Battle of Bunker Hill
Battle of Bunker Hill
What is the Battle of Bunker Hill?
The Battle of Bunker Hill was one of the first battles of the American Revolutionary War. It took place on Bunker Hill and Breed’s Hill in Charlestown Massachusetts during the siege of Boston, which was the first stage of the American Revolutionary War.
When was the Battle of Bunker Hill?
The Battle of Bunker Hill took place on Saturday, June 17th, 1775, a little over a year before the Declaration of Independence was signed.
Who Fought at the Battle of Bunker Hill?
The Battle of Bunker Hill was fought between the colonists and the British army. About 1,200 colonists fought in the battle, led by William Prescott and about 2,200 British troops fought under the command of Major General William Howe.
What Led Up to the Battle of Bunker Hill?
About two months before the Battle of Bunker Hill, the colonists and the British army had their first skirmishes at the Battle of Lexington and Concord in Massachusetts. This was when the famous “shot heard ‘round the world was fired.” Tensions had been building between the colonists and the British for years leading up to this point.
The colonists were unhappy that were being taxed without representation in the British government. They were also unhappy with the forced quartering of British soldiers, unfair judicial practices imposed by the British, and a number of other issues. Essentially, the colonists believed that their freedoms and human rights were being too heavily restricted by the British. So, they began to organize militias and armed resistance.
After the Battle of Lexington and Concord, the British retreated to Boston, and the colonists proceeded to lay siege to the city. On June 13th, 1775, the colonists learned that the British were planning to send out troops to claim unoccupied hills in Charlestown that overlooked the city of Boston. As a result, the colonists sent troops there themselves and built defenses, primarily on Breed Hill. When the British found out about this, they sent about 2,200 troops to confront the colonists and take back the hills.
What Happened at the Battle of Bunker Hill?
Once the British troops got to the base of Breed Hill and Bunker Hill, they proceeded to directly attack the colonial positions in a frontal assault. This proved to be a very costly undertaking. The colonists were well protected behind their defenses, but they had limited ammo. So, Prescott told the colonists “Don’t fire until you see the whites of their eyes!” As the British troops marched up the hill, the colonists waited until they were just a few dozen yards away to fire their muskets.
This proved to be an effective tactic and the British troops suffered enormous losses once the colonists started firing. The British were forced to retreat back down the hill. They regrouped and marched back up and were again forced to retreat. However, they marched back up a third time and by this time, many of the colonists were out of ammo. So, the British were able to take the hill and the colonists scattered.
How Many Casualties were There at the Battle of Bunker Hill?
The British suffered around 1,000 casualties and the colonists suffered around 400 casualties in the battle.
Consequences of the Battle
Technically, the colonists lost the Battle of Bunker Hill because they were forced to give up the hill. However, the battle was largely considered a moral victory for the colonists because the British lost far more men than the colonists did. The battle also made the British realize that defeating the colonists and suppressing the rebellion would probably be a lot more difficult than they thought. It also led the British to reconsider frontal assaults on fortified positions on top of hills.