The Raab Collection, the nation’s leading dealer in important historical documents, announced this week that it has acquired and will be offering for sale an unprecedented archive of nearly 400 documents, many unpublished, showing the efforts of men to build the first great monument to the great feats of the Revolutionary War, the first great battle of that war, Bunker Hill.
The archive is valued at $200,000.
“This effort was one of the first American pushes for civic engagement in the preservation of history,” said Nathan Raab. “Supporters were encouraged to donate objects, manuscript accounts, and money. It is remarkable that it has survived and been preserved.”
The archive contains many of the documents used to raise funds and support for the Monument, financial documents relating to its creation, which created the first ever railroad in the United States, and contains the signature of hundreds of people, including Webster, Everett, Jefferson, Lafayette, and others.
Brief excerpts from the historic documents:
•Thomas Jefferson, the Battle of Bunker Hill, Lafayette, and Toils of Revolution: “The occasion, which has given birth to it, forms an epoch in the history of mankind, well worthy of the splendid ceremonies with which its first stone was lately laid and consecrated. The coincidence of circumstances too was truly fortunate, which permitted it to be laid by the hand of one so illustrious in his participation of the toils and dangers which followed the event it signalizes.”
•Daniel Webster: “The advantages of our Revolution are daily felt by every American; and, at the same time, that illustrious event is exciting more and more the admiration of the rest of the world, and an ardent desire to adopt its principles. Yet, glorious and beneficent as its consequences have proved to this nation, not a single monument worthy of being named has hitherto been elevated to testify public gratitude or do honor to national sentiment in the eyes of our own citizens or of strangers.”
•James Madison on the Battle and the War: “It holds so distinguished a place in our Revolutionary History, itself so distinguished in the annals of Liberty.”
•The Drummer of Bunker Hill: “I Robert Steele of Dedham in the County of Norfolk… Listed 17 days before Bunker Hill fight in Col Doolittle’s Regiment. After Major Mores was wounded, I was ordered down the hill to get some run to dress his wounds with Benjamin Blood. When we got to the shop the man was down cellar to keep out of the way of the shots which were fired from the gun boats that lay in the river. He asked who was there we told him our errand he then said take whatever you want. We delivered some rum and ran back as soon as possible but before we had time to reach spot they were retreating.” •Caleb Stark on his and his father’s fighting at Bunker Hill: “Those who made this notable stand on this sanguinary hill have almost all passed to those shades where military honors are not more highly appreciated…; secondly, the actors in this bloody scene (the Revolutionary War)… performed their part in a manner perhaps unparalleled in ancient or modern history.”