June 17, 2016 is the 241st anniversary of the Battle of Bunker Hill, an event we mark in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts as Bunker Hill Day. I was born and raised in Massachusetts, and now make my home in Charlestown (site of the battle), so here are the Top Ten Things You Should Know About Charlestown and the Battle of Bunker Hill.
1) The Battle of Bunker Hill was mostly fought on Breed’s Hill. That’s where the Monument is. Bunker Hill is actually taller and steeper, and is home to the lovely Saint Francis de Sales, a beautiful Roman Catholic church dedicated in 1862. If you don’t know which hill is which, we know you’re a tourist.2) Charlestown was actually not part of the City of Boston when the Battle took place. Charlestown is OLDER than Boston (as any proud Townie will gladly inform you), and did not become part of the City until 1874.
3) Charlestown is where Paul Revere’s Midnight Ride really kicked off. He was ferried in a rowboat from Boston, landing near the Charlestown Battery, and picking up a horse from his friend Deacon John Larkin, a lifelong Charlestown resident.
4) There is debate as to why the Colonial forces fortified Breed’s Hill instead of Bunker Hill, although many think it is because Breed’s Hill is closer to Boston. The British had planned the siege to capture Bunker Hill, as they wanted to dig in fortifications on the area’s highest points.
5) It took the British three attempts to capture Breed’s Hill, even though their numbers were far greater than the Colonial forces.
6) Charlestown burns during the Battle, the first of two major fires to strike the community.
7) Proud Charlestown residents still fly the Bunker Hill Battle Flag.8) While the British defeat the Colonists at the Battle of Bunker Hill, they suffer severe casualties and the Siege of Boston comes to a stalemate.
9) The Bunker Hill Monument (which you now know is on Breed’s Hill) is 221 feet tall and was completed in 1842.
10) Beloved French hero of the American Revolution, the Marquis de Lafayette, is said to be buried beneath a sprinkling of soil from Bunker Hill, procured by his son.
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