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Price Realized: $4,000 With Buyer's Premium Show Hammer Price
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Sale 2483 Lot 16
HIS SKETCH OF BUNKER HILL BATTLEFIELD AND REFLECTIONS ON THE BATTLE DEARBORN, HENRY. Two items, likely retained drafts for a letter: Ink drawing, unsigned * Autograph Manuscript, unsigned. The drawing, a holograph sketch showing Bunker's Hill, Breed's Hill and redoubt, rail fence, and one bank of the Mystic River, each with holograph label, the whole with a holograph caption at lower right: "a rough sketch from recollection." 5 1/2x6 1/2 inches; faint scattered staining, minor scattered smudging, folds. The manuscript, 40 lines describing the Breed's Hill redoubt and the British use of bayonets, written on the blank pages after a list of questions addressed to him in another hand. 2 pages, 8vo, written on the third and forth pages of a folded sheet; moderate bleed-through (but still legible), minor scattered smudging, faint scattered staining. Np, [November 1818]
Estimate $6,000 - 9,000
"A redoubt, or little fort may, by persons not well acquainted with the principles of fortifications, be considered as sinonemous [sic], but a mere breastworks ought not to be considered as a redoubt or fort. What is usually called a fort, has more or less Bastions, while a redoubt is merely an inclined temporary work, without bastions. A breastworks is a parapet of earth or other material, either straight or with angles according to the form of the ground to be defended, or the opinions of the commander on the scene.
"The fire from the British Troops commenced each time about the same time that the fire commenced from the Redoubt & rail fence. The breastworks was carried by a party of British Troops which pushed up boldly & threw in a flank fire which draws our men into the redoubt in the course of their second attack, but they were compelled to abandon it in the course of five minutes. There was no appearance of any intention to use the bayonet until the reinforcements arrived & marched directly to the Southern angle of the redoubt, & after our repulse carried the redoubt by assault with the bayonet."
with--Letter to Dearborn from the publisher of the Boston Patriot Davis C. Ballard, sending the questions addressed to Dearborn: "The replies you so kindly furninshed to the former queries of Mr. Child . . . have emboldened him to propose a few more. I enclose them for your consideration. . . ." 1 page, 4to, with integral address leaf docketed in Dearborn's hand ("Battle of / Bunker Hill / Mr. Ballard / Nov'r 1818"). Boston, 9 November 1818.
In 1818, the year in which the drawing and manuscript in the present lot were created, Henry Dearborn published An Account of the Battle of Bunker's Hill, criticizing the performance of General Israel Putnam during the battle. Dearborn's controversial claims caused a furor among historians, politicians, and the descendants of those involved in the conflict. One of the more incendiary claims was that Putnam retreated from the battle and remained at a safe distance during critical moments. In his 1819 book, An Enquiry into the Conduct of General Putnam, Boston journalist David Lee Child argued that Putnam was not near the front lines, because the only evidence in support of this was the statement of British officer Colonel Small, who claimed to have been saved from being killed by rebel marksmen because he observed Putnam, a friend of his, order his soldiers to hold fire. If Small had been close enough to observe Putnam, argues Child, he either would have been shot immediately by the patriot marksmen, or the British troops would have been advancing in a charge with their bayonets. That no bayonet charge occurred until the very end of the battle is averred in Dearborn's remarks in the present lot.Price Realized (with Buyer's Premium) $4,000