EPSOM REVOLUTIONARY WAR SOLDIER
Killed at battle of Bunker Hill.
following is an Account of Sundry losses Sustanied by Major McClary in a late
Battle between the regular troops and the Americans at Charlestown Neck, and services
done towards his Burying -
From the Manchester Union Saturday May 13, 1893.
The echoes of the first gun fired at Lexington had hardly died away when signal fires were lit on a thousand hilltops and messengers on fleet horses rode through every town, calling to arms. News of the battle soon reached Exeter and from whence one of those fleet messengers started for Nottingham, across Deerfield Parade and on to Epsom. Here again the part of Cincinnatus was enacted; young [Andrew] McClary was plowing in the field, the messenger had scarcely finished his words of warning, when he left the plow in the furrow, and joined by other daring patriots hurried to Deerfield. There they were joined by others, making a company of some eighty who left the same day and reached Medford the next morning. Many of these men became distinguished in the revolution at once. This company of brave men from the hills of New Hampshire held the post of honor at the battle of Bunker Hill.
Andrew McClary, whose military ingenuity had always made him a conspicuous character, at once began to exert his influence in organizing troops.
At Medford two regiments were organized, composed of New Hampshire boys, of one of these, John Stark, was chosen as colonel, and Andrew McClary major. In the Nottingham company Michael McClary was ensign. Of the little over 1500 troops stationed around Boston on the 17th of June, 1500 were actually engaged in the fight of Bunker Hill, and of these the larger number were from New Hampshire, connected with the regiments under Colonel Stark and Reed. Starks regiment formed a line behind a rail fence and fought heroically, doing fearful execution to the enemy, and were the last to retreat. A commander of one of the companies was Henry Dearborn of Nottingham, who survived the perils of war and afterwards wrote a graphic account of the battle of Bunker Hill. In a lengthy review of the battle he frequently speaks in terms of praise, not only of the military sagacity , but of the constant bravery of Major McClary. His courage and enthusiasm were a constant inspiration to the men. He, as well as General Stark, was always foremost where duty directed him. The misfortune of that memorable battle can in no way be attributed to either of these men; but on the contrary much of the heroism and valor of that hardly fought, but lost battle was due to the skill and cool courage of John Stark and Andrew McClary.
And it is almost sufficient praise to say that as regiments of other states, one after another were forced to fall back, these brave New Hampshire men in the midst of the terrible carnage, that none but Spartans could withstand, covered their retreat.
After the battle Maj. McClary observed that the British troops on Bunker Hill appeared in motion and started to reconnoiter them. After having satisfied himself that they did not intend to leave their strong posts on the heights, he was returning when a random shot from one of the frigates, lying near Craigs Bridge passed directly through his body. He leaped two or three feet from the ground, pitched forward and fell dead on his face. He was carried to Medford and buried with all the respect and honor that could be shown a great and good man.
During the battle the patriots were intent on cutting down every officer they could distinguish in the British line. When Maj. McClary discovered one he would instantly exclaim, "There, See that officer. Lets shoot at him!" Two or three would fire at the same moment and all being excellent marksmen were sure of their object. Col. Dearborn in his account of the battle says of Maj. McClary, "He was among the first officers of the army, possessing sound judgement, undaunted bravery, enterprising and ardent both as a patriot and as a soldier. His loss was severely felt by his compatriots in arms, while his country is deprived of the service of one of her most promising and distinguished champions of liberty." In taking leave of brave Maj. McClary, it must be said to the shame of the present generation that while the exact spot where the body of that hero was buried is unknown, no monument has been erected to his memory.