed and I am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed to him against that day.

Mercy lived another 50 years after Joseph’s devastating death. She never married. 20171005_134819

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This was the last picture I took in Boston the evening before we left. Faneuil Hall is the brick building to the left. Samuel Adams’ statue is in the mall in front. Faneuil Hall was only two stories high during Joseph’s time.

I posted this picture on Facebook. “Good night, Boston. Good night, Joseph Warren.”  goodnightboston

Dr. Joseph Warren is an important character in my novel Angels & Patriots Book One, that was just released for pre-order on Amazon in paperback and eBook. Happy Reading! Order Angels & Patriots Book One

Angels & Patriots: Book One To Be Released Fall 2017!

At last! ANGELS & PATRIOTS: BOOK ONE, the first in a series, is scheduled to release this fall! Angels & Patriots: A Novella was published in February and will continue to be offered as a free download through my website.

Thanks to everyone who has reached out on my Facebook posts and offered their interest(s) on the subject of the American Revolution, and the almost inexhaustible stories of real life heroism and failures. I have listened and will continue to do so.

So, enjoy the book description and excerpt from ANGELS & PATRIOTS: BOOK ONE and Happy July 4th!

On the eve of the Revolutionary War, American patriots are leaving their homes and families behind to stand firm against the British. What these early Americans do not realize, is that while they prepare themselves for their battles, a war is simultaneously playing out among the soldiers—one that poses a far greater threat to their lives and souls.

 Demons that God created to kill a brotherhood of fallen angels are fanning the embers of the Revolutionary War to draw the angels out of hiding. They walk and fight alongside patriots and British soldiers alike. 

 Archangel, Colm Bohannon, leads his angel brothers to Boston to track down the demon leader and to warn John Hancock, Samuel Adams, Dr. Joseph Warren, and the Sons of Liberty that the British army is not their only threat. The patriots will need to engage with two enemy forces on the battlefield. As it stands, the band of angels is road weary and struggling with infighting and earthly temptations. Is faith a strong enough shield to fight off demon attacks and protect the patriots? Are the patriots capable of standing and fighting alongside angels?

EXCERPT

Chapter One

Wexford, Ireland May 1169

Get below decks!” Colm Bohannon shouted.

His younger brother, Michael, ignored the order and stubbornly exchanged fire with the Norman soldiers, who stood on the docks and shot flaming arrows at the men aboard the cog LE’ Eithne. With Michael open to enemy fire, the other six men under Colm’s command hesitated to take the order.

Under a waning crescent moon, the Norman lord, Robert Fitzstephen, watched and listened to the Irish die in the water and on board the cogs in the harbor. Fitzstephen’s army cut down the Irish soldiers who’d stormed the docks to defend their town and their comrades.

Colm knew his brother was destined to die in an act of defiance. An arrow pierced Michael’s left shoulder and knocked him backward. He refused to give in to the pain, and reloaded his bow. A flaming arrow struck him in the heart. His shirt and curly black hair caught fire. He collapsed and hit the cog’s railing, causing his spine to snap with a dull crack. His limp body fell overboard and splashed into the dark water.

“MICHAEL!” Patrick Cullen was frantic. He ran to the cog railing and looked into the water. “MICHAEL!”

Brandon O’Flynn ran to the railing beside Patrick and looked over. Horror stained his blue eyes as they searched for Michael’s body in the water.

Colm had tried to reach his brother in time, but failed. Enraged, he knew he couldn’t let Michael’s death render him unable to protect his other men. He jerked Brandon and Patrick away from the railing, “Get below decks, now!”

Seamus Cullen hooked an arm around Patrick’s neck and shouted over the din of screaming men and burning cogs. “Obey Colm’s order!”

Patrick struggled with his older brother. “Stop it, Seamus!”

“Everyone but Liam’s out of ammunition!” Seamus shouted.

“THEY KILLED MICHAEL!” Patrick screamed. He tried to twist his head out of the crook of Seamus’ elbow.

Ian Keogh pinned down Patrick’s flailing arms and helped Seamus drag Patrick out of harm’s way.

Liam Kavangh returned arrow fire and covered Brandon O’Flynn and Fergus Driscoll until they could get below decks. A Norman arrow pierced Liam’s right eye and embedded in his brain. He dropped dead on the deck.

