Bunker Hill Day Special

June 12, 2018
By

Thomas Knowlton:  Bunker Hill hero, father of Special Forces

 

The rag-tag precursor to the Continental Army that fought in the Battle of Bunker Hill for the Colonists can hardly be thought of as an elite Special Forces unit, but the father of today’s modern Army Special Forces cut his teeth right on Bunker Hill as one of the most effective leaders of that celebrated day.

Capt. Thomas Knowlton is a little known hero from the Battle of Bunker Hill who likely could have changed the course of the battle if he had been able to carry through with his plan of attack – but as spectacular as he was on Breed’s Hill June 17, 1775, he is better known as being the father of the elite Army G-2 Special Forces division.

He even appears on the modern shield of that military intelligence wing, though few know him.

Gene Procknow, a prodigious writer about the Revolutionary War and Bunker Hill who has spoken in Charlestown, said Knowlton would have likely become a great hero in the Revolution had he not been killed so early – dying while courageously attacking at the Battle of Harlem Heights in New York.

“People don’t know him very well, but very few people know of him because he died an untimely death during the Revolution in New York,” Procknow said. “He was known for being a very bold and aggressive commander and died at New York leading a very courageous charge. He typified the many great American military heroes who came to prominence without a lot of military training…He got his start on Bunker Hill and was one of the most effective leaders at Bunker Hill…His ability as a leader was cut short by his untimely death.”

Knowlton was born in West Boxford, MA, but grew up in Ashford, CT – having moved there with his family as a youngster. He had no military background, but was eager to join the Connecticut militia and served under Gen. Israel Putnam at Bunker Hill.

At Bunker Hill, Knowlton had about 200 men in his unit and he had big plans that many – including former Vice President Aaron Burr – believe could have resulted in victory had there been enough powder and reinforcements.

“At Bunker Hill, he fought very, very effectively and repelled the British when they came up the Hill,” said Procknow. “When the British were on the run, he wanted to counter attack by going around the British and coming up behind them to have them trapped. If he had more reinforcements and more men he would have cut behind from the water’s edge and surrounded them. It would have been a real trap for the British, but he didn’t have the forces to carry out that plan. Aaron Burr said if Knowlton had been in charge of the battle, there would have been a very different outcome at Bunker Hill. Everyone was working independently and there was no way to supply reinforcements or have a uniform battle plan. Those things came after Bunker Hill with the Continental Army.”

At Bunker Hill, Knowlton was an adjutant in the 2nd Connecticut Militia and later joined the Continental Army as an aid to Gen. George Washington. Many New England soldiers had a bad reputation with Washington – considered to lack training and discipline – but Knowlton was different in Washington’s eyes.

After the formation of the Continental Army, Washington asked Knowlton to lead up an elite intelligence gathering unit of the new army – to be his “eyes and ears” in the effort. He had other great men under him too, such as Nathan Hale.

That was 1776, and it dates as the formation of the first U.S. Army intelligence division, now known as G-2.

“Washington asked him to form the first special forces unit,” Procknow said. “He became the eyes and ears providing intelligence to Washington during the entire New York campaign. He is pictured on the shield of the G-2 army intelligence unit today. For them, he is considered the father of the U.S. Army intelligence service.”

As courageous as he was behind the scenes, he appeared to be even more courageous on the battlefield.

In those days, Procknow said, it must be known that generals didn’t lead the battle from the Pentagon or a far-flung headquarters. They were out front leading the men and in very dangerous positions. That was the case for Knowlton at the Battle of Harlem Heights, where he led his unit in a courageous charge at the enemy. There he sustained a fatal wound that cut his promising military career short, and really hit Washington hard.

“He attacked on unbelievable odds and he was killed,” said Procknow. “Washington really grieved his loss. It was a big deal for Washington and it was a big deal overall because at the time Washington had a very low opinion of New England soldiers. Knowlton stood out for that. He had a really great feel for combat, could manage a battle and kept a clear head despite the chaos.”

More than anything, Procknow said, Knowlton is a great example of why the British were surprised and impressed at Bunker Hill by the fighting acumen of what were really a bunch of untrained farmers. And on that day of June 17, they were going up against the Grenadiers – the mightiest soldiers the British could muster.

“Knowlton was one who had an unbelievably calm manner in the midst of attacks and battles,” he said. “That’s a situation that’s hard to imagine because he and others had no training…That’s one reason why the British were surprised by the effectiveness of the Americans. It was shocking in those times that these people were untrained military folks that could fight effectively against well-trained and well-led British forces.”

