Interview With The Archangel

Today, we are thrilled to introduce someone whom we have been trying to speak to for quite some time, Archangel Colm Bohannon. It is an unprecedented occasion to meet an archangel here on Earth and one who fought in the American Revolution. To soothe his impatience, we have provided rum and agreed to refrain from asking him about his youngest archangel brother, Lucifer.


Me: Hello, Mr. Bohannon. Thank you for joining us today.

Colm: I don’t understand the human purpose of apologies or gratitude, so get on with it.

Me: Please, oh, I guess you don’t understand the purpose of polite requests either. What is that silver and green light surrounding you?

Colm: The green light is the color of my angelic spirit. All angels have a spiritual color through which we see one another. The silver light is our halo.

Me: Why are you possessing a human vessel?

Colm: I will tell you that story when it is time.

Me: Alright, then tell us about your celestial family.

Colm: (Drinks rum). Must I?

Me:

Colm: (Heaves a sigh). My father, God, and my archangel brothers see me as an abomination, but if you insist. I am the fifth archangel of seven. My celestial name is Sariel. My four older brothers are Michael, Raphael, Gabriel, and Uriel. My two younger brothers are Ezekiel and Lucifer. However, I am a brother to all angels who our father created.

Me: Why did God create the archangels?

Colm: We were created to be the most powerful beings in the universe besides our father. We each had certain divinities that changed over time as our heavenly orientations changed. When God created the children of man, we were tasked with being preceptors and beholders of those things which mankind does not understand.

(Drinks more rum) I was once the archangel of Divine Visions. That was at a time when the children of man were unaware of their creator. It was my task to make them aware. I had no idea how to conjure divine visions. It had never been done before. This was thousands and thousands of years before what the children of man consider The Calling of Abraham. I had no guidance and no example and in my attempt, my power killed many of them before I realized what was happening.

Me: But there is more isn’t there?

Colm: (Flutters his wings) Later, I was considered the angel of death, because at one time, I escorted human souls to Heaven after they died. That was before Lucifer fell, and the archangels became God’s warriors against Hell’s demons. After Lucifer fell and God created reapers, my divinity changed. I escorted souls to their egress when the body died, summoned reapers, and told them where God wanted them to take souls instead of doing it myself. God assigned a brotherhood of eight angels to me so I could teach them the same. Then, I was entrusted to shepherd the Grigori angels, the Watchers Angels, but they learned human lust, acted on that lust, and I did nothing to stop them because I didn’t know by what means, short of destroying them.

Me: Who are the angels who belong to your brotherhood?

Colm: Their human vessels’ names are Fergus Driscoll, Seamus Cullen, Brandon O’Flynn, Ian Keogh, Liam Kavanagh, Michael Bohannon, and Patrick Cullen.

Me: Why does your father and older brothers see you as an abomination?

Colm: It is a long story that began millenniums ago. Three of my brotherhood, Ian, Michael, and Seamus learned lust from the Grigori angels and created what was forbidden— the Nephilim, the children of human women and angels. The rest of us tried to stop them. We were all found guilty and banished from Heaven.

Me: You were all willing to accept punishment?

Colm: Aye. We’re a brotherhood who love each other.

Me: Where did you go after you were banished?

Colm: In his anger over what we had done, God created demons from his wrath to kill us. He also summoned the Flood of Noah to kill the Nephilim living with their mothers on Earth.

Me: Oh my. Is that when you came here?

Colm: (Flashes his eyes) No. We raced through the universe in a desperate attempt to elude our executioners. I tried to protect my brotherhood because I was the only one of us with the power to destroy not only a demon, but the demons’ leader.

Me: Did I just see silver light flash in your eyes?

Colm: Aye. It’s my way of tempering you.

Me: Was I out of line with my questioning?

Colm: Not yet. It was just a warning. All the archangels were created with the ability just as we were endowed with the ability to destroy using our golden radiance that is a part of our spirit.

