By: Geena Wang, Molly West, Nick Romeo, Zach Moore

The Death of General Warren at the Battle of Bunker's Hill June 17 1775 By John Trumbull

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Artist Bio By: Geena Wang

This painting was created by John Trumbull. He was born in Connecticut in 1756 and graduated from Harvard when he was 15. Due to a childhood incident, he lost an eye, influencing his painting style. Trumbull participated in the American Revolutionary War and actually witnessed the Battle of Bunker Hill. He was later appointed as George Washington’s personal aide. In 1777 he resigned from the army, but shortly after he was imprisoned in London for 7 months for treason. After his release,he returned to America and studied under the artist Benjamin West. West encouraged him to depict scenes from the war, leading into the creation of a new category in art: modern history painting. He sold his works to Yale, which were placed in the Neoclassical section. During his later years, he focused more on portraits and was appointed as the president of the American Academy of the Fine Arts.

Art Critique By: Molly West

  • The piece of artwork clearly portrays a scene from the American Revolution in which an American Patriot is dying in the hands of another Patriot by the hands of the British. A British fighter is as well dying in the arms of one of his comrades, but as it blends in with the background, the artist clearly deemed it as less significant. The focus of the painting is clearly the dying American which draws the viewer’s eye slightly off center. Trumbull does this by dressing the American soldiers in white which draws the eye away from the red or dark coloring and the business of the rest of the painting. The artist not only uses white as a tactic to draw the viewer’s eye, but also to represent the purity of the American soldiers and to give the illusion that the American fighters are innocent and should be portrayed as victims. That is why, as well, that a British soldier is dying in the background, because, though accurate, it is way less of a big deal, for the artist clearly did not want the British to be pitied. Trumbull most likely only included that scene in the artwork to show the magnitude and ferocity of the battle or to show that the colonists are strong and fought hard; that they had a chance, though they lost. The attire of the colonists, excluding the coloring, also shows that they are more relatable or caught off guard making the viewer want to sympathize with them. The vast number of British soldiers also emphasizes the sympathy the viewer should feel for the colonists. The British soldiers, however, are portrayed in red uniforms in large groups, making the viewer less connected to them because they are so abundant and expressionless, aside from the dying man. The red represents passion and danger in contrast to the American’s white innocence. The dark clouds in the top right corner are more than likely coming from Great Britain symbolizing the danger and darkness coming from Europe to the American soil to contrast with the light blue skies. The artist is clearly portraying the British as the clear enemy. A viewer with no knowledge of the battle could tell who is the enemy and where the battle took place based on the emergence of British darkness into the light of the colonies. The chiaroscuro shadowing is a way to draw the viewer’s eyes to what the artist deems as most important- the brutal center of the battle in which men from both sides are dying. The British dead soldiers are in shadows, while the dead American soldier is shown in the light clearly depicting who the artist wants the viewer to focus on.

Story Truth By: Zack Moore

The British came at us with muskets and swords they tried to get through our defenses. their bayonets were sharpened to a point and their swords were finely sharpened as well. We did not have the gear, that the British had. Their flag bearer flung the British flag high but we held ours higher. We never stopped fighting, even as we watched our friends and even family get impaled by the British forces. I held my friend as a British soldier came up and killed him. I held him as he died in my arms. Even though they killed many of our men, but we killed more of theirs! They thought that they could, come into our land and take us out easily but we put up a fight that they would remember the rest of their lives. As they pushed us back, and more of our men fell to the ground, we fought harder and harder but they had too many men and they had better equipment. we could not match them… we dropped more of their men, then they dropped of ours. Finally we had lost too many men and we decided to retreat, But not with out a little victory, in the midst of the battle General Warren was shot with a musket ball and was fatally wounded.

Happening Truth By: Nick Romeo

This paining depicts the death of General Joseph Warren at the Battle of Bunker Hill in June 17, 1775. General Warren was a Massachusetts politician who had been commissioned a General. In other words, he was a very important man and a valiant man as well because he put himself at the front line even though he was a general. The bunker that had been constructed at the top of Breed’s Hill was the center of three consecutive British attacks. General Warren had led the colonists to victory for the first two attacks, but then ran out of vital ammunition, which led to the retreat and defeat of the colonists. As the colonists were evacuating, General Warren was hit by a musket ball and suffered a fatal wound in the chest. He was a man of great respect so he was mourned by all.

War Story

  • I sat there helpless and unprepared. I heard one of my colonist comrades tell me that the British were coming. We were terrified. I remember the smell of smoke and gunpowder as soldiers dressed in blood red emerged from behind the clouds beyond the horizon. They attacked first. One of my buddies was shot. I ran him and wrapped my arms around him. The British kept coming. There could’ve been thousands and thousands of them- I wouldn’t know the difference. All I could see was an American body dead and bleeding on the ground. One of MY American bodies was dead. The soil was slippery from the rain the day before. I felt a gun raise behind me. Though ashamed, I cowardly lowered my head toward my dead brother, making the soil wet again, this time with my tears. I looked up and saw British dead bodies surrounding me. Somehow, I felt no pity, but instead a plethora of American pride and exceptionalism. I was proud of my soldiers, my partners, my patriots. They were defending my land when I wasn’t and they were defending ours who were dead. The great abundance of British soldiers alive made the dead ones seem nonexistent. I felt no remorse. I had to fight. I had to push. I had to prove to the British that I am an American- that we are Americans and that that means something; not only to ourselves; being an American should mean something to people all over the world. Blood shed and bodies dead stands for freedom. We don’t have a million soldiers. We don’t have fancy tailored red uniforms representing blood shed. We have that blood shed. We have that pride. I fought, I killed, and I walked away from the battle site when it was all over with my gun down and my head high. I stepped over my friends bodies and smelled the blood and gunsmoke still. I walked over my soil knowing it was mine. I hate our oppressors, and our losses only make us stronger.