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Don't Fire Until You see the White of Their Eyes

"DON'T FIRE UNTIL YOU SEE THE WHITE OF THEIR EYES."

"DON'T FIRE UNTIL YOU SEE THE WHITE OF THEIR EYES." The origin of this alleged command to the American patriots at Bunker Hill on 17 June 1775 may have been Col. William Prescott's order to reserve fire and aim low because powder was scarce. Reputedly Israel Putnam passed on the order in these words: "Men, you are all marksmen—don't one of you fire until you see the white of their eyes." The British won the battle, but the patriots' stubborn resistance at Bunker Hill became a symbol of American resolve.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Fleming, Thomas J. Now We Are Enemies: The Story of Bunker Hill. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1960.

Ketchum, Richard M. Decisive Day: The Battle for Bunker Hill. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1974.

Charles K.Bolton/a. g.

See alsoBoston, Siege of ; Bunker Hill ; Bunker Hill Monument ; Revere's Ride .

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