The Battle of Bunker HillMegan BrownUniversity of New Haven1THE BATTLE OF BUNKER HILL
2THE BATTLE OF BUNKER HILLTensions had been growing between England and the American colonies for 10 years. England had issued Acts such as the Stamp Act, the Townshend Act and the Tea Act. Each of these were implemented to raise revenue, this enraged many of the colonists. They wanted the same rights as other English citizens and to be represented in Parliament. In October of 1768 the first British troops arrived in the colonies to enforce the Townshend Act. Tensions between the colonists and regulars grew from that point on. On March 5th, 1770, a mob estimated to be between 300-400 harassed a detail of British soldiers. The British regulars grew worried and fired into the crowd. The Boston Massacre, as it would beknown many years later, left 5 men dead. When the soldiers went on trial not a single Bostonian was on the jury and all involved were found not guilty. The Tea Act gave the East India Trading company a monopoly on the sale of tea in the colonies. On December 16, 1763 the Sons of Liberty, led by Samuel Adams, boarded three British ships (Beaver, Dartmouth and the Eleanor) in Boston Harbor laden down with tea. The colonists pushed 342 chests of tea into the harbor. In reprisal to this act the British passed the Intolerable Acts in 1774.This pushed the two sides even closer to war. In February 1775 Britain declared Massachusetts to be in a state of rebellion. Finally, on April 19th, 1775 Lt. Colonel Francis Smithwith roughly 700 regulars marched onto Concord to confiscate military stores. The stores were relocated before the British arrived and the Lexington Militia met them on Lexington Green to slow them down. To this day no one knows who fired first but it was later known as “The Shot Heard Round the World” and the American Revolution had started.After the Battle of Concord and Lexington the British retreated back into Boston. The colonists, now at 1200 strong, surrounded the city theoretically cutting them off from ground movement in or out of the city but since the Americans had no navy, they could not stop supplies
3THE BATTLE OF BUNKER HILLand reinforcements being brought in through the harbor. Through May the British sent in reinforcements until their ranks swelled to 6000 men. On May 25, the HMS Cerberus arrived in Boston with Henry Clinton, William Howe and John Burgoyne. The Generals began to formulize a plan to break out of the city. They set the date of June 18thto attack and take the Dorchester Heights and the Charlestown heights that overlooked Boston. After taking Dorchester, they could drive out the fortified units in Roxbury. From Charlestown, they could turn towards Cambridge and eliminate the colonials positioned there. Doing such would open the path for the British to push out of Boston. Word reached the colonists on June 15thfrom a sympathizer that had overheard the general’s plan, it was decided that additional defenses would be needed. General Ward ordered General Putnam to set up such defenses on Bunker Hill in Charlestown.