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"Bunker Hill diorama." Topic

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3,191 hits since 18 Nov 2012
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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP18 Nov 2012 11:55 a.m. PST

Maybe many of you had visited the Bunker Hill museum.
For those who had not, see some pics about the excelent diorama they had there.







More in my friend Uwe link.

Hope you enjoy!.


Thomas Mante Inactive Member18 Nov 2012 3:32 p.m. PST

Interesting stuff Armand. I see that the pesky fleches are shown in the diorama but what I wonder is the source?

Personal logo Captain DEwell Supporting Member of TMP19 Nov 2012 4:29 a.m. PST

Impressive, Armand, thank you. I think one of the pictures of the redoubt featured in a very old copy of Military Modelling magazine and inspired me in this period no end.

Thomas Mante, I can't help you other than recommend you try the blog Boston1775. The answer may be there otherwise contact the fellow directly. Sorry, can't currently name him or provide a link. A marvellous site, regardless.

Best wishes and happy hunting for the answer,


Thomas Mante Inactive Member19 Nov 2012 6:21 a.m. PST


Thanks that is one of the blogs I do follow but have always drawn a blank when searching it. Perhaps a little more effort on my part is called for!

My problem is, I have seen nothing contemporary that mentions or depicts the fleches yet they are a common feature of most plans of BH. I doubt they are invention but my suspicion is they originate from materials only dating from the early C19th. Your suggestion about contacting the 1775 fellow is a good one!

historygamer Supporting Member of TMP19 Nov 2012 6:28 a.m. PST

Perhaps SM can shed some light on the fleches as I believe he is rather knowledgable on that battle. :-)

Thomas Mante Inactive Member19 Nov 2012 7:17 a.m. PST


Indeed he is!

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP19 Nov 2012 9:38 a.m. PST

Glad you had enjoy the pics boys!.


Thomas Mante Inactive Member19 Nov 2012 4:00 p.m. PST

It appears Ensign de Berniere produced a map in which what could be the fleches. The markings are apparently far from clear and on 1818 engraved version not apparent (at least to my eye).


and here


Have not come up with an original copy of the de Bernieres map yet.

It appears, however, there has already been some discussion (which I had entirely forgotten!)

TMP link

Thomas Mante Inactive Member20 Nov 2012 7:19 a.m. PST

This might be an original de Berniere map in the collection of the American Philosophical Society:


If it is not sure I can see anything vaguely fleche-shaped, any keen eyed-chaps out there?

Personal logo Captain DEwell Supporting Member of TMP20 Nov 2012 9:00 a.m. PST

Well, perhaps not quite eagle-eyed, I do not see any fletches on this map. I note that the place is roughly where there was

rebels behind stonewalls, trees and brushwood

and, close by, the

place from whence ye Grenadiers received a very heavy fire

That might be significant, but no fletches seen.

Thomas Mante Inactive Member20 Nov 2012 2:00 p.m. PST

Can'n D'Ewell

Exactly! The squiggle below the line of 'O's I interpret as either a stream ponded up by the road from Charleston of the back of Breed's Hill or just part of the morass.

Supposedly this is THE prime evidence for fleches (unless this is not the original but it does look mss unlike the 1818 engraved versions)but of fleches there were none!

Personal logo Captain DEwell Supporting Member of TMP20 Nov 2012 3:27 p.m. PST

Thomas Mante,

I concur with your interpretation of the stream/pond.

Are you aware of this map link

This is an original map of showing details of the Battle of Bunker Hill. It was created in 1775 by Sir Thomas Hyde. The map shows incredible details of the battle, including troop positions, and movements of the ships and floating batteries in the area.

Again, no fletches. Perhaps logs, incorrectly described later as fletches?

As aye,


The Bavarian21 Nov 2012 3:12 a.m. PST

Hi guys,

Armand put just the link from the blog about the museums diorama. Check this link here to see what I have done in 1/72 some years ago and check the other Bunker Hill subjects if you like.



Thomas Mante Inactive Member22 Nov 2012 2:46 p.m. PST

Captain D'Ewell,

I knew of the map but through the link on the American Memory site at the Library of Congress.


Page's map is also on the same site.


But yes – fleches seem to be conspicuous by their absence. I have had a reply to my query from the owner of the Boston blog. De Berniere's map is supposedly the prime source (or not if the image linked to earlier represent the earliest version) but there seems to be some written mention coming out of the Dearborn controversy c.1818. Have yet to follow up the refs but I am getting a feeling the fleches may be something which are not documented before 1818 either that or the professional eye of Lt Page (and possibly Ensign de Berniere) were unable to divine any fleche-like purpose to the endeavours of the militia at that point.

Supercilius Maximus Supporting Member of TMP22 Nov 2012 4:16 p.m. PST

I seem to remember reading somewhere that the fleches were created either from removed fence rails, or from piles of timber intended for future fencing that happened to be lying around, and as such may not have been seen for what they were (or alternatively may have been seen for what they weren't). It would seem logical that a professional military force would have protected the exposed flank of the breastwork that extended north from the redoubt in such a way, but would the militia have done so?

Thomas Mante Inactive Member23 Nov 2012 8:24 a.m. PST


As you know the Massachusetts militia was probably at a peak of efficiency by 1775 but reading accounts of how the occupation of Breed's Hill was managed one does not get a sense that anyone was exercising any meaningful control. This leaves it open that the senior officer on the spot might have decided to strip the fences and build fleches. A question strikes is what was the nature of the fences on that flank – were they exclusively of timber or were the a composite like Stark's fence?

I still keep coming back to the de Berniere map which is 'accepted' as the only contemporary indication of the fleches. If the link above IS the original then there are no fleches marked on it and we are driven back onto written materials originating c.1818. To my mind that weakens the case for fleches but then we need to evaluate the written material. The nature of the ground ('the morass') perhaps affords a natural defence for the position providing flank cover for both Breed's Hill and Stark's fence. Given the fevered activity bolstering the latter with hay and the like prior to the Grenadier attack would that have influenced the units on the 'fleche line' to knock up some field fortifications?

Supercilius Maximus Supporting Member of TMP24 Nov 2012 4:40 p.m. PST

It is possible. I am trying to find a book that has the watercolour of the battlefield made a few days later (the one famously showing an officer in a slouch hat with feather) as I think that this may show the northern face of Breed's Hill, where the fleches were sited (if they existed). Of course, it is possible that the British took them down to build the main fort on Bunker Hill that was they occupied during the siege of Boston.

historygamer Supporting Member of TMP24 Nov 2012 6:48 p.m. PST

I have that at home in a CMH journal. Have to wait a day. :-)

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