Visit Boston Massachusetts
Visit Boston Massachusetts
Battle of Bunker Hill

The Battle of Bunker Hill

Written by Julie Greiner
In this first major battle of the American Revolution, the outnumbered American militia flew a red, white, and blue flag bearing the pine tree emblem of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. With weapons at the ready, Colonel William Prescott, shown here striding behind the firing line, had them hold their fire
until the British were in close range.

Breed's Hill

"Don't fire until you see the whites of their eyes!" This famous order, which legend attributes to Colonel William Prescott, has come to symbolize the determination of the ill-equipped colonists facing the powerful British Army during this 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, the site of the existing monument and exhibit lodge.

British Control

Critical to the British occupation
Bunker Hill Memorial
of Boston was control of the hills on the Charlestown peninsula. This position overlooked both Boston and her harbor. On June 15 the Americans learned that the British planned to occupy Charlestown. To frustrate them the Americans decided to act first. Both armies had fought courageously and learned much. For the Redcoats, the lesson was painful. Although they had captured the hill, out of 2,200 soldiers engaged, 1,034 were casualties. The Americans had shown they could stand up to the British in traditional open field combat. But where they had succeeded, it had been through individual gallantry rather than tactical planning or discipline. 600 American soldiers were counted as casualties.

The Monument of Bunker Hill

Today, a 221-foot granite obelisk marks the site of the first major battle of the American Revolution. 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. The exhibit lodge was built in the late nineteenth century to house
Old Town Trolley Tour
a statue of Dr. Warren.

Visiting Times

Hours: Visitor lodge and exhibits open daily, 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m., except on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day. The monument is open to climb from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily. For more information please call (617) 242-5641.
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Last Updated: September 23, 2015