Fergus Driscoll, Colm’s second in command, returned topside with a handful of javelins. He and Colm made their last stand with the cog’s only remaining weapons. There was a loud whoosh when the timbers of the LE’ Eithne caught fire. In less than a minute, the burning cog was at the bottom of the harbor. Colm Bohannon and his men were sucked into the water’s nether world.    

An ethereal rain of silver crystals spiraled down from the starry night sky and gathered on the streets of Wexford and drifted against buildings. They wet the Irish and Norman soldiers’ hair and clothing. They soaked the docks and splashed into the black waters to extinguish the flames.

The blood-rinsed waters of the harbor brightened with silver light. Green, purple, yellow, red, and blue flashed within the light.

The soldiers on both sides of the conflict feared they were witnessing the rapture. Some fled the docks in terror. Others dropped to their knees in reverence.

The lights went out. Gossamer draped reapers arrived to escort the souls of the dead to their final destination. With their souls gone, the bodies of Colm Bohannon and his men became vessels for the spirits of eight angels, who were trying to slow the relentless pursuit of demons God had created to kill them for their disobedience.

They had been running from the demons since the time of the Flood of Noah. Some of the angels had created what God had forbidden—the Nephilim—children of human women. Three angels copulated. Five angels tried to stop them. In God’s court, they were all found guilty and were banished from Heaven.

The angels’ commanding archangel was desperate to protect his tiring brotherhood. He hoped taking vessels belonging to the children of man would confuse the demons and slow their pursuit. It did for 145 years.

By 1314, the demons’ leader realized what the angels had done. He and his army of demonic spirits went to Scotland to the scene of the Battle of Bannockburn where the Scottish king, Robert the Bruce, clashed with the English king, Edward II.

There were many human vessels to be had as the soldiers died on the battlefield and the reapers ferried their souls to their final destinations. The demon leader possessed the body of an English knight, Sir Henry de Bohun, a man Robert the Bruce killed in the battle. Wearing their new vessels, Henry and his army continued their ruthless pursuit.

By 1575, the archangel saw that his angels’ were tiring again, but now, they were killing demon-possessed living humans in their desperate attempt to survive. The angels left Ireland for England, in hopes of escaping Great Britain. On April 27, 1584, the archangel, who was now known by his human name, Colm Bohannon, and his angels left England on a ship bound for North America.

It would take Henry two hundred years to find them.

Chapter Two

December 1774

Burkes Garden, Virginia

Jeremiah Killam relaxed his aim and lowered his musket when he realized it was Colm Bohannon emerging from the dense white oak and hickory forest. Flung over Colm’s left shoulder was a doe carcass; its head flopped with each step and left bloody smears on his bearskin coat and in his long wavy brown hair. A long rifle rested against his right shoulder.

Despite the seeds of Manifest Destiny that came across the Atlantic with the first colonists, King George III had issued the Proclamation of 1763, restricting settlement of Great Britain’s thirteen colonies to east of the summit line of the Appalachian Mountains. For nearly two centuries, Colm and his brotherhood had been living west of the Proclamation Line in a valley, now called Burkes Garden, Virginia. After their ship arrived in Roanoke Island in July 1584, the brotherhood of angels wandered for six months before they found this sanctuary.

Jeremiah put his musket aside and said, “Liam and Seamus have been lookin’ for you.”

Colm laid the deer on the blood-stained skinning table in front of Jeremiah’s one room cabin. He enjoyed the hunt, but he had no inclination for dressing out game. “Did they say why?”

“They didn’t say so don’t start worrin’ about ‘em.” Jeremiah slid his skinning knife from the pocket on the thigh of his breeches. He poised the knife over the deer then reconsidered. “Wait a minute. Mkwa brought whiskey, yesterday.”

He went inside the cabin, and returned with an uncorked jug. He swigged the whiskey then handed the jug to Colm. He set about skinning the doe and said, “Did I tell you what the Continental Congress is askin’ us ta do after it met last September in Philadelphia?

“What’s the Continental Congress?” Colm took a swig from the jug.

“Men representin’ the colonies called a meetin’ in response ta the Brits passin’ the Intolerable Acts ta punish Massachusetts for the Boston Tea Party. The patriots dumped 340 crates of tea inta Boston harbor ta protest the taxes Britain levied on tea. Anyway, they’re askin’ us ta boycott British goods. War’s comin’, Colm.”

