Bunker Hill Battle: American Valor & Strategy

The Battle Of Bunker Hill

The Battle of Bunker Hill occurred on June 17, 1775. It was among the first battles in the American Revolutionary War for Independence. The American colonists discovered that the British troops planned to build their defenses on the local hills. It gave them an opportunity to control Boston Harbor, one of the most important strategic objects of the British forces. Therefore, the American colonists made a historical decision to occupy both Bunker and Breed’s Hills by twelve hundred their troops. The low skilled colonial units commanded by William Prescott withstood all three attacks of the British regular army, but they had to withdraw because of the shortage of ammunition. The Battle of Bunker Hill proved that the low skilled American troops learnt quickly, becoming one of the strongest armies in the world in the eighteenth century. They not only defeated the Royal Army but also proved that the war would last for a long period, and the American colonists were able to gain independence due to such brave and valorous commanders and warriors.

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According to Eric Foner, in the winter of 1775, Henry Knox, the commander of the colonial artillery, “arranged for some cannon to be dragged hundreds of miles to the east to reinforce the siege of Boston.” On June 13, 1775, twelve hundred American colonists started to construct redoubts on the local hills near Boston. It was the General Thomas Gage’s fault because he ordered to leave the local hills and withdraw the British troops to Boston. Thus, the Charlestown Peninsula became a “no man’s land.” By June, the total amount of the British troops in Boston constituted 6 thousand men, including Generals William Howe, John Burgoyne, and Henry Clinton. As Richard Ketchum states, the British generals planned to attack the colonists’ positions to seize Dorchester and Charlestown on June 18. The colonists retrieved this information from the New Hampshire Committee of Safety and decided to build additional defenses. Thus, under the leadership of General Israel Putnam, the colonists began to strengthen the defenses on Bunker Hill. Neither British generals nor sentries paid attention to the colonists who began to construct their defenses on the local hills. Only officers from HMS Lively began shelling the colonists’ positions, but they had to cease fire and wait for further instructions from General Gage.

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The British generals were convinced the colonists would be unable to do any harm to the Royal armed forces. Therefore, they neglected the emergence of new fortifications and redoubts on the local hills near Boston. It was a serious underestimation of the enemy that caused multiple casualties among the British troops in the future battle. In his turn, Commander Prescott ordered to strengthen flanks and construct new defenses for this purpose. The British troops were ready to attack the colonists only at 3 p.m. Because of the slow movement of the British troops, they became good targets for American snipers. Therefore, Admiral Graves burnt many buildings in Charlestown to protect the movement of the British troops with smoke. At the same time, five British infantry regiments of General Pigot and Marines of Major Pitcairn failed to capture the colonists’ redoubt. Thus, General Pigot ordered to retreat to his regiments. General Howe was attacking the left wing of the American defenses. The British light infantry and grenadiers hoped to gain an easy victory over the colonists. They had four rows in the depth and a few hundred men along the front approaching the colonists’ defenses. Further, both the British and the Americans opened fire. The British troops suffered heavy losses, and they had to retreat.

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The British generals made another attempt to attack the American defenses, and as Ketchum states, it was also unsuccessful, and most of the British “Grenadiers and Light-infantry, the moment of presenting themselves lost three-fourths, and many nine-tenths, of their men. Some had only eight or nine men a company left.” Pigot ordered to retreat again. At the same time, General Putnam wanted to help the defenders of Breed’s Hill by sending his troops. It was a rather dangerous situation because of the little number of their reserve troops. The same situation emerged in the British forces. Thus, the British took the third attack to seize the redoubts. At that time, the Americans had to retreat because of the shortage of their ammunition.  This victory was quite costly for the British. They lost over a thousand men, while they killed only 226 soldiers. Therefore, it was the bloodiest battle in the whole military history of the British Empire in America. Consequently, the Battle of Bunker Hill became a vivid evidence of the emergence of a new nation with a strong army that could learn quickly.

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In conclusion, the Battle of Bunker Hill demonstrated the intellect of the American commanders who withstood three attacks of the strongest army in the world, inflicting them heavy losses. The major reason for the American withdrawal was the shortage of ammunition. In addition, the Battle of Bunker Hill proved that the underestimation of any enemy could lead to defeat. Therefore, the whole American nation cherishes the memory about the Battle of Bunker Hill as the evidence of its intellectual and military skills. It gave the people an opportunity to hope for gaining the Revolutionary War and creating a new republic in the monarchical world.

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