It must be remembered that the British lost more soldiers in the Battle of Bunker Hill than they did in any other Revolutionary battle.

 

Parade Committee gets it done quietly each and every Bunker Hill Parade

By Seth Daniel

The bands march by, the politicians wave, and the kids scurry for candy and super-heroes, but none of that is possible without the 51-week planning effort put in by a few dedicated souls from the Town year in and year out.

Led by Arthur Hurley, the Battle of Bunker Hill Parade Committee sets to work planning the Parade one week after the June spectacular unfolds, kicking the effort into high gear in the spring and coming in for a smooth landing in early June.

“A lot of people don’t realize the work that goes into this,” said Hurley. “Everyone likes to come watch the Parade and have fun, and that’s what we want, but they may not realize how much work it takes by only a few people to pull it all off.”

Hurley has been dedicated to the Parade effort for years and is also active in several other organizations, including the American Legion Post.

Some of those who have helped in a great way are Bob Gillen, Bill Durette (who coordinates the military vehicles), Daniel ‘Doc’ Sheehan, Roseanne Sheehan, Kathleen Noonan, Daniel Noonan, Joe Zuffante and Paul Morceau (who helps feed the military marchers after the Parade).

Hurley said on Parade day, one of the most important task for the Committee is lining people up.

One has to understand that a proper Parade isn’t just arranged first-come first serve. Hurley said the arrangement is done in a very meaningful way, such as spacing out bands and keeping the militia units together.

“One thing people don’t realize is the difficulty of getting it all together,” he said. “The Parade is lined up with a purpose. We get the militia re-enactors lined up together with the help of Tom Coots. We do that for effect. I like to have them together because they are much more impressive together. The way things are lined up makes for a better parade. You have to keep bands separated so they aren’t playing against one another.”

Those that are crucial in helping get the lineup coordinated are Sam Morris, Jack Duffy, Al Snow, Mike Kelliher, John Mangrum, Brandon Jackson, and Don Haska.

The Committee is also responsible for coordinating the ceremonies in Hayes Square to start the Parade, which includes a great singing of the ‘National Anthem,’ the musket salute and then what Hurley calls the ensuing “mayhem” as the Parade starts.

The Committee has tireless work to do, and though it isn’t always noticed, Hurley said the payoff is making sure the veterans, the military and the Battle of Bunker Hill is remembered in perpetuity.

“It’s about the Battle of Bunker Hill first and foremost,” he said. “We can’t forget that.”

 

 

Roster for the 2018 Bunker Hill Parade

This information is printed as an informational guide only.

The parade lineup is subject to change by the Parade Committee.

 

BATTLE OF BUNKER HILL PARADE

June 10 12:30 P.M.

Sponsored by Battle of Bunker Hill Parade Committee

 

Arthur L. Hurley, General Chairman

 

Under auspices of City of Boston

Honorable Martin J. Walsh, Mayor

 

Mayor’s Office of Tourism, Sports and Entertainment

Kenneth Brissette, Director

 

 

OFFICIAL ROSTER

 

Chief Marshal

John J. Tkachuk

 

Adjutant: Arthur L. Hurley

Past Commander, J. W. Conway Bunker Hill Post 26,

The American Legion

 

Honorary Chief Marshals

 

Honorable Martin J. Walsh, Mayor of Boston

Honorable Michael Capuano, Member of Congress

Honorable Maura Healey, Attorney-General of Massachusetts

Honorable Sal DiDomenico, Member, Massachusetts Senate

Honorable Daniel Ryan, Member, Massachusetts House of Representatives

Honorable Lydia Edwards, Boston City Council

Michael Creasey, Superintendent, Boston National Historical Park

Honorable Gerard Doherty

Honorable James Collins

Honorable Dennis Kearney

Honorable Richard A. Voke, Esq.

Honorable Eugene O’Flaherty, Esq.

 

Aides De Camp

John Thachuck, Gerry Tkachuck, Kevin Tkachuck, Jack Tkachuck, Alexis Tkachuck Mary Tkachuck, Madeline Tkachuck, Beth Tkachuck, Brady Tkachuck

Peter Tkachuck, Helen Lawler, Skylar F. Carpenter, Lois Gallagher, Thomas Dowd, Debra Hurley, John Flaherty, Ron Ridings

Fire Commissioner Joseph E. Finn,

Local 718 IAFF President Richard Paris

Ed Kelly, 3rd District IAFF

 

Chaplain:

Rev. Daniel Mahoney, Pastor St. Francis DeSales Roman Catholic Church

 

Assistant Chaplains

Rev. Patrick F. Healy, O.F.M., Chaplain Post 26 A.L.

