A 1775 map of Boston Harbor. The note for 16 (between Noddle's Island and Hog Island on the right) reads: "The Schooner burnt at Nodles Island by Genl Putman." No mention of Chelsea Creek. From the Norman Leventhal Map Center at the Boston Public Library.
Everybody knows the Battle of Bunker Hill really took place on Breed's Hill. On EastBoston.com, Michael Laurano argues the feds are about to perpetuate a similar misnaming for the first naval battle in the War of Independence.
The National Park Service recently announced a grant for a history project on the "Battle of Chelsea Creek." But Laurano says that's unfair to Noddle's Island, because it took place around the island - now the core of East Boston and Logan Airport, rather than in what was then such an insignificant creek its name didn't even make local maps at the time:
To misplace by misnaming an important American Revolutionary War historical event simply to feed local vanities constitutes historical revisionism and is plainly wrong. A tail does not wag a dog nor does a minor creek, one of several in its proximity or on its perimeter, including Mill creek (Slade's-Revere), Crooked Lane or creek (once navigable at high tide, now Boardman Street, Orient Heights), Belle Isle Creek (Revere & Winthrop), define an island.
Noddle's Island was not in 1775 merely an island in Chelsea Creek. East Boston never was that and is not that now. In deference to tradition and the full truth of the matter this early chapter in the American epic struggle for freedom should be known as "The Battle of Noddle's Island and Chelsea Creek" or perhaps better yet "The Battle of Noddle's Island, Winnisimmet and Rumney Marsh" which in fact it was and not "The Battle of Chelsea Creek" which alone it most definitely was not.