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Several accounts of Bunker Hill, Washington becomes commander-in-chief, Gage's famous Proclamation. In a Virginia newspaper...
Item # 655672
July 15, 1775
VIRGINIA GAZETTE, Williamsburg, July 15, 1775
* Battle of Bunker Hill - Siege of Boston
* George Washington becomes Commander-in-Chief
* General Thomas Gage "First Shots of War" proclamation
This newspaper was published by Dixon and Hunter, 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.
Over half of the front page is a: "...Letter from General Lee to General Burgoyne, Upon his Arrival in Boston" dated at Philadelphia, June 7, 1775. It is a terrific letter with much respect for their past friendship, but Lee wonders why his friend is now fighting against the colonists: "...I sincerely lament the infatuation of the times, when men of such a stamp as Mr. Burgoyne & Mr. Howe can be seduced into so impious and nefarious a service of the artifice of a wicked & insidious Court and Cabinet. You, sir, must be sensible that these epithets are not unjustly severe...I shall not trouble you with my opinion of the right of taxing America without her own consent...as I am afraid...that you have already formed your creed on this article..." with much, much more. It is signed in type: C. Lee.
And the balance of the front page is take up with with 3 accounts of the Battle of Bunker Hill. The first is a letter dated June 20, mentioning in part: "Your doubtless have been alarmed with divers accounts of the contest which happened on the 17th instant between the King's troops and our army; shall give you a narrative in a few words...On the evening of the 16th, Col. Putnam took possession of Bunker's Hill with about 2000 men...At 8 in the morning a party of regulars landed at Charlestown & fired the town in divers places...a body of 5000 men marched up to our entrenchments & made a furious & sudden attack..." with much more.
This is followed by a letter from Weathersfield dated June 22 which is an even more detailed account of the battle. See the photos--too much fine reporting to list here. But the report does end with a great item: "...We greatly rejoice to hear of the coming of the good, the brave, and great, General Washington; we shall receive him with open arms."
This isn't the first mention of Washington on the front page as another item reports his appointment as commander-in-chief: "Yesterday arrived here from Philadelphia, on their way for the camp at Boston, General Washington, appointed by the Hon. Continental Congress commander in chief of all the provincial troops in North America, attended by the Generals Lee and Schuyler. They were escorted by a part of light horse..." and more.
The ftpg. has another report from June 19 mentioning a few details of the battle: "...I heard the officers and soldiers say, that they were sure that they had 1000 or more men killed & wounded, that they were carrying the wounded from four o'clock...till I came away. General Howe commanded the troops. They buried their dead at Charlestown; among the dead was Major Pitcairn...There were 5000 soldiers went out of Boston. The soldiers & officers exult very much upon taking our lines." And there is yet another letter with additional details (see) including mention: "In this action fell our worthy & much lamented friend Dr. Warren...".
And the terrific content continues on page 2 beginning with a terrific account of the Battle of Bunker Hill. Headed with: "Copy of a letter from Mr. Isaac Lathorp, one of the Provincial Congress at Watertown" it includes in part: "Before this reaches you, 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…”.
Included is mention of the death of General Warren who was killed in the action at Bunker Hill: "...The brave & worthy "Dr. Warren was killed, stripped, and buried within the entrenchment. Our numbers killed are not yet known, but by the best accounts I can obtain, it will not much exceed 30...".
Unlike reports in many other newspapers which are sketchy & fragmented, this report has much detail.
Another prime bit of content is found on page 2, the excellent & historic "Proclamation" signed in type by: Thomas Gage, in which he states his abhorrence for the Battle of Lexington & Concord, and for the Americans in rebellion lead by John Hancock & Sam Adams, offering pardon to those who return their loyalty to the king, and proclaiming martial law in Boston. The document begins: "Whereas the infatuated multitudes, who have long suffered themselves to be conducted by certain well known incendiaries & traitors...have a length proceeded to avowed rebellion..." and further on noting: "...a number of armed persons, to the amount of many thousands assembled on the 19th of April last, and from behind walls & lurking holes attacked a detachment of the King's troops who not expecting so consummate an act of phrenzy, unprepared for vengeance, & willing to decline it, made use of their arms only in their own defence...I avail myself of the last effort within the bounds of my duty to spare the effusion of blood, to offer...his most gracious pardon to all persons who shall forthwith lay down their arms & return to the duties of peaceable subjects, excepting only from the benefit of such pardon Samuel Adams and John Hancock whose offences are of too flagitious a nature to admit of any other consideration than that of condign punishment..." and for those who do not return to the King's protection: "...and likewise all such as shall so take arms after the date thereof...to be rebels and traitors & as such to be treated..." with much more. A very significant document formally establishing the people of Boston to be at war with England, and specifically pointing to Adams & Hancock as the leaders.
Page 3 has: "The Address of the Provincial Congress of the Colony of New York" to "...George Washington, Generalisimo of all the forces raised, and to be raised, in the confederated colonies of America." This is their congratulations to him on his appointment as Commander-in-chief of the American forces. It is followed by his response signed in type: G. Washington.
On many accounts a terrific issue. Front page content on the Battle of Bunker Hill, Thomas Gage's famous Proclamation, reporting of Washington being named commander-in-chief, and the fine content not even mentioned in this listing.
Four pages, very handsome engraving in the masthead, untrimmed margins, various small tears at margins affect no text, very nice condition.