/ by Jason Turgeon

Even if it doesn’t feel like it from our subarctic temperatures, it’s March! That means Evacuation Day, which celebrates the day we drove the British out of Boston and our neighborhood’s crucial role in that event.  As happens every year, there will be events around Roxbury to commemorate the occasion, including a visit by State Rep. Gloria Fox and some Minutemen reenactors to the top of Fort Hill at 11AM on Monday, March 17th.

Credit: Flickr User Gig Harmon

Credit: Flickr User Gig Harmon

Here are all the details, from the press release.  Raise a glass of porter or cider to George Washington and Henry Knox to celebrate!

Evacuation Day Heritage Celebration, Monday, March 17, 2014

BOSTON, MA: State Representatives Gloria Fox, Nick Collins, The Shirley-Eustis House, The National Park Service, The Lexington Minutemen and the Evacuation Day Heritage Committee cordially invite you to the celebration of Evacuation Day, Monday, March 17, 2014.

The ceremonies begin at 9 a.m. with the annual Evacuation Day Mass at St. Augustine’s Chapel, the oldest Catholic Church in the Boston Archdiocese. At the conclusion of the Mass, we will proceed to Dorchester Heights, where General Washington placed artillery in 1776 to force the British out of Boston.

The annual Historical Exercises at Dorchester Heights will begin at 10 a.m., featuring the Lexington Minutemen, the South Allied War Veterans Council„ the children’s choir from the South Boston Catholic Academy, the Allied War Veterans, and the Major General Henry Knox Lodge of Freemasons. The commemorative exercises with the South Boston Allied War Veterans Council will include remarks by elected officials and award-winning author, Nathaniel Philbrick as well as Boston National Historical Park Deputy Superintendent Rose Fennell. The Allied War Veterans will lay a wreath to honor the men and women of South Boston in the armed forces, and the Minutemen will fire a salute.

The National Park Service rangers and volunteers at Dorchester Heights will be available to provide information about General George Washington’s arrival in Massachusetts in July 1775; the transportation of cannons by Henry Knox from Fort Ticonderoga, New York, to Massachusetts; and the construction of the Dorchester Heights fortifications. After the exercises take place at Dorchester Heights, the Boston National Historical Park rangers will conduct a hands-on archaeology program from 11 a.m. to 12 noon, where visitors can dig through two boxes of material to simulate the work that was done on the site in the 1990’s when a 200-foot-wide star-shaped earthwork was uncovered. There also will be ranger talks about the historical significance of the site and information about the replica British 18-pounder (shot weight) cannon of the Armstrong-Frederick pattern of 1760 which eventually will be displayed at Dorchester Heights.

State Representative Gloria Fox will host the Historical Exercises at Fort Hill, in Highland Park, Roxbury, beginning at 11 a.m, with ceremonies by the Minutemen and local elected officials. This fortification, designed by Henry Knox, prevented the British from breaking out of Boston during the siege. Washington was so impressed with Knox’s ability at designing and constructing this fort, he put Knox in charge of American artillery. These two fortifications, at Roxbury and South Boston, were crucial to the first American victory in the War for Independence.

State Representative Gloria Fox will then host a free luncheon at the Shirley Eustis House, 33 Shirley Street, Roxbury, immediately following the Historical Exercises at Fort Hill. The Lexington Minutemen will fire a salute, and Major General Knox himself will make an appearance.

Following the luncheon at the Shirley-Eustis House, author Nathaniel Philbrick will give a short talk on his latest book, “Bunker Hill.” Copies will be available for purchase and signing.

For more information, please contact the Shirley-Eustis House at 617-442-2275 or email governorshirley@gmail.com.