Bunker Hill, Massachusetts
Bunker Hill, Massachusetts
Bunker Hill, Massachusetts
BUNKER HILL, MASSACHUSETTS. 17 June 1775. The Battle of Bunker Hill holds a special place in the history and mythology of the American Revolution. Along with Lexington, Valley Forge, and Yorktown, it epitomizes how Americans think about the War for American Independence. The victory by American citizen-soldiers over British professionals in this first set-piece battle of the war encouraged Americans to believe that military resistance to increased British imperial control (what the British called rebellion) was possible. It showed the British that they were in for a real fight.
For nearly two months after American militiamen had hounded the British back into Boston on 18 April 1775, neither side escalated the conflict. While each side postured and watched each other (and skirmished on islands in the harbor), neither the British nor the Americans occupied Charlestown Peninsula or Dorchester Peninsula, two projections of land that flanked Boston to the north and south. Both peninsulas were crowned with hills that overlooked the town, but Dorchester was the more important because artillery on Dorchester Heights could potentially command the harbor and make continued British possession of Boston untenable.
Within two weeks of the arrival of reinforcements on 25 May, Thomas Gage and his subordinates (Howe, Clinton, and Burgoyne) had devised a plan to secure Dorchester Heights (doing so would make it nearly impossible for the Americans to oust the British from Boston), raise the siege, and strike a heavy, perhaps fatal blow at the rebellion. The Massachusetts Committee of Safety, chaired by Dr. Joseph Warren, seems to have learned of the British plan on 13 June, apparently through careless talk by John Burgoyne, although intelligence security was so poor that the British could not have kept the preparation of the expedition hidden for long. To forestall the British plan, which would begin with the occupation of Dorchester Heights on 18 June, the committee decided on 15 June to send troops to erect fortifications on Charlestown Peninsula. The committee may not have intended the occupation of the peninsula to be permanent—the first contingent was to be relieved after erecting the fortifications—but under Warren's aggressive leadership, it was willing to send troops into a cul-de-sac and offer battle to draw British attention away from Dorchester.
At 6 o'clock on the evening of 16 June, a motley group of New England provincial soldiers assembled on Cambridge Common to being the operation. The force of fewer than twelve hundred men was composed of the Massachusetts regiments of William Prescott, James Frye (under Lieutenant Colonel James Brickett), and Ebenezer Bridge; a two-hundred-man party from Israel Putnam's Connecticut regiment (under Captain Thomas Knowlton); and Captain Samuel Gridley's Massachusetts artillery company of two guns and forty-nine men. The force, under the command of forty-nine-year-old Colonel Prescott, a veteran of the final French and Indian War, moved out at 9 p.m. under the cover of darkness.
At Charlestown Neck, Putnam met the column with wagons loaded with entrenching tools and fortification materials. After crossing the neck, Prescott sent Captain John Nutting's company of his own regiment and ten of Knowlton's men off to outpost Charlestown, which had been deserted by its inhabitants shortly after the siege began. Prescott and the main body climbed the gentle slope of Bunker Hill, and either on its summit or a few hundred yards across a saddle on an elevation closer to Boston that came to be called Breed's Hill, Prescott assembled his officers and, for the first time, told them of his orders to fortify the peninsula. While there may have been some grumbling among the officers and men about not being consulted before embarking on so risky a mission, the principal question before Prescott, Putnam, and Colonel Richard Gridley (the army's chief engineer on the basis of his experience during the colonial wars) was where to being the fortifications. The lateness of the hour, the purpose of the mission, and the limited number of entrenching tools dictated that the work begin on Breed's Hill, with the intention, it seems, to dig in on Bunker Hill if and when time permitted.
The decision to begin fortifications on the forward elevation of Breed's Hill has been criticized for over two hundred years. It has been alleged, among other things, that the three commanders lost their way in the dark, that Breed's Hill was too vulnerable because it could be outflanked, and that Bunker Hill could have been made impregnable and offered at least equal strategic value. But the likelihood is that it was no mistake. All three men were experienced soldiers occupying ground with which they were familiar: Putnam had led his Connecticut regiment around the peninsula on 6 May; Prescott had traveled to Boston many times before the war as a delegate to the Massachusetts Assembly; and Gridley lived in Boston. When and if the captured cannon from Fort Ticonderoga arrived (Knox would bring his "Noble Train of Artillery" into Cambridge only in mid-February 1776), they would be less effective on Charlestown Peninsula because it was further from the harbor, than on Dorchester Heights. To draw British attention away from those vital heights, which they might also use as a springboard to advance on the storage depot at Cambridge to seize the supplies (especially gunpowder) without which the Americans could not have continued the fight, the Committee of Safety decided to dangle Prescott's force on the Charlestown Peninsula in a show of defiance and bravado.
