17 June 1775 — Charlestown, Massachusetts
William Prescott is probably best known for leading American troops at the Battle of Bunker Hill. Despite the battle’s name, the fight actually occurred on nearby Breed’s Hill. The night before the battle, Colonel Prescott’s 1,200 troops constructed defenses on the hill. When the British attacked the next day, the Americans repulsed them twice before running out of ammunition and retreating. Although the British won the battle, it was with an extremely high casualty rate (especially among officers). During the Battle of Bunker Hill, Prescott is often said to have declared "Don't fire until you see the whites of their eyes," though others are credited with originating the saying.