On June 16, 1775, the colonial militia in Boston received word that British soldiers, who were stationed in Boston, planned to place troops in the surrounding countryside of the Charlestown peninsula, which would give them even greater control over Boston Harbor. The militia stole to the peninsula at night, built a small redoubt, and were ready for battle when the British soldiers awoke the next morning. Bunker Hill Monument commemorates the Battle of Bunker Hill, one of the first battles of the Revolutionary War.
- During the battle, the Continental Army was able to fend off two attacks from the British army successfully, but fled during the third attack because the soldiers ran out of gunpowder.
- Prior to this battle, the British army had little fear of the colonial army, who was made up mostly of farmers, not trained soldiers. But this battle humbled the British army, which experienced heavy losses. In the skirmish were 2,400 British soldiers and 1,500 colonists. The British lost 1,150 soldiers, including several officers; 450 colonists died.
- After this battle, the British were more cautious about engaging in battle with the Continental Army.
- In 1823, prominent Boston citizen William Ticknor met with other citizens to discuss plans for a monument. Daniel Webster (of the dictionary) was there and plans were approved to begin.
- A contest offering $100 for the best design produced 50 possibilities. Construction began in 1825, but took several years because the team often ran out of money and had to halt construction.
- Sarah Josepha Hale and readers of her magazine offered the last funds needed to complete the monument.
- The Bunker Hill Monument actually sits on Breed’s Hill, which is where most of the battle took place. To raise funds for the monument, the committee sold off most of the area which was Bunker Hill to become homes.
- The monument is a 221-foot granite obelisk with 294 steps. The granite used for it was delivered via the Granite Railway, which was built for the purpose.
- An exhibit lodge at the foot of the obelisk honors Dr. Joseph Warren, a colonial hero who died in the battle. A museum is nearby.
- Redoubt: a small, usually temporary, military fort or barricade
- Skirmish: fight
Questions and Answers
Question: Who was Joseph Warren?
Answer: At age 22, Joseph Warren was the youngest doctor in Boston. He quickly became a prominent member of the community and an outspoken critic of the British government. He gave speeches and wrote inflammatory documents demanding freedom. If he hadn’t died during this early battle, he might have been one of the Founding Fathers.
Visit the website for the Bunker Hill Monument, which is on the Freedom Trail.
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