It should be noted that no one exercised overall command of the American forces on 17 June. Prescott led the fight on Breed's Hill. Commanders of units that arrived later in the day inserted themselves along the slope of Breed's Hill that led toward the Mystic River, sometimes coordinated by Putnam, who seems to have spent much of his time on Bunker Hill urging American units forward. Artemas Ward, the commander of the New England army and a member of the Committee of Safety that had planned the operation, remained in Cambridge, trying to balance reinforcing the Charlestown position with the need to guard against any British attack on the American supply depot.
After Colonel Gridley traced out the shape of a redoubt on the summit of Breed's Hill, about forty-five-yards square, the soldiers started digging, using the excavated earth to create a parapet behind which they could shelter. It was a few minutes after midnight. Although British sentinels on ships in the Charles River and in Boston itself heard this pick and shovel work, reports of activity on the Charlestown Peninsula did not reach Gage until about 4 a.m. Shortly thereafter, when daybreak revealed the outlines of the redoubt, the British sloop Lively opened fire. In four hours of arduous work, the Americans had dug into the summit of Breed's Hill a well-designed earth fortification that was practically invulnerable to British artillery fire. In a foolhardy but effective show of bravery, Prescott walked the parapet to inspire his exhausted men to continue to dig as fast as they could.
Gage called a council of war to decide what to do about the unexpected American activity on the Charlestown Peninsula. Controversy has swirled around this meeting for almost as long as it has around the American decision to fortify Breed's Hill first. Clinton, who may have been the first senior British commander to learn that the rebels were digging in on Breed's Hill, urged Gage to attack the new rebel post quickly, before its defenses could be completed. Clinton advocated a two-pronged attack, Howe to lead a force against the front of the redoubt to hold the rebels in place while he led an amphibious force of five hundred men up the Mystic River and landed behind the Americans to cut off their retreat. Howe sensibly opposed this plan. A veteran of amphibious assaults at Louisbourg and Quebec during the final French and Indian War, he understood better than did Clinton the risks entailed in landing from the sea against enemy opposition. Besides, the original plan (largely of his making) had encompassed more important objectives than snapping up a rebel force foolishly exposed on Charlestown Peninsula. He was willing to modify the plan to take advantage of rebel stupidity, but his ultimate objective was Cambridge. The troops would be in the field for several days—even now they were finishing the preparation of three days of rations—and hasty action might compromise efforts to achieve the larger goal.
Howe proposed a thoroughly intelligent course of action, which Gage adopted. Longboats from the Royal Navy ships in the harbor would land Howe with the main British force near Moulton's (or Morton's) Point, on the tip of Charlestown Peninsula. From Boston, Gage could see that the point was undefended, out of range of musket fire from the redoubt, and well placed to be supported by artillery fire from Royal Navy ships and the Copp's Hill battery at Boston. Although the troops would have to wade ashore, wet feet were preferable to landing dry-shod at the wharfs of Charlestown, where American troops might be waiting to play havoc with the debarkation. From there, Howe would seek to envelop the American left between Breed's Hill and the Mystic River (no earthworks yet extended toward the Mystic to guard that flank), while Brigadier General Robert Pigot, his second-in-command, feinted a frontal assault against the redoubt to fix its defenders in position. Since high water was needed for the landing, and high tide was not until 2 p.m., the debarkation was set to start at 1 p.m. This schedule gave Howe barely enough time to finish preparations for an extended expedition toward Cambridge; he later reported that it was "just possible" to accomplish, even "with the greatest exertion." It also gave the Americans several additional hours to improve their defenses and send up reinforcements.
