This quote was said by William H. Prescott in an attempt to save ammunition in the Battle of Bunker Hill. This battle was both fought on both Bunker and the nearby Breed’s Hill. The Battle of Bunker Hill had many advantages and disadvantages for both the British and the colonists in the geography. They used many weapons in the battle, close range, long range and sometimes even both. The battle was intense and action-packed as well as devastating and absolutely terrifying. It had many deaths and injuries and is sometimes thought to be the bloodiest battle in the American Revolutionary War.
The British thought that fighting the colonists would be easy. Would it be? Or would it be very hard? A Big Battle Colonel Prescott was an experienced soldier, having fought in two British wars. Despite being 49 years old, Prescott was in good shape. Prescott arrived in Charleston Neck with nearly 1,200 soldiers. He met up with Colonel Putnam, whose additional 250 Connecticut volunteers joined them. Many colonists built earthworks to protect themselves from attack on Bunker and Breed’s Hill. 2400 British soldiers that sailed over to Bunker Hill declared an attack once they saw them.
Major General William Howe and Brigadier General Robert Pigot landed on the Charlestown Peninsula then marched to Bunker Hill. The fighting started to happen on June 17, 1775. When they got to the bay, they marched up the hill to the earthworks. When the British drew near, a deadly hail of bullets was let loose. The colonists stood over the wall with guns and began shooting immediately. Almost every time the British drew near they were fired upon by the colonists. In addition the aim of their guns were not very good. The British were pushed back to the river near their boats twice.
Soon the colonists started to run out of ammo. Because the colonists were running out of ammo, the commander shouted, “Don’t fire till you see the whites of their eyes! ” I think they ran out of ammo because the colonists did not have much money to buy ammo. Also while the war was happening the Triangular Trade Route was probably shut off from England and the colonies. They also were probably greatly outnumbered and probably had to use lots of ammo to protect the hills. Unfortunately, the colonists did soon run out of ammo. By evening the British had captured the hill and the colonists had surrendered due to the loss of ammo. 26 British soldiers died taking the hill and 828 were wounded.
140 American soldiers were killed and an additional 271 wounded. Even though the colonists lost, they were filled with determination and kept going. Also British now realized that the was going to be tougher to win then they had thought. FUN FACT: Most of the battle was fought on the nearby hill, Breed’s Hill, but was named the Battle of Bunker Hill. The British lost a total of 1,500 men in both the Battle of Lexington and Concord and the Battle of Bunker Hill. Weapons of the Warriors The armies used muskets, pistols and bayonets.
The muskets were heavy and required a lot of time to reload. In addition to that, the muskets did not have good aim. The men would have to take some gunpowder and a shot and ram it down into the gun with a stick. These guns’ bullets did not travel very far which gave the British an advantage. These muskets also had a sword like dagger on the tip of the gun which was used in close combat called a bayonet. It was used as a miniature sword to stab the enemy quickly. Small pistols were also used in the battle and were good weapons. They could be held in one hand, had good aim and were small.
They may have used the muskets and not the pistols because the bullets might travel faster and have more impact other than the pistol. The muskets also had a bayonet which might have helped a lot. Men who did not own guns used spears and axes used in close combat which caused an almost immediate death. It was also used like a bayonet, stabbing a person with the tip of the spear. Although it inflicted less damage, it was much easier to aim. The spear could also be thrown as a weapon. The spear could pierce skin if thrown hard enough also causing almost immediate death. A musket looks like this.
They would ram the gunpowder into the barrel along with a bullet and shoot. Sometimes a bayonet would be on the golf tee shaped cup at the end of the barrel. Graphing the Geography The colonists had an advantage in the battle because of the geography. Bunker and Breed’s hill were in Boston. The surroundings were very plain, with few trees and lots of land. Bunker and Breed’s Hill were sloped down from the top so the British had to climb up the hill, trying to not get hit. The river was an advantage to the British because they could quickly get supplies and soldiers from their ships.
The earthworks greatly helped the colonists because they built them on the top of the hill, they could easily hide behind the wall which protected them. When the soldiers drew nearer the colonists could stand up and shoot down on the British. Above shows a map of the battle. The British came in ships from Boston. Some went around the peninsula to Bunker Hill. Others went to Pigot and marched to the right side of Breed’s Hill. The British docked at Howe and set up their base for reinforcements Those reinforcements would then march to Breed’s Hill and join the other fighters of go around Breed’s Hill and catch the colonists behind Bunker Hill.
After the battle, both hills turned into a no man’s land for quite awhile. But this battle might just be the cause of determination to keep fighting for the war. Maybe it is, maybe it’s not. Who knows? Glossary Devastating: destroying; absolutely decimated Earthworks; A wall of Earth built out of the earth Hail; ice rain Triangular Trade Route: a trade route in the Atlantic Ocean used to trade items that some places could not get like slaves, tobacco, ect. Close combat: fighting close range and not with projectiles.