Bunker Hill 1775

October 16th, 2004  
Duty Honor Country

Topic: Bunker Hill 1775

"What! 10,000 peasants keep 5,000 king's troops shut up? Well, let us get in, and we'll soon find elbow room!" -General John Burgoyne

"I cannot answer for his men, but Prescott will fight you to the gates of Hell." -Abijah Willard, aid to General Gage

"Gentlemen, I am very happy in having the honor of commanding so fine a band of men. I do not in the least doubt that you will behave like Englishmen and becomrth good Soldiers. If the enemy will not come out of their entrenchments, we must drive them out at all events. Otherwise, the town of Boston will be set on fire by them. I shall not desire one of you to go a step farther than where I go myself at your head. Remember, gentlemen, we have no recourse to any other resourses if we lose Boston but to go on board our ships, which will be very disagreeable to us all" -General Howe

"Dearbone, one freash man in action is worth 10 fatigued men" -General Stark (American)

"The average American fighting man is more afraid of an injury to his legs than of one to his head. Get him behind a trench and an American would fight forever" -General Israel Putnam (American)

"Come, my little girl, drink a glass of wine with me for the last time, for I am going to the hill tomorrow and I shall never come off." -Joseph Warren

"Don't fire until you sdee the whites of their eyes." -General Israel Putnam

"There...see that officer...let us have a shot at him" -Americans as they sniped British Officers

"Retreat! Retreat! Or you'll all be cut off" -Colonel Smuell Gerrish, commander of reinforcements, as he saw the British attack again. It was widely believed that if those reinforcements had made it to Breed's Hill, the British would have been turned back.

"Soldiers must inure themselves to any hardship. They shouldn't even recognize heat and cold." -Major Pitcairn reacting to a captain compaining of the heat.

"Why did you not support me general, with your men? -Colonel Prescott
"I could not drive the dogs up." -General Putnam
"If you could not dive them up, you might have lead them up." -Colonel Prescott

"A few such victories would ruin the Army" -A British Colonel as he was dying.

"We have got a little elbow room, but I think we have paid too dearly for it." -a British soldier after the battle

"I wish we could sell them another hill at the same price." -Nathanael Green

All quotes from Patriots: The Men Who Started the American Revolution by AJ Langguth
October 24th, 2004  
"I wish we could sell them another hill at the same price."


"A few such victories would ruin the Army"

My favorites
February 19th, 2005  
Duty Honor Country
"Their mode of engaging is (like all other inhabitants of a strong country) by getting behind fences and every sort of covering, firing from thence; then retiring and load under cover and return to the charge; or take another situation from which they fire. The country for 30 miles around is amazingly well situated for thier manner of fighting, being covered with woods and small stone wall inclosures, exceedingly uneven and much cutt with ravines...In our present state all warlike preparations are wanting. NO survey of the adjacent country, no proper boats for landing troops, not a sufficient numbers of horses for the artillery nor for the regimental baggage. No forage, either hay or corn of any consequence-no waggons or harness for horses, except some prepared by Colonel Cleveland for the Artillery." General Gage to Lord North on the currect military situation around Boston.

"I did not leave the intrenchment until the enemy got in. I then retreated 10 or 15 rods; then I recieved a wound in my rite arm, the bawl going through a little below my elbow breaking the little shel bone. Another bawl struck my back, taking a piece of skin about as big as a penny." Corporal Amos Fransworth Massachusetts militia

"Come to look, there was a matter of 40 barges full of Regulars coming over to us; it is supposed there were about 3000 of them and about 700 of us left not deserted...after they were well formed they advanced twards us in order to swallow us up, but they found a choaky mouth full of us...But God in mercy to us fought our battle for us and altho' we were but few and so were suffered to be defeated by them, we were preserved in a most wonderful manner far beyond expectation" Peter Brown in a letter to his mom

"The enemy advanced and fired very hotly on the fort, and metting a warm reception, there was smart firing on both sides. After a considerable time, finding our ammunition was almost spent, I commanded a cessation till the enemy advanced within 30 yards, when we gave them such a hot fire that they were obliged to retire nearly 150 yards before they could rally and come up again for the attack. Our ammunition being nearly exhasted, could keep up only a scattering fire. The enemy...began to mount our lines and enter the fort eith their bayonets...We, having very few bayonets, could keep no resistance." Col Prescott in a letter to John Adams.

"The provincials in the redoubt and the lines reserved their fire till the enemy had come with in about 10 or 12 yards and then discharging at once upon them. The fire threw their body into very great confusion, and all of them after having kept up a fire for some time retreated in very great disorder down to the point where they landed, and there some of them into the boats." An eyewitness account prepared 2 weeks after the battle.

"The rebels rose up and poured in so heavy a fire upon us that the oldest officers say they never saw a sharper action." Lord Rawdon in a letter to his uncle.

"The loss we have sustained is greater that we can bear...I wish this cursed place was burned. It's only use is its harbour..." Gen Gage to Lord Barrington, Secretary of State for War

"the loss was uncommon in officers for the numbers engaged."

"I have lost some of those I most value. This madness or ignorance nothing can excuse. The brave man's lives were wantonly thrown away." A British Colonel grim assesment of the battle

I must say that in comparing the letters of the British leadership to the lower ranking officers, I found quite a difference in the outlook. The Generals and Lords said nothing too much on the stuggle to take the hill. The lower ranking officers tell more of the blood that was lost on that day.
February 19th, 2005  
good quotes