Me: Thank you for…uh…I have been dually warned. May I ask about your journey to Earth?

Colm: A company of eight Irish men died fighting the Normans in Wexford, Ireland on the night of May 1, 1169. They were defending their cog, the LE ‘Eithne. They drown when it sank. We took their human vessels to confuse the demons and give us time to rest.

Me: Therefore, you don’t possess a living human.

Colm: Angels can’t possess the living. Our spiritual power and immortality is too great for them to contain.

Me: Did the ruse work?

Colm: By 1314, the demons’ leader realized what we 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. 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, we were tiring again.

Me: I noticed that one of your angels has the same last name as you—Bohannon.

Colm: The company of dead Irish men were led by the man Colm Bohannon. Michael was Colm’s little brother. The same for Seamus Cullen. He also had a little brother among the dead, Patrick Cullen. The human link between us and them still remains. It is our palimpsests, shadows of memories that belonged to the souls of our human vessels showing through to the present. They can be frightening and impossible to control. Fergus and Ian, however, don’t possess a palimpsest.

Me: Where did you go to rest in 1575?

Colm: We took a ship from England to Virginia in America. We found sanctuary in a place over the Appalachian Mountains that was later called Burkes Garden. We were there for two hundred years before we began to suspect that the demons were in Boston, Massachusetts.

Me: May I see your wings?

Colm: (Rises slowly and unfurls his imperial silver wings that touch the floor, the ceiling, and sweep over my face and body. Silver crystals rain down from them like glittering hail and gather on the floor and against the walls.)

Me: (I feel my breath leave my body and restrain my urge to fall to my knees in reverence.)

Colm: (Furls his wings into a volute and they disappear.)

Me: (I’ve forgotten my next question.) Oh yes. How did you begin fighting for the Patriots in the American Revolution?

Colm: We suspected that the demon leader had possessed a general in the British army. We went to Boston to warn the Sons of Liberty—John Hancock, Samuel Adams, and Dr. Joseph Warren of the possibility. We felt it our duty to protect them if that was the case especially if war broke out between the colonies and Great Britain. Our suspicions were correct. The demon was possessing General Henry Hereford who arrived in Boston from London soon after we did in January 1775. War broke out four months later in Lexington and Concord, Massachusetts.

Me: Tell me about some of your human friends.

Colm: We call them the children of man, by the way as we are called the sons of God. Jeremiah Killam is our closest friend who we met in Burkes Garden when he was only five years old. Dr. Joseph Warren, a leading Son of Liberty, taught me what it meant to love a child of man unconditionally. What happened to him and my failure to protect him and stop it is my greatest shame. Of course, there is also Abe Rowlinson who was among the patriots firing on the British when they were retreating from Concord to Boston.

Me: I have been told you had General George Washington’s ear. Is this true?

Colm: I don’t know if I had his ear. He and I became very close and constantly conferred during the war.

Me: Did you or some of your angels hold rank in the Continental Army?

Colm: I refused rank, but Fergus Driscoll achieved the rank of major general. Brandon O’Flynn rose to a colonel in the artillery corps under General Henry Knox, and Ian Keogh was commissioned a lieutenant, also under Knox.

Me: Were the children of man afraid of you at first?

Colm: Yes and no. They had never seen angels on Earth. Many of them mistook me for God. Later, as the war wore on and they became used to our presence, we were considered the gift of Providence to the American cause for independence.

Me: Tell us more about the angels in your brotherhood and their role in their Heavenly duties and the war itself.

Colm: They are soothers and beholders. They fulfilled that divinity throughout the war. The rest of our time with the children of man, and the hardships we endured as angels unaccustomed to the noise of human society and emotions, is written. You will have to read the narrative in the series of books called Angels and Patriots. There you will find the words that describe our time among you and the lessons we learned from you.

Me: One last question. How did you elude the demons?

Colm: You will have to read the books, but I will tell you that demons were not the only hounds God unleashed upon us.

