"Don't Shoot Until You See the Whites of Their Eyes!" was the order given JUNE 17, 1775, by Colonel William Prescott to troops on Breed's Hill, adjacent Bunker Hill, guarding the north entrance to Boston Harbor.
They were aiming at 2,300 British soldiers, under General Howe, marching at them with bayonets fixed.
Twice the Americans repelled them until they ran out of gunpowder.
The British then burned the nearby town of Charlestown.
This first action of the Continental Army saw over 1,000 British killed, and nearly 500 Americans.
This same day, 300 miles away in Philadelphia, the Continental Congress drafted George Washington's
commission as commander-in-chief, for which he refused a salary.
Washington wrote to his wife, Martha:
"Dearest...It has been determined in Congress, that the whole army raised for the defense of the
American Cause shall be put under my care, and that it is necessary for me to proceed immediately
to Boston to take...command...
I shall rely therefore, confidently, on that Providence which has heretofore preserved, and been bountiful
"I...got Colonel Pendleton to Draft a Will...the Provision made for you, in case of my death, will, I hope, be agreeable."
A Revolutionary War Colonel, he built the fortifications at Breed's Hill and commanded the militia at the Battle of Bunker Hill in 1775. He fought in the Battle of Long Island in 1776 and the Battle of Saratoga in 1777. His name was William Prescott, born FEBRUARY 20, 1726. After the Boston Tea Party, where colonists threw 342 chests of British East India tea overboard, Parliament passed the Boston Port Bill, blockading the harbor and starving the inhabitants. The Committee of Correspondence sent word to the other Colonies, who called a Day of Fasting and Prayer, June 1, 1774, "to seek divine direction and aid." In August of 1774, William Prescott led the men of Pepperell, Massachusetts, to deliver loads of rye to Boston's inhabitants, telling them: "We heartily sympathize with you, and are always ready to do all in our power for your support, comfort and relief, knowing that Providence has placed you where you must stand the first shock." William Prescott continued: "We consider that we are all embarked in (the same boat) and must sink or swim together. Let us all be of one heart, and stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free. And may He, of His infinite mercy, grant us deliverance of all our troubles."