The Battle of Bunker Hill was important for a variety of reasons. The first reason is it was the first major battle of the American Revolutionary War, a war that began on April 19, 1775 and lasted through October 19, 1781. The Battle of Bunker hill followed the deadly engagements in Lexington and Concord. Another reason this battle was important is it informed the colonial (American) troops that the British were not invincible, and that they could be defeated. The loss experienced by the British helped boost the Colonial’s confidence and this battle would be the foundation they could look back on for the many battles that occurred during the American Revolution.
Surviving the skirmish in Lexington, the British’s hopes were high in Boston harbor. The arrival of Generals Howe, Clinton, and Burgoyne and their forces raised the British to ten thousand men. General Gage seemed no longer in doubt of his ability to stop the rebellion after his first engagements with the Colonials in Lexington. Soon after their arrival a secret order was given to seize or destroy all the supplies that were being stored by the Colonials in Concord. They were unsuccessful due to effective intelligence gathered by the Colonials. They received the information weeks before that their supplies would be at risk and moved most of them to other locations.
General Gage had possession of Boston, a city that was situated on a peninsula extending to the north, while even farther north, across a narrow channel of water, was the Charlestown peninsula. This peninsula was connected to the mainland by an isthmus known as Charlestown Neck. Located on the point of this peninsula was the village of Charlestown. Just beyond the village were two hills. The closest was Breed’s Hill, and further back was a higher elevation known as Bunker Hill which connected the only route of retreat, the roadway back to Cambridge. Even with Boston was in his control General Gage felt couscous of these two surrounding hilltops that he believed were unattended. He felt if by securing the hills he would take total command of the peninsula.
The Colonials, under General Ward, occupied the mainland from Cambridge to the Mystic River. General Ward’s headquarters was located in Cambridge. Hearing of General Gage’s plan to occupy the hills above Charlestown, General Ward sent a force of twelve hundred men on the night of June 16th to secure and fortify Bunker Hill. Colonel William Prescott was appointed command of the group of men and marched them silently across the peninsula. Passing Bunker Hill, they reached Breed’s Hill at midnight and began quickly building embankments. Faithfully they continued constructing till sunrise. Breed’s Hill was chosen for fortification because small cannon fire could threaten Boston and its shipping process