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“Don’t Fire Until You See the Whites of Their Eyes”

Dont Fire Until You See the Whites of Their Eyes

Two months after the Battle of Bunker Hill, Colonel William Prescott wrote a letter to John Adams dated August 25, 1775.  In describing what happened, with spelling errors in the original, he said:

...finding our Amunition was almost spent I commanded a sessation till the Enemy advanced within 30 yards when we gave them such a hot fire, that they were obliged to retire nearly 150 yards before they could Rally and come again to the Attack. Our Amunition being nearly exausted could keep up only a scattering Fire. The Enemy being numerous surrounded out little Fort began to mount our Lines and enter the Fort with their Bayonets, we was obliged to retreat through them while they kept up as hot a fire as it was possible for them to make. We having very few Bayonets could make no resistance. We kept the fort about one hour and twenty Minutes after the Attack with small Arms. This is nearly the State of Facts tho' imperfect & too general ...

In short, after staving off two attacks, the Patriots ran out of ammunition.


Media Credits

Image, U.S. National Archives.

Letter quotation, Massachusetts Historical Society.

 

To cite this story (For MLA citation guidance see easybib or OWL ):

"“Don’t Fire Until You See the Whites of Their Eyes”" AwesomeStories.com. Oct 07, 2013. Dec 15, 2017.
       <http://www.awesomestories.com/asset/view/-Don-t-Fire-Until-You-See-the-Whites-of-Their-Eyes-/1>.
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