The Battle of Bunker Hill

Plan of the Action at Bunker Hill

On June 15, 1776, American forces under Israel Putnam and William Prescott placed artillery captured at Fort Ticonderoga on Breed's Hill, overlooking Boston, which forced British commander Thomas Gage to attempt to dislodge them. He ordered a frontal assault against the colonial fortifications on June 17, when Major General William Howe led 2,500 regulars up the hill held by roughly 3,000 entrenched provincials. It took three attacks for the British troops to drive the Americans from Breed's Hill and their secondary position at Bunker Hill in one the costliest battles of the entire War for Independence: the British lost 1,150 men (about 40 percent), including a strikingly high number of officers. In fact, of all the British officers killed in the war, one out of every eight was lost at what has become known, somewhat misleadingly, as the Battle of Bunker Hill. 440 American were killed or wounded, including Joseph Warren, a 34-year-old leader of the radical patriot movement in Boston, who fell at Breed's Hill in savage hand-to-hand combat during the final British assault.

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