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CHARLESTOWN was settled in 1628, being the oldest town in Middiesex county, and one of the oldest in the state.
It was incorporated in 1635. It derives its name from Charles I. of England, the reigning sovereign at the time
of its settlement. Its Indian name was Mishawum. In 1628 “six or seven persons, with the consent of Gav. Endicott,
traveled from Naumkeak (Salem) through the woods westward, and came to a neck of land, between Mystic and Charles
rivers, called Mishawum. It was full of Indians, called Aberginians; and with the unconstrained consent of their
chief they settled there.” Their old sachem being dead, his eldest son, John Sagamore, was chief in power. He is
described as a man of gentle and good disposition, and was probably induced to give his consent to the settlement
on account of the advantages he had derived from the skill of Thomas Walford, a blacksmith, who had previously
taken up his residence, and built himself a house, which he had thatched and palisadoed, at the south end of the
West Hill, not far from the river.
In 1629, a considerable number of persons arrived at Salem from England. Being dissatisfied with their situation
at this place, Thomas Graves, with some of the company’s servants under his care, and others, to the number of
one hundred in all, removed to Mishawum, where they laid out the foundation of a town. Mr. Graves laid out the
town in two acre lots, one of which he assigned to each inhabitant; and afterward he built a great house for the
accommodation of those who were soon to come over to New England In 1630,a fleet, bringing more than 1,500 persons,
arrived in Massachusetts Bay the sixth of July. Among the passengers were Governor Winthrop and several other distinguished
gentlemen. The governor and several of the patentees took lodgings in Charlestown, in the great house built there
the year before; and the rest of the company erected cottages, booths, and tents about the Town Hill. Their place
of assembly for divine worship was under a tree. The first court of assistants was holden at Charlestown on the
23d of August, on board the Arabella. On the 27th of August, a day of solemn fasting and prayer was observed, when
the governor, deputy governor, and others, entered into church covenant; Mr. Wilson was chosen pastor; a ruling
elder and two deacons were also chosen; and thus was laid the foundation of the churches of Charlestown and Boston.
It was the general intention of the company to settle at Charlestown, where the governor ordered his house to be
framed; but the prevalence of a mortal sickness, ascribed to the badness of the water,* induced several of the
people to explore the neighboring country for more eligible situations; and from this circunistance, probably the
settlement of Watertown, Boston, and Roxbury was connenced this year. (1630)
The natural divisions of this town are distinguished at Charlestown Penninsula and Charlestown "without the
neck." These divisions are of very unequal size: the peninsula, on which the town is principally built, is
only about one mile and a quarter in lenght; the tract beyond the neck is upwards of seven miles in lenght. The
width varies from a half mile to a mile in various parts of the town. Charlestown peninsula is somewhat of an oval
form, and is about half as large as that on which Boston is situated. It has, like Boston three principal hills,
vis. Bunkers Hill, Breed's Hill, and the West or Town Hill. Bunker's Hill is on the north east part; it is 113
feet high, and the largest of the three. Breed's Hill (on which was the battle of Bunker Hill, and whare the monument
is erected) commences near the southerly portion of Bunker's, and extends towards thhe south and west; its height
is 87 feet. Town Hill is in the south west part of the penninsule; its height has been somewhat reduiced from what
it was origionally, but it never was as high as Breed's Hill. Its western base reached to the shore of Charles
river. The Avenues from Charles River bridge and Warren bridge meet in Charlestown Square, an open space of two
or three acresm regularly laid out soon after the opening of the town in 1776, for the purposes of a market place.
Around this square a number of public buildings are situated. There are 9 churchesm 3 Congregationalm 2 Baptist,
2 Univeralist, 1 Methodist, and 2 Catholic. There are 3 banks, the Bunker Hill Bank, with a capitol if $150,000;
the Phoenix Bank, capitol $300,000, and the Charlestown, with a capital of $150,000. Charlestown is united with
Boston by Charles and Warren bridges. Warren bridge is 1,390 feet in lenght and 44 in width. It was incorporated
in 1828, and opened the same year. It is now the property of the state. Charlestown is also united to Boston as
a port of entry, and in its various commerical pursuits. Population 10,101.
