Colonial Rebellion: The Battle of Lexington & Concord & its Aftermath

1775 – 1776: The Shot Heard Round the World

During the lead up to the outbreak of hostilities, led by a number of causes – frustration with the King replacing their representative government body with General Gage, named Royal Governor of the Province of Massachusetts Bay, taxation for which they did not have a say in, and many other actions that colonists aligned with the Sons of Liberty found repressive.

Massachusetts town governments created their own shadow government of sorts, took over local militias, and started stockpiling firearms, gunpowder, and ammunition. One of the reasons that militias assembled so quickly for the fights in Lexington and Concord was that there was a precursor to this event the previous year. In September 1774, General Gage ordered soldiers to remove powder from a magazine, and fearing battle, militia assembled and marched towards Boston. The event did not amount to much, but was a dress rehearsal of sorts for what would happen April 18 – 19, 1775. 

General Gage was ordered to send a force of men out into the countryside and capture these weapons stockpiles as well as arrest John Hancock and Samuel Adams who were staying in Lexington. Concord was their goal, where colonists gathered a large quantity of armaments. One of his motivations and justifications was to recover four brass cannons stolen from the military by patriots in Boston, because word reached him that they were hidden at Mr. Barrett’s farm. 

The atmosphere was tense, and word of General Gage’s intentions spread through Boston prompting the patriots to set up a messaging system to alert the countryside of any advance of British troops. Paul Revere arranged for a signal to be sent by lantern from the steeple of North Church – one if by land, two if by sea. On the night of April 18, 1775 the lantern’s alarm sent Revere, William Dawes and other riders on the road to spread the news. The messengers cried out the alarm, awakening every house, warning of the British column making its way towards Lexington. In the rider’s wake there erupted the peeling of church bells, the beating of drums and the roar of gun shots – all announcing the danger and calling the local militias to action. Hancock and Adams fled to safety.  

In the predawn light of April 19, 1775, the beating drums and peeling bells summoned between 50 and 70 militiamen to the town green at Lexington. As they lined up in battle formation the distant sound of marching feet and shouted orders alerted them of the Redcoats’ approach. Soon the British column emerged through the morning fog and the confrontation that would launch a nation began. As the soldiers arrived, they issued a warning to the minutemen to “lay down your arms, you damned rebels..”.  Soon shots were fired, a soldier was injured, and several minutemen lay dead. The British troops marched onward towards Concord where more militia and battle awaited them.

The road from Concord back to Boston was a long line of skirmishes and ambushes as militiamen from surrounding towns answered the alarm. This path became known as Battle Road. Meanwhile, the Whig, or patriot-minded women of Pepperell and Groton prepared to stand and prevent intelligence carried by British loyalists (or Tories) from reaching the British military. After the eventful few days, men from around New England marched and gathered in Cambridge and other towns surrounding the colony’s capital, and the Siege of Boston began.

The Battle Of Lexington and Concord:

     Lexington Green


     Battle Road


The Minutewomen of Pepperell