Bunker Hill: Maps, Art, Illustrations, Flags

In the course of gathering material about Prescott and Bunker Hill, I’ve assembled a largish number of period artworks, illustrations, flags, photographs of statues, etc. Too many to place among the articles as tasteful visuals. So, I put them in two locations.

  1. You can see a few of them, as part of a montage, below.
  2. Or, you can check them all out as an album on the Facebook counterpart of this page,  here.

First some period maps of Boston and its harbor.

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Followed by some old maps showing the course of the fight.

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A painting of the battle, by Winthrop Chandler c. 1776-7, now in the collection of the MFA.

An excerpt from the description on the MFA’s page devoted to the painting.

While Chandler’s view is not accurate from either a military or a topographical standpoint (the spectator seems to be looking down over Charlestown from Breed’s Hill, where the battle actually took place), it conveys the drama of the event through telling detail. Wounded soldiers and riderless horses are scattered across the foreground. British ships blast the shoreline with cannonfire, while tiny figures cling to the rigging or flail in the water. At right, a house bursts into flame, a prelude to the bombardment of Charlestown. And, spaced neatly throughout the picture are the three forts that guarded the harbor, each proudly flying the Grand Union flag. The flag, with thirteen stripes signifying the original colonies and the crosses of Saint George and Saint Andrew representing the Crown, suggests a date for the picture: it was the colonial standard until June 14, 1777, when the Continental Congress adopted the Stars and Stripes.

This text was adapted from Gerald W. R. Ward et al., American Folk (Boston: MFA Publications, 2001).

More here.

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An engraving by J.G. von Muller, 1798, after John Trumbull, showing “The Battle of Bunker’s Hill, June 17th 1775.” I haven’t found a photo of the original oil painting.

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Two later illustrations.

The first one showing British troops marching uphill (Breeds not Bunker) is based on a painting by Howard Pyle, finished in November, 1897, for Scribner’s Magazine. There’s an interesting discussion of it here, which also mentions that the painting was likely stolen and is currently missing.

The one after, showing people watching the waterfront from the Copps Hill rooftops is credited to Winslow Homer and appeared at the centennial anniversary in Harper’s Weekly.

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Lastly, the Flag of New England, the colors carried by the colonial troops on the day of the battle; verified by the painter John Trumbull. This is followed by what appear to be two actual old flags of the same design. I don’t know the dates or stories behind these.

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Antique Bunker HIll Flag

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Lastly…

 

Breed's Hill plaque

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