Thursday, November 7, 2013

Bunker Hill Monument

Location: Boston, Massachusetts

Features:  Monument on battleground remnant park, climbing tour access to top of obelisk during operating hours, statues and placards, Bunker Hill Museum

History:  In the early days of the American Revolution, Colonial militia put the British controlled city of Boston under siege.   On June 13, 1775, British forces attacked the Colonials at Bunker and Breed's Hills on the Charlestown peninsula.  The Colonial troops repelled several assaults on their positions, causing considerable losses to the British.  The British eventually stormed and won the hills, but would never underestimate the resolve of the colonial militia again.
The Bunker Hill Monument actually sits on Breed's Hill, where the main colonial defensive position was located.  The construction of the monument has a long and controversial history.  The monument was expensive and construction was halted several times due to lack of funding.  The oversight Association had to sell off most of the land on Breed's Hill to cover the expense of finishing the project in 1842.  Only the hill's summit survives now as the park upon which the monument stands.

Traveler's Notes:  The discerning battlefield topographer will lament the urban growth that has wholly swallowed up the original hills.  Still, you can at least get some small feel of the orientation of the environs and the flow of the action.  Driving the narrow streets of Boston certainly works as a metaphorical recreation of the channeled avenue of advance that served the British so poorly that fateful day.  The Bunker Hill Museum across the street from the monument offers free admission as part of the National Parks.  It contains many excellent artifacts, dioramas and interactive maps to explain the battle and its participants.


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