The Courage of William Prescott

Part 3: Courage Wins the Day

Technically, it was a British victory. The American defenders gave up their position, and the British seized control of Breed's Hill, giving themselves the high ground and a great opportunity to spy on American doings in and around Boston.

But in the long run, it was an American victory.

  • First of all, the British lost almost half of the men in the three hours it took them to take that hill.
  • Secondly, the British didn't hold onto Breed's Hill long. A few months later, American troops returned, with enough manpower to hold the hill this time. Not long after, they drove the British out of Boston for good.
  • Third, it proved that the Americans could stand up to the British.

Faced with overwhelming odds against him, American Colonel William Prescott chose to stand and fight. He knew that some of his soldiers didn't have a lot of practice firing the guns they were holding. He knew that some of them didn't have very good aim. He knew that they couldn't afford to waste many bullets because they didn't have much in reserve.

But he kept his men on top of Breed's Hill until it was clear that they would all be killed if they didn't leave. Then, he led them in retreat, escaping to fight another day.

Thanks to the courage of this one man, who inspired his fellow men to stand with him and stand up to the big, bad British army, the spirit of America remained intact, even grew that day.

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