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The Battle of Bunker Hill

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Date: 17 Jun 1775 [unknown]
Location: [unknown]
Surnames/tags: 1776 American_Revolution
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Battle of Bunker Hill

Date: June 17, 1775
Location: Charlestown, Massachusetts (mostly on and around Breed's Hill)
When: during Siege of Boston early in the Revolution.
Victor: British pyrrhic victory
Loser: United Colonies
Territorial changes: British capture Charlestown peninsula


About

The battle is named after the adjacent Bunker Hill, which was peripherally involved in the battle and was the original objective of both colonial and British troops, and is occasionally referred to as the "Battle of Breed's Hill."

13 Jun 1775: Leaders of the colonial forces attacking Boston learne British generals plan to send troops from the city to occupy the unoccupied hills surrounding the city. In response, 1,200 colonial troops under William Prescott's command occupy Bunker Hill and Breed's Hill. They construct an earthen redoubt on Breed's Hill, and build lightly fortified lines across most of Charlestown Peninsula.

14 Jun 1775: British alerted of rebels position. They mount an attack. After two assaults on colonial lines are repulsed with heavy British casualties, the British capture the positions on the third assault, after defenders in the redoubt run out of ammunition. Colonial forces retreat to Cambridge over Bunker Hill, taking significant losses at Bunker Hill.

British win with heavy losses: 800+ wounded and 226 killed, including a large number of officers.

The battle is seen as an example of a Pyrrhic victory, due to modest, immediate gain (capture of Bunker Hill) that did not significantly change the state of the siege. At the same time, cost (loss of nearly a third of deployed forces) was high. Colonial forces retreated and regrouped in good order with fewer casualties. Furthermore, the battle demonstrated that relatively inexperienced colonial forces were willing and able to stand up to regular army troops in a pitched battle. (1)


United Colonies

Connecticut
Massachusetts
New Hampshire
Rhode Island

Commanders and leaders:

Israel Putnam - "Don't fire until you see the whites of their eyes"
William Prescott
Joseph Warren † (Warren declined command and fought as an individual)
John Stark
Strength: about 2,400
Casualties and losses: 115 killed, 305 wounded, 30 captured (20 POWs died), Total: 450

Great Britain

Commanders and leaders:

  • British Army:
William Howe
Sir Robert Pigot
James Abercrombie +
John Pitcairn †
Henry Clinton
  • Royal Navy:
Samuel Graves
Strength: 3,000+
Casualties and losses: 226 killed (including 19 officers), 828 soldiers wounded (including 62 officers), Total: 1,054

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Categories: Battle of Bunker Hill