The Bunker Hill Monument is an emblem that represents the revolutionary war at Breed’s Hill near Bunker Hill. The monument, 67 meters tall, was built out of granite. The Bunker monument was constructed within the year 1827 to 1843, in Massachusetts, at a town called Charleston.
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A granite railway was put up purposely to ferry granite form the quarry at Quincy, Massachusetts, to the Bunker Hill. From the base to the apex of the monument, there are 294 steps. The staircase is spiral and is constructed in the inside of the monument up to the pinnacle.
At the top, visitors could have a beautiful and clear view of Boston and the battlefield. At the apex, there are two canons made out of brass that were used in the revolutionary war. Stealth took the canons out of Boston in 1775. This monument was amongst the first to capture and document America’s history.
The site, where the revolutionary war was fought, is known as Freedom. The monument is in the custody of the Boston National Park. This essay explores what the monument represents, why it was built and by whom it was built.
The American government formed an Association in 1823 and mandated it to acquire all the sites where the, June 17, 1775, war was fought (Packard 5). The Association was further tasked to build a fitting park to honor the heroes of the revolutionary war.
The Association commenced its work by setting up a team of artists to design a plan for the monument. The selected team comprised of Engineer Loammi Baldwin, Daniel Webster, George Ticknor, Washington Allston and Gilbert Stuart. About fifty plans were proposed about the design of the monument. The first team could not agree on a plan; hence, another one was constituted.
The new team included H.A.S. Dearborn, Edward Everett, Seth Knowles, S.D. Harris and Perkins T.H. The team agreed on a design called obelisk. It was done by Horatio Greenough. Loammi, the engineer, was praised for modifying the monument.
Construction took off in 1827 under the watch and stewardship of Solomon Willard, architecture by qualification. The materials used included 2 cubic yards of granite block. The obelisk was extracted from a quarry at Quincy through wedging technique. A transportation fee to the construction site was $5.40 on each cubic yard.
Lack of sufficient funds heavily affected the progress of the project. The construction process had to be sopped when the cash budget had been exhausted totally. The only option that was feasible was to sell the acquired parcels of land to raise the required funds to finish the monument.
They sold off ten acres in the year 1838, only retaining the apex of Breed’s Hill. Once the required funds were raised, the construction process resumed hastily. The final capstone was fitted in July 23, 1842. The monument was completed, and in 17, 1843, it was devoted by Daniel Webster, an orator (Webster 37).
The Association remained the custodians of the monument until 1919 when Commonwealth of Massachusetts assumed the management of the monument. This transfer lasted only until 1976 when again ownership was shifted to National Park Service. The monument effectively became part of the Boston Historical Park.
The memorial monument was an honor of the Americans who fought in the revolutionary war against the British. The genesis and development of the war would perhaps explain the significance of the memorial park in the history of Americans.
The British government had accumulated many debts out of the long war between the Indians and the French. The government raised taxes for the colonialists to raise funds to offset the debt. This move attracted rebellion from various colonies protesting the taxation. For instance, in Boston, colonists of the tea party damaged property and disposed Tea to the Boston Harbor.
The government responded by deploying soldiers to Boston to enforce order. Governor Thomas Hutchinson handed over to General Thomas Gage. Thomas effected the application of the Martial law that caused more rebellion from the colonists.
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Militiamen, minutemen, organized themselves to counter any further advancement of the British beyond Boston. The government commanded the military to annihilate the militia group. In April 1775, the militia attacked British troops in Lexington, Concord. This marked the birth of the American Revolution.
The rebel leaders mobilized men from Massachusetts to organize a battalion. The response was testimony of the unity of the rebels. Men from New Hampshire and Connecticut joined forces with the ones from Massachusetts.
Their objective was to protect Boston from the British. People from all over including Joseph Warren, a physician, came to Boston to fight. About fifteen thousand rebels engulfed Boston where General Gage and the British army were. King George III reacted to the news by deploying Generals Henry Clinton, John Burgoyne and William Howe to Boston to help Gage.
They reviewed the situation and decided to attack the hills in Dorchester and Charleston in order to regain control. The rebels discovered this strategy and set to occupy Charleston. The 16th of June 1775 is the day the war was staged.