The British commanders were seasoned professional soldiers, and their plan was basically sound; it would earn them high marks even by modern military standards. Strategically, the objective had not changed: get to Cambridge; destroy the rebels' military supplies; and deal the rebellion the hardest blow that arms could deliver. Operationally, the new plan scrapped the central feature of the old plan, taking Dorchester Heights to secure the fleet's anchorage, in favor of a gamble to shorten the distance to Cambridge while snapping up a badly positioned rebel force. The choice was not foolhardy; only in retrospect was it evident that they should have stuck to the original idea. Tactically, the British had every reason to expect overwhelming success. They would pin the defenders of the redoubt in place and envelop their open left flank. Even when American reinforcements arrived to defend that gap, there was every reason for Howe to remain confident in his plan, although the Americans had contrived to reduce the options he would have if anything went wrong with the initial assault. But what could go wrong? Speed in the assault would ensure that Howe's heavy right hook would incur the fewest possible casualties while punching through hastily constructed field works defended by raw American troops liable to run like lightning at the sight of British bayonets bearing down on them. Given the poor marks-manship the Americans had displayed during the British retreat from Concord two months earlier, Howe had no reason to expect that a few experienced American officers would be able to make this rabble in arms wait until the British were in range and then deliver a disciplined, accurate, and sustained fire into his troops.
THE BRITISH LANDING
Part of the significance of the battle on Charlestown Peninsula derives from the fact that it played out so close to Boston. Tens of thousands of people saw or heard the action on that clear, hot June day, almost as though it was occurring in some vast amphitheater. Movement began around noon, when the British stepped up their bombardment of the American position. Firing at the redoubt were the sixty-eight gun ship of the line Somerset; two floating batteries; and the battery atop Copp's Hill in Boston, reinforced with four twenty-four-pounders. Firing on Charlestown Neck from the Charles River (to discourage reinforcement) were the frigate Glasgow; the armed transport Symmetry; and two floating batteries, each with one twelve-pounder. In direct support of the landing beaches were the sloops Falcon and Lively (which later moved to a position off Charlestown). Sailors from the fleet rowed the twenty-eight longboats that moved out from Boston's wharfs carrying fifteen hundred troops and twelve field guns (four light twelve-pounders, four five-and-one-half-inch howitzers, and four light six-pounders) (French, First Year, p. 232 n.). Howe's strike force comprised two ten-company composite battalions (one of light infantry, the other of grenadiers, composed of the elite flank companies detached from regiments in the Boston garrison) and the remaining battalion companies (eight each) of four infantry regiments (the Fifth, Thirty-eighth, Forty-third, and Fifty-second). The troops landed unopposed at about 1 p.m. and formed in three lines on Moulton's Hill.
The moment Howe landed he saw that the Americans had used the preceding six hours to strengthen their left wing. He decided to delay his attack until the boats could return to Boston for additional troops. He pushed four light infantry companies forward off Moulton's Hill into a depression where they were protected from fire from the redoubt but where they could provide security for his beachhead. Pigot moved left to the base of Breed's Hill with the sixteen battalion companies of the Thirty-eighth and Forty-third Regiments. Before the reinforcements reached Howe, probably before 2 p.m., the battery on Copp's Hill fired "hot shot" and carcass into Charlestown to set fire to the abandoned buildings and drive out the snipers who had been harassing the British left. With the arrival of six more flank companies, the eight battalion companies of the Forty-seventh Regiment and the ten companies of the First Marine Battalion (which landed between Moulton's Point and Charlestown, near where Pigot was already in position with the Thirty-eighth and Forty-third Regiments), Howe had almost twenty-three hundred men, almost all the operational troops that could be spared from Boston's garrison of sixty-four hundred men.
Recognizing the vulnerability of the redoubt, the Americans had constructed one hundred yards of breastwork that extended down the slope of Breed's Hill toward the Mystic River. The redoubt and breastwork were manned by Prescott's regiment and parts of the Massachusetts regiments of David Brewer, John Nixon, Benjamin Ruggles Woodbridge, Moses Little, and Ephraim Doolittle. When Prescott saw the British landing he ordered Knowlton to take his exhausted working party and "oppose them." Seeing the risks of advancing against the beachhead, Putnam ordered Knowlton's Connecticut men to take position along the line of a "rail fence" that lay to rear on the left flank of the redoubt. There, by dismantling one rail fence, placing it in front of a second made half of stone and the rest of rails, and filling the interval with earth, bushes, and newly cut hay that lay about in abundance, they gave the position a deceptively strong appearance. To cover the gap between the parallel lines of the breastwork and the rail fence, Colonel Gridley had some Massachusetts men hastily throw together, possibly also from fence rails, three small v-shaped outposts known as flèches. Finally, to the right of the redoubt, three companies (from the regiments of Doolittle, Joseph Reed, and Woodbridge) were retreating from the conflagration of Charlestown, while Nutting's company of Prescott's regiment and a few other troops waited in a cart-way and in the shelter of a barn and a stone wall.
