OT: War of 1812

victor steinbok aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM
Fri May 28 21:02:18 UTC 2010

I looked through the entire description of the Battle for Bunker Hill
in the book and I found no references that matched Irving's
description. But what I did see contradicts other accounts of the
battle in some details. Cooper gets around much of it by simply
claiming that the attacking line was hidden from view of the main
character, so most of the action is obscured. Either way, the account
is given from the perspective of the British forces. Prescott is the
only one mentioned in connection with the battle among the Colonials.
Putnam is mentioned elsewhere in the book. So the entire reference
appears to have been made up in Knickerbocker, unless there is another
part of the book that describes the battle--I certainly could not find

Although it is hard to judge the extent of the battle from written
accounts that give no external time references, historical estimates
placed the battle duration at one and a half to two hours (relatively
short even by 1812 standards). There is a lot of conflicting
descriptions as to the exact sequence of commands, although the actual
troops movements, points of attack and other military tidbits have
been studied to death. Col. Stark who is sometimes credited with "Aim
at the waistband" line, in some accounts is found by Putnam to have
been alone, abandoned by his deserting troops. Trying to make sense of
the whole hagiography can give one a head-splitting headache, but I
have completed a fairly exhaustive search and will add to Garson's
post shortly. I just need to transcribe a couple more things and look
through the newspapers.


On Fri, May 28, 2010 at 4:44 PM, Joel S. Berson <Berson at att.net> wrote:
> I should add that the editors identify Cooper's sources (where identifiable).

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

More information about the Ads-l mailing list