If asked about the 112-foot granite Bunker Hill Monument, most would say that it is located on Bunker Hill and is dedicated to the famous Battle of Bunker Hill that took place in 1775. Fact is the monument is not located on Bunker Hill but rather on Breed’s Hill, where the majority of the battle actually took place. This event was the first major battle between the British and Revolutionary War Patriot forces where both sides saw wounded and casualties, but where the highly trained and more well-equipped British, 3,000 in total, won out. While it is uncertain who said it, or if these are the exact words, the phrase, “Don’t fire until you see the whites of their eyes.” stems from the lack of ammunition available to the Patriots at this historic battle where they were forced to give up defense of the hill.
In 1794, a 38-foot wooden pillar with a golden-colored urn was erected and dedicated on this site by King Solomon’s Lodge of Masons in honor of their brethren Mason and popular patriot leader and major-general, Dr. Joseph Warren, who lost his life at the final battle. It wasn’t until 1823 that the Bunker Hill Monument Association was formed to build a more notable and impressive monument which was indeed completed in 1842 and dedicated in 1843 in a well-noted national ceremony.
While at the site, be sure to visit the 19th-century Battle of Bunker Hill Museum located adjacent to the Monument as it includes a diorama and intriguing artifacts from the battle, murals, and a statue of Dr. Warren. The Bunker Hill Monument is included in the Freedom Trail and is part of the Boston National Historical Park. Both the museum and monument are open daily, 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM.
Bunker Hill Monument
Group tours: 617-242-5689
Photo credits: The picture of the Bunker Hill Monument is from the Wikimedia Commons. It is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported, 2.5 Generic, 2.0 Generic and 1.0 Generic license.