Although Prescott and Putnam repeatedly asked for reinforcements, Ward at Cambridge would not weaken his center until he knew that Howe's force was the only British threat of the day. Believing his left wing to be secure, he finally agreed to send forward the New Hampshire regiments of John Stark and James Reed from Medford. At the Neck, forty-seven-year-old Colonel Stark, a ranger captain in the final French and Indian War, found the way blocked by men of two Massachusetts regiments who were afraid to cross through the artillery fire laid down by the Symmetry and the floating batteries. He asked them to stand aside, and when they did, he led his and Reed's regiments across the Neck, walking through the barrage at a very deliberate pace. When one of his captains, Henry Dearborn, suggested "quickening the march of the regiment, that it might sooner be relieved of the galling crossfire," Stark "observed with great composure" that "one fresh man in action is worth ten fatigued ones." From the summit of Bunker Hill, Stark saw that Knowlton's defenses at the rail fence were critically thin and led the two New Hampshire regiments to reinforce him. Once there, he spotted the remaining danger point and moved quickly to cover it: the rail fence extended only to a bluff on the riverbank, where the ground dropped off eight or nine feet to a narrow strip of beach, wide enough so that a British column could march along it in relative safety. Stark had his men build a breastwork with stones from adjacent walls and posted them three ranks deep to defend it. He remained to command the position and sent the rest of his regiment to reinforce Knowlton and Reed at the rail fence.
While Prescott, Knowlton, and Stark worked to organize the defenses around Breed's Hill, Israel Putnam was trying to put on the summit of Bunker Hill the men who had trickled up from the Neck or who had straggled back from the front lines to work constructing fortifications. Just before the first British attack, he was joined by two senior American leaders. Although both had been elected to the rank of major general in the Massachusetts army, neither had been officially commissioned, so both offered their services as volunteers. Sixty-nine-year-old Seth Pomeroy carried the musket he had made and carried to war at Louisbourg forty years earlier; he eventually joined Stark on the Mystic beach. Thirty-four-year-old Dr. Joseph Warren was president of the Massachusetts Provincial Congress, chairman of the Committee of Safety, and the principal architect of both the Massachusetts army and the operation on Charlestown Peninsula. He joined Prescott in the redoubt on Breed's Hill.
According to the British plan, Pigot's left wing was to advance against the redoubt to hold its defenders in place while Howe's right wing enveloped the American left. With the grenadier companies in the front rank and the battalion companies of the Fifth and Fifty-second in the second rank, the bulk of Howe's force was to move toward the rail fence to engage the defenders' attention. (He ordered his six-pounders to advance ahead of the infantry, but this part of the plan failed when the gunners discovered that all the extra ammunition their negligent senior officer had sent over from Boston was for twelve-pounders. Boggy ground kept the guns from getting close enough to fire grapeshot effectively.) Everything depended on the eleven light infantry companies attacking in column along the narrow strip of beach that had caught Stark's eye. Howe was confident that their unstoppable charge would penetrate the American left, whereupon they would climb the bluff to hit the defenders of the rail fence from the rear and lead Howe's entire wing in an envelopment of the redoubt. Depending on how long it took to dispose of the rebels on the peninsula, the force would then regroup and head for Cambridge that evening or the next day.
In the oppressive heat of early afternoon, the British light infantry moved rapidly in a column four abreast along the unobstructed beach toward Stark's line of nervous New Hampshiremen. The leading company (Royal Welch Fusiliers) had gotten to within fifty yards and had begun to charge with bayonets leveled and ready when Stark gave the order to fire. The men had been instructed to shoot low and to look for the gorgets that marked the officers. Their initial volley tore apart the head of the British column. Without hesitation the survivors of the leading company pressed forward, only to be cut down. The next two companies, the Fourth (King's Own) and Tenth (those of Lexington Common), charged in turn with incredible valor over the bodies of their dead and wounded comrades and with the reasonable expectation that they could come to grips with these farmers as they reloaded between volleys. But Stark had organized his men into three ranks, one of which was always ready to fire, so there was no lull between volleys. The men of the Fifty-second Regiment came forward, but their officers could not make them attack. When the light infantry was finally ordered to retire, ninety-six men lay dead on the beach.
