The Beginning of the American Revolution

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In the early morning hours of April 19, 1775, British troops marched from Boston to Lexington and Concord, Massachusetts. Their purpose was to capture the Patriot’s supply of weapons and powder in Concord. The British also sought to capture the rebel leaders Samuel Adams and John Hancock who had recently fled Boston for Lexington. While the British left Boston under the cover of darkness, the Patriot Militia had warning of their advance through the watchful eyes of the rebels, Joseph Warren, William Dawes, and Paul Revere. Both Dawes and Revere made their famous midnight rides through the Massachusetts countryside telling the local militias to rally. Revere’s cry through the night was probably not the legendary quote, “The British are coming,” but rather “The Regulars are coming.” Local militiamen would have recognized “Regulars” to mean the British soldiers who were stationed in Boston.

revere ride

Revere’s Midnight Ride

Revere made his way to Lexington to warn Hancock and Adams who then left Lexington for Burlington, Massachusetts. He and Dawes made it to Concord to warn the local militia to hide the stores of weapons and powder. Thanks to Dawes and Revere most of the supplies were hidden from the British. Some weapons and supplies were reportedly buried in fields made to look like newly furrowed ground for planting.

Revere’s and Dawes’ rides saved supplies, but with the militia now turned out and armed, violence was bound to occur. At dawn on April 19th on the Lexington Green, the first shot of the American Revolution was fired. Reports vary wildly on who fired the fist shot. The shot caused the tense situation to erupt into violence. The local militia was easily outnumbered by the British and scattered quickly as the Regulars advanced toward Concord. While the British marched to Concord with few casualties, their retreat back to Boston was made under nearly constant fire by local militia.

Concord_Retreat

The British reported 73 killed and 174 wounded. Their casualties slightly outnumbered those suffered by the Patriots. While these battles were not tactically important, they did solidify the patriot cause. After Lexington and Concord, war against England was a certainty. Thus began the epic struggle of a small group of untrained men fighting a war against one of the most powerful nations the world has ever known.

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