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
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.