User Rating: 0 / 5

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive
 

The Battle of Bunker Hill was the bloodiest clash of the American Revolution. The British suffered 1054 casualties. American casualties were less than 450. This was a tactical victory for the British but for the Americans it was a moral victory because they had successfully held off the most powerful army in the world.

The early part of the American Revolution was a success for the Colonists and a disaster for the British. After the Battles of Lexington and Concord on April 19, 1775, the Americans were successful at hemming in the British army commanded by General Thomas Gage in Boston. The British, embarrassed by their defeat at Lexington and Concord, were anxious to regain their pride by showing the rebels that they had aroused the anger of the most powerful army in the world. However, the British did not appreciate the scale and difficulty of the military task facing them in America until it was too late.

On May 25, 1775, Generals William Howe, Johnny Burgoyne and Henry Clinton joined Gage with reinforcements to stop the rebellion. These three men urged General Gage to go on the offensive by seizing and fortifying Dorchester Heights and deploying troops on the high ground surrounding Boston.

Forewarned of the plan, the Americans intended to delay this British maneuver by fortifying the Charlestown Peninsula overlooking Boston and its harbor.

On the night of June 16, 1775, General Artemus Ward ordered Colonel William Prescott with 1200 troops to take and fortify Bunker Hill, the highest point on the Charlestown Peninsula that overlooked Boston Harbor. However, for some unexplained reason, Prescott led them to Breeds Hill, which was lower and closer to the British forces. It was here that the Americans began to dig in so that by dawn they had almost finished fortifying Breeds Hill. When the British discovered what the Americans were up to, they tried to dislodge the Americans with cannon fire from their warships anchored in Boston Harbor and the rivers near the hill. This attempt failed, so General Gage ordered Major General William Howe to attack the Americans by land with his army.

The British troops twice charged the American position but suffered heavy losses during each assault. General Howe delayed his third attack to rethink his strategy. This delay gave the Americans time to evaluate their situation. Colonel Prescott ordered his troops to stand by for one more volley and then retreat because they were almost out of ammunition. Howe, having observed that heavy packs and coats had encumbered his troops in the previous attacks, ordered his troops to discard them. Then he ordered a bayonet charge to seize the American fortification. The British attacked the Americans for the third time. The Americans fired a final volley then retreated. The British captured the American position and some of the retreating Americans.

The Battle of Bunker Hill was the bloodiest clash of the American Revolution. The British suffered 1054 casualties. American casualties were less than 450. This was a tactical victory for the British but for the Americans it was a moral victory because they had successfully held off the most powerful army in the world. They used their actions in this battle as a rallying cry for later battles and to gain support for their cause both at home and abroad. This battle also proved to the Americans that despite their lack of proper organization or equipment, they could repulse the best military power in the world. This gave them confidence in their abilities to win their independence. It proved to all involved that the fight for independence was going to be a long and costly war.

Websites

If you would like to learn more about the Battle of Bunker Hill, check out these sites on the subject.

Battle of Bunker Hill
The History channel provides information about this battle including videos and other information about the American Revolution.

Images for Battle of Bunker Hill
Google image search has some interesting images of the Battle of Bunker Hill that you will find of interest.

Battle of Bunker Hill
From the Massachusetts Historical Society's Coming of the American Revolution site, you can read their version of this battle.

The Gadsen Flag:Don't Tread On Me
The famed Gadsen Flag made its first appearance at the Battle of Bunker Hill. This article gives us a history of the flag and more.