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(There is a strange, creepy foreshadowing to Knowlton’s advice, isn’t there?)
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Thomas Knowlton was a Captain of the 5th Company in General Putnam’s 3rd Connecticut on June 17, 1775. They were the first group from an outside colony to arrive in Boston after the April 19th battle at Lexington and Concord.
That day, the Americans chased the British army back into Boston and laid siege to the city. There were over 5,000 men in the army, crammed inside. Colonists arrived from all over to join the men who had fought at Lexington and were stationed all over the countryside waiting for the next move.
That move came the night of June 16th when the Americans were sent to dig in a position on the top of Bunker Hill. Dr. Sam Forman just met me there last week and gave us a tour of the battlefield. He explained that the Americans were instructed to build their redoubt at Bunker Hill and that it was put on Breed’s Hill instead was probably a mistake. It was much too close to the British warships and cannon. Bunker Hill, which sits further back, was more defensible. Some of the Americans, in fact, thought they’d been set up because in daylight the position looked so vulnerable.
In any event, on June 17th, 1775, the British Army awoke to the surprise of seeing 2,000 men at Breed’s Hill with a redoubt on top. Orders were given to dislodge the Americans, and the army began to ferry over.
Captain Knowlton and his men were positioned along the rail fence at the foot of Breed’s Hill, connecting to the Mystic River. This was the hottest spot of the fighting that day. General Howe, newly arrived in America, charged the fence three times before he was successful. If you go to Bunker Hill, there’s a plaque on the stairs showing where John Stark and the the rail fence was positioned. This is where you would have found Thomas Knowlton. He held that spot all day, and was among the last to leave the battlefield as they covered the retreat while the others made their way out of the redoubt.
My friend Derek Beck wrote a blog about the Battle of Bunker Hill which is the most concise yet comprehensive description I’ve found. A few weeks back he gave me the run down in person on the back of a greasy tavern placemat-menu. Everything clicked for me when he explained it the way he did. You can read it over at his blog… sans ketchup stains.
If you want a much longer analysis of the battle, read Decisive Day by Richard Ketchum. Buy it via that link, and you’ll help support The Dreamer!
Well, Anime Boston and C2E2 were fantastic shows. Every show I go to I meet more and more Dreamers and Paper Wingerz! I just got back from Chicago and the end of my epic road trip yesterday. So look for my post-con write up soon, but not today.