Revolutionary War Campaigns | U.S. Army Center of Military History

Boston, 17 June 1775 – 17 March 1776. On the night of 16 – 17 June 1775 about 1,200 men of the Colonial force besieging Boston moved on to the Charlestown isthmus overlooking the city and threw up entrenchments on Breed’s Hill. The British garrison reacted promptly to this threat. On 17 June 2,200 troops under Maj. Gen. William Howe were ferried across to the isthmus and stormed the American positions on Breed’s Hill. In the ensuing battle, incorrectly named after Bunker Hill which stands nearby, the British drove the Colonials from the isthmus after three assaults, but at a cost of about 1,000 in killed and wounded as compared with American losses of approximately 400 killed and wounded. Some 3,030 patriots took part in the fighting at one time or another. This proved to be the only major engagement of the prolonged siege of Boston. Gen. George Washington took formal command of the besieging army on 3 July 1775 and devoted the next several months to building up the American force and trying to solve its severe logistical difficulties. By March 1776 Washington had an army of 14,000 men. On 4 March he moved suddenly to install artillery on Dorchester Heights and, a short time later, on Nook’s Hill, positions that dominated Boston from the south. The British commander, Howe, now recognized the serious difficulty of his position. He evacuated the city by 17 March and on 26 March sailed with about 9,000 men for Halifax, N. S.

Revolutionary War Campaigns | U.S. Army Center of Military History