Fortifying Breed's Hill in the Night, June 16, 1775



Background Notes

Fortifying Breed's Hillis an engraving by Samuel Hollyer (1826-1919) who was born in London and worked in London and New York as an engraver and etcher, working for a long time for book publishers. It is based on an illustration by F.O.C. Darley. After dusk, on the night of June 16, 1775, hundreds of men were sent in to Breed's Hill to construct a redoubt, or temporary defensive fortification. Originally, the site for this fort was to be Bunker's Hill, but Breed's Hill was closer to Boston. It was decided to secretly set up this defensive fort during the night because it was learned that the British troops, led by General Gage, were going to occupy Dorchester Heights within a few days. By dawn on the 17th, the British had discovered the new American fort, and decided to retaliate. This retaliation resulted in what became known as the Battle of Bunker Hill.

This print depicts men beginning to build the redoubt and prepare a defensive in near darkness.

Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Darley is known as one of the most important and famous American illustrators. He is best known for his work illustrating for hundreds of books and magazines. These illustrations became an important way for Americans to visualize their country's history.

Garraty, John A. and Mark C. Carnes, American National Biography, Vol. 6, New York: Oxford University Press, 1999. pg. 107.

Morris, Richard B. Encyclopedia of American History, New York: Harper & Bros., 1953. pg. 323.

Morris, pg. 87-88.

Curator Notes

Felix Octavius Carr Darley (1822-1888)
G.P.Putnam & Co., New York
51 x 39 cm.