Colonel William Prescott

Is your surname Prescott?

Research the Prescott family

Colonel William Prescott's Geni Profile

Share your family tree and photos with the people you know and love

  • Build your family tree online
  • Share photos and videos
  • Smart Matching™ technology
  • Free!


William Prescott

Birthdate: (69)
Birthplace: Groton, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States
Death: October 13, 1795 (69)
Pepperell, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Benjamin Prescott and Abigail Prescott
Husband of Abigail Prescott
Father of Sen. William Prescott, Jr.
Brother of Abigail Prescott; Col. James Prescott; Elisabeth Willard; Lucy Prescott; Dr. Oliver Prescott and 1 other

Managed by: Janet Mclarty-Schroeder
Last Updated:

About Colonel William Prescott

DAR Ancestor # A092846

"The Hero of Bunker Hill"

William Prescott (February 20, 1726 – 1795) was an American colonel in the Revolutionary War who commanded the rebel forces in the Battle of Bunker Hill. Prescott became widely attributed for the famous quote, "Do not fire until you see the whites of their eyes," an important instruction to his soldiers in order to conserve ammunition.

Prescott was born at Groton, Massachusetts to Benjamin Prescott (1696-1738) and Abigail Oliver Prescott (1697-1765). He married Abigail Hale (1733-1821) on April 13, 1758, and they had one son, also named William, in 1762. Prescott owned a house in Pepperell, Massachusetts, on Prescott Street. The house is now owned by William Graves. Prescott served in the French and Indian War.

When the American Revolutionary War began, Prescott was a colonel of the local militia at the siege of Boston, and commanded the forward American position at the Battle of Bunker Hill. After the battle, his militia unit was adopted into the newly created Continental Army, and he was commissioned the colonel of what became the 7th Continental Regiment. The regiment was active in the battles for New York City in 1776 and the Saratoga Campaign of 1777. He is depicted in the painting of the Surrender of General Burgoyne at Saratoga by John Trumbull,[1][2] which hangs in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda.

Prescott retired from the army in 1777.

His grandson William H. Prescott was a noted historian and author. His younger brother Oliver Prescott also served during the war as a militia general, and the cousin of Rebecca Minot Prescott; who married American founding father Roger Sherman.

The former town of Prescott, Massachusetts, was named in his honor. The town was disincorporated in 1938 as part of the building of the Quabbin Reservoir, and the land now makes up Prescott Peninsula, which divides the main branches of the reservoir.

Prescott's likeness was made into a statue for a memorial for the Battle of Bunker Hill.

Prescott's house is located in East Pepperell, Massachusetts.

view all

Colonel William Prescott's Timeline

February 20, 1726
Groton, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States
August 19, 1762
Age 36
Pepperell, middlesex, Massachusetts, United States
Age 63
Pepperell, Middlesex, Massachusetts
Age 63
Pepperell, Middlesex, Massachusetts
October 13, 1795
Age 69
Pepperell, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States