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Two accounts of Bunker Hill, Washington becomes commander-in-chief, so much more. In a Virginia newspaper...



Item # 655592

July 14, 1775

VIRGINIA GAZETTE, Williamsburg, July 14, 1775 

* Battle of Bunker Hill - Siege of Boston
* George Washington becomes Commander-in-Chief


This newspaper was published by Alexander Purdie, a distinction to be made since there were three newspapers of this title printed in Williamsburg during the early period of the Revolutionary War. A very rare opportunity for a scarce title from colonial Virginia. 
When it comes to the military events of the Revolutionary War, I'm not sure the content gets too much better. Page 3 has an excellent and detailed account of the Battle of Bunker Hill.
Headed with: "Copy of a letter from Mr. Isaac Lathorp, one of the Provincial Congress at Watertown", his letter is datelined "June 22, 1775". 
It includes in part: "Before this comes to hand, you will doubtless hear of the engagement of last Saturday between our troops and those of the army at Boston; but lest you should not be well informed, I will now undertake to give you as regular an account as can at present be obtained..." and what follows are the details of the battle, one portion including: " ...Last Friday evening, a detachment from the camp at Cambridge marched to Charlestown, and there took possession of Breeds-Hill…about two o’clock, when a large army of between four and five thousand men…under the command of General Howe landed on the back of the hill, and marched up with great seeming resolution towards our lines; our men reserved their fire till the enemy had advance very near, when a general engagement ensued; the fire from our lines was so excessive heavy, and made such a terrible slaughter as obliged the enemy twice to give way…”.
Further on is: "...The town of Charlestown was fired in various parts during the action, and is now consumed to a wretched heap of rubbish...The brave and worthy doctor Warren was killed, stripped, and buried within the intrenchment...The latest out says that upwards of 1400 of the enemy were killed & wounded, with 84 officers; and that 28 of our men were made prisoners...". See the photos for the full report.
Unlike reports in many other newspapers which are sketchy & fragmented, this report has much detail. 
Although it pales in comparison, the entire front page, page 2, and a bit of page 3 are taken up with a terrific letter meant for: "...the middling and lower classes of people, and may tend to reconcile the different opinions...respecting the necessity or propriety of resisting the enemies of American liberty and the British constitution." The letter takes a broad look at the relationship between the colonies & America, with an historical perspective. A great piece.
And, page 3 has a nice address from the Provincial Congress of New York: "To his Excellency George Washington, generalissimo of all the forces raised, and to be raised, in the confederates colonies of America", essentially a congratulatory letter on being named commander-in-chief. It is followed by: "His Excellency's Answer" which is signed in type: G. Washington.

This issue also includes a single sheet "Supplment" as well, the front page of which has a report from New York: "Yesterday arrived here from Philadelphia, in their way for the camp at Boston, general Washington, appointed by the Hon. the Continental Congress commander in chief of all the provincial troops in North America, attended by the generals Lee and Schuyler..." with a bit more.
This is followed by yet another fine account of the Battle of Bunker Hill (see photos), too much to mention here. 
The back page has Washington's farewell address to his "local" military units, headed: "Extract of a letter from General Washington, dated the 20th of June, at Philadelphia, to the independent companies of Fairfax, Prince William, Fauquier, Spotsylvania, and Richmond." It begins: "I am now about to bid adieu to the companies under your respective commands, at least for a while. I have launched into a wide & extensive field, too boundless for my abilities, and far, very far, beyond my experience. I am called, by the unanimous voice of the colonies, to the command of the continental army..." with more (see). A terrific letter. And the back page has yet another great letter.
Simply an incredible newspaper on many accounts. Two detailed reports on Bunker Hill, Washington being named commander-in-chief (in a Virginia newspaper), Washington's farewell address to his local troops, and more.
Complete in six pages with the Supplement, never-trimmed margins, some foxing to the right portion of the issue, very handsome engraving in the masthead, in very nice condition.

Category: American