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  • Engraver: Bernard Romans
  • England, London
  • ca. 1775
  • Black and white line etching with period hand color
  • 1988-234

Battle prints such as this one often provided information on military activity for those who lacked first-hand accounts. The battle at Charlestown, depicted here, actually refers to the battle on Breed's Hill across the Charles River from Boston which is commonly known as the battle of Bunkers Hill. After the battles of Lexington and Concord in April 1775, a makeshift army of New Englanders besieged the British held town of Boston. In June the British, believing that the Americans would flee the sight of their well-trained army, attacked the American fortifications on Breed's Hill. Although the British were victorious, their casualties numbered nearly fifty percent of their forces.

By the following winter this particular print was available in Williamsburg. On January 6, 1776, Dixon & Hunter advertised in the Virginia Gazette for sale at their Printing-Office in Williamsburg, "A large and exact VIEW of the late BATTLE at CHARLESTOWN, elegantly coloured, Price on Dollar."

The lower margin reads: "AN EXACT VIEW OF THE LATE BATTLE AT CHARLESTOWN. JUNE 17.TH. 1775./ In which an advanced Party of about 700 Provincials stood on Attack made by 11 Regiments & a Train of Artillery, & after an Engagement [of 2 Hours Retreated to their Main Body at Cambridge. Leaving/ Eleven Hundred of the Regulars Killed and Wounded upon the Field./ London: Printed for Mess. Wallis & Stonehouse, No. 16, Ludgate Street as the Act directs. June 4, 1776.]"

The top margin, which is illegible on the print, should read: "REFERENCES 1. Boston. 2. Charlestown. 3. Breeds Hill. 4 Provincial Brestwork. 5. Retreating Regulars. 6 Frigate. 7 Somerset. 8. Broken Officer. 9. General Putnam."

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