Friday, January 29, 2021

Fake News from 1775

Single image of the broadsideSo, we have an account of the Battle of Bunker Hill that you don't hear told too often here in the United States. This broadside, printed in Boston on June 26th, 1775, casts aspersions on the "Rebels" that dared to raise a battery on the heights of the Charlestown Peninsula. Luckily for the citizens of Boston, the brave and valorous King's Troops rushed forward to defend the town. According to this version of events, clearly written and distributed by a loyalist, the British forces easily overran the barricades and sent the rebels packing after inflicting significant casualties on their forces. As this report, hot off the presses, concludes,"This Action has shown the Bravery of the King's Troops, who under every Disadvantage, gained a complete Victory over Three Times their Number, strongly posted, and covered by Breastworks, But they fought for their King, their Laws and Constitution."

However, this report doesn't really line up with the known historical facts of the conflict. For example, there were two attempted assaults on the hill before the colonists retreated only because they had run out of ammunition. Although the British technically won, the implications of the altercation were sobering. A rag-tag group of local militia had withstood several assaults by British infantry and had inflicted more casualties on the King's troops than would be experienced at any other point in the Revolutionary War; over a thousand soldiers were wounded or killed. In contrast, the colonists suffered less than five hundred casualties, although the losses of General Joseph Warren and Major Andrew McClary were admittedly a tough blow.

To see this very rare Boston-printed and unashamedly British broadside, ask for Broadside 775940.