NewEnglandTravelPlanner.com Logo   Bunker Hill, Boston, Massachusetts
Their ammunition running low, Colonel Prescott cried to his men, "Don't fire until you see the whites of their eyes!" in order to make each shot count. It did...

View of Boston from Bunker Hill
View of Boston from
Bunker Hill...

 

 

USS Constitution & Bunker Hill Monument, Boston MA
USS Constitution &
Bunker Hill Monument.


 

 

The granite obelisk which towers above Charlestown (map) commemorates the first Colonial-initiated action by American forces against British regular troops—in effect, the first major battle of the American Revolutionary War.

The 221-foot (67-meter) monument, set in a small, grassy hilltop park in Charlestown, 2 miles (3.2 km) north of Boston Common and a half-mile (800 meters) north of the USS Constitution ("Old Ironsides"), is well worth a visit for its historical significance, the exhibit lodge next door, the Battle of Bunker Hill Museum just off the summit, and the spectacular panoramic views from the small windows at the top—reached by 294 steps (no elevator/lift!).

Admission is free to the monument, the exhibit lodge, and the museum.

How to Get Here

You can get to Charlestown and Bunker Hill by walking across the Charlestown Bridge from the North End; or by taking the MBTA Orange Line subway to Community College station; or by the MBTA F4 Ferryboat from Long Wharf near the New England Aquarium.

The ferry goes right to the Charlestown Navy Yard where you can tour of the USS Constitution ("Old Ironsides"), its Museum, and other nautical exhibits, then walk a half-mile (800 meters) uphill to Bunker Hill. More...

History of the Monument

Construction of the Bunker Hill Monument began in 1827, a half-century after the battle. The dedication on June 17, 1843 was attended by President Tyler, veterans of the battle, and 100,000 others.

The monument was extensively restored in 2007, and the Battle of Bunker Hill Museum opened.

(America's other great Revolutionary War monument, the Washington Monument in Washington DC, is 555 feet (169 meters) high—over twice as high as the Bunker Hill Monument.)

Battle of Bunker Hill

On June 17, 1775, Colonel William Prescott of the Continental army ordered his force of 1200 men to secretly occupy Bunker Hill during the night and construct a small earthwork fortification. When the British awoke in Boston, they found the Americans in command of the hill and indeed of all Charlestown—and within cannon range of Boston.

British regulars rowed across the Charles River and attacked the hill's defenders. Their ammunition running low, Colonel Prescott cried to his men, "Don't fire until you see the whites of their eyes!"

Against a British force of twice their number, the Americans held the hill until their ammunition ran out, then retreated in good order to Cambridge, leaving half the British force dead or wounded on the hill. (Here's a short history.)

Though the British won, the Battle of Bunker Hill showed that the Continental Army was a force to be reckoned with, and gave encouragement to those willing to fight for separation between Great Britain and its American colonies.

Is it Bunker Hill or Breed's Hill? At the time of the battle (1775), the ridge with two high points (110 feet & 62 feet) was known as Bunker Hill. Some years after the battle the land including the lower summit (62 feet) on which the Colonials built their redoubt was owned by a man named Breed, thus gaining the name Breed's Hill. So it was all Bunker Hill at the time of the battle, but the main point of battle was later named Breed's Hill.

Bunker Hill Monument & Museum
Boston National Historical Park
Bunker Hill (map)
Charlestown MA

—by Tom Brosnahan


Battle of Bunker Hill

USS Constitution (Old Ironsides)

Old North Church

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Bunker Hill Monument, Charlestown (Boston) MA

Bunker Hill Monument & exhibit lodge,
Charlestown, Boston MA.

 

Battle of Bunker Hill Museum, Charlestown (Boston) MA

Battle of Bunker Hill Museum,
in a former branch of the
Boston Public Library
on Bunker Hill, Charlestown.

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