"The United States Navy Yard was first established in this town about the year 1798. This yard is situated
on the north side of Charles river, on a plot of ground of about 60 acres. It is enclosed by a high wall of durable
masonry, and contains several ware houses, dwelling houses for the officers, and a large amount of navel stores,
live oak, and other timber. It also contains three large ship houses, in which are the Vermont and Caroline of
74, and the Cumberland frigate of 44 guns. These ships can be launched and ready for sea in a very short time.
The dry dock at this place is of hewn granite, and of unrivalled masonry. It is 341 feet in lenght, 80 in width,
and 30 in depth. It cost $670,089. This dick was completed and revieved the Constitution on the 24th of June, 1833.
Connected with this establishment are a navel hospital and magazine at Chelsea, now in progress. A large ropewalk
is now in the yard, and other additins are contemplated. This is considered one of the best navel depots in the
United States." - Hayeards Mass. Directory, 1835.
"This establishment is located on a beautiful rise of ground, in Charlestown, near East Cambridge, and about
a mile and a half from the City Hall. The buildings are large, and are exceedingly well adapted to their philanthropic
design. They cost about $186,000.
"This house was opened for patients on the 6th of October, 1818, and from that time to January 1, 1834, 1015
patients were received. Of this number, 264 were married, and 340 unmarried, males; 238 married, and 173 unmarried,
females. Of this number, 70 were from 10 to 20 years of age; 616 from 20 to 40, (of which 368 were males, and 248
females;) 191 from 40 to 50; 91 from 50 to 60; and 47 from 60 to 80. Of this number, 362 recovered, 143 were much
improved, 140 benefiued, 89 died, 21 eloped, 193 were not improved, and 67 remained in the asylum. Of this number
112 had been intemperate; 122 had insane ancestors: and 59 had near collaterals, hut no ancestors stated as insane.
The average current expenses of each patient at this asylum is estimated at $4.50 a week. The lowest rate for which
patients he]onging to this state are received, is $3 a week, from other states, $4.50 a week, The number of patients
received from January 1, 1834, to June 19, 1835, was 150. The number of patients at the latter date was 88, which
was a greater number than at any former period. Rurus WYMAN, M. D., was superintendent and physician from the commencement
of the asylum to May, 1835, to whom the public is much indebted for the great intelligence and fidelity by which
he has advanced its usefulness.
"Belonging to, and surrounding this asylum, are about 15 acres of land appropriated to courts and gardens.
These are laid out with gravelled walks; the former are furnished with summer houses, and the latter are ornamented
with groves of fruit and ornamental trees, shrubbery, and flowers. Surrounding the lower garden, and within the
enclosure, is a carriage path, where patients are taken to ride. In the center is a small fresh-water pond, containing
several hundred gold and silver fish, and immediately contiguous is a summer house, where the patients at times
resort for games and amusements.
"The system of moral treatment adopted and pursued is founded upon principles of elevated benevolence and
philanthropy, and an acquaintance with human nature and the capabilities and wants of the insane. The previous
tastes, habits, and pursuits, and the present inclinations and feelings of each individual, are habitually consulted.
A library for the use of the patients has recently been purchased, and those of their who are disposed to read
are permitted at stated periods to send in their names and the number of the book desired; the list is examined
and approved by the physician, and the books are thstnbuted by the librarian. In the same way, writing materials
are distributed, and patients are engaged in keeping journals, writing sketches of their lives, poetry, addressing
letters to their friends, and in drawing, &c. Some engage in games, as bowling, throwing the ring, battledoor,
graces, jumping the rope, chess, draughts, back-gammon, &c., or are occupied in walking and riding into the
country, or in making fishing excursions in the company of their attendants; while others are working on the farm
and in the garden. The female patients, besides being employed in various kinds of needle and ornamental work,
are engaged in various domestic labors. About 30 of the quiet and convalescent patients now regularly attend the
religious exercises of the family, and a portion of them join in the vocal and instrumental music of the occasion;
a part of this number also attend church on the Sabbath, in company with the nurses and attendants, and dine with
the family. A regulated intercourse with the family and society is regarded as an important auxiliary in the means
of cure, and on suitable occasions they are invited into the house, where parties are made for their special amusement
and benefit." -Hayward's Mass. Diretory
This establishment is situated at the west or north west of Charlestown village, or town, near the tide waters
of a bay connected with Charles river, and is enclosed by a high, solid stone wall; and consists of four large
