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**Please enjoy this repost from five years ago, as we now commemorate the 250th Anniversary of the Boston Massacre! The slate of events for the 2020 commemoration can be found here: https://www.bostonhistory.org/massacre250.**

You true SONS of LIBERTY, who value your Lives,
Your estates and your freedom your children and Wives ;
A story I’ll tell you that’s truth now indeed,
And when you hear of it your hearts it will bleed.

The above comes from A Verse Occasioned by the late horrid Massacre in King-Street, a broadside published in Boston in 1770 to express outrage over the events of the evening of March 5th, the event we now know as the Boston Massacre. On the evening of March 5, 1770, a row broke out in front of the Custom House on King Street (now State Street) in Boston. Accounts of what provoked the trouble are mixed, but most include a soldier striking a boy, and a mob of Bostonians replying by hurling both snowballs and insults at the soldier. As the crowd grew more hostile, more soldiers were called in, and eventually nine armed British soldiers faced a rowdy group of over 50 colonists. Eventually, the soldiers fired into the mob, and when the casualties were totaled, five men were dead and six more were injured. The events of that March evening were seized upon by Boston radicals, and spun to create even more animosity toward the Crown. One of the most famous pieces of propaganda is Paul Revere’s compelling (if inaccurate) depiction of the event, which circulated wildly in the spring of 1770.

Paul Revere, “The Bloody Massacre in King-Street, March 5, 1770.” Boston, 1770. (Gilder Lehrman Collection)

Of course, this event took place a short walk from the Hirsh Health Sciences Library. Commemorate this event with a Boston Massacre Study Break! Start on the Freedom Trail, and visit the Boston Massacre Marker on the corner of State and Congress Streets, right near the Old State House. Head back toward campus on Tremont Street, and stop in at the Granary Burying Ground. You’ll find the grave marker for the victims of the Massacre next to Samuel Adams. You can also visit with John Hancock and Paul Revere while you’re there. As you follow Tremont toward Boylston Street, take a detour into Boston Common at Avery Street, and enjoy the beautiful Boston Massacre/Crispus Attucks Monument, erected in 1888. If your interest is piqued, there is a full day of (ahem) “family friendly events” planned at the Old State House Museum, including activities for little ones and culminating in the annual reenactment of the Boston Massacre at 7:00 pm this Saturday.

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June 17, 2019 is the 244th anniversary of the Battle of Bunker Hill, an event we mark in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts as Bunker Hill Day. It falls just after Father’s Day this year, so instead of watching war reenactments on the History Channel, why not take Dad out to bone up on some local history?

  • Celebrate the belated birthday of Bunker Hill Hero Joseph Warren today or any day (his birthday is June 11) with a trip to his namesake landmark the Warren Tavern, a fine establishment dating back to 1780 and frequented back in the day by Warren’s good friend, Paul Revere.
  • Kick off the weekend early and celebrate a turning point in the Revolution by joining Mayor Marty Walsh at City Hall Plaza to witness the raising of the Bunker Hill Flag on June 14th at noon.
  • Visit Charlestown on Saturday June 15 for Bunker Hill Family Fun Day and a concert at the Monument. There will be music, art projects for kids, and much more. And it’s free! All Dads love free things!
  • Visit the Bunker Hill Monument for the “Decisive Day” guided tour offered by the Boston National Historic Park, which departs daily every half hour.
  • Head out to Quincy to the Adams National Historical Park on Monday June 17 for the special event “Bunker Hill to Penn’s Hill,” where you can learn about Abigail Adams and young John Quincy Adams, who watched the battle rage from ten miles away atop Penn’s Hill.

If you don’t have time to get out this weekend, here are the Top Ten Things You Should Know About Charlestown and the Battle of Bunker Hill according to our Head of Research & Instruction and Charlestown denizen, Becky Morin

1) The Battle of Bunker Hill was mostly fought on Breed’s Hill. That’s where the Monument is. Bunker Hill is actually taller and steeper, and is home to the lovely Saint Francis de Sales, a beautiful Roman Catholic church dedicated in 1862. If you don’t know which hill is which, we know you’re a tourist.

Bunker Hill Monument and Col. William Prescott statue

By Siddharth Mallya. CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

2) Charlestown was actually not part of the City of Boston when the Battle took place. Charlestown is OLDER than Boston (as any proud Townie will gladly inform you), and did not become part of the City until 1874.

3) Charlestown is where Paul Revere’s Midnight Ride really kicked off. He was ferried in a rowboat from Boston, landing near the Charlestown Battery, where he picked up a horse from his friend Deacon John Larkin, a lifelong Charlestown resident.

4) There is debate as to why the Colonial forces fortified Breed’s Hill instead of Bunker Hill, although many think it is because Breed’s Hill is closer to Boston. The British had planned the siege to capture Bunker Hill, as they wanted to dig in fortifications on the area’s highest points.

5) It took the British three attempts to capture Breed’s Hill, even though their numbers were far greater than the Colonial forces.

6) Charlestown burned after the Battle, the first of two major fires to strike the community.

7) Proud Charlestown residents still fly the Bunker Hill Battle Flag.

Bunker Hill Flag

By DevinCook at English Wikipedia, via Wikimedia Commons

8) While the British defeated the Colonists at the Battle of Bunker Hill, they suffered severe casualties and the Siege of Boston came to a stalemate.

9) The Bunker Hill Monument (which you now know is on Breed’s Hill) is 221 feet tall and was completed in 1842.

10) Beloved French hero of the American Revolution, the Marquis de Lafayette, is said to be buried beneath a sprinkling of soil from Bunker Hill, procured by his son.

Want More?

http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/the-true-story-of-the-battle-of-bunker-hill-36721984/
http://charlestownhistoricalsociety.org/history/historic-timeline/
https://www.masshist.org/revolution/bunkerhill.php
https://memory.loc.gov/ammem/today/jun17.html

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