“THEY FOUGHT FOR THEIR KING, THEIR LAWS AND CONSTITUTION”: SCARCE REVOLUTIONARY BROADSIDE DESCRIBING THE BATTLE OF BUNKER HILL FROM THE BRITISH PERSPECTIVE
REVOLUTION. [Contemporary broadside describing the Battle of Bunker Hill]. [Boston: John Howe, 1775]. One broadside leaf (6 by 12 inches), housed in a custom chemise and half morocco slipcase. $21,000.
Scarce and important original 1775 broadside offering a Loyalist account of the Battle of Bunker Hill, printed a week after the fighting.
The first major battle of the American Revolution, the Battle of Bunker Hill, saw the revolutionaries defeated; however, their "skill and tenacity reassured colonists everywhere that the Revolution would not be strangled in its cradle" (Oxford Companion to United States Military History). This contemporary broadside describes the conflict from a Loyalist perspective, praising the British victory. John Howe, the same Loyalist printer who published General Gage's account of the events of April 19, 1775, printed and circulated this document. While it accurately describes the action, the casualty count it contains has been heavily embroidered by the British for propaganda purposes, emphasizing their troops' fierce bravery and courage: "The Loss [the revolutionaries] sustained, must have been considerable, from the vast Numbers they were seen to carry off during the Action, exclusive of what they suffered from the shipping. About a Hundred were buried the Day after, and Thirty found wounded on the Field, some of which are since Dead. About 170 of the King's Troops were killed, and since dead of their Wounds; and a great many were wounded." According to Boatner, American strength was about 3000 with an estimated 140 dead and 601 wounded. British strength was about 2500, and the King's troops lost about 45% of their number. Of the British officer casualties in the 20 battles fought during the Revolution, one-eighth were killed and one-sixth wounded at Bunker Hill. The broadside concludes: "This Action has shown the bravery of the King's Troops, who under every Disadvantage, gained a compleat Victory over Three Times their Number, strongly posted, and covered by Breastworks. But they fought for their King, their Laws and Constitution." Streeter 760. Evans 13842. Ford 1801.
A fine broadside, rare and desirable.