Artemas Ward directed the American soldiers to arm themselves with shovels and guns as they left their camp. They moved to Charleston Peninsula, a place that was near Bunker Hill, in Boston. The strategy was to get to the hill from where they could confront the British ships. However, the soldiers headed to Breed’s Hill instead apparently due to improper coordination.
The Breed’s Hill was located closer to the British base. The Americans launched a stern warning to the British about their presence. This triggered what many believed was a revolutionary war. Major General William Howe commanded the British army. The general decided to command to his army to move towards the hill thinking that the Americans would move back.
A group of 28 British forces went through the Charles River towards the hills where the Americans were. The Americans opened fire to the British after they advanced closer to them. A couple of the British died, and others were injured as they retreated.
Another attempt at defeating the Americans on the hill was futile as more were killed. The Americans finally ran out of ammunition and resulted to physical fighting with the British. The British overpowered them and occupied the hill. The consequence of this fight left more than 1054 dead and scores others injured.
However, General Gage was saddened by the loss they had sustained from the attack. Though the rebels lost, they built their confidence to fight and challenge the British. They had managed to drive the British back two times before their ammunition ran out.
This was a tremendous inspiration since the possibility of reconciliation with the British was minimal. This reality triggered a war that was fought for eight years.
George Washington assumed leadership of the American army in 2nd July 1775. He was mandated to reorganize his troops for an imminent war against the British. The king, who was in London, interpreted the confrontation at Bunker Hill as an act of war.
This opened the window for Britain to stage retaliation. The general Howe prepared his troops in readiness for the war. He also planned on how to incorporate loyal colonials.
During the subsequent years after the battle, the hill was declared a divine place. This sanctity was to be preserved to mark the significance of the place where the genesis of the American Revolution was born. American patriots always traveled there to honor and recognize the Americans who lost their life in the attack.
The exact first monument to be planted at the hill, in 1794, was in accolade of Joseph Warren. Joseph Warren was one of the influential leaders in Boston. Warren had been killed in the fight. There was a need to recognize the efforts of all those who fought at the hill.
Early 1800, an Association was constituted to oversee the establishment of the monument. The Association raised money for that project from the public. The foundation stone was placed in 1825. In 1840, the monument had been constructed halfway when Sarah Josepha Hale organized a fair to raise more funds. Sara was an editor for the Godey’s Lady’s Book.
She mobilized several women to a fair that was held for 8 days. About $30000 was raised to help in the completion of the monument. Amos Lawrence and Judah Touro, men of irreproachable will; each gave $10000 to the Association overseeing the construction.
Three years after, the construction was finished. The monument was unveiled in 1843 coinciding with a memorial of the war. During the ceremony, the president of the United States of America, John Tyler, attended together with about 100000 people including the participants of the war. At the ceremony, there were only twelve survivors from the battle.
Daniel Webster, orator and national leader addressed the gathering highlighting the significance of the monument. He said it represented the past sacrifices, a basis for today and future generations (George 89). The monument was dilapidated with time hence the need for repair.
The process of its renovation cost $3.7 million dollars. The repairs included fitting lighting in the monument. In April 2, 2007, the Bunker monument was reopened for the public. The lights were switched on, in April 20, 2007 since the monument was erected.
The monument has had a tremendous effect on the lives of people: a linkage that connects people to the veterans of the American Revolution. Countless students all over the globe have studied the site. Numerous people including students visit the monument to learn the chronology of events that triggered the American Revolution.
The monument represents an eternal reminder of the patriotic Americans who refused to be enslaved and misused by the British. It represents the American patriots who sacrificed their lives to liberate and defend the American ideals and land. The Bunker monument is a national heritage that emboldens the foundation of the independent America.
George, Adams. Webster’s First Bunker Hill Oration and Washington’s Farewell Address. Montana: Kessinger Publishing, 2004. Print.
Packard, Alpheus S. History of the Bunker Hill Monument. Charleston: Nabu Press, 2012. Print.
Webster, Daniel. The Bunker Hill Monument Adams and Jefferson. Montana: Kessinger Publishing, 2005. Print.