Battle of Bunker Hill
The Battle of Bunker Hill, a battle fought in the American Revolutionary War, occurred on June 17, 1775 between the American Revolutionary forces under the command of General Israel Putnam, and the British forces under the command of Major General William Howe. Howe was determined to take Charlestown Heights, overlooking Boston harbor. It was actually fought on nearby Breed's Hill, when Colonel William Prescott erred and set up his 1200 men at that location and began to construct earthworks. It is considered to be the bloodiest battle of the American Revolutionary War. Despite being repelled twice, the British were successful in a bayonet charge when the American ammunition gave out. The Americans lost 140 men killed (including General Joseph Warren), 271 wounded, and 30 captured.
Tactically a British victory, it was a morale boost for the colonial forces who met British regulars and didn't falter in the face of the enemy until their supplies were exhausted.
The famous quote "Don't shoot 'till you see the whites of their eyes!", attributed to either General Putnam or Colonel William Prescott, was from this battle.
Peter Salem, a former slave who joined as a soldier to become a freeman shot British Major John Pitcairn at a moment when the battle seemed to be lost. This sent the British soldiers into disarray which allowed the American soldiers to regroup and avoid being completely overrun by the British.
- Encyclopedia of Military History, Dupuy & Dupuy, 1977
- Peter Salem, Hero at the Battle of Bunker Hill.