Prescott, William (1726–1795), a soldier of the American Revolution. He was born in Groton, Massachusetts. He served in King George's War and the French and Indian War. In 1775 he was colonel of a regiment of Minutemen ordered to fortify Bunker Hill. They fortified Breed's Hill instead, because they thought it would be easier to defend. (The battle, however, is known in history as the Battle of Bunker Hill.) Under British fire, Prescott strolled along the trenches encouraging his men. He is sometimes credited with ordering, “Don't fire until you see the whites of their eyes." (This quotation is also credited to Israel Putnam.)
Prescott served in the New York campaign, then retired to his farm because of an injury. He returned as a volunteer at Saratoga. He was a grandfather of the historian William Hickling Prescott.