Gateway to the Classics: American History Stories, Volume II by Mara L. Pratt
American History Stories, Volume II by  Mara L. Pratt

General Warren

We must not leave the story of the Battle of Bunker Hill without speaking of the brave General Warren. He was indeed one of the bravest of the brave. He was a man of wonderful talent, and from the very earliest troubles with England had been one of the staunchest patriots. When he learned that the British were setting out to attack the colonists on Breed's Hill, he started out at once across Charlestown Neck, amid showers of British balls; and, on reaching the redoubt, offered himself as a volunteer.

The poet makes him say to the colonists as the British draw near:

"Stand! the ground's your own my braves!

Will ye give it up to slaves?

Will ye look for greener graves?

Hope ye mercy still?

What's the mercy despots feel?

Hear it in that battle-peal!

Read it on yon bristling steel!

Ask it—ye who will.

"In the God of battles trust!

Die we may—and die we must;

But, oh, where can dust to dust

Be consigned so well,

As where heaven its dews shall shed,

On the martyred patriot's bed,

And the rocks shall raise their head.

Of his deeds to tell!"

Throughout the battle, Warren was in the thickest of the fight; and at the end, when the British had gained the redoubt, he was one of the last to give up the struggle. He was rallying the few remaining colonists, when a British officer who knew him, and knew what a power he was among his countrymen, singled him out and shot him.

When General Gage heard that Warren was dead, he said, "It is well; that one man was equal to five hundred ordinary soldiers."

He had been an honorable citizen, a skilled physician, a noble senator, and a brave warrior. The loss of no one man, in the whole war was mourned more, perhaps, than the loss of this hero, General Warren.

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