An Elegiac Poem, Composed On The Never-To-Be-Forgotten Terrible And Bloody Battle Fought At An Intrenchment On Bunker-Hill
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[ This description is from the project: Coming of the American Revolution ]
This broadside, published shortly after the Battle of Bunker Hill, describes the destruction of Charlestown, Massachusetts and summarizes the military conflict and casualties. It also includes a sorrowful poem (a verse of 180 lines) about the signficant losses due to the battle. The lower right corner of the broadside includes an acrostic on Joseph Warren.
"Charlestown's dismal fate"
The cannonading of Charlestown during the afternoon of 17 June 1775 is part of the British assault -- clearly visible from Boston and many other points along the shoreline on an extremely clear day. The town is set afire and many of its inhabitants are left homeless, losing all their possessions. During the final throes of battle, numerous colonial soldiers, including Joseph Warren, president of the Provincial Congress, are killed. Warren and other fallen soldiers are mourned deeply by the colonists. This broadside, written shortly afterward, seeks to fan the flames, enlisting the support of all "Friends to the American Cause" for the victims of the shelling and the soldiers of the Continental Army.
Questions to Consider
1. What specific language and images does the broadside employ to inspire the sympathy and incite the anger of the readers?
2. What unembellished facts can you extract from this document? In what examples is the line between fact and imagination blurry and why?
3. What functions or purposes do the graphic images, the capitalized words, the "elegiac poem" and the Warren acrostic play in this broadside?
4. What motivations (political, economic, social, personal) might E. Russell have had in creating this broadside? Provide evidence to back up your statements.
5. Other documents in this section also deal with the death of Warren. What does this one contribute to our understanding of the significance of this man--in life and in death--to so many people?