Me: Thank you for your time today. Perhaps one day you will learn the purpose of gratitude.

Colm: I don’t think so. However, there is one last thing to consider. Human emotions can change everything. Angelic emotions can destroy the world.


Rebels, Heroes, Patriots, and Legends. The multiple award winning Angels and Patriots saga is the mutual pursuit of liberty, the meaning of loyalty, and the virtue of the ultimate sacrifice during the American Revolution.

    • Angels and Patriots Book One: Sons of Liberty, Lexington and Concord, Bunker Hill
    • Angels and Patriots Book Two: The Cause of 1776
    • Angels and Patriots Book Three: The Year of the Hangman
    • Angels and Patriots Book Four: The Hand of Providence and The Brotherhood’s Sword (coming late 2021 or early 2022)

*Amazon US: Series Available in paperback, Kindle eBook or Kindle Unlimited. Angels & Patriots Book Series

*Amazon UK: Series Available in paperback, Kindle eBook or Kindle Unlimited. Angels & Patriots Book Series


ANGELS & PATRIOTS BOOK ONE 2018 AWARDS
  • Independent Press Award, Historical Fiction, Winner
  • Independent Press Award, Military Fiction, Distinguished Favorite
  • Shelf UnBound Best Indie Book, Notable
  • National Indie Excellence® Awards, Military Fiction, Finalist
  • American Fiction Awards, Fantasy and Military Fiction, Finalist
  • New York City Big Book Awards, Military Fiction, Winner
  • New York City Big Book Awards, Historical Fiction, Distinguished Favorite
ANGELS AND PATRIOTS BOOK TWO AWARDS
  • 2019 New York City Big Book Awards, Military Fiction, Winner
  • 2019 Shelf Unbound, Top 100 Notable Indie Book
  • 2020 Independent Press Award, Military Fiction, Winner
ANGELS AND PATRIOTS BOOK THREE AWARDS
  • 2020 Shelf Unbound Top 100 Notable Indie
  • 2021 Independent Press Award, Military Fiction, Distinguished Favorite

Book Review: Martha Washington An American Life

Martha Washington An American Life by Patricia Brady

This is a refreshing and endearing portrait of Martha Washington as few people see her. She was a strong, beautiful, passionate, family-oriented woman, who had a deep loving relationship with both her husbands, Daniel Parke Custis and George Washington. Her graciousness shined and despite her longing to live a quiet private life, she stood by George’s side throughout their marriage. She met the challenges as wife of the commander-in-chief of the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War, and the first president of the United States.

Martha was born Martha Dandridge on June 2, 1731 on her parent’s plantation, Chestnut Grove, in New Kent County, Virginia. The author, Patricia Brady, describes the places, events, and expectations of the times with a level of detail that gives the reader a clear picture of the things Martha would have done and experienced—domestic, social, political, and religious expectations for a woman who came from a fairly well-to-do family.

Martha married Daniel Parke Custis in 1750, a man twenty years her senior whose father was abusive and controlling. This seemed to be a pattern. George Washington’s mother, Mary, was abusive and controlling, as well. As a reader, this suggests to me that Martha’s capacity for kindness and emotional support may have been one of the things that attracted both Daniel and George.

She and Daniel had four children. The two eldest died as toddlers. Daniel’s sudden death in 1757 left her, at the age of 26, the wealthiest widow in Virginia, with a 17,500 acre estate to manage and two very young children to raise alone: a three-year-old son, Jacky, and a one-year-old daughter, Patsy. This set a precedence. There was no male trustee to control her property. She was independent and free to make her own decisions, and she did so with confidence.

George Washington, whom she married on January 6, 1759, recognized this strength and rarely questioned her decisions while he was away.

