After the British rout from Lexington, a loosely organized New England army of volunteers and militia laid siege to Boston. The British commander, Sir Thomas Gage, determined to gain more elbowroom by seizing the Charlestown peninsula. Learning of Gage’s plans, the Massachusetts Committee of Safety recommended the occupation of Bunker Hill, a commanding height near the neck of the Charlestown peninsula. But a working party of 1,200 Americans, sent out on the night of June 16-17, 1775, instead fortified Breed’s Hill, a lower height nearer Boston.
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