J. L. BELL is a Massachusetts writer who specializes in (among other things) the start of the American Revolution in and around Boston. He is particularly interested in the experiences of children in 1765-75. He has published scholarly papers and popular articles for both children and adults. He was consultant for an episode of History Detectives, and contributed to a display at Minute Man National Historic Park.

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Friday, March 14, 2014

Evacuation Day Exercises in Dorchester and Roxbury, 17 Mar.

Monday, 17 March, is the anniversary of the day in 1776 when the British military left Boston and the first Continental troops moved in. That event will be commemorated with historical exercises in Dorchester and Roxbury starting at 10:00 A.M.

The ceremony at the Dorchester Heights monument will feature the Lexington Minutemen, the Allied War Veterans of South Boston, a children’s choir from the South Boston Catholic Academy, and the Major General Henry Knox Lodge of Freemasons.

Nathaniel Philbrick, author of Bunker Hill and other award-winning historical books, will speak, along with elected officials and Boston National Historical Park Deputy Superintendent Rose Fennell.

Park Service rangers and volunteers will be on hand to recount the important moments in the siege of Boston. They’ll lead a hands-on archeology program from 11:00 A.M. to noon, inviting visitors to simulate the 1990s dig that uncovered a 200-foot-wide star-shaped earthwork on that hill. There will also be information about a replica British 18-pounder cannon that eventually will be displayed at Dorchester Heights.

At 11:00 A.M., State Representative Gloria Fox will host historical exercises at Fort Hill in Highland Park, Roxbury (shown above). The fortification at this site, designed by volunteer Henry Knox, blocked the only land route out of Boston during the siege. Gen. George Washington was so impressed with Knox’s work in laying out and constructing this fort in the summer of 1775 that he supported the young bookseller’s appointment as colonel in charge of American artillery that fall.

Immediately after the ceremony at Fort Hill, Fox will host a free luncheon at the Shirley-Eustis House at 33 Shirley Street in Roxbury. Nat Philbrick will speak again about Bunker Hill, the Lexington Minutemen will fire another salute, and Maj. Gen. Knox himself will make an appearance.

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