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The Marriage of George and Martha Washington

In 1773, Patsy died of a seizure at age seventeen. It was terrible blow to Martha, as well as, George, who was a loving stepfather to Patsy and Jacky (Martha and George had no children of their own). Seven years later during the Siege of Yorktown, she would lose Jacky (who was married with children) to “camp fever”. Martha surrounded herself with family. Many young nieces, nephews, and grandchildren lived at Mount Vernon which was a great comfort to her.

Of course, the American Revolution greatly affected every facet of her life. The author describes the events of the war accurately and succinctly. George was away from the Washington’s home, Mount Vernon, in Virginia, the entire eight years. Martha spent every winter with her husband at the Continental Army camp, often accompanied by nieces, nephews, and grandchildren.

Patricia Brady expertly guides the reader through the eight years George was president and Martha’s outlook and influence on those years when the Washington’s longed for a private life that was not to be. After George’s death in 1799 and forty-one years of devoted partnership, Martha never truly recovered from the pain. She remembered her husband’s admirers and those who had hurt him, like Thomas Jefferson. When Jefferson was elected president in 1800, “she commented freely and acidly on his presidency.”

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Martha Washington, 1796

In the first week of May, 1802, Martha became ill with one of her frequent stomach upsets. She died at Mount Vernon on May 22.

I highly recommend this historical and spiritual book that contains elements of a great romance.

Angels and Patriots Book One has been honored!

I’m thrilled to share that my historical fantasy novel Angels and Patriots Book One has won it’s seventh and eighth award! New York City Big Book Awards honored my novel as winner of the Military Fiction category and distinguished favorite in the Historical Fiction category. This wonderful announcement came just after I released the second book in the series, Angels and Patriots Book Two, to my developmental editor.

 

Military Fiction                               Historical Fiction

2018 Shelf Unbound Best Indie Book, Notable2018 Independent Press Award Historical Fiction, Winner2018 Independent Press Award Military Fiction, Distinguished Favorite

I couldn’t have achieved this accomplishment without the editing skills, graphic design, and guidance from the ladies at Author’s Assistant. Thank you.

Nor could I have accomplished this without the incredible patience of my husband, John. He spent countless days and weeks alone while I conducted extensive research on the events that ignited and occurred during the first days of the Revolutionary War, patriots, loyalists, politics, colonial life, Founding Fathers and Mothers, the British army, and religious references to the fallen angels who created the forbidden Nephilim, not to mention the hundreds of hours it took to write the novel.

John patiently allowed me to take him to Boston and Roxbury for a seven day pilgrimage honoring the life of patriot, Son of Liberty, and Founding Father, Dr. Joseph Warren; who is an important character. Without Joseph’s courage, fortitude, and popularity, the Revolutionary War may never have begun. Among Joseph’s many accomplishments, he is the young physician who sent Paul Revere on his famous midnight ride to warn the Massachusetts countryside that the British were on the move from Boston.

Lastly, I would like to thank Dr. Samuel Forman, author of the biography Dr. Joseph Warren: The Boston Tea Party, Bunker Hill, and the Birth of American Liberty, for sharing his expertise and offering his support for my historical research on Warren while I wrote this book.

Thank you for allowing me to share this humbling and exciting announcement!

 

Angels & Patriots Book One is available on Amazon in paperback or Kindle eBook. Angels & Patriots Book One

6 Favorite Sons of Liberty Quotes

#6 “There is not a king in Europe that would not look like a valet de chambre by his side.”   ~~Benjamin Rush, referring to George Washington, 1776

Benjamin Rush with URL
Benjamin Rush

      

 

 

 

 

 

#5 “The colonists are by the law of nature free born, as indeed all men are, white or black.”  ~~James Otis, Rights of the British Colonies, 1764   

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James Otis

      

 

 

 

 

 

 

#4 “Now what liberty can there be where property is taken away without consent?” ~~Samuel Adams, The Rights of the Colonists, 1772

samuel adams
Samuel Adams

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

#3 “When liberty is the prize who would shun the warfare? Who would stoop to waste a coward thought on life?”     ~~Joseph Warren, Letter to Patriots in Connecticut 1774