As his main effort collapsed in bloody failure, Howe was busy leading the attack on the rail fence. The grenadiers in the front rank came under heavy and accurate fire as they moved across fences and walls on ground they had not reconnoitered. Again, the Americans held their fire until the enemy was within about fifty yards; here also they had been told to shoot low and to look for the officers. Aware of what was happening to the light infantry, the grenadiers paused to return the American fire instead of charging with the bayonet. This violation of their instructions not only was ineffective, but it caused the second line to mingle with the first. As fire from the fence continued to pour into the confused regulars, they finally dropped back to reorganize. Pigot's feint on the British left, which was never intended to develop into a frontal assault on the redoubt, also encountered effective musket fire and dropped back.
Putnam, who had been at the rail fence during this first attack, now rode back to Bunker Hill and to the Neck in a vain attempt to get volunteers to reinforce the front line. When he later explained to Prescott, "I could not drive the dogs," Prescott is alleged to have retorted that he "might have led them up."
Within fifteen minutes of the failure of the first attack, Howe launched a second attack. While Pigot again moved toward the redoubt and the surviving light infantrymen demonstrated against the rail fence, Howe sent a column into the gap between the redoubt and the rail fence, seeking now to envelop a smaller portion of the American position. Again the defenders held their fire until the British were a hundred feet away. The continuous crossfire from the redoubt, the breastwork, the three flèches, and the rail fence was even more murderous than before. When the men in the column spontaneously deployed into line, trading momentum and speed for a chance to fire back at their tormentors, the second attack collapsed in a failure as dismal as the first.
Although the Americans had suffered few casualties in defeating these two assaults, they were now running critically short of ammunition. Putnam continued his efforts to get reinforcements and resupply forward to Prescott, Knowlton, and Stark. Although he had frequently ridden across the Neck that day, many troops refused to brave the crossfire from the guns of the Royal Navy. When Colonel James Scammons was ordered from Lechmere Point to "the hill," he marched his regiment to Cobble Hill! When he finally crossed the Neck, he ordered a retreat before reaching the top of Bunker Hill. Colonel Samuel Gerrish and his Massachusetts regiment refused to leave the reverse slope of Bunker Hill, but Christian Febiger, his Danish-born adjutant, did lead some volunteers of the regiment into the battle. (Gerrish was later cashiered; Scammons was acquitted by a court-martial on the grounds that he had misunderstood his orders.) American field artillery was particularly ineffective. Six small field pieces, in three companies led by Captains Samuel Gridley (son of the engineer), Samuel Trevett, and John Callender, may have gotten into action, but the officers and men were too poorly drilled and insufficiently aggressive to make much of an impact. Both Gridley and Callender were dismissed from the service after the battle, although Callender later redeemed himself as a volunteer in the ranks and had his commission restored. Trevett lost one gun on Bunker Hill but got the other forward to the fence and managed to bring it off during the retreat; his was the only gun the British did not capture (Ward, War of the Revolution, pp. 96-97).
Reinforced with four hundred fresh troops (the Sixty-third Regiment and the flank companies of the Second Marine Battalion), Howe organized a third assault. His men had made their first two assaults carrying between 100 and 125 pounds of equipment, including three days' rations, ammunition, and a blanket; musket and bayonet alone weighed fifteen pounds. Those attacks had been shattered. When Howe ordered his men to drop their knapsacks and other accoutrements, he abandoned all remnants of his original plan. He was now fighting to retain some honor for the British army and at least to oust the rebels from the peninsula. He would never get to Cambridge. Pigot and his relatively unhurt left wing would have to bear the brunt of the fight, assisted by Clinton, who had come across from Boston to rally the dazed survivors of earlier assaults that he had seen milling on the beach near Moulton's Point without discipline or orders.
