The American "Truth"

Is it really true?

Story Truth (by Maya Solomon)

As I am shamefully struggling to stand here on these grounds of our nation in Massachusetts, with the British gloriously waving red flags around, I knew that we were defeated for sure.There was no hope in trying to stand up and confront them for the last time. We had our weapons handy, but as the day seemed like it was never going to end, I felt like there were only three of us colonists, and an abundance of prestigious British men fighting to show the world that they have all the power that ever existed.

While the loud chaos continues, and as I start to collapse on the ground, I try my best to stay strong to support my other fellow Americans as I noticed General Warren falling towards me. He must have ran out of his willpower and could not fight any longer, because after all, he is simply a human. Just like any one of us. Just like any one of the British.

And then I noticed something about his head--besides it being completely pale white, there was a hole, looking something like a musket ball with red spilling out everywhere. But although I have no will to fight any longer and have not the patience to stay here on these bloody grounds facing the British, General Warren is on my side, and therefore we are a true family. I will do whatever it takes so that we come out with any sort of glory...

No, there is no glory at all for us. We confronted the British at Breed’s Hill several times, and lost all of our ammunition. Every single bullet was gone. As we thought the British would flee the first time around, they came back and fought even harder. Not a single bullet anymore. Our hard work, fighting, and pride meant nothing. I feel like I am not even living anymore; there is no hope.

Happening Truth (by Rachel Kiehne)

On June 17, 1795, the American Revolution was in full swing. In the battle of Bunker Hill, the British were gaining headway against the Americans. In the third advance against the colonists, American leader, General Warren was shot in the head.

The battle of Bunker Hill was fought during the time when Britain was seizing Boston. American Commander William Prescott was occupying Breeds Hill, next to Bunker Hill, when the British mounted the attack led by General William Howe and Brigadier General Robert Pigot. The British attacked three times before the colonists retreated. In the first attack, General Howe took his troops within range of the colonists, when Prescott ordered the colonists to fire. This overwhelmed the British, causing them to retreat. The second attack, the British reformed their military lines, only to result in the same retreat as the first. At this point, the colonists became low on ammunition and went into a hand-to-hand battle with the British. Here the British troops outnumbered the Americans, forcing them to retreat. In the end, nearly 200 British troops were killed and 800 were wounded.

The Battle of Bunker Hill, however a colonial loss, showed the British that the war would be long and hard. It also significantly impacted the colonists by proving that country militiamen could stand a chance against the British. The Painting took place at in the last stage of the battle, and displayed the hand-to-hand combat that happened in the final moments of fighting.

Art Critique (by Tara Gharavi)

Death of General Warren at the Battle of Bunker’s Hill June 17, 1775 is done by John Trumbull in 1786. It is an oil on canvas painting about the Battle of Bunker’s Hill during the American Revolution done in the Romanticism style. The painting as can be seen above, is overrun with British Redcoats towards the right side while the few American Patriots reside on the left. A hectic conflict among the Redcoats and the Patriots in the foreground, with peaceful waters in the background. An American in vivid white clothes is dying on the ground as the light of heaven shines on him symbolizing the man as a martyr of the war. The man is General Warren and he is depicted as the hero of the painting, lying on the ground similar to the form of the pieta. The goodness of the nature of Americans can be witnessed as a Patriot tries to protect the dying General from being stabbed in the heart by the vicious Redcoats. The painting has an aura of sadness, a loss of life and liberty due to the oppressive British while it sparks a passion among Americans to fight for their rightful natural laws. The audience of this painting is intended to be the members of the newly born nation, United States of America. Exigence of Trumbull is the fact that Trumbull witnessed this particular battle and its argument is to inspire American Exceptionalism among the new nation. Remind the men of the odds they overcame in order to create the nation they overcame.

Identity of the Author (by Shreya Soman)

Born in 1756, Connecticut, John Trumbull an artist, author, and architect that lived during the American Revolution. Trumbull was the son of parents of Puritan lineage. His childhood was quite uneventful, except that he suffered an injury to the left eye and therefore had monocular vision, which brought out more detail in his paintings.

During his service in the Army, Trumbull’s skill helped the army by drawing out plans of British works. He was present in the American army camp during the Battle of Bunker Hill, and he watched it unfold in front of his eyes by using field glasses. Considering that the militiamen of America had not been exposed to such violence, it was natural for Trumbull to make an iconic painting depicting this battle. So iconic was this painting, in fact that for a time, it was at the back of a two-dollar bill. It was after that battle when he was promoted to become the aide of Washington and witness real action for himself. This service and experience in the American Army helped him paint post-warfare revolutionary art—which became his major project after the revolution. In 1784, he went to study art under the painter Benjamin West, whose style influenced Trumbull’s art. He then painted The Death of General Warren at Bunker Hill in 1786, using what he learned from his teacher and his service in the army.

Trumbull’s crowning artistic achievement was when he was commissioned to paint 4 large paintings depicting the American Revolution, the most famous of which was the Declaration of Independence, on the rotunda of the capitol at Washington D.C. in 1814.
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War Story

I first met General Warren on a small country road in Massachusetts. He was a politician, a leader, a friend. I never expected war to be as intense. Bullets were flying around my head, men were screaming, I was just hoping to stay alive.

When I joined the army, I was assigned to General Warren’s troop. We were commissioned on Bunker Hill, when the British lines heard of us. I remember the way Warren looked as the British were approaching; it was as if a fire were burning in his eyes.

He told us to hold fire until the whites of the colonist’s eyes were seen. When we fired spontaneously, and the British retreated, we thought we had the lead. Then, they came back a second time, only for us to win again. Unfortunately, we were running low on ammunition when the British decided to come back again for round three.

Here I stood 5 people behind General Warren, when I heard the loudest shot that would change my life. Warren slumped forward, falling into the arms of Hank. In that moment, I realized life is fragile, and not one of us is invincible. The blood spurting from his head, his eyes rolled back, and the fire gone, something broke inside me. I felt regret, anger, and sorrow. My bones ached, my heart broke, and I couldn’t think. The moment was a haze and I only remember the agony of the deaths all around me.

At that moment, I decided to fight the British, for my friend. I would avenge him.