Battle of Bunker Hill, Summer 1775

Chapter 15 of Liberty Is Sweet is a very exciting chapter (Coming clean: Self skipped pages and pages having to do with laws/taxation etc etc She’s going for the exciting parts: the battles.)

On the side of the American colonists: Colonel William Prescott, 1500 – 1700 troops and Dr. Joseph Warren, newly commissioned as general by the Massachusetts provincial congress

On the side of the British: Gen. Henry Clinton, General Gage and General Howe, approximately 1500 enlisted soldiers and light infantry, and a few Royal Navy vessels on the southern shore of Boston harbor

Amusing anecdotes about both sides:

General Howe “has been accused of blithely marching his men up Breed’s Hill with no earthly idea that the mass of undisciplined provincials occupying its summit could possibly slow his progress. A recent account has one of his servants accompanying him with a silver tray with a decanter of wine.”

Newly named general Dr. Joseph Warren “occasionally suffered from crippling headaches, and on the morning of June 17, as he conferred with his Committee of Safety colleagues in Cambridge, an attack came on, forcing him to retire to a darkened room to drink chamomile tea, which was said to reduce the black bile that caused melancholia.”

The Battle Itself:

General Howe implored his men “to rely upon their bayonets rather than their firelocks, and he vowed to remain with them throughout . . . as in fact he did.” When “Howe’s force came within thirty yards of the rebels, their entire line opened up. Working in pairs, one reloading while the other let fly, the colonists provided nearly continuous fire. Never before had a British army suffered such heavy casualties. The stunned survivors turned and ran.”

The British forces attempted to take the hill while keeping to the shoulder-to-shoulder formation, which must have been a tremendous gift to the colonists waiting for them at the top!


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