Who Was the Commander at Bunker Hill?

T 4 Provincial Congress, and by the Committee of Safety, it is termed the New England army ; and, in the gazettes of the day, the American army. Gen. Putnam, he says, would have been the commander in the battle, had the army been “ regularly organized ; ” but, because “ it had not yielded to the vital principle of subordination,” he was present as a patriotic volunteer. He has treated Gen. Putnam’s character with the utmost candor and kindness, as animals destined for the altar are pampered, to be sacrificed at last. It will be our duty to enter into a thorough investigation of this subject of the command, though with great repugnance, on account of its involving the rival claims of Putnam and Prescott. For both those heroes we entertain the most devoted admiration, and the deepest interest in their fame. Could we have imagined that any such discordant claims might be advanced, our history had never been commenced. In our numerous conversations with Judge Prescott on the subject, we never discovered their existence until our history was published. He had presented to the Athenaeum Gen. Heath’s Memoirs, as a declaration, we presumed, that the statements in them relative to his father were correct; and to Heath’s opinions we subscribed. We have contented ourselves heretofore with a simple statement of the facts that were known relative to the command ; but an historian is bound to state the principles, as well as the facts, relative to the characters he introduces, and the legitimate conclusions resulting from those facts and principles, as much as a counsellor is bound to do so for his client. The author, in robbing Putnam of the command, “not enriches” Prescott, nor any one else. He does not intimate the possibility that Prescott may have been the commander of the battle: so far from it,, he emphatically denies that he issued any order whatsoever on Bunker Hill, or at the railfence ; and slates that he was one of the junior colonels in the army, that Col. Frye was an older officer and in the battle ; whilst he does not pretend that Prescott exercised, or had a right to exercise, any command over him, or over other colonels who were in the battle, and older officers than