stone buildings, besides a chapel and an extensive work shed. The point of land on which the prison is located
is connected with the village of East Cambridge by a lateral bridge of 1,820 feet in length, connected with Canal
bridge. The following account of this prison, &c., is from the 2d vol. of the American Magazine
"This state prison, or penitentiary, has been established nearly thirty years, and on a similar principle
to that in Philadelphia, founded twenty years before. Some alterations in the criminal laws of the state were made
at that time; and confinement to hard labor in this prison was substituted for imprisonment in the county jails,
where no employment was provided for the convicts, and for whipping and sitting in the pillory. The number of capital
crimes are now five, on conviction of which death follows as the legal punishment. For crimes of less enormity,
the punishment is confinement in the state prison, with hard labor. It is intended by this establishment to keep
the wicked secure from depredating on society, to require labor to meet the expenses of the institution, and at
the same time to allow opportunity and provide means for the reformation of the prisoners. The object is a combined
one punishment and reform; or rather the safety of society, and the reformation of the guilty. The design is most
praiseworthy, and honorable to the humanity of the present enlightened age. In the opinion of those best qualified
to judge and most entitled to belief, the institution has proved useful, and such as was hoped it would be by the
founders. The criminal is safe from doing mischief to others; he is obliged to labor, and thus acquires habits
of industry; he is kept in solitary confinement when not at work; and has religious instruct ion and advice to
aid him in his desires to reform.
"For some years, the buildings were not sufficient to provide a separate cell for each; but that defect is
remedied by new buildings. And order generally, as well as individual refoem, is now much better promoted and secured.
Few who have been discharged, within the last few years, have been returned to the prison, or convicted of new
crimes, and there is reason to believe that many afterwards became sober, moral, and industrious citizens. The
profits of the labor of the convicts are greater than the expenses, for the two last years, by about seven thousand
dollars. The government of the convicts is firm and strict, but not severe. The error of a severe discipline, and
of power in the immediate officers to inflict corporal punishment, has been seen and abandoned; and yet extra confinement
is allowed for gross disobedience or refusal to work. The state prison of Massachusetts was never better regulated,
nor answered more truly to the character of a penitentiary.
"The number of convicts in the prison in Oct., 1834, was two hundred and seventy seven, twenty five more than
a year previous to that time. During the year ending in October, 1834, the number committed was one hundred and
nineteen, fifteen of which had been confined in the prison before. This is a much smalier portion than twelve and
fifteen years ago. And though some of those discharged in 1832 and 1833, on the expiration of their sentence, left
the state, and may have committed crimes in other parts of the country, still there is reason to believe that now
not more than one in twelve or fifteen are found repeating their crimes; and that the residue become reformed,
and are sober and industrious citizens. About a fourth part of the convicts are said to be aliens, and not naturalized.
"The convicts are obliged to labor the greater part of the twenty four hours, in which they can have the benefit
of day light; except the time spent in religious worship and in eating. The number of hours of work in a day differ,
therefore, in the different seasons of the year. They are employed in stone cutting, at blacksmith work, cabinet
makers, brush makers, tailoring, shoe making, upholstering, hatting making, and tin workers."
North west of the Neck, about 2½ miles from Boston, is Mount Benedict. On the summit of this commanding
eminence was situated the Ursuline Convent. which was constituted in 1826. it was burnt by a lawless mob, on the
11th of August, 1834, who were excited to this outrage by the reports of improper conduct in the convent, and of
the confinement of some females by threats and force, who wished to leave the institution. The disfigured walls
of the convent still remain, standing as a beacon to warn every friend to civil and religious freedom of the fata
effects to be apprehended from the blind fury of a mob, who are suffered to trample upon the laws of the country
and introduce a despotism of the worst kind. On Winter Hill in this town, north west of Bunker's Hill, General
Burgoyne's army encamped as prisoners of war, after their defeat and capture at Saratoga. Prospect Hill is situated
a little to the south west.
On the 17th of June, 1775, the ever memorable battle of Bunker Hill was fought in this town, and will render the
heights of Charlestown an object of interest to generations yet unborn. The following, stated to be a "full
and correct account" of this battle, is taken from a pamphlet published in Boston, June 17th, 1825.
