On the night of 16 June, rebel militia crossed the narrow neck of land that was the only land access to Charlestown and built defensive works on Breed's Hill, potentially threatening to bombard British-occupied Boston. (The higher Bunker Hill behind Breed's Hill was the original objective but was never actually involved in the battle.) Commanding British general Thomas Gage ordered a force under Howe to land at the base of the hill and carry it by direct assault, a plan which succeeded only on the third attempt after the first two were repelled by the entrenched militia. Total British losses were 226 killed and over 800 wounded, about a third of the total force. Rebel casualties were 115 killed, 305 wounded, and 30 captured.
With these losses, Gage abandoned any plan to break the siege by land operations. He was soon replaced by Howe as military governor of Massachusetts and commander of British forces in North America. Howe chose to withdraw his force the following spring.