After “the shot heard ‘round the world” at Lexington and Concord, Britain faced a full-blown rebellion.
After “the shot heard ‘round the world” at Lexington and Concord, Britain faced a full-blown rebellion. Patriots poured into Boston, placing heavy guns on the high ground of Breed’s and Bunker Hills, overlooking the harbor. Because the guns could reach the British ships, troops were sent to drive the rebels off the hills and re-capture the guns.
On the morning of June 17,1775, Major General William Howe sent 1,500 British soldier across Boston harbor on barges, and led a another contingent of troops around the base of the hill to cut off retreat. The ill-supplied American forces held out until they run out of ammunition, inflicting over 1000 British casualties. After engaging in hand-to-hand combat, the patriots were forced to retreat. In his diary, Sir Henry Clinton wrote, “A dear-bought victory; another such would have ruined us.”
Lieutenant J. Waller of the First Royal Marine Battalion, wrote home to his brother
“ . . . we were checked by the severe fire of the enemy, but did not retreat an inch. We were now in confusion, after being broke several times in getting over the rails, etc. I did all I could to form the two companies on our right, which at last I effected, losing many of them while it was performing. Major Pitcairne was killed close by me, with a captain and a subaltern, also a serjeant, and many of the privates; and had we stopped there much longer, the enemy would have picked us all off.”