"After the affair at Lexington and Concord, on the 19th of April, 1775, the people, animated by one common
impulse, flew to arms in every direction. The husbandman changed his ploughshare for a musket; and about 15,000
men 10,000 from Massachusetts, and the remainder from New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Connecticut assembled under
General Ward, in the environs of Boston, then occupied by 10,000 highly-disciplined and well equipped British troops,
under the command of Generals Gage, Howe, Clinton, Burgoyne, Pigot, and others.
"Fearing an intention on the part of the British to occupy the important heights at Charlestown and Dorchester,
which would enable them to command the surrounding country, Colonel Prescott was detached, by his own desire, from
the American camp at Cambridge, on the evening of the 16th of June, 1775, with about 1000 militia mostly of Massachusetts,
including 120 men of Putnam's regiment from Connecticut, and one artillery company, to Bunker Hill, with a view
to occupy and fortify that post. At this hill the detachment made a short halt, but concluded to advance still
nearer the British, and accordingly took possession of Breed's Hill, a position which commanded the whole inner
harbor of Boston. Here, about midnight, they commenced thrcnving up a redoubt, which they completed, notwithstanding
every possible effort from the British ships and batteries to prevent them, about noon the next day.
"So silent had the operations been conducted through the night, that the British had not the most distant
notice of the design of the Americans, until day-break presented to their view the half-formed battery and daring
stand made against them. A dreadful cannonade, accompanied with shells, was immediately commenced from the British
battery at Copp's Hill, and the ships of war and floating batteries stationed in Charles river.
"The break of day on the 17th of June, 1775, presented a scene, which, for daring and firmness, could never
be surpassed, 1,000 unexperienced militia, in the attire of their various avocations, without discipline, almost
without artillery and bayonets, scantily supplied with ammunition, and wholly destitute of provisions, defying
the power of the formidable British fleet and army, determined to maintain the liberty of their soil, or moisten
that soil with their blood.
"Without aid, however, from the main body of the army. it seemed impossible to maintain their position, the
men, having been without sleep, toiling through the night, and destitute of the necessary food required by nature,
had become nearly exhausted. Representations were repeatedly made, through the morning, to head quarters, of the
necessity of reinforcements and supplies. Major Brooks, the late revered governor of Massachusetts who commanded
a battalion of minute-men at Concord, set out for Cambridge about 9 o'clock, on foot, it being impossible to procure
a horse, soliciting succor; but as there were two other points exposed to the British, Roxbury and Cambridge, then
the head quarters, at which place all the little stores of the army were collected, and the loss of which would
be incalculable at that moment, great fears were entertained lest they should march over the neck to Roxbury, and
attack the camp there, or pass over the bay in boats, there being at that time no artificial avenue to connect
Boston with the adjacent country, attack the head-quarters, and destroy the stores: it was, therefore, deemed impossible
to afford any reinforcement to Charlestown Heights, till the movements of the British rendered evidence of their
"The fire from the Glasgow frigate and two floating batteries in Charles river, were wholly directed with
a view to prevent any communication across the isthmus that connects Chariestown with the main land, which kept
up a continued shower of missiles, and rendered the communication truly dangerous to those who should attempt it.
When the intention of the British to attack the heights of Charlestown became apparent, the remainder of Putnam's
regiment, Col. Gardiner's regiment, both of which as to numbers were very imperfect, and some New Hampshire militia,
marched, notwithstanding the heavy fire across the neck, for Charlestown Heights, where they arrived, much fatigued,
Just after the British had moved to the first attack. The British commenced crossing the troops from Boston about
12 o'clock, and landed at Morton's Point, S. E. from Breed's Hill. At 2 o'clock, from the best accounts that can
be obtained, they landed between 3 and 4,000 men, under the immediate command of Gen. Howe, and formed, in apparently
invincible order, at the base of the hill.
"The position of the Americans at this time was a redoubt on the summit of the height of about eight rods
square, and a breastwork extending on the left of it, about seventy feet down the eastern declivity of the hill.
