Why Was the Battle of Bunker Hill Important?

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The Battle of Bunker Hill was important because it bolstered the confidence of the American militia and convinced the British that the war would not be as easily won as they first supposed, according to the History Channel’s website. Though the British won the battle, they incurred much heavier losses than the Americans.

The Battle of Bunker Hill occurred during the American siege of Boston in 1775. Most of the fighting actually took place on nearby Breed’s Hill. With more than 1,000 men, American Col. William Prescott took position on the hill. Under Maj. Gen. William Howe and Brig. Gen. Robert Pigot, about 2,200 British troops marched on the American earthen fortifications. As his troops were short of ammunition, Prescott issued his famous command, “Don’t fire until you see the whites of their eyes!” The Americans repulsed two British attacks before the British attained the summit of the hill and engaged the Americans in hand-to-hand combat.

In the end, the overwhelmed Americans had to retreat, though with far fewer casualties than the British. In the battle, more than 200 British were killed and 800 more wounded, while about 100 Americans were killed and 300 wounded. The British did not follow up their victory with attacks on the surrounding hills, and in March 1776, George Washington seized the hills and forced the British to evacuate Boston.