Rev. James J. Ronan, Pastor St. Mary and St. Catherine of Siena Roman Catholic Parish

Rev. Erik Maloy, First Church In Charlestown, Assistant Chaplain Post 26 A.L.

Rev. Thomas N. Mousin, St. John’s Church

 

Parade Coordinators:

Brandon Jackson

Don Haska

Maureen Gannon

Sam Morris

John Duffy

Michael Kelliher

Al Snow

John J. Mangrum

Military Support Committee:

Cdr. Robert L. Gillen, USN, Ret., Chairman

Thomas White

Paul Morceau

 

 

Veterans Participation Committee

William Durette

Dan Sheehan, P.C. Post 26, A.L.

Joseph Zuffante, GAR Post 11

Milton Lashus, Post 26, A.L.

 

 

 

Colonial Militia Committee

Tom Coots, Chairman

 

Community Fund Raising Committee

Daniel “Doc” Sheehan

Roseann Sheehan

Kim Mahoney

Danny Noonan

Kathleen Noonan

Tkachuk Family

 

Honorary Staff

Hon. Daniel Conley, District Attorney of Suffolk County

John P. Comer, PNC, A.L.

Maurice “Mon” O’Shea, P.P., BHCC

Commissioner William B. Evans, BPD

Commissioner Joseph E. Finn , BFD

Commissioner Giselle Sterling,  Boston Veteran Services

Secretary Francisco Urena,  Massachusettes Veteran Services

John A. Whelan

Raymond C. O’Brien, PDC, VFW

 

 

 

Formation of Parade

Boston Fire Department

 

District 3

Engine 50

Tower 3

Rescue 1

Air Supply Unit

Fire Alarm Bucket Truck

Rehab Unit

 

Chief Marshal’s Element

 

Chief Marshal John J. Tkachuk

 

Battle of Bunker Hill Parade Committee Staff

 

Chief Marshal’s Aids De Camp

 

Chief Marshal’s Family’s Trolley

 

Patriots Brass Ensemble

 

Martin J. Walsh

Mayor of Boston

 

The National Lancers

Mounted Militia Calvary

 

Honorary Chief Marshal

Congressman Michael Capuano

 

Military Element

Formation Area: Navy Yard adjacent to U.S.S. Constitution

 

Saint Alfio’s Band

Sponsored by Congressman Michael Capuano

 

U.S. Army Color Guard

 

U.S. Marine Corps Color Guard

 

U.S. Navy

 

U.S.S. Constitution Color Guard and Marchers

 

U.S.S Constitution Model

 

U.S. Navy Silver Dolphins Color Guard and Drill Team

 

U.S. Navy Submarine Force Portsmouth Naval Shipyard

 

USS Submarine Model

 

U.S. Coast Guard Color Guard

 

U.S. Coast Guard Float

 

Northeast Italian Band

 

Junior Reserve Officers Candidates Corps Of Cadets

JROTC Joint Service Color Guard

 

Headquarters Company

Composed of JROTC Awards Of Excellence recipients

 

U.S. Army JROTC

East Boston High School

Community Academy of Science and Health

South Boston Excell High School

 

U.S. Navy JROTC

J.D. O’Bryant High School

 

Massachusetts National Guard

Marching Unit

Vehicles

 

Honorary Chief Marshall

Representative Daniel Ryan

 

North End Marching Band

Sponsored by Representative Dan Ryan

 

Veterans Element

Formation Area: Navy Yard

 

American Legion

J.W. Conway Bunker Hill Post 26

Al Snow, Commander

 

Veterans of Foreign Wars

 

Disabled American Veterans

 

Abraham Lincoln Post 11 GAR

 

Ipods for Wounded Veterans

 

Chelsea Soldiers Home Honor Guard and Vehicles

 

USS Cassin Young Association

Trolley with

USS Constitution Crew Family Members

Veterans

Cassin Young Volunteers

 

Paralyzed Veterans Of America

New England Chapter

 

The Grand Republic Fife & Drum Corps

 

Boston National Historical Park

Superintendant Michael Creasey

BNHP Ranger Color Guard

Marching Rangers

Van

 

Honorary Chief Marshall

Attorney General Maura Healey

 

First Responders Element

Formation Area: Chelsea Street(between Vine and Medford Sts.)