This redoubt and breast work was commanded by Prescott in person, who had superintended its construction. and who
occupied it with the Massachusetts militia of his detachment, and a part of Little's regiment, which had arrived
about one o'clock. They were dreadfully deficient in equipments and ammunition, had been toiling incessantly for
many hours, and it is said by some accounts even then were destitute of provisions. A little to the eastward of
the redoubt, and northerly to the rear of it, was a rail fence, extend. ing almost to Mystic river ; to this lénce
another had been added during the night and forenoon, and some newly mown grass thrown against them, to afford
something like a cover to the troops. At this feitce the 120 Connecticut militia were posted.
"The movements of the British made it evident their intention was to march a strong column along the margin
of the Mystic, and turn the redoubt on the north, while another column attacked it in front; accordingly, to prevent
this design, a large force became necessary at the breastwork and rail fence. The whole of the reinforcements that
arrived, amounting in all to 800 or 1,000 men, were ordered by General Putnam, who had been extremely active throughout
the night and morning, and who had accompanied the expedition to this point.
"At this moment thousands of persons of both sexes had collected on the church steeples, Beacon Hill, house
tops, and every place in Boston and its neighborhood where a view of the battleground could be obtained, viewing,
with painful anxiety, the movements of the combatants, wondering, vet admiring the bold stand of the Americans,
and trembling the thoughts of the formidable army marshalled in array against them.
"Before 3 o'clock, the British formed, in two columns, for the attack. One column, as had been anticipated,
moved along the Mystic river, with the intention of taking the redoubt in the rear, while the other advanced up
the ascent directly in front of the redoubt, where Prescott was ready to receive them. General Warren, president
of the provincial congress and of the committee of safety, who had been appointed but a few days before a major
general of the Massachusetts troops, had volunteered on the occasion as a private soldier, and was in the redoubt
with a musket, animating the men by his influence and example to the most daring determination.
"Orders were given to the Americans to reserve their fire till the enemy advanced sufficiently near to make
their aim certain. Several volleys were fired by the British, with but little success; and so long a time had elapsed,
and the British allowed to advance so near the Americans without their fire being returned, that a doubt arose
whether or not the latter intended to give battle, but the fatal moment soon arrived: when the British had advanced
to within about eight rods, a sheet of fire was poured upon them, and continued a short time, with such deadly
effect that hundreds of the assailants lay weltering in their blood, and the remainder retreated in dismay to the
point where they had first landed.
"From day light to the time of the British advancing on the works, an incessant fire had been kept up on the
Americans from the ships and batteries, this fire was now renewed with increased vigor.
"After a short time the British officers had succeeded in rallying their men, and again advanced, in the same
order as before, to the attack. Thinking to divert the attention of the Americans, the town of Charlestown, consisting
of 500 wooden buildings, was now set on fire by the British. The roar of the flames, the crashing of falling timber,
the awful appearance of desolation presented, the dreadful shrieks of the dying and wounded in the last attack,
added to the knowledge of the formidable force advancing against them, combined to form a scene apparently too
much for men bred in the quiet retirement of domestic life to sustain; but the stillness of death reigned within
the American works, and nought could be seen but the deadly presented weapon, ready to hurl fresh destruction on
the assailants. The fire of the Americans was again reserved till the British came still nearer than before, when
the same unerring aim was taken, and the British shrunk, terrified, from before its fatal effects, flying, completely
routed, a second time to the banks of the river, and leaving, as before, the field strewed with their wounded and
"Again the ships and batteries renewed their fire, and kept a continual shower of balls on the works. Notwithstanding
every exertion, the British officers found it impossible to rally the men for a third attack; one third of their
comrades had fallen; and finally it was not till a reinforcement of more then 1,000 fresh troops, with a strong
park of artillery, had joined them from Boston, that they could be induced to form anew.
"In the mean time every effort was made on the part of the Americans to resist a third attack; Gen. Putnam
rode, notwithstanding the heavy fire of the ships and batteries, several times across the neck, to induce the militia
to advance, but it was only a few of the resolute and brave who would encounterer the storm. The British receiving
reinforcements from their formidable main body - the town of Charlestown presenting one wide scene of destruction
- the probability the Americans must shortly retreat the shower of balls pouring over the neck presented obstacles
too appalling for raw troops to sustain, and embodied too much danger to allow them to encoun. ter. Yet, notwithstanding
all this, the Americans on the heights were elated with their success, and waited with coolness and determination
the now formidable advance of the enemy.
"Once more the British, aided by their reinforcements, advanced to the attack, hut with great skill and caution.