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Joseph Warren

         

 

 

 

 

 

 

#2 “Give me liberty, or give me death!”    ~~Patrick Henry in a speech to the Second Virginia Convention, 1775

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Patrick Henry

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

#1 “There! His Majesty can now read my name without glasses. And he can double the reward on my head!”     ~~John Hancock, after signing the Declaration of  Independence, 1776 

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John Hancock

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dr. Joseph Warren is an important character in my award-winning historical fantasy novel Angels & Patriots Book One. Sons of Liberty, Lexington and Concord, Bunker Hill Available on Amazon in paperback or Kindle eBook. Angels & Patriots Book One

Angels & Patriots Book Two. The Cause of 1776 is available on Amazon in paperback, Kindle eBook, or read for free on Kindle Unlimited. Angels & Patriots Book Two

This is Dedicated to Major John Pitcairn

Many of you are aware of my excessive interest in the patriot leader and Son of Liberty, Joseph Warren. In fact, the first novel in my series, Angels & Patriots, is dedicated to Dr. Joseph Warren and another man, who was not an American patriot—Major John Pitcairn.

I’m not sure at what point (or why) in my research, these men peaked my interest. Perhaps, it was because both men have largely been forgotten, yet they each played a vital role in the infancy of the Revolutionary War. I read and studied them until I felt I could make an attempt to write about them from their point of view, I perceived them as having some of the same characteristics— integrity, honesty, charm, and heroism.

Both Warren and Pitcairn were mortally wounded at the Battle of Bunker Hill, on June 17, 1775. Their deaths were recorded in a 1786 painting by John Trumbull – The Death of General Warren at the Battle of Bunker’s Hill, June 17, 1775. This version shows the location of Warren and Pitcairn in the historically inaccurate painting.

john-trumbull-battle-of-bunker-hill

There is more information on Dr. Joseph Warren, (who died at 34) than on Major John Pitcairn (who died at 52). A biography about Warren’s life was published in 2012.

I found no dedicated writings about Pitcairn aside from resources on the internet, and a video game, Assassin’s Creed III (2012), in which Pitcairn is ultimately assassinated. Pitcairn was cast as an antagonist in the TV mini-series Sons of Liberty (2015). I wondered why he was singled out as a “bad-guy” when history describes Pitcairn as having a sense of honor and the respect of both the Loyalists and the Patriots of Boston.

After reading accounts of Pitcairn’s life, I tried to picture him as a man, not just a bunch of statistics, dates, and speculation. Ironically, there are no known likenesses of him.

John Pitcairn was baptized at St. Serf’s, Dysart, a port town in Fife, Scotland, on December 28, 1722 (Old Calendar – 1723). His date of birth is not recorded separately, so it may have been the same day.

In his early 20s, John married Elizabeth Dalrymple. Their first child, Annie, was born in Edinburgh in 1746, the year John was commissioned a Lieutenant in Cornwall’s 7th (Marines) Regiment. The couple went on to have six sons and four daughters.

The Marines were disbanded for a time and reformed on a permanent basis in 1755. John retained his lieutenancy. In the Marines, commissions were not purchased. John didn’t reach the rank of Major in the Chatham Division until 1771, at age 48. His son, William, followed him into the Marines.

In December 1774, as unrest spread in the Colony of Massachusetts, he arrived in Boston with some 600 Marines drawn from three divisions: Chatham, Portsmouth and Plymouth. The Plymouth Marines were not properly trained, had unfit officers, had no proper weather clothing or equipment, and were undisciplined. Some of the men sold their equipment to buy rum.

Here, I saw John as a humanitarian with a sense of duty and responsibility for his marines. Not as a naive task master, but as a sensible mature man who understood that respect far out lasted threats and punishments. He found it hard to apply harsh discipline. By example and patience, he managed to drill them into shape. He lived in the barracks with his men to keep them sober and succeeded in gaining their respect.

