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First Name: Asa

Last Name: Pollard

Birthplace: Billerica, MA, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Continental Army (1775 - 1784)

Date of Birth: 15 November 1735

Date of Death: 17 June 1775

Rank: Private

Years Served:
Asa Pollard

•  Revolutionary War (1775 - 1783)


Asa Pollard
Private, Continental Army

Asa Pollard was born on 15 November 1735 in Billerica, MA.

Pollard was the first man killed during the Battle of Bunker Hill, actually fought on Breed's Hill. While some accounts say he was still in his teens when he was killed, source records show he was 39 and an experienced veteran of the French and Indian War.

Accounts also differ on the circumstances in which he was killed, but not the method. Pollard was struck by a cannonball fired from HMS Somerset anchored in Boston Harbor. It skipped along the ground, bounced and instantly decapitated him. One account says this happened as he was returning with a party of soldiers sent out to forage for water. However, the account of Col. William Prescott, in command of the earthworks atop the hill, indicates Pollard was on the edge of the redoubt close by when he was struck. Prescott even remarks how he wiped the man's blood and tissue off himself with fresh earth.

Fearing the sight of Pollard's headless corpse would panic his men, Prescott ordered him to be buried immediately, without ceremony, just outside and to the rear of the earthworks. A minister defied orders by saying some prayers over the hastily-dug grave. After the battle, British victors buried American dead left behind in a common trench. Families later exhumed and retrieved some of these remains, which they identified through personal effects. But Pollard's grave location was not recorded, and his remains never retrieved. It is presumed that he lies to this day in the shadow of the 221-foot tall Bunker Hill Monument.

Death and Burial

Asa Pollard was killed in action on 17 June 1775 in Charlestown, MA, during the Battle of Bunker Hill. His body is presumed to be buried at the Bunker Hill Monument in Charlestown.

Honoree ID: 2966   Created by: MHOH




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