The map was originally prepared by Sir Thomas Hyde Page, who was a British military engineer and cartographer. He was sent with a corps of engineers to America and served under Sir Robert Page. At Bunker Hill, he acted as aide de camp to General William Howe, who was in command of the British forces for that operation. During the battle, Page was severely wounded and lost his leg, and was evacuated back to England. During his recovery, he drew maps of various conflicts in Boston, including the one on display here. The map is an accurate and detailed depiction of the battle, done by someone who was there. You can read more about Page on this page.
Our version of this map is not a 1775 original, which was published soon after the battle and has a slightly different title, referring to the “American Forces” as the “Rebel Forces.” Our version was published in 1793 in London as part of The History of the Origin, Progress, and Termination of the American War by Charles Stedman. If you visit us and look closely at the display, you’ll see that the map is actually in two pieces, showing where it was removed from a bound book. The 1793 version also differs from the original by including a reference to the plan, which identifies key movements of the military forces. The map depicts hedgerows, redoubts (a temporary fortification), the placement of British and American forces, and lines of fire from ships in the Charles River and a section of Boston that we now know as the North End.
Visit the main library’s reading room throughout the month to see this map on display, or click here to see the digitized version in the collection of the Leventhal Map Center at the Boston Public Library. And if you’d like to read more about Joseph Warren, check out Founding Martyr: The Life and Death of Dr. Joseph Warren, the American Revolution’s Lost Hero by Christian Di Spigna.
By Elizabeth Roscio