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British forces capture Bunker Hill but suffer heavy casualties

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BOSTON (JUNE 17, 1775) — British regulars captured a key strategic point in the ongoing siege of Boston today, but suffered staggering losses in the process, leading some to question the leadership of Gens. Thomas Gage and William Howe, as well as Britain’s assumed military supremacy in the American colonies.

Last night, some 1,200 American troops, operating under the command of Col. William Prescott, stealthily snuck into Charlestown and dug in on both Bunker Hill and adjacent Breed’s Hill. Sources in the American army indicate that Prescott may have disobeyed orders from Gen. Artemis Ward, who ordered Prescott to occupy only Bunker Hill, which would present a fortified and easily defensible position from which to continue the siege. However, for reasons yet unclear, Prescott also undertook to fortify Breed’s Hill farther to the southeast.

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