 

New Hampshire Police Association

Pipes and Drums

 

Boston Police Department

 

Boston Fire Department

 

Boston Emergency Medical Services

Honor Guard and Vehicles

 

National Park Service Police Department

 

AMTRAK Police Department

 

Transit Police Department

 

Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department

 

Brian Boru Pipe Band

 

Everett Police Department

 

Everett Fire Department

 

Malden Police Honor Guard

And Cruiser

 

Sutherland Pipe Band

 

Methuen Police Department

Honor Guard

Motorcycles

Cruiser Of Hope

 

Somerville Police Department

 

Somerville Fire Department

 

The New Liberty Jazz Band

 

Bunker Hill Community College Police Department

 

Suffolk University Police Department

 

Massachusetts General Hospital

Police Department

 

Honorary Chief Marshall

Sal DiDominico

State Senator

 

American Military History Element

Formation Area:  Militia on Tufts Street

 

 

Middlesex County Volunteers Fife & Drum Corps

Sponsored by The Flatley Company

 

Charlestown Militia Company

Sponsored by The Cooperative Bank

 

Acton Minutemen

 

Westbrook Fife & Drum Corps

 

Watertown Provincial Guard

 

Lincoln Minutemen

 

William Diamond Fife & Drum Corps

 

The Stow Minutemen

 

Concord Minute Men

 

His Majesty’s First Regiment Of Foot Guards

 

Fifth Massachusetts Battery

 

20th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry

 

Worcester Sound & Lights

Military Band Organ

 

Governor Charlie Baker & Lt. Governor Karyn Pollito

 

Historic Military Vehicles Form on Bridge Side of Chelsea Street between Vine Street and Medford Street

 

World War II 1st Infantry Division

 

World War II Re-enactors

 

World War II Jeep

 

World War II 1 st Infantry Division Jeep

 

World War II Jeep

 

World War II Dukw Amphibious Truck

 

World War II Scout Halftrack

 

World War II Quad 50 Halftrack

 

Vietnam 2 ½ Ton Truck

 

Vietnam Re-enactors

 

Iraq War British Scorpion Reconnaissance Tank

 

Iraq and Afghanistan Re-enactors

World War II Weapons Carrier

 

Honorary Chief Marshal

Lydia Edwards

Boston City Councilor

 

Italian-American Band

Sponsored by City Councilor Lydia Edwards

 

Boston City Councilor

Ayanna Pressley

Candidate for Congress

 

Community Element

 

Formation Area: Lower Bunker Hill Street (between Vine Street and Lowney Way)

 

Charlestown’s Graduating Seniors

“Follow Us To College”

Sponsored by:

Charlestown Mother’s Association

 

Michelle Wu

Boston City Councilor at Large

 

Roma Band

 

Greg Henning

Candidate for Suffolk County District Attorney

 

Massachusetts Multiple District 33 Lions Clubs

 

Charlestown Lions 33 K Club

 

Lions Eyemobile 33N Club Woburn

 

Abington Lions 33 S Club

Dan D Lion

 

Boston Chinatown Lions 33 K

Drangon

The Goulding School of Irish Step Dancing

 

Shannon McAuliffe

Candidate for Suffolk County District Attorney

 

Merrimac Valley Concert Band

 

Helen Brady

Candidate for State Auditor

 

New Health Charlestown

Marchers and Vehicle

 

DM Productions Presents:

Playing Your Favorite Patriotic Songs

 

Beth Lindstrom

Candidate For U.S. Senate

 

Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital

Marching Delegation

And Vehicles

 

Charlestown High School

 

Linda Champion

Candidate For Suffolk County District Attorney

 

Boston Juicing

 

Waltham American Legion Trolley Band

 

 

John F. Kennedy Family Service Center

 

Tony Barrie Band

 

MGH Charlestown HealthCare Center

Marching Delegation

 

Charlestown Dogs

 

New Magnolia Jazz Band

 

US United Lifetime Queen

Donnetta Andrews

 

Fun Stuff

Formation Area: Hunter Street

 

Mayor Thomas Hannan

Hannan’s Island, Massachusetts

 

7th Regiment Drum & Bugle Corps

 

The Amazing Hinky

 

Bay Colony Ghostbusters

Of Massachusetts

 

Aleppo Shriners Cape Cod

Fire Brigade

 

Big Apple Circus Clown

 

The Cycling Murrays

 

Spider-Man

 

Captain America

 

Superman

 

Green Power Ranger

 

Wonder Woman

 

Mickey

 

Minnie

 

Moana

 

Ariel

 

Darth Vader

 

Storm Trooper

 

Spartans Drum & Bugle Corps

 

Bunker Hill Associates continue events this week

Staff Report

The Bunker Hill Associates are going continuing the torrid pace of Charlestown Pride Week for the remainder of the week, with several events still on the slate.

