On June 17, 1775 at the Battle of Bunker Hill the American colonist would prove to their British foe that they were a serious military force determined to win their independence. The American Revolutionary War had begun just a short two months earlier at the battles of Lexington and Concord when this important battle took place. Below you will find a list of interesting facts about the Battle of Bunker Hill some of which every kid has read about in their history books and perhaps some information you have never heard before. Who were the military commanders, where did the battle take place, and who won the battle are just a few of the questions you will find answers to in the list of facts below.
Summary of the Battle of Bunker Hill
At the beginning of the American Revolution the British controlled Boston Massachusetts and Boston Harbor; however land access to the city was blocked by the American militia who numbered in the thousands.
In an attempt to defend the city the British commanders came up with a plan to send troops out of Boston to gain control of two strategically important hills just outside the city in Charlestown Massachusetts; Bunker and Breeds hills. The commanders realized these hills would be excellent positions from which to fire their cannons at the Americans besieging the city.
When the Americans learned that the British were going to take the unoccupied Bunker Hill and Breeds Hill they occupied the hills and set up fortifications.
The Americans worked hard preparing for the inevitable British attack. They built a six foot high redoubt (temporary defensive wall).
On June 17th 1775 seeing that the American soldiers had occupied Bunker Hill and Breeds Hill the British attacked.
The British commander who led the attack was General William Howe; the American commander was Colonel William Prescott.
After two unsuccessful attacks a third British attack was successful and drove the Americans, who were running low on ammunition, off of the two hills.
The British victory came at a great cost; approximately 226 British soldiers lie dead on the battlefield with another 800 wounded. This is the most casualties the British would have in any single engagement during the American Revolutionary War. American casualties were much less; approximately 140 killed and 310 wounded.
Interesting Battle of Bunker Hill Facts
Perhaps the most interesting fact about this battle is that it actually took place mostly on Breeds Hill which was located near Bunker Hill.
One of the most famous quotes from the American Revolution occurred at this battle; "Don't fire until you see the whites of their eyes". Which American commander shouted out this order is not known. When this order was given the Americans were running low on ammunition. This order was given to try to conserve ammunition by directing the soldiers to wait until the enemy was close enough to be a clear target.
Although the Americans eventually had to retreat and give up Bunker Hill and Breeds Hill to the British the battle boosted the Americans morale; they had proved they could put up a good fight against the mighty British army.