Evacuation Day

Today is Evacuation Day in Boston, the day the British finally quit the city, giving up on the siege. Conveniently, it falls on Saint Patrick’s Day, so it’s Brits Out all around.

“Had Sir William Howe fortified the hills round Boston, he could not have been disgracefully driven from it,” wrote his replacement Sir Henry Clinton.

I thought this was interesting in this plaguey time:

Once the British fleet sailed away, the Americans moved to reclaim Boston and Charlestown. At first, they thought that the British were still on Bunker Hill, but it turned out that the British had left dummies in place. Due to the risk of smallpox, at first only men picked for their prior exposure to the disease entered Boston under the command of Artemas Ward. More of the colonial army entered on March 20, 1776, once the risk of disease was judged low.

How about Howard Pyle’s painting of Bunker Hill? (I can hear a Bostonian voice correcting me: “you mean Breed’s Hill?)

Can’t have been a fun time for British troops, half of whom were probably Irish recruits anyway. And what of the Dublin born Crean Brush, who met a sad fate for his Loyalism?

While imprisoned in Boston, Brush was denied privileges. He consoled himself with alcohol.



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