"We have...learned one melancholy truth, which is that the Americans, if they were equally well commanded, are full as good soldiers as ours." (A British officer after the Battle of Bunker Hill)
On April 19, 1775, the "shot heard 'round the world" was fired at Lexington, officially starting the Revolutionary War between the colonists and the British Empire. Though Lexington and Concord were the scenes of the first fighting, contingency plans for war had been made on both sides. Immediately after the Battles of Lexington and Concord, the colonial militia men who had poured in from across the countryside converged on Boston, which at the time was a peninsula with a small neck attaching it to the rest of Massachusetts. With the Charles River surrounding it on three sides, Boston was an ideal city to lay siege to.
Initially, the militias blocked off the land approaches to Boston, but when 4,500 more British soldiers arrived by sea, the American forces fell back to adjacent hills on the Charlestown Peninsula, Breed's Hill, and Bunker Hill. At this time, the colonists and colonial forces were still unclear of their ultimate goals; the Second Continental Congress would not formally declare independence for another year.
During the first few months of the fighting, the British tried on several occasions to lift the siege with force, and the most memorable attempt was what became known as the Battle of Bunker Hill. On June 17, 1775, the British Navy fired on Charlestown from the Charles River and then landed an estimated 3,000 British regulars on the peninsula.
©2012 Charles River Editors (P)2015 Charles River Editors
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