  • On Thursday, at 2 p.m., the Zelma Lacey House will host an ice cream social. •Then, at 7 p.m., the Peter Looney Concert sponsored by the Associates and Mayor Martin Walsh will take place. This year, President Kim Mahoney has helped to combine it with the Chief Marshal’s Block Party that took place last year. So, it will be a family night with the concert and Chief Marshal Jack Tkachuk contributing to the family fun. The Associates will also be bringing back traditional Irish music and Irish step-dancing.

There will also be face painting, free ice cream by the Boston Police, free pizza, balloons and other treats – much of which is provided by Chief Marshal Tkachuk.

  • On Friday, there will be the Bunker Hill Flag raising outside City Hall at noon on Congress Street.
  • The Veterans Square dedications in conjunction with the Abraham Lincoln Post and the American Legion Post are slated for 4 p.m. This year, as part of the week’s activities on Friday, they will dedicate hero squares to Gene Doe at the corner of N. Mead Street and Bunker Hill Street, and Jack Kelly Sr. will be honored at Grant Court and N. Mead Street.

Doe served in both the Korean Conflict and the Vietnam war, completing 468 parachute jumps during his career. He served three tours in Vietnam and was wounded 10 times. Kelly Sr. was a World War II veteran who fought in the Battle of the Bulge and is an ex-POW.

  • The Chief Marshal’s Night Before Banquet will take place at 7 p.m. in the Knights of Columbus.
  • Saturday, June 9, will feature the Edna Kelly’s Doll Carriage Parade at the Eden Street Park, 10 a.m. – one of the oldest and most cherished events of the week. •The Business Association Street Fair at the Bunker Hill Mall will start at 9 a.m. and run most of the day.
  • At 6 p.m., the Concert on the Monument will take place.
  • Sunday, of course, is the big day and the final event for the Associates, when they kick off their breakfast at 8:30 a.m. in the Knights of Columbus Hall. There, Lt. Col. (Ret.) John Collier will speak and share his amazing story.
  • The Boys & Girls Club Bunker Hill 5K will start at the organization’s High Street building at 10:30 a.m. Runner can register at BGCB.org or at the Club.
  • And certainly not to be forgotten is the reason for all the week of fun – the Battle of Bunker Hill Day Parade, which kicks off from Hayes Square at 12:30 p.m. and is organized by the Battle of Bunker Hill Parade Committee.

USS Constitution to be closed on June 9

USS Constitution will be closed 1 pm – 4 pm Saturday June 9 due to a private crew event and will re-open following the ceremony.

All Constitution visitors are encouraged to view artifacts from ‘Old Ironsides’ and experience numerous interactive galleries at the USS Constitution Museum, located next to ‘Old Ironsides’ in the Charlestown Navy Yard.

While USS Constitution is closed, the World War II-era destroyer USS Cassin Young (DD 793) will be open for tours 10:00am – 4:30pm. The ranger-staffed NPS Visitor Center, featuring an introductory film on the history of the Navy Yard and “Serving the Naval Fleet” exhibition, is open daily 9:00am – 5:00pm.

Constitution will resume its normal hours on Sunday June 11, 10 am – 6 pm.

Constitution, America’s Ship of State, actively defended sea lanes against global threats from 1797-1855. The World’s Oldest Commissioned Warship Afloat, Constitution embodies 220 years of maritime heritage and unwavering service to her country. Now a featured destination on Boston’s Freedom Trail, Constitution and her crew of active duty U.S. Navy Sailors offer community outreach and education about the ship’s history and the importance of naval sea power to more than 500,000 visitors each year. Constitution is berthed at Pier One in Charlestown Navy Yard.

 

For more information, visit www.history.navy.mil/ussconstitution or www.facebook.com/ussconstitutionofficial.