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The battle of Bunker Hill took place on June 17, 1775, during the years of the Revolutionary War. British forces defeated the Americans. Despite this loss, the revolutionary army was able to inflict significant casualties on the British. The battle demonstrated the potential of the newly-formed colonial army. Though the conflict is commonly called the Battle of Bunker Hill, most of the fighting occurred at Breed’s Hill outside Boston.

  • Photograph of the Bunker Hill Monument in Boston, MA.
  • Marker at monument detailing some details of the battle of Bunker Hill.

June 17 of 1775 General William Howe led nearly 2,000 to the shores of the Charlestown Peninsula to begin one of the first offensive attacks on colonial forces of the formal Revolutionary War. According to lore, as the British lined up in stark formation General Prescott yelled: “Don’t fire until you see the whites of their eyes!” To some, this appears a rallying cry, but in actuality, it was an attempt to save what little ammunitions the revolutionary army had. This tactic was highly effective as the British were forced to retreat. 

The British regrouped and attacked again but encountered a similar result as the colonial troops held their ground and repelled the attack. With ammunition running low, the British attempted a third attack that began with a charge and led to hand-to-hand combat on some corners of the battlefield. The Americans were outnumbered and running low on ammunition and were forced to retreat. Despite their inability to hold their position indefinitely,  this was still a major victory for the rebels.  The British lost approximately eight hundred men while the rebel army lost only a hundred. 

The British occupied Breed’s Hill, but the colonial troops had demonstrated that they could stand up to the British. Recognizing that a smaller force of rebels had repelled two previous attacks and caused substantial damage to a superior force, more men were willing to support the rebels and their army. 

The Bunker Hill Monument stands 221 feet tall. Visitors can climb all 294 stairs to the top where and enjoy a full view of Breed's Hill.

"Battle of Bunker Hill." A&E Television Networks, n.d. Web. 08 May 2015.