Colm considered Jeremiah with his grizzly beard, disheveled dark-blonde hair, deerskin clothing, and unwashed body. He was as tough as any mountain man, but in Colm’s opinion, Jeremiah had three important divergent qualities: He could read and write, and had an appealing forty-year-old face under the beard. He was the equivalent of the town crier. Without Jeremiah, those who lived in Burkes Garden would have little knowledge of what was happening in the outside world.

“Why do ya say that?”

Jeremiah began to remove the doe’s hooves by slicing the leg off at the knee joint. “The British military’s been occupyin’ Boston all these years. Now, they’ve replaced the Royal Governor of Massachusetts, Thomas Hutchinson, with General Thomas Gage. From what I hear, Gage pulled his garrisons from other places like New York, Philadelphia, and Halifax, and formed a British naval presence in Boston. Then, he angered folks by confiscatin’ provincial gun powder from some place in Massachusetts.”

The angels had not participated in the French and Indian War because Colm had not perceived the war as a demonic threat to his brotherhood or the children of man. But what Jeremiah was describing had the potential to become a full-scale war on the thirteen colonies, and a danger to their sanctuary in Burkes Garden.

Colm thought, I wonder if Henry suspects we’re here, and he’s fanning the flames of war to smoke us out of hiding. 

There was a sudden explosion of raucous laughter. Michael Bohannon, Patrick Cullen, and Brandon O’Flynn burst out of the forest and stumbled across the clearing in front of the cabin.

Jeremiah paused and looked up. It was times like these, when the boys were happy and rowdy that he marveled over how much Michael and Patrick looked alike with their medium statures, curly black hair, and feminine facial features.

Michael reached for the whiskey jug.

“Don’t,” Jeremiah warned.

Michael sneered at Jeremiah, snatched the jug, and raised it to his lips.

“I warned you,” Jeremiah growled. He stabbed the tip of his skinning knife into Michael’s up turned elbow then jerked the jug from Michael’s hand.

“Why’d you do that?” Patrick asked Jeremiah. “He ain’t hurtin’ nothin’.”

Michael looked at his elbow. Blood wet the small tear in the elbow of his bearskin coat. He shrugged and let his arm drop to his side.

Brandon stumbled backward then lurched forward. “That’s it, Jeremiah. We’re having a go right now!” He weaved an unsteady circle around Jeremiah with upraised fists.

Jeremiah chuckled and said, “One jab, and you’re gonna fall forward.”

“He’s gonna throw up before that,” Michael snorted with laughter.

Colm crossed his arms over his chest. The boys were drunk, and it wasn’t yet nine o’clock in the morning. He suspected they’d been in the woods most of the night acting like fools and terrorizing the superstitious Shawnee with their drunken noise.

Read Angels & Patriots, a historical fantasy novella by Salina B Baker for only 99 cents. 

or  get your free download by going to my website salinabbaker.com

 

From Life to Legend: Dr. Joseph Warren 1741 – 1775

“Even in this unfortunate event he has served his country, for he has taught the sons of Freedom in America, that the laurel may be engrafted upon the cypress, and that true glory may be acquired not only in the arms of victory, but in the arms of death.”

~~ A eulogy for Joseph Warren published in Philadelphia; 1775 (author unknown).

The Day: perhaps the decisive day is come on which the fate of American depends. My bursting heart must find vent at my pen. I have just heard that our dear friend Dr. Warren is no more but fell gloriously fighting for his country-saying better to die honourably in the field than ignominiously hang upon the gallows. Great is our loss…and the tears of multitudes pay tribute to his memory…

~~Abigail Adams in a letter to her husband, John Adams: June 1775

On June 11, we celebrated Dr. Joseph Warren’s 276th birthday. Happy 276th Birthday Dr. Joseph Warren  Today is the 242nd anniversary of his death at Bunker Hill.

For this tribute, we will join Joseph Warren in the months that comprised his swan song: April – June 1775.

In early April 1775, after the adjournment of the Provincial Congress in Concord, John Hancock and Samuel Adams didn’t return to Boston for fear they would be arrested or hung. Instead, the two leaders of the American rebellion, sheltered at the home of Reverend Jonas Clarke in Lexington.

