Today most bloggers will be writing about the great holidays of Apple Strudel Day, Flip Flop Day, Stewart’s Root Beer Day, and Eat You Vegetables Day, and while they are indeed important days to America, you’ll forgive me if I choose a lesser known one, the Battle of Bunker Hill Day.
You may remember Paul Revere’s Ride or what happened at Lexington and Concord, but the American Revolution really started above Boston on Breed’s Hill. True the Americans and the British collided at Lexington and then Concord, and the British were manhandled on their retreat back to Boston, but if that was where it ended, little would have changed.
As the British retreated into Boston the Americans surrounded them cutting off any movement from the Charlestown Peninsula (where Boston rests) except by sea. General Gage knew he had to break out. He feared little from the rebels, after all he had the finest troops Europe had ever seen under his command.
The break out was to come at Bunker Hill but rebel Colonel William Prescott saw Breed’s Hill, a slightly smaller hill next to Bunker Hill, as a better spot to defend. The attack came on June 17th, 1775.
The British charged once and the rag tag army of the rebels drove them back. Prescott issued his famous command, “Do not fire until you see the whites of their eyes”. A second attack was launched with the same results. Staggered, but not beaten, the British reformed once again and charged with their most determined attack yet and broke the American lines.
However, the British losses were higher than anyone had expected. They drove the Americans back, but not away from Boston. The British retreated back into Boston to tend to their dead and wounded, and the Americans, encouraged by their near defeat of England’s best, closed back in. The siege of Boston began, and the Continental Congress sent George Washington to take command.
The American’s losses were some 300 dead and wounded. So while it may not be as interesting as Flip Flop Day, I think it holds some importance in America’s history.
How to celebrate: Visit Boston if you can. Remember Breed’s Hill and what it meant to our freedom. Fly the flag to show your support for those who led our way.