On March 7, 1774, the British passed the Boston Port Act, closing the harbor to all commerce to punish the colonists for the Boston Tea Party. The surrounding towns rallied to their aid by secretly sending food to the inhabitants of Boston. William Prescott, who commanded the colonial militia at Bunker Hill wrote: "Providence has placed you where you must stand the first shock. ... Our forefathers passed the vast Atlantic, spent their blood and treasure, that they might enjoy ... liberties ... and transmit them to their posterity. ... Now if we should give them up, can our children rise up and call us blessed?"