Battle at Bunker Hill 1775?6?17?,1054,
Battle at Bunker Hill
A. On June 17, 1775 two battles occurred. One battle on Bunker Hill, the other at Breed Hill.
The two battles resulted in a combined 1,054 British Deaths, and fewer than 450 colonist deaths.
On June 17, 1775 the Battle of Bunker Hill took place. It is one of the most important colonial victories in the U.S. War for Independence. Fought during the Siege of Boston, it lent considerable encouragement to the revolutionary cause.
This battle made both sides realize that this was not going to be a matter decided on by one quick and decisive battle.
The battle of Bunker Hill was not just an event that happened overnight. The battle was the result of struggle and hostility between Great Britain and the colonies for many years. Many of the oppressive feelings came as a result of British laws and restrictions placed on them. It would not be true to say that the battle was the beginning of the fight for independence. It is necessary to see that this was not a rash decision that occurred because of one dispute, but rather the seeds sown to precipitate this battle were planted a long time ago and had just burst forth.
Perhaps two of the most notable injustices, as perceived by the colonists, were the Stamp Act and the Intolerable Acts. The Stamp Act was passed by the British Parliament to raise money for repaying its war debt from the French and Indian War. The Act levied a tax on printed matter of all kinds including newspapers, advertisements, playing cards, and legal documents. The British government was expecting protest as result of the tax but the level of outcry they received.
The colonists were so angry because they had no voice in Parliament which passed the law, thus came the famous cry, “No taxation without representation!” The colonists would protest these laws with the Boston Tea Party. The British responded to this open act of rebellion by imposing the Intolerable Acts, four laws designed to punish Boston and the rest of Massachusetts while strengthening British control over all the colonies.
On June 15, 1775 the American colonists heard news that the British planned to control the Charlestown peninsula between the Charles and Mystic Rivers. Bunkers and Breeds Hill on this peninsula overlooked both Boston and its harbor, thus making the hills critical vantage points.
In order to beat the British to the high ground, General Prescott took 1,200 of his often times undisciplined, disobedient, and sometimes intoxicated soldiers to dig into and fortify Bunker Hill with the cover of night on June 16. When dawn broke, the British were stunned to see Breeds Hill fortified overnight with a 160-by-30-foot earthen structure. The British General, Gage, dispatched 2,300 troops under the command of Major General Howe to take control of the hill (Encyclopedia Britannica 1990).
Once the British came within range, the colonists began firing, and the British soldiers stated to fall rapidly. The British forces were driven back twice, but on their third and final thrust forward the British were able to break through the colonists line, overrunning the tentative American fortifications, thus taking the hill.
The colonists fled back up the peninsula since it was there only escape route. This battle, which lasted for approximately three hours, was one of the deadliest of the Revolutionary War.
Although the British technically won the battle because they took control of the hill, they suffered too many losses to fully benefit from it. The British had suffered more than one thousand casualties out of the 2,300 or so who fought. While the colonists only suffered 400 to 600 casualties from an estimated 2,500 to 4,000 men (The Henderson Island Website). Besides having fewer deaths than the British, the colonists believe they had won in other ways as well. The Americans had proved to themselves, and the rest of the world that they could stand up to the British army in traditional warfare. And only a few days later, George Washington would lead a group of men up to Dorchester Heights, aiming their canons at the British, and then watched the Red Coats retreat from the hill. So even though the British had won the battle, it was a short lived victory since the colonists took control of the hill again, but this time with more soldiers to defend it. -X