Boston - Siege of Boston Fortifications

Fortifications during the Siege of Boston (BF = British CF = Colonial)

Boston - Siege of Boston Fortifications

Boston, Massachusetts 02115, United States

Created By: Volunteer JW Boston

Tour Information

This tour follows the points on the National Park Service website (link below)

During the Siege, many of those loyal to the British government remained confined inside Boston. This included the artist Henry Pelham. With a pass from British authorities, Pelham surveyed and observed the defensive lines inside Boston and throughout Boston Harbor. When mapping the areas outside of British control, Pelham relied on careful observations and personal memory to map the roads, houses, and terrain of the communities of Roxbury, Dorchester, Brookline, Cambridge, and Medford. In the end he created a map that depicted, with great detail, what the siege lines looked like surrounding Boston.

Like many loyalists, Pelham evacuated Boston after the siege. He ultimately settled in London and published his map "A Plan of Boston in New England with its Environs..." in 1777. Using other primary sources, secondary accounts, as well as the surviving terrain and landmarks in the area, we used Photoshop and GIS resources to manipulate and correct Henry Pelhams’ work so that it fit accurately on a modern digital map.

Good timeline with description of the Siege:

(All notes are quotes under fair use no commercial use)

Tour Map

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What You'll See on the Tour

With an elevation of 110 feet, Bunker Hill is one of the tallest hills near Boston. Like other hills around Boston, Bunker Hill is a drumlin, or elongated hill, formed by a retreating glacier eons ago. George Bunker, an early resident of co... Read more
Charleston Outworks, British
(Note - the whole vicinity is considered the area of Bunker Hill so people back then referred to this as both the smaller Bunker Hill or Breed's Hill. Also the fortification was small enough that it's about the size of the concrete immediat... Read more
Charleston Outworks (Interestingly west of this parking lot was water, Bunker Hill  Campus Store to the North was the landline and the Community college was water, and the south parking lot across the little street was also mostly water.)... Read more
Charleston Out Works
Copp's Hill Battery
Established in 1660, Copp's Hill Burying Ground became the resting place for thousands of people of who lived, worked, and died in the North End. Among those interred on the hill are merchant John Pulling Jr. and Old North Church sexton, ... Read more
North Battery
Located at the base of today's State Street (Once King Street), Long Wharf served as the nucleus of Boston's maritime trade. By the end of the 1700s, it reigned pre-eminent amongst Boston's 80 wharves, handling both international and coas... Read more
South Battery
Fort Hill
Beacon Hill Battery
When the first European colonists settled in Boston in the 1620s, the area of the city we now know as Beacon Hill comprised of three peaks. The colonists referred to this area as the Tri-mountain, or Tra-mount or Tre-mount. They also called... Read more
Beacon Hill Works
Cambridge St Battery (Everything west was Charles River, this fortification looks like a 3 gun battery on the map.)
Pest Hill Battery
Beacon Hill Works
Boston Common Works
Boston Common Works
Boston Common Works
Boston Common Works
This ran along the west coast of the Shawmut Peninsula then across the isthmus to the east coast. Technically Boston was a "tied island" connected to land by a sandy spit called a "tombolo." These fortification lines ran down almost to Marg... Read more
Block Honse - 7 Gun Battery This was the Advanced Lines on the mainland guarding the entrance to Boston. The area covered from Shawmut Ave sough to Brookline, east to the Harrison Archway. The only road on the narrow isthmus is now modern W... Read more
Old Works This was a British Fortification on the thin land isthmus connecting Boston to the rest of Mass Bay colony. The narrowest land line where the fortification was - is approx where the crosswalk is cutting into the park and along the... Read more
4 Gun Battery
Fort Independence, formerly known as Castle William, sits on top of Castle Island. Due to its strategic location on Boston Harbor, this site has served as the home to military fortifications for hundreds of years. It is considered the "old... Read more
Enclosed by Deer Island to the north and the wide arm of Hull to the south, Boston Harbor is a famously complicated navigational harbor with shallow channels, many of the Boston Harbor Islands, submerged bars, and strong currents. Offering ... Read more
