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The Battle Of Bunker Hill Essay

2068 words - 8 pages

The Battle of Bunker Hill traces back to December 1773, when a group of Colonists dressed as Mohawk Indians boarded three ships from the East India Company. These rebels led by Sam Adams proceeded to dump chests filled with tea into the Boston Harbor. This act, known as the Boston Tea Party, was the result of years of exploitation and mistreatment from the British; it was the breaking point for the Colonists and symbolized a shift in their loyalty. As punishment the British imposed the Intolerable Acts, which set the stage for the Boston Massacre, and the Battle of Lexington and Concord. At Lexington and Concord the British were unprepared for an ensuing American militia and were forced to retreat to the Charlestown peninsula where they were reinforced by their navy. The American forces then decided to suffocate the British by building a defensive position at a nearby hill, Bunker Hill. The Battle of Bunker Hill soon followed, and it was a pyrrhic victory for British General Gage. Gage demonstrated poor mission command that stemmed from his overconfidence and impaired his ability to understand, visualize, describe, and direct during the battle.
At Charlestown, Gage found the reinforcements and combined arms he needed to regain control of the Colonists and defeat the rebels. He also found an unwelcoming population of Colonists and soon Gage sensed that the tensions between them and the surrounding cities were becoming too high. So on 16 June 1775 Gage ordered a meeting with his two Generals, Clinton and Howe. They discussed a plan to move off the peninsula and strengthen their position by taking Dorchester Heights. Word of their plan quickly spread and the Colonists had no choice but to take immediate preventative actions. On the midnight of 17 June 1775 Colonists led by William Prescott silently crept on the peninsula and towards the British encampment. Prescott planned to fortify Bunker Hill in order to disrupt British maneuvers and provide area defense. However, for reasons unknown Prescott and over 1200 of his men moved past Bunker Hill and fortified a hill even closer to the British encampment, Breed’s Hill. “That morning the Colonists frantically worked to build a fortification, a redoubt, and a rail fence that extended from the hill to the shore.”1 The British soon noticed the structure, and at 0200 British sentries notified General Howe of the activities. However, like General Gage, Howe regarded the Colonists’ militia as an undisciplined and untrained group of amateurs. So he dismissed the actions of the Colonists and did not immediately notify Gage. Howe’s failure to report the Colonists’ activities serves as Gage’s first mistake in the operations process of mission command. Gage rightfully viewed his army and navy as superior to the Colonists’ militia in every way. He knew the British military had hundreds of years experience at war, were uncontested at sea, had conquered two continents, and were better armed. He...

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