Whether you learned about it in school, live in New England or have visited the city of Boston, you have probably heard of Bunker Hill. While Bostonians have come to regard Bunker Hill as a notable landmark in Charlestown, do you know why Bunker Hill Day is celebrated in Boston? In remembrance of the Battle of Bunker Hill, June 17 is observed as Bunker Hill Day. Read on to learn the history of the Battle of Bunker Hill and how it shaped our nation as we know it:
- The battle was fought in Charlestown, Massachusetts on June 17, 1775 between American and British troops early in the American Revolutionary War. Although the battle was set to be fought on Bunker Hill (leading to its name), the battle was actually fought on nearby Breed’s Hill because it was closer to Boston.
- Upon learning that the British were going to send troops from Boston to occupy the hills surrounding the city, American soldiers prepared their defenses and built barricades on top of Breed’s Hill. Under the leadership of American Colonel William Prescott, 1,000 American men went up against British forces of 2,200.
- The Americans had to choose their tactics carefully because they had fewer troops and less ammunition than the British. The American troops held their fire until the approaching British were only yards away. This caught the British off guard and caused them to retreat on their first two attacks! However, British attacked for the third time, and the Americans had to engage in hand-to-hand combat when ammunition ran low. The outnumbered American soldiers were forced to retreat, leading to a British victory.
- Although the British were able to triumph, the battle demonstrated that inexperienced American soldiers could match the well-trained British army in battle.
The Battle of Bunker Hill gave Americans patriotism and confidence which eventually helped lead to victory in the Revolutionary War, resulting in the country’s independence. Next time you find yourself in the city of Boston, be sure to visit the Bunker Hill Monument so you can see where one of the most important battles in American history was fought!