On the night of April 18, 1775, General Thomas Gage ordered a handpicked assembly of 800 troops to gather on the shores of Back Bay, in Boston. Their clandestine mission was to capture rebel weapons hidden in Concord. Gage assigned Colonel Francis Smith as officer in charge, with Major Pitcairn as Smith’s second.

Pitcairn was in charge of the companies in the vanguard of Smith’s column of British regulars. These men weren’t Pitcairn’s marines; therefore, he was unfamiliar with them and their skills. When his vanguard marched into Lexington, led by Lieutenant Jessie Adair, they accidentally veered down the wrong road and marched toward Captain John Parker’s line of militiamen. Pitcairn was genuinely horrified. I tried to imagine his sense of urgency as he galloped across Lexington Green shouting for his companies in the van to halt and hold their fire.

Still, a shot rang out, and eventually eight provincials lay dead.

After the bloodshed later that day in Concord, the exhausted and frightened British troops retreated from Concord to Boston under constant rebel fire. Pitcairn tried to maintain order among the ragged ranks even after his horse was shot, forcing him to walk.

Two months later, on June 17, 1775, John Pitcairn and his marines were ordered to stand ready as reinforcements for British General William Howe’s regulars as they attempted to march on a little rebel redoubt hastily constructed on the wrong hill on the Charlestown peninsula.

I imagined Major Pitcairn and his marines as they rushed the redoubt; Pitcairn waving his bayonet at the rebels and yelling, “Now, for the glory of the Marines!” I wondered what John’s son, William, saw and thought when a rebel in the redoubt aimed his musket at his father.

Did John Pitcairn see the man who was about to mortally wound him? What were his thoughts when he realized he had been shot in the chest? I’ve read that he knew the shot was fatal, but there had to be more rushing through his mind. Legend says he fell into his son’s arms, and was bleeding so badly that William was covered in his blood.

History paints John Pitcairn as a brave sensible man even as he faced his own death. He was taken by boat back to Boston, and put to bed in a house on Prince Street. General Gage sent a loyalist town physician, Dr. Thomas Kast, to tend to Pitcairn.

John insisted that he get his affairs in order before allowing the doctor to examine him. Hours later, Dr. Kast pulled John’s waistcoat away from his wounded chest. John hemorrhaged to death. His son cried out to the marines, “I have lost my father!”

John was buried in the crypt of Christ Church, the Old North Church, in Boston. The fatal bullet and his uniform buttons were returned to his wife and children.

JohnPlaqueMajor John Pitcairn
Fatally wounded
while rallying the Royal Marines
at the Battle of Bunker Hill
was carried from the field to the boats
on the back of his son
who kissed him and returned to duty
He died June 17, 1775 and his body
was interred beneath this church

John’s birthplace, the old manse of Dysart, was demolished over a century ago. The marble plaque John erected to his parents’ memory in 1757-8 in St. Serf’s was destroyed by vandals in the early nineteenth century, after the kirk fell into ruin. As a result, until recently there was nothing to commemorate John in his hometown.

DysartPlaque

Read more about Major John Pitcairn in my novel Angels & Patriots Book One. Buy it today on Amazon in paperback or Kindle eBook. Angels & Patriots Book One

Resources

  1. http://www.silverwhistle.co.uk/lobsters/pitcairn.html
  2. http://colonialamericans.weebly.com/major-john-pitcairn.html
  3. http://drbenjaminchurchjr.blogspot.com/2011/12/major-john-pitcairn.html
  4. Painting of “The Death of General Warren at the Battle of Bunker Hill” by John Trumbull the Boston Museum of Fine Arts
  5. Borneman, Walter R. American Spring: Lexington, Concord, and the Road to RevolutionNew York: Little, Brown and Company, 2014. Print.
  6. Hand-colored engraving described as “The shooting of Major
    Pitcairn (who had shed the first blood at Lexington) by the
    colored soldier Salem.” Courtesy of J. L. Bell

 

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 Warren at the Battle of Bunker’s Hill, June 17, 1775 ”

The_death_of_general_warren_at_the_battle_of_bunker_hill
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.

