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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Tuesday, October 02, 2018

“Boston Occupied,” 6-7 Oct., and the “Hub History” Podcast

The arrival of royal troops in 1768 leads us to “Boston Occupied,” the sestercentennial commemoration of that historical event on this upcoming weekend.

On Saturday and Sunday, there will once again be redcoats in the streets of Boston, as well as civilian reenactors portraying the local response to those soldiers. These events are organized by the Revolution 250 coalition that I’m part of. Here’s what you can see when.

Saturday, 6 October 2018

9:00 A.M.
Hearing rumors of the landing of the soldiers, colonial Bostonians gather on Long Wharf.

9:30
Landing of the British troops at Long Wharf.

10:45
“Insolent Parade” of redcoats steps off from Long Wharf. (See the route of the parade through downtown Boston here.)

10:50
Governor’s levee in the Council Chamber at the Old State House (paid admission to the museum required): Col. William Dalrymple appears before Gov. Francis Bernard and his Council demanding quarters for troops.

11:00
Arrival of the troops at the Old State House.

12:00 noon
Welcoming of the troops at the reviewing stand in Downtown Crossing: Commanding officers warn those soldiers against the temptation to desert; town officials, led by selectman John Hancock, express their views on having the soldiers in town.

12:30 P.M.
Arrival of the troops on Boston Common.

1:30 – 5:30
Living History at the Old State House, Boston Common, the Old South Meeting House, and Downtown Crossing area.

2:00
The Boston militia company drills on Boston Common, disturbing the regular soldiers.

2:00
Regimental Tea: The Roche Bros. market at 8 Summer Street hosts the redcoats and colonial citizens for tea and seasonal refreshments.

3:00
Firing demonstration by the redcoats on Boston Common.

4:00
Grand Review & Trooping of the Colors by the redcoats on Boston Common.

5:30
A sentry detail runs into members of the town watch at the Old State House; an argument ensues over who has jurisdiction over the streets.

8:00
Sons of Liberty are accosted by soldiers, a disturbance begins, and Sheriff Stephen Greenleaf arrives to read the Riot Act. At Democracy Brewing, 35 Temple Place.

Sunday, 7 October 2018

10:00 A.M.
A church service in the Old South Meeting House is disrupted by the regulars changing a sentry post.

10:00 – 12:00 noon
British soldiers patrol throughout downtown Boston.

10:00 – 12:00 noon
British soldiers occupy Boston Common for drills, parade, &c.

11:30 A.M.
The siege of the Manufactory building outside Suffolk University Law School’s Sargent Hall on Tremont Street.

1:00 P.M.
The troops break camp on Boston Common.

I had the honor of talking about the history behind these events on the 100th episode of the Hub History podcast with Jake Sconyers and Nikki Stewart. They know the breadth of Boston’s past, exploring its most interesting episodes and not shy about discussing its less flattering sides. I hope you’ll enjoy listening to that discussion, either as preparation for this busy weekend or in case you can’t make it.

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