The Courage of William Prescott

More of this Feature

• Part 2: The Battle Itself
Part 3: Courage Wins the Day

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Part 1: Background

The Battle of Bunker Hill has often been called a sign of things to come. The ragtag American soldiers stood their ground until the last possible moment, driving off the famous fighting force of British Redcoats.

In a way, this battle could be a symbol of the entire Revolutionary War. In battle after battle, the stubborn Americans refused to give up. In the end, they defeated the British and won their independence.

But the heroic stand at the Battle of Bunker Hill was largely due to the courage of one man: Colonel William Prescott.

It was the summer of 1775. Lexington and Concord were a year old. British troops were still streaming across the Atlantic Ocean. Boston was still a hotbed of revolutionary activity, and Britain wanted Boston captured.

Somehow, the Americans learned that the British planned to occupy Dorchester Heights, high ground surrounding Boston. If they did this, the British would be able to see everything that was happening in Boston and the surrounding area. The Americans had to stop them.

On June 16, under the cover of darkness, about 1,200 American soldiers occupied Breed's Hill. They also built defensive fortifications. The next morning, British troops who were expecting to occupy the hill found themselves staring at a bunch of Americans atop the hill.

Next page > The Battle Itself > Page 1, 2, 3


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David White