Their artillery was planted on the eastern declivity of the hill, between the rail fence and the breastwork, where
it was directed along the line of the Americans, stationed at the latter place, and against the gate way on the
north eastern corner of the redoubt; at the same time they attacked the redoubt on the south eastern and south
western sides, and entered it with fixed bayonets. The slaughter on their advancing was great; but the Americans,
not having bayonets to meet them on equal terms, and their powder being exhausted, now slowly retreated, opposing
and extricating themselves from the British with the butts of their pieces.
"The column that advanced against the rail fence was received in the most dauntless manner. The Americans
fought with spirit and heroism that could not be surpassed, and, had their ammunition held out, would have secured
to themselves, a third time, the palm of victory; as it was, they effectually prevented the enemy from accomplishing
his purpose, which was to turn their flank and cut the whole of the Americans off; but having become perfectly
exhausted, this body of the Americans also slowly retired, retreating in much better order than could possibly
have been expected from undisciplined troops, and those in the redoubt having extricated themselves from a host
of haonets by which they had been surrounded.
The British followed the Americans to Bunker Hill, but some fresh militia, at this moment comiug up to the aid
of the latter, covered their retreat. The Americans crossed Charlestown Neck about 7 o'clock, having in the last
twenty hours performed deeds which seemed almost impossible. Some of them proceeded to Cambridge, and others posted
themselves quietly on Winter and Prospect Hills.
"From the most accurate statements that can be found, it appears the British must have had nearly 5,000 soldiers
in the battle; between 3 and 4,000 having first landed, and the reinforcement amounting to over 1,000. The Americans,
throughout the whole day, did not have 2,000 men on the field.
The slaughter on the side of the British was immense, having had nearly 1,500 killed, and wounded, 1,200 of whom
were either killed or mortally wounded; the Americans about 400.
"Had the commanders at Charlestown Heights become terrified on being cut off from the main body and supplies,
and surrendered their army, or even retreated before they did from the terrific force that opposed them, where
would have now been that ornament and example to the world, the Independence of the United States? When it was
found that no reinforcements were to be allowed them, the most sanguine man on that field could not have even indulged
a hope of success, but all determined to deserve it; and although they did not obtain a victory, their exam ple
was the cause of a great many. The first attempt on the commencement of a war is held up, by one party or the other,
as an example to those that succeed it, and a victory or defeat, though not, perhaps, of any great magnitude in
itself, is most powerful and important in its effects. Had such conduct as was here exhibited been in any degree
imitated by the immediate commander in the first military onset in the last war, how truly difièrent a result
would have been effected. from the fatal one that terminated that unfortunate expedition!
"From the immense superiority of the British, at this stage of the war, having a large army of highly disciplined
and well-equipped troops, and the Americans possessing but few other munitions or weapons of war, and but little
more discipline than what each man possessed when he threw aside his plough and took the gun that he had kept for
pastime or for profit, but now to be employed for a different purpose, from off the hooks that held it,-perhaps
it would have been in their power, by pursuing the Americans to Cambridge, and destroying the few stores that had
been collected there, to implant a blow which could never have been recovered from: but they were completely terrified.
The awful lesson they had just received, filled them with horror, and the blood of 1,500 of their companions, who
fell on that day, presented to them a warning which they could never forget. From the battle of Bunker Hill sprung
the protection and the vigor that nurtured the tree of liberty, and to it, in all probability, may be ascribed
our independence and glory.
"The name of the first martyr that gave his life for the good of his country on that day, in the importance
of the moment, was lost, else a monument, in connexion with the gallant Warren, should be raised to his memory.
The manner of his death was thus related by Col. Prescott:
"'The first man who fell in the battle of Bunker Hill was killed by a cannon ball which struck his head. He
was so near me that my clothes were besmeared with his blood and brains, which I wiped off in some degree with
a handful of fresh earth. The sight was so shocking to many of the men, that they left their posts and ran to view
him. I ordered them back, but in vain. I then ordered him to be buried instantly. A subaltern officer expressed
surprise that I should allow him to he buried without having prayers said; I replied, "This is the first man
that has been ki'led, and the only one that will be buried to-day. I put him out of sight that the men may be kept
in their places. God only knows who, or how many of us, will fall before it is over. To your post, my good fellow,
and let each man do his duty."'
