From April 1775 to March 1776, in the opening stage of the American Revolutionary War (1775-83), colonial militiamen, who later became part of the Continental army, successfully laid siege to British-held Boston, Massachusetts. The siege included the June 1775 Battle of Bunker Hill, in which the British defeated an inexperienced colonial force that nevertheless managed to inflict heavy casualties. In July 1775, General George Washington arrived in the Boston area to take charge of the newly established Continental army. In early March 1776, Washington’s men fortified Dorchester Heights, an elevated position just outside of Boston. Realizing Boston was indefensible to the American positions, the British evacuated the town on March 17 and the siege came to an end.