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Hancock-Clarke House in Lexington, MA

Joseph ran a spy ring for the Sons of Liberty out of his home medical office. On the evening of April 18, he received word from one of his informants that, under orders from British General Thomas Gage, troops were assembling on the shore of Back Bay. Gage’s troops were readying to march to Concord, where a stockpile of rebel armaments was stored.

Joseph knew the armaments in Concord had been well-hidden or moved in early April; therefore, weapons were not his primary concern. He feared for John Hancock’s and Samuel Adams’ lives if the British discovered them hiding in Lexington. Joseph summoned Paul Revere and William Dawes to his home on Hanover Street in Boston, and then dispatched them to warn Hancock and Adams, and the countryside that the British regulars were out.

On the morning of April 19, Joseph received news of fighting in Lexington. He slipped out of Boston, and made his way to Menotomy to attend a Committee of Safety meeting. During the meeting, messengers came and went, delivering the latest news.

Afterward, Joseph fought alongside General William Heath. Heath and his men fired on the British as they retreated to Boston along what is now called Battle Road. Joseph was nearly killed when a musket ball hit a pin in his hair.

Despite his unabashed courage, Joseph knew the gallows awaited him if he returned to Boston. After the battles of Lexington and Concord, he lodged at Hastings House in Cambridge, close to the Provincial Congress and Committee of Safety meetings.  With John Hancock and Samuel Adams soon to depart for the Second Continental Congress in Philadelphia, Joseph had emerged as the de facto leader of what a militia captain described as “the intended revolution”. [1]

On April 20, under the auspices of the Committee of Safety, Joseph issued a colony-wide, almost threatening, circular letter urging men to enlist in the provincial army. He wrote, “Death and devastation are the instant consequences of delay . . .” [2]

A few weeks later, Joseph was elected to the loftiest political position of the rebellion—president of the Massachusetts Provincial Congress. As president, he also presided over the Provincial Congress’ various committees.

In late April, Captain Benedict Arnold told Joseph and the Committee of Safety there was a stockpile of aging cannons in the poorly guarded Ft. Ticonderoga. The committee sent Arnold, equipped with two hundred pounds of valuable rebel gunpowder, to confiscate the cannons. It was a portent of what was to come.

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Colonel Benedict Arnold

Several skirmishes erupted between the British and the Americans, leaving the store of rebel gunpowder severely depleted. Joseph, General Artemas Ward, and Moses Gill, the chairman of the Committee of Supplies, sent a plea to New York to send as much gunpowder as they could spare. The supply never arrived.

By June 15, it was clear that the British were about to make a preemptive strike on Roxbury, Dorchester, and Charlestown. Joseph, who now held a major general’s commission, and the Committee of Safety decided that the provincial army must make a preemptive move of their own despite the shortage of gunpowder.

At 9:00 p.m. on Friday, June 16, nearly one thousand provincial soldiers under the command of Colonel William Prescott assembled on the common in Cambridge opposite Hastings House. Joseph was not among them as they marched toward Charlestown. General Israel Putnam and Lieutenant Colonel Richard Gridley, commander of an artillery regiment, joined Colonel Prescott just outside of Charlestown Neck.

Colonel Prescott and his men commenced building a redoubt on the Charlestown peninsula under the cover of night. The Committee of Safety’s order was to build a redoubt on Bunker Hill, but by mistake Prescott and his men built the redoubt on an unnamed (later called Breed’s Hill) hill closer to Boston.

Joseph was nowhere to be found on the morning of June 17. There are speculative reasons for his absence, but what is clear is that Joseph suffered from a sick headache that afternoon. Around 3:00 pm his former medical apprentice, Dr. David Townsend, arrived at Hastings House with the news that the men on Bunker Hill were being fired upon by the British.

After Joseph donned his elegant wedding suit, he and David made their way to Charlestown Neck. David stayed to care for men who had been wounded in the battle. Joseph went on to Bunker Hill. He encountered General Putnam. Putnam relinquished his command to major general Joseph Warren, but Joseph refused saying that his commission was not finalized, and he had come to fight as a volunteer.

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Joseph Warren (right) offering to serve General Israel Putnam as a volunteer.

When Joseph entered the redoubt, Colonel Prescott and his 150 exhausted men, raised a cheer of Huzza! Huzza! The sight of their leader joining the fight invigorated them. Like Putnam, Prescott relinquished his command to Joseph, and again Joseph refused saying that he had come to fight as a volunteer.