"The name of the patriot who thus fell is supposed to have been POLLARD, a young man belonging to Billerica.
He was struck by a cannon ball, thrown from the line of battle ship Somerset."
On the 17th of June, 1825, the corner stone of an obelisk was laid on the hattie-ground, by Gen. Lafayette, to
commemorate the battle fought, fifty years before. On this occasion, an immense concourse of citizens, from various
parts of the country, assembled to witness the interesting ceremonies of the day. The following account of the
proceedings is from Snow's History of Boston.
"The day was temperate and fair, and all the arrangements made to honor it were executed with punctuality
and good order. A procession was formed about half past 10, A. M., near the state house, under the direction of
Brig. Gen. Theodore Lyman, Jr. The military escort was composed of 16 companies, and a corps of cavalry, all volunteers
and in full uniform. Next to them followed the survivors of the battle, about 40 in number, and after them about
200 other revolutionary officers and soldiers, each wearing an appropriate badge; then the subscribers to the monument,
in columns six deep, all wearing the badge of the B. H. M. Association. The Masonic fraternity sueceeded. This
section of the procession was very splendid, and rumbered at least 2,000 members, all with their jewels and regalia.
The president and officers of the association, the chaplains and committees followed. General Lafayette, in a coach
and four, came next, accompanied by Gen. Lallemand, and followed by a carriage in which were the general's son
and suite. The governor and state officers, distinguished persons from the different states, officers of the army,
navy and militia, in uniform, and a large body of private citizens, closed the procession.
"In this order, the whole moved through Park, Common, School, Washington, Union. Hanover and Prince streets
to Charles River bridge, and thence through the Main. Green, and High streets, in Charlestown, to the Monumental
square. The front of the procession had nearly reached the bridge when the rear of it left the common. Arrived
at the spot intended for the monument, (which is a little to the east of the site of the monument to Warren,) the
procession formed in squares around it; and the stone, being squared, levelled and plumbed by the grand master,
the general, and the Hon. Daniel Webster, (president of the association,) was declared in due form to be true and
proper, and the ceremonies closed with the customary religious services. Cheers from the multitude of witnesses,
and salutes from Bunker's and Copp's Hills, announced the moment of the fact to the thousands who could not be
gratified with the sight of it.
'The procession then moved to an amphitheatrical area, where preparations had. been made, on a most ample scale,
for the accommodation of the auditors of the address of the president of the association. They included a large
portion of the north-eastern declivity of the battle hill. On each side of the bower, seats with awnings had been
prepared, and were filled by over one thousand ladies, from all parts of the Union. In the centre of the base,
a rural arch and bower, surmounted by the American eagle, was formed for the government of the association and
some of the guests, in front of which, after the venerable Mr. Thaxter had addressed the Throne of Grace, the orator,
sub calo pronounced an address, which none but its author is capable of doing justice to in a summary, and which
will be read with a pleasure equalled only by that which electrified the vast assemblage who listened to it for
nearly one hour and a quarter. It is enough for us to say, that it was in every particular worthy of the celebrity
of the orator, and that his address to the silver headed worthies of the Revolution, and to the distinguished Guest
of the Nation, filled every heart with transport."
"After the close of the address, the company repaired to Bunker's Hill, where a sumptuous entertainment was
provided, at which more than four thousand persons partook. The guests separated at a seasonable hour, and the
festivities of the occasion terminated with a private party at the residence of a distinguished citizen."
The depth to which the corner stone was laid was found insufficient to resist the action of frost. It was taken
up in 1827, and relaid to a greater depth, and the base, 50 feet in diameter, was completed. From this base, according
to the plan, the monument is to rise two hundred and twenty feet. When completed it will form an obelisk, 30 feet
square at the base and 15 at the top. It will consist of 80 courses of Quincy granite, each course 2 feet 8 inches
in thickness; and will be the highest of the kind known in the world, and only below the height of the Egyptian
pyramids. At present, the monument is raised to only about 60 feet.
* “The neck of land on which Charlestown is built abounds with good water, but the settlers have found only
a brackish spring by the water-side, to which they had no access excepting when the tide was down.”—Prince, 244.
Historical Collections Relating to the
History and Antiquities of
Every town in Massachusetts with
By John Warner Barber.
Published by Warren Lazell.