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Battle of Bunker Hill
Part of the American Revolutionary War
The death of general warren at the battle of bunker hill.jpg
Death of General Warren at the Battle of Bunker Hill
by John Trumbull
Date June 17, 1775
Result See Aftermath
The British capture Charlestown Peninsula

United Colonies

 Great Britain
Commanders and leaders
William Prescott
Israel Putnam
Joseph Warren 
John Stark
Kingdom of Great Britain William Howe
Kingdom of Great Britain Thomas Gage
Kingdom of Great Britain Sir Robert Pigot
Kingdom of Great Britain James Abercrombie 
Kingdom of Great Britain Henry Clinton
Kingdom of Great Britain Samuel Graves
Kingdom of Great Britain John Pitcairn 
~2,400 3,000+
Casualties and losses
115 killed,
305 wounded,
30 captured (20 POWs died)
Total: 450
19 officers killed
62 officers wounded
207 soldiers killed
766 soldiers wounded
Total: 1,054

The Battle of Bunker Hill was a battle in the American War of Independence. It took place on June 17, 1775, mostly on and around Breed's Hill, during the Siege of Boston early in the American Revolutionary War. The battle is named after Bunker Hill, which is close and which was involved in the battle. Bunker Hill was the original objective of both colonial and British troops. Sometimes, the battle is called the "Battle of Breed's Hill."

On June 13, 1775, the Americans learned that the British generals were planning to send troops out from the city to occupy the unoccupied hills around the city. In response to this, 1,200 colonial troops under the command of William Prescott stealthily occupied Bunker Hill and Breed's Hill, constructed an earthen redoubt on Breed's Hill, and built lightly fortified lines across most of the Charlestown Peninsula.

When the British were alerted to the presence of the new position the next day, they mounted an attack against them. After two assaults on the colonial lines were repulsed with significant British casualties, the British finally captured the positions on the third assault, after the defenders in the redoubt ran out of ammunition. The colonial forces retreated to Cambridge over Bunker Hill, suffering their most significant losses on Bunker Hill.

Even though the British forces won the battle, they lost many soldiers: over 800 redcoats (British soldiers) were wounded and 226 were killed, among them many officers. For this reason, the battle is seen as an example of a Pyrrhic victory: the immediate gain (the capture of Bunker Hill) was small and did not change the state of the siege very much, but the cost was high. Nearly a third of the deployed forces were either wounded or killed. Meanwhile, colonial forces were able to retreat and regroup in good order because they had suffered 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. After the battle the British still didn't realize they were still in Boston.

Interesting facts about the Battle for Bunker Hill

Bunker Hill by Pyle
The Battle of Bunker Hill, by Howard Pyle, 1897; it was published in Scribner's Magazine in February,1898
  • Most of the battle wasn't actually fought on Bunker Hill but Breed’s Hill just to the south.
  • Major John Simpson (December 1, 1748 – October 28, 1825) was an American Revolutionary War soldier who was one of several men described as having fired the first shot on the American side at the Battle of Bunker Hill.
  • 1,054 redcoats (British soldiers) died at Bunker Hill.
  • The reason the British won the battle was because the colonists ran out of ammunition and gunpowder.
  • The colonists used muskets and guns and the British used muskets and bayonets.
  • Even though the colonists lost it gave them a sense of hope and made them feel they were capable of beating the British.
  • Colonel William Prescott, who was in charge of the colonist forces said "Do not fire until you see the whites of their eyes", so the patriots wouldn't waste their ammunition and were able to hit their targets.

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