The rebels had, thus far, repelled the British regulars. What ended the American resistance was neither lack of courage nor unstoppable British resolve. It was the depleted supply of rebel gunpowder. The British regulars, grenadiers, and marines swarmed the redoubt. The rebels tried to make their last stand by swinging their muskets or throwing rocks at the British. Colonel Prescott ordered a retreat.

Joseph was one of the last remaining men in the redoubt. There has been much debate about what happened next. What is known is that Joseph was shot, at close range, in the face just below his left eye, and probably by someone who recognized him. His biographer, Dr. Samuel Forman, wrote that Joseph would have died instantly, unlike the scene depicted in John Trumble’s painting, “The Death of General Joseph Warren at Bunker Hill”.

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The Death of General Joseph Warren at Bunker Hill

The British stripped Joseph of his fine clothes, mutilated his body, and buried him in a shallow grave with a farmer. Exactly who and when Joseph’s body was mutilated has been lost to lore. His youngest brother, Dr. John Warren, attempted to find Joseph’s body, but he was stopped by British sentries at Charlestown Neck.

Joseph’s body wasn’t recovered until after the Siege of Boston ended in March 1776. The corpse was badly decomposed. Paul Revere identified him by a tooth he had made for Joseph.

Joseph Warren shouldn’t have been on the battlefield that day. The people needed him to lead the patriotic movement. They needed him as a friend, brother, and physician. His four children were orphaned.

Dr. Joseph Warren sacrificed his life for liberty, and in doing so, became America’s first martyr. His death encouraged the people of a nation yet to born, to keep fighting despite their grief. It’s what he would have done.

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Grave of Joseph Warren in Forest Hills Cemetery

Resources:

Painting of “The Death of General Warren at the Battle of Bunker Hill” by John Trumbull the Boston Museum of Fine Arts

Forman, Samuel A.  Dr. Joseph Warren, The Boston Tea Party, Bunker Hill, and the Birth of American Liberty.  2012:  Pelican Publishing Company, Gretna, Louisiana.

Philbrick, Nathaniel. Bunker Hill A City, A Siege, A Revolution. 2013Penguin Books, New York, NY.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2626357/ Dr. Joseph Warren: leader in medicine, politics, and revolution. George C. Wildrick, MSSM, MBA

Massachusetts Gate pic

[1] (Philbrick pg 163)

[2] (Philbrick pg 163)

Bunker Hill Monument: The Massachusetts Gate

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If you ask someone to name one person who died at the Battle of Bunker Hill, the answer will probably be a blank stare. If you ask someone to name two Americans who fought at the Battle of Bunker Hill, you will probably get the same blank stare as an answer.

The answer to both questions is clearly etched in the granite of the Massachusetts Gate at the Charlestown entrance to the Bunker Hill Monument. Sadly, most people don’t recognize either name and, therefore, dismiss both. I did the same.

Then, I began research on the political climate in and around Boston in early 1775 for a novel I’m writing. I discovered a man who was the situational leader of the Sons of Liberty at the time Bunker Hill happened in June 1775 – Dr. Joseph Warren. He stepped into my novel as a major character.

I also researched and wrote in detail about the Battle of Bunker Hill (arguably Breed’s Hill) and the man who led that brave American fight, Colonel William Prescott. If Prescott has any fame, it would be for the order he issued to his men as the British regulars marched toward their redoubt. With their gunpowder supply dwindling, Prescott ordered, “Don’t fire until you see the whites of their eyes!”

When Dr. Joseph Warren arrived at the battle, Colonel Prescott offered to relinquish command to Warren, who possessed an uncommissioned major generalship. Warren demurred stating that he had come as a volunteer to help where he could. Warren was shot at close range in the face, as the American’s retreated from their redoubt. He died instantly and became the first martyr of the American Revolution.

When I pursued my personal pictures from a trip to Boston in 2013, I was surprised to find that I had taken pictures of the Massachusetts Gate. What was more surprising was the only two names on the gate – Colonel William Prescott and Dr. Joseph Warren.

BTW, Paul Revere did not participate in the battle as portrayed in the mini-series The Sons of Liberty (although I loved the series). The character they were depicting was actually Colonel William Prescott, and he did not have a horse.