I wrote the short story “Act Worthy of Yourselves” that asks the question “What if Dr. Joseph Warren had survived Bunker Hill?” as part of the Historical Writers Forum anthology “Alternate Endings” because frankly, Dr. Joseph Warren is the love of my American Revolution life.
This young and largely forgotten patriot is an important character in the first book of my historical fantasy series, Angels and Patriots Book One: Sons of Liberty, Lexington and Concord, Bunker Hill. I’ve also have published non-fiction works about Warren including a short piece titled America’s First Martyr in the Military Writers Society of America’s 2021 anthology Untold Stories, numerous blog posts, and three audio clips for a website called Hear About Hear that provides audio clips for historic places. The three audio clips can be heard at Old South Meeting House in Boston, Massachusetts, Bunker Hill Monument in Charlestown, Massachusetts, and King’s Chapel in Boston where Warren delivered two Boston Massacre Orations (1772 & 1775), was killed at age 34 at the Battle of Bunker Hill on June 17, 1775, and the chapel where his funeral was held, respectively.
Warren was a Boston physician, Son of Liberty, politician, orator, masonic Grand Master, president of the Massachusetts Provincial Congress and a major general. He was a member of the Sons of Liberty, a group of political dissidents formed in Boston to protest King George III and Parliament’s taxation and control of colonial authority. Their protests against the Mother country’s sudden subjugation after more than a century of autonomy, proliferated in the America colonies in the 1760s. Some of their famous members were Paul Revere, John Hancock, and Samuel Adams. John Adams, a Massachusetts lawyer and politician was not a Son of Liberty, but he was a sympathizer.
It was Joseph Warren who sent Paul Revere, along with William Dawes, on that ride to warn the countryside that the British regulars were out of Boston and on the march looking for rebel munitions on the night of April 18, 1775. He was holding the rebellion together in Massachusetts during the spring of 1775 while Samuel Adams and John Hancock were hiding in Lexington for fear of being hanged by the British for treason.
Through the committees of the Provincial Congress, he tirelessly wrote letters to leaders of other colonies, rallying for the cause, asking for help, and pressing them for their responsibilities in the rebellion against Britain. He gathered militia, supplies, and directed the provincial army who conducted the siege of Boston on the British in that town after the first shots of the war were fired in Lexington and Concord, Massachusetts on April 19, 1775.
His death at the Battle of Bunker Hill was widely lamented by his friends and patients such as Abigail Adams, John Adams, Samuel Adams, John Hancock, patriots who fought alongside Warren on that fateful day and as far reaching as Philadelphia and the southern colonies. His death, early in the war, served to leave him in obscurity. He deserves to be known for everything he did in the infancy of the American Revolution to promote freedom and liberty. So the questions is “what if Joseph Warren had survived Bunker Hill?” Where would he have stood among the American Founding Fathers, many of whom were his fellows long before the rest of the world had heard their names.
One last very important comment.
My share of royalties will go to the Dr. Joseph Warren Foundation an organization dedicated to educating the public about his life & contributions to the American Revolution.
I hope you enjoy my short story “Act Worthy of Yourselves” in our anthology as much as I enjoyed writing it! Available on Amazon in paperback or Kindle. Click the cover to get your copy!
Sharon Bennett Connolly
Salina B Baker