At around 5 a.m., 700 British soldiers, on a mission to capture the Patriot leaders and seize a Patriotic arsenal, march through Lexington to find 77 minutes armed under Captain John Parker waiting for them on the town’s common green. . British Major John Pitcairn ordered the outnumbered Patriots to disperse, and after a moment’s hesitation the Americans began to drift off the green. Suddenly a shot was fired from an unknown pistol, and a cloud of musket smoke quickly blanketed the green. At the end of the brief Battle of Lexington, eight Americans were dead or dying and 10 more were wounded. Only one British soldier was injured, but the American Revolution had begun.
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In 1775, tensions between the American colonies and the British government were approaching breaking point, particularly in Massachusetts, where the Patriot leaders formed a revolutionary shadow government and formed militias to prepare for armed conflict with the troops. British occupying Boston. In the spring of 1775, General Thomas Gage, British governor of Massachusetts, received instructions from England to seize all stocks of arms and powder accessible to the American insurgents. On April 18, he ordered British troops to march against the Patriot arsenal at Concord and capture the Patriot leaders Samuel Adams and John Hancock, known to be in hiding in Lexington.
The Boston Patriots had been preparing for such military action from the British for some time, and after learning of the British plan, the Patriots Paul Revere and William Dawes were ordered to set out to wake up the militiamen and warn Adams and Hancock. When British troops arrived in Lexington, a group of militiamen were waiting. The Patriots were routed within minutes, but the war had begun, leading to calls to arms across the Massachusetts countryside.
When British troops reached Concord around 7 a.m., they found themselves surrounded by hundreds of armed patriots. They succeeded in destroying the military supplies the Americans had gathered, but were quickly attacked by a gang of ringleaders, who inflicted many casualties. Lieutenant-Colonel Francis Smith, commanding general of the British force, ordered his men to return to Boston without directly engaging the Americans. As the British retraced their 16-mile journey, their lines were constantly assaulted by patriotic snipers who shot them Indian-style from behind trees, boulders and stone walls. In Lexington, Captain Parker’s militia took revenge, killing several British soldiers as the Red Coats hastily marched through his town. By the time the British finally reached the safety of Boston, nearly 300 British soldiers had been killed, wounded or missing in action. The Patriots suffered less than 100 casualties.
The Battles of Lexington and Concord were the first battles of the American Revolution, a conflict that would transition from a colonial uprising to a world war that, seven years later, would give rise to the independent United States of America.
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