Roslindale is not the sort of place you associate with the Revolution, but it turns out a cemetery there, by the side of a road Washington's forces used to ferry supplies from Dedham to Boston, was the final resting place for a number of Revolutionary War soldiers.
You can see the remains of the Walter Street Burying Ground on Peters Hill in the Arnold Arboretum. Go into the Peters Hill entrance of the Arboretum where South Street meets Walter Street and start up the path on the hill. As you walk, keep in mind that back in the day, Roslindale as a place didn't exist - the area was a hinterland of the town of Roxbury. And Walter Street, then known as the Dedham Road was a key supply route for the Americans.
It's the annual reenactment of the Boston Massacre, tonight at 7 at the Old State House.
J.L. Bell reports a new app maps out key Revolutionary sites in downtown Boston - and that a planned upgrade will include GPS linking, "allowing users to match colonial-era locations with today’s crossroads."
A movie company hired by the Tea Party Museum will film a re-creation of the Battle of Lexington on a field just west of Richmond, Va.
The Herald summons ye olde outrage over the moviemaking, set for next month. As the Herald notes, the Tea Party Museum is getting $21 million in Massachusetts tax subsidies.
On its site, LionHeart FilmWorks claims:
The concentration of events in this 10-minute project to the events of early 1775 is allowing the Director to be able to focus on intimate details of the era and events from Lexington Green, so that it may be portrayed and illustrated with strict detail, perhaps for the first time with such detail and authenticity on screen. That is our mission.
Or maybe it's because we just don't have enough Revolutionary recreators around here. Right?
A detailed and authentic Eastern Massachusetts civilian impression is requested to most accurately portray the 77 American Patriots that stood on Lexington Green. Even though we are filming in summer, the night of April 18th and early morning of the 19th would have been more than a little chilly. Wool garments are preferred, including coats and some greatcoats.
Mmm, yeah, wool greatcoats in July in Virginia.
Was it Peter Salem of Framingham or Salem Poor of Andover? J.L. Bell tries to unravel the mystery of the black colonist who put Major Pitcairn in a grave.
Mark recounts how the British attack on the better known historical spots was foreshadowed a month earlier by a similar, if less bloody, march down Centre Street toward Dedham.
His majesty's regiments of foot reasserted their control over the Boston Common today with an encampment and a successful battle against rebel colonists. The encampment continues on Sunday.
Boston 1775 begins the saga of Revolutionary War skirmishes over Boston Light, the lighthouse that basically controlled nighttime navigation into Boston Harbor.
J.L. Bell fills us in on the goings on in the Adams household whilst John was off in Europe.
Like sci-fi fans who delight in finding continuity errors in Star Trek episodes, history buffs are enjoying themselves tremendously picking apart HBO's John Adams mini-series, including a sequence involving smallpox, which forced J.L. Bell to admit:
I must confess that I don't know my pus that well.
J.L. Bell compares the Boston Massacre trial on the John Adams mini-series with the historical record, concluding with the possibility that the screenwriters got confused between Oliver Wendell, who had a slave who testified, and Oliver Wendell Holmes, the monicker of two rather more famous Bostonians (one of whom I can thank for the name of this site), neither of whom were even alive during the Revolution.
J.L. Bell concludes his recounting of Evacuation Day:
... Immediately upon the fleet's sailing the Select Men set off, through the lines, to Roxbury to acquaint General [George] Washington of the evacuation of the town. After sending a message Major [Joseph] Ward aid to General [Artemas] Ward, came to us at the lines and soon after the General himself, who received us in the most polite and affectionate manner, and permitted us to pass to Watertown to acquaint the Council of this happy event. ...
J.L. Bell reports on British preparations on March 15, 1776 to evacuate Boston:
... The General told us the Troops would embark this day and was told by General [James] Robertson it would be by three oclock. The Regiments all mustered, some of them marched down the wharf. Guards and Chevaux De Freze, were placed in the main streets and wharves in order to secure the retreat of Out Centinels. Several of the principle streets through which they were to pass were filled with Hhds. [hogsheads] filled with Horse-dung, large limbs of trees from the Mall [a tree-lined walk on Boston Common] to prevent a pursuit of the Continental Army. They manifestly appeared to be fearful of an attack. ...
Mark posts a copy of a Boston newspaper ad from Sept. 25, 1777 offering a reward for the return of a slave who escaped from her master in Jamaica Plain.
J.L. Bell reports that while the upcoming HBO mini-series on our own John Adams might be riveting, possibly the most riveting scene of all never happened: A royal customs agent was not tarred and feathered here by a mob acting on the orders of John Hancock (although there was an actual tarring and feathering a year later; Adams represented a defendant in that case, which involved a ship that had been seized from Hancock).
J.L. Bell recounts how Boston Harbor almost became the site of the first submarine attack in history.
J.L. Bell reprints part of a flier Revolutionaries set into the wind in the hopes they would flutter down on Redcoats encamped in Boston in 1775 - and on deserters from the American side:
... The notion of provincial militiamen slipping off to the British lines surprises me, not because I see the American cause as obviously just and holy but because the countryside undoubtedly had more food and more opportunities for movement. One of the handbills that the provincials printed, shown above, even highlighted that difference. Yet some men saw better prospects inside Boston than outside. ...
J.L. Bell explains why he revised a Wikipedia entry that claimed Framingham was a "center of rebellion" during the years leading up to the Revolution: Basically, because it wasn't.
J.L. Bell reprints a report by Henry Greenleaf, whose father, William, was the first person to ever recite the Declaration of Independence at what is now the Old State House, back in 1776:
... As his voice was rather weak, he requested Colonel [Thomas] Crafts to act as his herald; they stood together at the front of the balcony, and my father read a sentence, which was immediately repeated by Crafts, and so continued to the end, when was the huzza. ...
The lion and unicorn [from the Town House] were burnt on the evening of the declaration on a bonfire, in front of the Bunch of Grapes [tavern], as were the king's arms from the Court-House, and all signs bearing emblems of royalty that could be found. ...
J.L. Bell attempts to squash the heresy that the two-if-by-sea steeple was actually at Old North Meeting-House in North Square.
J.L. Bell shows that conspiracy theories are hardly a modern phenomenon.
J.L. Bell discusses the patriots who died on April 19, including Edward Barber, of Charlestown, age 14.