New Page #42!
Once the British finally broke into the redoubt atop Breed’s Hill, chaotic fighting ensued. Most of the Americans casualties that day happened during the hasty retreat. Thomas Knowlton and his men were among among those covering the retreat from the bottom of the hill, enabling the last of the Americans to get out.
Thomas Knowlton wasn’t the only one to leave the battlefield late. Dr. Joseph Warren had been up in the redoubt was among the last to leave. He only made it about 30 yards outside of the redoubt before well…
June 17th, 1775. R.I.P. Joseph Warren.
Captain Walter Laurie, a British officer, wrote a letter a few days after the battle saying (now famously), “I was employed as the officer commanding the detachment to bury the dead, a most disagreeable piece of duty… Doctor Warren, President of the Provincial Congress, and Captain General, in the absence of Hancock and Adams, and next to Adams, in abilities, I found among the slain, and stuffed the scoundrel with another rebel, into one hole, and there he, and his seditious Principles may remain.”
I visited Dr. Warren at Forrest Hills Cemetery, his current resting place, last summer.
Supposedly Warren was wearing a fancy silk waistcoat when he died, and had a book of Psalms tucked into it which a British soldier stole but later returned to the family. I was able to see this book, known as the “Warren Bible,” at the Massachusetts Historical Society. It’s quite small (only a few inches across) and ancient. The pages all stick together and I felt anxious holding the binding open to take photographs. The cover is a beautiful, stamped leather– similar to this. Holding that thing in my hand, wondering if it had really been right next to Joseph Warren’s heart as it stopped beating…?
(I love that little psalter so much it has shown up in my dreams.)
Though Warren’s commission as Major General was not yet active, he would have been the senior officer present at Bunker Hill. He arrived late, however, showing up after the fighting had started, at which point he deferred command to Col. Prescott who had been in charge all morning. Warren went into the redoubt to join the others fighting there. Legend has it, he fought as a mere private. My guess, however, is that he called the shots more than a little. The guy liked to have his hands in things. And he was used to being in charge.
(I could be totally wrong. Do not write that into your history term papers…)
Well, if you visit Bunker Hill, it is Colonel Prescott’s statue which stands proudly in front of the monument, sword in hand, ready for action. Exactly where it belongs. You can find Dr. Warren in marble inside the visitors center.
There are pictures of them in my last blog post, my Anime Boston 2012 write up. If you missed it, go check it out: pictures, video clips, sketches and more!
I figure you’re all a little sad right now. So here’s something to cheer you up:
VOTE to download a Warren Brothers Wallpaper for your desktop!