Situated in the middle of Quincy Bay is the 54-acre peninsula Moon Island. One of the five peninsulas in the harbor, Moon Island has been connected to Squantum via a causeway since the 1870s. It boasts a single drumlin that has one of the h... Read more
Just five miles out from Boston sits the biggest of the Boston Harbor Islands, aptly named Long Island. At 225 acres, the island is composed of three drumlins and a freshwater marsh on the west side of the island. Today, Long Island is own... Read more
First Erected: 1716 Destroyed in 1776 by British, re-erected in 1783 as first U.S. lighthouse Height: 75 feet First Keeper:  George Worthylake Current Keeper: Sally Snowman Automated in: 1998 Light: Second order Fresnel Lens 10 secon... Read more
Grape Island sits right off the coast of Weymouth, south of Boston. Its size varies depending on the tides: 54 acres at high tide, 101 acres at low tide. Grape Island is recognized as a wildlife haven, offering an abundance of wild berries ... Read more
A peninsula that extends into Hingham Bay, Webb Memorial State Park offers visitors beautiful scenes of the Harbor, trails to enjoy, and picnic areas to gather. The peninsula provided an abundance of natural resources for original local Ind... Read more
(This pavillion is a public marker for Noddle Island's History, however this was ocean during the timeframe of the Siege) One of the former Boston Harbor Islands that has disappeared into today’s East Boston, Noddle’s Island echoes Bos... Read more
Less than a month into the Siege of Boston, General Artemas Ward, commander of the siege, directed Colonel John Nixon of Massachusetts and Colonel John Stark of New Hampshire and their militias to remove hay and farm animals off Noddle’s... Read more
Plowed Hill
Winter Hill Out Works
Winter Hill Outworks
Winter Hill Fort For more details of the intrenchments ...
Winter Hill Outworks
Winter Hill Out Works
Charlestown Redoubt
French Redoubt
Originally part of the town of Charlestown, Massachusetts, Prospect Hill is now located in the nearby town of Somerville. As one of the hills closest to the city of Boston, it played a pivotal role in the line of defensive works constructed... Read more
Millers Hill, Star Fort
Willis Creek Redoubt
All the surrounding land was once Lechmere’s Farm right to the former coasline. Right at this spot was colonial fortifications and one of the areas where Washington first set up the cannons that Henry Knox retrieved from Fort Ticonderoga.... Read more
Salt Meadow Baattery - 3 Gun Battery that tokk up this half of the block
There was a series of fortifications that ran from this point up NE to Ebi Sushi/ Urban Axe (300 Somerville Ave, Somerville) ...
According to the map this line ran fro mthe corner of Harvard and Trowbridge St, down to halfway up Highland Ave. ...
Fort No 2 and Cambridge Lines According to the map this line extended north and east al lthe way to Maple Ave. ...
3 Gun Battery
Today known as Fort Washington Park, this location is home to the last remaining physical remnant of the many fortifications built around Boston by the Continental Army during the Revolution. During the Siege of Boston, the Continental Army... Read more
Brooklin Fort (Brookline)
4 Gun Battery
Sewall's Farm Redoubt
3 Gun Battery
Stoney Brook Redoubt
Meadow Line North
Meadow Line South
Roxbury Redoubt
Fort Hill, a historic neighborhood in Roxbury, played an important role during the Siege of Boston. Several thousand Continental soldiers positioned themselves in the area and built a series of forts to guard Boston Neck, a thin strip of la... Read more
Built in 1750, the Dillaway-Thomas House is said to be one of the oldest buildings in Roxbury. Reverend Oliver Peabody originally built the house as a parsonage for the First Church of Roxbury. His successor, Reverend Amos Adams, lived here... Read more
Roxbury Lines - Colonial School is where the Police Station now is
These fortifications ran from Shawmut Ave along the curve of Mulnea Cass Blvd all the way to Mass ave with a section on Albany St and down Yeoman St. ...
Dorchester Lines
(There should be a NPS plaque here at Bst and Athens St but it may be under construction. There were two colonial fortifications in this area, This site was the smaller one, and the major one where Dorchester Heights Monument is now. Anythi... Read more
Due to its role during the Siege of Boston, Dorchester Heights serves as a landmark in our nation’s revolutionary landscape. Also known as Telegraph Hill or Thomas Park, Dorchester Heights has become a gathering space for the local commun... Read more
3 Gun Battery on the coastal edge of Dorchester
3 Gun Battery This was the tip of the point of Dorchester at that time, with water to the north and east. ...


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