Early in the morning the Lively gave the first Notice of the Rebels fortifying Bunkers Hill, by firing on them as they were at work; And it was thereupon resolved by the General to attack them forthwith. General [William] Howe and the Admiral went together on board the Somerset, intending if possible to have had that Ship warped in to cover the Landing, but there was not sufficient depth of Water: The larger Ships therefore could give no other assistance, than that of lending Boats, Men, Ammunition and other Stores to the small, which was done. Two Officers and thirty six Seamen were sent from the Somerset to the Symmetry armed Transport and twenty Seamen to the Falcon, to reinforce those Vessels. The Preston manned the Spitfire Sloop of Six 3-pounders, and provided her with Ammunition, and the Boats of the Squadron attended, and were employed wherever they could be of Use. As this Affair was sudden and unexpected there was no time for constructing floating Batteries, or Rafts of real Service, as any such would have been a work of some days.
The Glasgow and Symmetry kept a constant Fire on Charles Town Neck, and two Scows with a 12 pounder in each end, manned from the Ships of War under the direction of Colonel [Thomas] James, went as near to the Mill house as possible; at first to prevent fresh Forces coming over during the Fight, and afterwards the routed from getting off: But the ebbing Tide would not admit either the Scows or small Vessels to approach within the Distance desired. The Lively, Falcon, and Spitfire abreast of and below Charles Town covered however the Landing and continued firing so long as they could annoy the Enemy without injuring our own Troops.
The Shot from the Lively and Battery on Copse Hill in the Morning must have done great execution in the morning for 40 men were found buried upon Bunkers Hill, and it was these must have been killed & put under ground then, as it was impossible that the Rebels could afterwards, during the heat & hurry of the Attack have had time to bury any of their dead.
The Admiral not only offered and gave every assistance in his power, but went ashore in person to be near General Howe, for the sake of seeing whether any further aid could be given, and of ordering it immediately; & whilst he was there the General observing the mischief his left Wing sustained by the fire from Charles Town, the Admiral asked him if he wished to have the place burned, and being answered Yes, he immediately sent to the Ships to fire red hot Balls (which had been prepared with that in View), and also to Copse Hill Battery to desire they would throw Carcasses, into the Town; and thereby it was instantly set on fire in many places, and the Enemy quickly forced from that station. In consequence of intelligence this day the Admiral acquainted the Commanders of the cruizing Vessels that the Rebels had fishing Boats, out watching for their homeward bound Trade to direct them to avoid our Cruizers by going for Newbury Port. And the Commanders of the Kings Ships were enjoined to be vigilant in frequently examining the Coast as far as Piscataqua, and to impress as many Seamen as possible and not to spare even their Fishermen.