Next month marks the anniversary of the Battle of Bunker Hill on June 17, 1775. I have been listening to the audio version of Nathaniel Philbrick's new book Bunker Hill (at the recommendation of Robert Gould). Perhaps more than most accounts, he has managed to make us see, hear and know the people who brought the competing forces to this spot. Colonel William Prescott still stands in his cape-like banyan, facing the attack on the redoubt he and his men build overnight on Breed's Hill.
When a British cannonball decapitated one of the Patriots helping to erect the redoubt, Prescott inspired his men to keep at it by parading up and down on the wall in plain view of the British. One of the last to leave the redoubt when the Patriots' ammunition finally gave out, he exemplified the courage--if not always the best judgment--of the Patriot forces.