Battle of Bunker Hill, 1775

Battle of Bunker Hill

BATTLE OF BUNKER HILL – AMERICAN REVOLUTION

17 JUNE 1775

Battle of Bunker Hill

SUMMARY

The Battle of Bunker Hill was an early battle of the American Revolution near Boston, Massachusetts where a lack of ammunition doomed the Americans to a defeat, but at a heavy cost for the British.

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BACKGROUND

After learning that the British planned on taking the hills surrounding Boston, Massachusetts, Militia General Artemis Ward ordered earthen redoubts built on Bunker Hill located on the Charlestown Peninsula overlooking the North side of Boston Harbor.  On the night of 16 June 1775, Colonel William Prescott led 1,000 militiamen to the smaller Breed’s Hill just South of Bunker Hill and worked throughout the night building the redoubts.

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LOCATION

Breed’s Hill, Boston, Massachusetts, United States

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THE BRITISH ARMY

Led by

Major General William Howe

Howe

Brigadier General Robert Pigot

Pigot

Major John Pitcairn (Killed in Action)

Death of Pitcairn

Captain William Glanville

Supported by

General, Sir Henry Clinton

HMS Lively, HMS Falcon, HMS Somerset, HMS Glasgow, HMS Symmetry, and 2 floating batteries

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THE MASSACHUSETTS and CONNECTICUT MILITIA

Led by

General Artemis Ward

Ward

Major General Israel Putnam

Putnam

Colonel William Prescott

“Don’t fire until you see the whites of their eyes!”–Prescott

Colonel Richard Gridley

Dr. Joseph Warren (Killed in Action)

Death of Dr. Warren

Supported by

Colonel John Stark, commanding 800 New Hampshire Militiamen

Colonel Jonathan Brewer, Colonel John Nixon, Colonel Moses Little, Colonel Thomas Knowlton, Colonel Ephraim Doolittle and Colonel Ebenezer Bridge

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RESULT

A costly victory for the British Army.  British Major Pitcairn (who led the British at Lexington and Concord) was killed in action as was American Dr. Joseph Warren.

Battle of Bunker Hill

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CONSEQUENCE

Although the British were victors, they suffered heavy losses.  226 were killed in action while 828 were wounded.  The Americans, although defeated, lost only 140 killed and 301 wounded. The British took the hill, but only temporarily as they were to give up the ground by the year’s end.  The British learned a valid military lesson about the value of flanking attacks and would use them in almost every additional battle.  Even though the Americans lost the battle, it was a morale booster as it taught them that the American determination could stand up to the more superior British forces.  The British learned that the American war would last longer than previously thought.

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