The plan this time was to demonstrate against the rail fence while Pigot and Clinton tried to encircle the redoubt. The gunners, now with the proper ammunition, moved their fieldpieces forward to enfilade the breastwork from the left. They routed the defenders, some of whom retreated to the rear while others withdrew into the redoubt. The British infantry advanced in column until they were close enough to charge with the bayonet, suffering more devastating musket fire until they were within ten yards of the redoubt. The marines on the extreme left (toward Charlestown) were stopped by musket fire and, in violation of their instructions, stopped to shoot back. The Forty-seventh came up to steady the marines and resume the attack, but not before Major John Pitcairn of the marines was mortally wounded. As the rebels expended the last of their gunpowder and their musket fire petered out, the regulars swarmed into the redoubt from two sides, and for a few moments there was desperate hand-to-hand combat. Having few bayonets, the Americans met their assailants with rocks and clubbed muskets. Only thirty Americans were killed in the redoubt, but among them was Joseph Warren. Prescott fought his way out, parrying bayonets with his sword. Why Prescott, an experienced solider, chose to keep his men in the redoubt to await the final assault remains a mystery. He knew they were almost out of ammunition and could not withstand a bayonet attack. It may be that Prescott effectively abdicated command to Warren, whose aggressiveness and inexperience led him to misjudge the situation. If so, he paid for that mistake with his life.
"The retreat was no rout," Burgoyne reported, having watched the battle from Boston. Lord Rawdon, who commanded the grenadier company of the Fifth Regiment after Captain (later Lord) Harris was wounded, wrote home that the rebels "continued a running fight from one fence, or wall, to another, till we entirely drove them off the peninsula." As is commonly the case, the defenders sustained most of their casualties in the retreat. The exhausted regulars pursued only to Bunker Hill, where they stopped to organized a defense against any American counterattack.
NUMBERS AND LOSSES
American strength on the peninsula during the battle was probably in excess of three thousand men. Not more than half this number was in action at any one time, and perhaps a third took little or no part in the fighting. Total American casualties were said to number 441 men, of whom 140 were killed and 301 wounded; 30 of the latter were captured.
British strength was about twenty-five hundred men, including the four hundred who only took part in the final assault. Gage reported that the army suffered 1,054 casualties, about 40 percent of its strength. Returns totaled 19 officers and 207 men killed and 70 officers and 758 men wounded. Officer casualties were particularly heavy; of the British officer casualties in the twenty largest battles of the Revolution, one-eighth were killed and about one-sixth were wounded at Bunker Hill.
The Battle of Bunker Hill rallied the colonies and banished any real hope of conciliation with Britain. Although many Americans at first thought the battle had been unnecessary and discreditable (they had been driven from the field), they soon realized that they had behaved well and that the British regulars were not invincible. They later came to regard the battle with pride. The British were forced to revise their opinions about the fighting abilities of the American rebels. According to Gage,
These people show a spirit and conduct against us they never showed against the French, and every body has judged of them from their former appearances and behavior when joined with the King's forces in the last war, which has lead many into great mistakes. They are now spirited up by a rage and enthusiasm as great as ever people were possessed of, and you must proceed in earnest or give the business up…. The loss we have sustained is greater than we can bear (ibid., p. 134).
The secret of the defense of Breed's Hill, little realized even today, was the presence of American officers who had acquired military experience in the final French and Indian War. Gridley knew how to lay out and direct the construction of field fortifications. Prescott, Stark, Putnam, and Knowlton—to name them in approximate order of their importance in the battle—displayed the highest of leadership skills. Putnam knew the psychological value of breastworks. He is supposed to have commented that Americans were afraid of being shot in the legs but did not worry about their heads; protect their legs and they would fight forever. Prescott at the redoubt, Knowlton at the rail fence, and Stark along the beach also understood how to motivate and command American citizen-soldiers. These veteran officers exuded an air of confidence and calm control that kept the men from panicking when facing British artillery fire and then held them in position as the renowned and redoubtable British infantry advanced to point-blank range. Inspiring citizen-soldiers to behave in these ways was a remarkable feat of leadership.
SEE ALSO Boston Siege; Carcass; Charlestown, Massachusetts (17 June 1775); Dearborn, Henry; Dorchester Heights, Massachusetts; Febiger, Christian ("Old Denmark"); Gridley, Richard; Pitcairn, John; Pomeroy, Seth; Warren, Joseph.
Fleming, Thomas J. Now We Are Enemies: The Story of Bunker Hill. New York: St. Martin's, 1960.
French, Allen. The First Year of the American Revolution. Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1934.
Frothingham, Richard. History of the Siege of Boston. 4th ed. Boston: Little, Brown, 1873.
Ketchum, Richard M. The Battle for Bunker Hill. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1962.
Murdock, Harold. Bunker Hill: Notes and Queries on a Famous Battle. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1927.
Whitton, F. E. The American War of Independence. London: J. Murray, 1931.
revised by Harold E. Selesky