By Joseph E. Stevens
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Additional info for America's National Battlefield Parks: A Guide
Painting by John Trumbull, Battle of Bunker's Hill, Copyright Yale University Art Gallery. One weak volley was all that could be hurled against the oncoming attackers, and then it was stones, bare fists, and musket butts against British bayonets. There was a brief, furious struggle inside the redoubt, then the Americans scrambled for the rear. Some units held together and fought tenacious rearguard actions, but most fell apart in the rush to get away from the slashing, stabbing bayonets. " but his efforts to rally the patriots were in vain.
This wildly exaggerated claim was accepted as fact by Major Pitcairn, and he ordered his nervous soldiers to stop and load their muskets. They approached Lexington just as the sun was coming up; from the village they could hear the rattle of a drum, beating out the call to arms. Certain now that a battle was in the offing, Pitcairn commanded the leading companies to fix bayonets and move into town on the run. The road into Lexington forked in front of a two-and-a-half story high meeting-house; one branch angled right toward Bedford, the other left toward Concord.
He rallied his men and formed them for another try. He also sent a message back to Boston requesting reinforcements and asking that Charlestown be bombarded to flush out the marksmen who had been sniping at his left flank all afternoon. This done, he led the scarlet line forward, over the bodies of dead and wounded comrades, into the teeth of the deadly patriot musketry; once again, the British ranks were shattered by a hail of lead from the American fortifications. Trying to rally the bloody shambles of his command after the second charge, Howe nearly lost heart, but the galling thought of being beaten by a colonial rabble, and the arrival of reinforcements from Boston, revived his fighting spirit.
America's National Battlefield Parks: A Guide by Joseph E. Stevens