The Battle of Bunker Hill
The sun rose slowly over the city of Charlestown on June 17, 1775, waking the British soldiers from their sleep. The British were totally unaware of the fact that American troops were positioned on Breed's Hill and that there were cannons stationed on both Breed's and Bunker Hill. The Americans had spent all night marching from Cambridge to Charlestown, under the command of Colonel William Prescott. Their order was to capture Bunker and Breed's Hill and force British redcoats out of Charlestown.
A British lookout spotted the Americans and warships started firing toward Breed's Hill. At noon the British redcoats climbed into boats and landed on Charlestown Neck fully armed. By this time the Americans were hot, tired, and worst of all severely low on ammunition. Each man only had about 15 bullets, that were made from organ pipes. Fortunately, Joseph Warren and 300 volunteers came as reinforcements, but they also had an ammunition shortage. Prescott knew that his army of about 1200 men was no competition for General Howe's army of 2500. Prescott allowed the British to advance to the top of the hill then reportedly said "Don't one of you fire until you see the whites of their eyes." Confused, the British retreated down the hill. Commander in chief, Thomas Gage, ordered a second charge that likewise failed. On the third attack, with their ammunition gone, Prescott gave the order to retreat.
The British captured both Bunker and Breed's Hill at a huge loss. Out of 2300 redcoats, 1054 were killed or wounded including Howe's entire personal staff. The Americans loss was not as great, 440 of the 1200 men were taken hostage, wounded, or killed, including General Warren. Although the Americans lost, they showed that poorly trained volunteers were able to stand up against the British army.