Bunker Hill

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Melody -
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Composed by the British soldier, after the fight at Bunker Hill, June 17, 1775, printed in Boston

It was on the seventeenth by brake of day,
The Yankees did surprise us.
With their strong works they had thrown up,
To burn the town and drive us;
But soon we had an order come,
An order to defeat them:
Like rebels stout they stood it out,
And thought we ne'er could beat them.

2. About the hour of twelve that day,
An order came for marching,
With three good flints and sixty rounds,
Each man hop'd to discharge them.
We marched down to the long wharf,
Where boats were ready waiting;
With expedition we embark'd,
Our ships kept cannonading.

3. And when our boats all filled were
With officers and soldiers,
With as good troops as England had,
To oppose who dare controul us;
And when our boats all filled were,
We row'd in line of battle,
Where show'rs of balls like hail did fly,
Our cannon loud did rattle.

4. There was Cop's hill battery near Charlestown,
Our twenty-fours they played,
And the three frigates in the stream,
That very well behaved;
The Glasgow frigate clear'd the shore,
All at the time of landing,
With her grape shot and cannon balls,
No Yankees e'er could stand them.

5. And when we landed on the shore,
We drew up all together;
The Yankees they all man'd their works,
And thought we'd ne'er come thither:
But soon they did perceive brave Howe,
Brave Howe our bold commander,
With grenadiers, and infantry,
We made them to surrender.

6. Brave William Howe, on our right wing,
Cry'd boys fight on like thunder;
You soon will fee the rebels flee,
With great amaze and wonder.
Now some lay bleeding on the ground,
And some full fast a running,
O'er hills and dales and mountains high,
Crying, zounds! brave Howe's a coming.

7. They began to play on our left wing,
Where Pegot he commanded;
But we return'd it back again,
With courage most undaunted.
To our grape shot and musket balls,
To which they were but strangers,
They thought to come in with sword in hand,
But soon they found their danger.

8. And when the works we got into,
And put them to the flight, sir,
Some of them did hide themselves,
And others died with fright sir.
And then their works we got into,
Without great fear or danger,
The work they'd made so firm and strong:
The Yankees are great strangers.

9. But as for our artillery,
They all behaved dinty;
For while their ammunition held,
We gave it to them plenty.
But our conductor he got broke,
For his misconduct, sure, sir;
The shot he sent for twelve pound guns
Were made for twenty-four, sir.

10. There's some in Boston pleas'd to say,
As we the field were taking,
We went to kill their countrymen,
While they their hay were making;
For such stout Whigs I never saw;
To hang them all I'd rather,
For making hay with musket-balls
And buck-shot mixed together.

11. Brave Howe is so considerate,
As to prevent all danger;
He allows half a pint a day;
To rum we are no strangers.
Long may he live by land and sea,
For he's beloved by many;
The name of Howe the Yankees dread,
We see it very plainly.

12. And now my song is at an end;
And to conclude my ditty,
It is the poor and ignorant,
And only them, I pity.
And as for their king John Hancock,
And Adams, if they're taken,
Their heads for signs shall hang up high,
Upon that hill call'd Bacon.


From American Song Sheets, Series 1, Volume 8.

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