“The advancing column made an attempt to carry the redoubt by assault, but at the first onset every man that mounted the parapet was cut down, by the troops within, who had formed on the opposite side, not being prepared with bayonets to meet the charge.
“The column wavered for a moment, but soon formed again; when a forward movement was made with such spirit and intrepidity as to render the feeble efforts of a handful of men, without the means of defence, unavailing; and they fled through an open space, in the rear of the redoubt, which had been left for a gateway. At this moment, the rear of the British column advanced round the angle of the redoubt, and threw in a galling flank-fire upon our troops, as they rushed from it, which killed and wounded a greater number than had fallen before during the action. The whole of our line immediately after gave away, and retreated with rapidity and disorder towards Bunker’s Hill; carrying off as many of the wounded as possible, so that only thirty-six or seven fell into the hands of the enemy, among whom were Lt. Col. Parker and two or three other officers, who fell in or near the redoubt.
“The whole of the troops now descended the north-western declivity of Bunker’s Hill, and recrossed the neck. Those of the New Hampshire line retired towards Winter Hill, and the others on to Prospect Hill.
“Some slight works were thrown up in the course of the evening,—strong advance pickets were posted on the roads leading to Charlestown, and the troops, anticipating an attack, rested on their arms.
“It is a most extraordinary fact that the British did not make a single charge during the battle, which, if attempted, would have been decisive, and fatal to the Americans, as they did not carry into the field fifty bayonets. In my company there was not one.
“Soon after the commencement of the action, a detachment from the British forces in Boston was landed in Charlestown, and within a few moments the whole town appeared in a blaze. A dense column of smoke rose to a great height, and there being a gentle breeze from the southwest, it hung like a thunder-cloud over the contending armies. A very few houses escaped the dreadful conflagration of this devoted town.”
“I say, men, the story of Bunker Hill is old enough, and the events of that day have caused enough dispute already. We know that we taught the red-coats a good, round lesson, and we shouldn’t fight about particulars. Now, young men, I’ll tell you a story about a real hero,” said Pitts.
“Who was he?” enquired Hand.
“His name was Peter Francisco, and he was a trooper in our army,” replied Pitts. “Now, I’ll tell you what he did.