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Coming of the American Revolution: Document Viewer
Massachusetts Historical Society
America's oldest historical society, founded 1791.

Back to Washington Taking Command of the Continental Army

Prospect Hill. Bunker's Hill.

Prospect Hill. Bunker`s Hill. Handbill

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"The Blood of your Fellow Subjects"
In the spring of 1776, sentiment among the British towards the colonies' actions varies widely, with some members of Parliament still supporting colonial arguments. Even among the British regulars, there is some dissent. Anonymous authors are employed once more to bring their message through letter and broadside to British soldiers, encouraging them to desert to the American forces, camped just a mile away behind the fortifications on Prospect Hill in Cambridge, in full view of the British troops on Bunker's Hill.

Questions to Consider

1. What side does the "old soldier" support? Why is it important that it is an "old soldier" speaking?

2. What is the connotation of 'Prospect Hill' as opposed to 'Bunker's Hill?' Do the names make a difference to your emotional reaction?

3. What are the different ways of appealing to the English soldiers? Which do you find more effective? Why combine them?

4. What examples from history does the "old soldier" use in his argument? What point is he trying to make?

5. If you were to try to convince someone you knew not to join the Army, what arguments would you make?

Further Exploration

6. Find out the penalty for deserting the British Army in 1776. Given the temptations offered, would you take the chance and switch sides? Why or why not?