Battle of Bunker Hill
On the night of June 16th, 1775 Colonel William Prescott built defenses with 1,200 men on Breed’s Hill located on Charlestown peninsula. In response, the British began burning the town of Charlestown and sent 2,400 British soldiers, under command of General Gage and Howe, up Bunker Hill expecting to decimate the Yankee militia. To strengthen his defenses, Prescott orders Putnam and his 2,000 men, to also hold the line. In order to take advantage of the hill’s elevation above the British, Colonel Prescott orders his men “don’t fire until you see the whites of their eyes!” causing the casualties of the British soldiers to amount to over 1,100. This was about one-sixth of the entire casualties suffered by the British during the war. After fending off two attempts to seize the hill, the Yankees were forced to withdraw when they ran out of ammunition on the British’s third attempt. British then seized the hill.
Although the Yankees suffered 370 casualties and lost their position at Breed’s and Bunker Hill, it was regarded as a “moral” victory for the militia. However, the Americans made the terrible mistake of expecting the British to attack with the same tactic every single time. This became known as “Bunker Hillism” meaning that the Americans, after fortifying a hill, expected a frontal attack. To surprise the Americans, the British learned to attack on the flanks of such defenses. The British became very cautious when attacking the Americans, and no longer underestimated them. Because the Americans grew a strong confidence in their ability to fend off the British at Bunker Hill, there was a growing attitude among the colonists, “Rage Militaire”, meaning that the colonists became very eager to join the Continental Army in revolt towards the British. We then reach the “point-of-no-return” when King George III rejects the Olive Branch petition in August, 1775. Parliament then gives George III troops and money for the war....
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