The Battle of Bunker Hill


"Don't fire until you see the whites of their eyes!" This legendary order has come to symbolize the conviction and determination of the ill-equipped American colonists facing powerful British forces during the famous battle fought on June 17, 1775. The battle is popularly known as "The Battle of Bunker Hill" although most of the fighting actually took place on Breed's Hill. It was the first major battle of the American Revolution and the goal on both the British and American sides that day, was to take control of Bunker Hill.

The Battle of Bunker Hill pitted a newly-formed and inexperienced colonial army against the more highly trained and better-equipped British. Despite the colonial army's shortcomings, it was led by such capable men as Colonel William Prescott, Colonel John Stark and General Israel Putnam, who had experience fighting alongside the British in the French and Indian War. To this day it's unknown who exactly should be attributed with the “whites of their eyes” quote. Prescott, Stark and Putnam have all received credit.

Although the British Army ultimately prevailed in the battle of Bunker Hill, the colonists greatly surprised the British by repelling two major assaults and inflicting great casualties. Out of the 2,200 British ground forces and artillery engaged at the battle, almost half (1,034) were counted afterwards as casualties (both killed and wounded). The colonists lost between 400 and 600 combined casualties, including popular patriot leader and newly-elected Major-General Dr. Joseph Warren, who was killed during the third and final assault.

The first monument on the site was an 18-foot wooden pillar with a gilt urn erected in 1794 by King Solomon's Lodge of Masons to honor fallen patriot and mason, Dr. Joseph Warren. In 1823, a group of prominent citizens formed the Bunker Hill Monument Association to construct a more permanent and significant monument to commemorate the famous battle. The existing monument was finally completed in 1842 and dedicated on June 17, 1843, in a major national ceremony. An exhibit lodge was built on the location in the late nineteenth century to house a statue of Dr. Warren.

Battle of Breed's Hill/Bunker Hill- Worcester Polytechnic Institute's brief history of the first major battle of the American Revolution

The Significance of the Battle of Bunker Hill- A paper written by a student at Marshall University about the Battle of Bunker Hill

Bunker Hill Monument- The City of Boston's page about the monument that stands at the site of the battle.

The Battle of Bunker Hill- A comprehensive look at the battle provide by BritishBattles.com

Battle of Bunker Hill 1775- An account of the battle from the University of Nottingham in Nottingham, England.