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)

Dr. Joseph Warren is an important character in my award-winning novel Angels & Patriots Book One. Buy it today on Amazon in paperback or Kindle eBook. Angels & Patriots Book One

Lexington and Concord: The Last Days Leading up to a Revolution, Part 2

The violences committed by those who have taken up arms in Massachusetts Bay have appeared to me as the acts of a rude Rabble without plan, without concert, & without conduct, and therefore I think that smaller Force now, if put to the Test, would be able to encounter them with greater probability of Success….. 

….In this view of the situation of the King’s affairs, it is the opinion of the King’s servants, in which his Majesty concurs, that the essential step to be taken toward reestablishing government would be to arrest and imprison the principle actors and abettors in the Provincial Congress (whose proceedings appear in every light to be acts of treason….

~~Lord Dartmouth to General Thomas Gage, about April 16, 1775

lord dartmouth

The Earl of Dartmouth
Secretary of State for the Colonies 1772 – 1775

This was part of Lord Dartmouth’s long awaited, cross-Atlantic response to General Gage’s admonishments, which he had written to Lord Dartmouth in late January 1775, on how to handle the rebellious acts of the colonists. Those defiant acts were seemingly endless: the illegal proceedings of the Massachusetts Provincial Congress and the Continental Congress, the Suffolk Resolves, smuggling, seizures of powder and munitions, and threats to march into Boston “like locusts and rid the town of every soldier.” (Philbrick quoting Rev. John Andrews, pg 71)

thomas gage

General Thomas Gage
Royal Governor of Massachusetts 1774 – 1775

General Gage did not consider himself a royalist, but part of his advice to Dartmouth was something he believed the King wanted to hear:

“It’s the opinion of most People, if a respectable Force is seen in the Field, the most obnoxious of the Leaders seized, and a Pardon proclaimed for all other’s, that Government will come off Victorious, and with less Opposition than was expected a few Months ago.”

By the time Lord Dartmouth’s lengthy letter of advice reached Thomas Gage, tempers among the British ministry, the loyalists, and the patriots in Massachusetts had simmered down. In fact at this point, there was growing discord among the patriots’ own ranks, rooted in a misguided optimism that once King George III saw for himself that his ministers had misled him, the king would withdrawal his troops and the demand for unfair taxes would withdraw with them, leaving New England free. That optimism was founded in the colonists’ previous experiences with protests and the king’s withdrawal of the transgressions.

If Gage had chosen to do nothing in response to Dartmouth’s letter that spring, the patriots may have had a difficult time maintaining a united front. Ironically, Dartmouth’s letter, based on information and instructions months old, arrived around the same time Gage was receiving valuable information from his British spies. Those things came together to lead Gage to make a series of decisions that would change the course of history.

Just as ironically, one of Thomas Gage’s spies was a trusted colleague among the members of the Sons of Liberty and the Provincial Congress: Dr. Benjamin Church.

benjamin church

Dr. Benjamin Church

When it came to rebel secrets and plotting; only Samuel Adams, John Hancock, and Joseph Warren were more involved than Benjamin Church. But Benjamin had an expensive mistress, and spying brought the ready cash he needed to please her. He had no qualms about betraying his fellow patriots in exchange for the means to pay for the treasures that lay between the legs of his mistress, Phoebe Yates.

Church, among other spies, assured Gage there was a stockpile of provincial armaments located in Concord. Instead of taking Dartmouth’s advice to arrest the leaders of the Provincial Congress, Thomas Gage focused on securing and destroying the rebel military stores in Concord.

Sources:

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

Borneman, Walter R. American Spring: Lexington, Concord, and the Road to Revolution New York: Little, Brown and Company, 2014. Print.