Lieutenant Richard Williams served in the Royal Welch Fusiliers during the American Revolution.
He arrived in Boston in early June 1775 and over the next several weeks painted in watercolor and drew in pencil the landscape around him. His work offers modern viewers unprecedented views of the American Revolution’s early days.
During his time in the colonies, Williams kept a journal, writing on June 12,
I went to the common & to Beacon hill, where I saw all our encampments, those of the Enemy. From this hill you have a view of the town and country all around it.
Williams painted a set of five topographical views forming a 360-degree view of Boston from Beacon Hill. He created them during his deployment to North America, resulting in the only known contemporary views of Boston at the outbreak of the Revolution. Below they have been stitched together to recreate Williams' view.
View from Beacon Hill
After the Battle of Bunker Hill, Williams spent a few more weeks in Boston. He was then directed to lead 50 troops by sea to Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia. Along the way, on September 4, Williams described arriving in Annapolis.
…we came to anchor near the town of Annapolis. this little settlement was formerly more flourishing when the Fort was compleat & they had a garrison sometimes of a whole
The journal ends suddenly following this entry. No other journal is known to have survived, and Williams’s movements are unclear after September 1775. The following year the London newspaper Morning Post & Daily Advertiser ran Williams’ obituary, reporting that he died on April 30, 1776, at Penryn in Cornwall.