After they defeated the colonists at Lexington, the British marched to Concord to complete their task. They went to search for weapons, but didn't find any. Even though the colonists didn't welcome them, not much happened in the city.
They were on their way back to Boston when the Minutemen shot at them from the woods and fields. After the Battle at Lexington, more and more colonists joined the Minutemen as they marched from Lexington to Concord and back again. There are estimates that the Patriot army had between 4,000 and 10,000 men by the time they reached Boston late that night. The British were caught between the sea and the Patriot militia. They had no where to go. They could only try to defend themselves.
Brigadier General Hugh Percy led the British campaign. In his report to British General Gage the next day, he wrote:
In obedience to your Excellency's orders, I marched yesterday morning at 9 o'clock with the 1st brigade and two field pieces in order to cover the retreat of the grenadiers and light infantry in their return from their expedition to Concord.
As all the houses were shut up, and there was not the appearance of a single inhabitant, I could get no intelligence concerning them till I had passed Menotomy when I was informed that the rebels had attacked his Majesty's troops who were retiring, overpowered by numbers, greatly exhausted and fatigued, and having expended almost all their ammunition - and at about 2 o'clock I met them retiring rough the town of Lexington - I immediately ordered the 2 field pieces to fire at the rebels, and drew up the brigade on a height.
The shot from the cannon had the desired effect, and stopped the rebels for a little time, who immediately dispersed, and endeavored to surround us being very numerous. As it began now to grow pretty late and we had 15 miles to retire, and only 36 rounds, I ordered the grenadiers and light infantry to move of first; and covered them with my brigade sending out very strong flanking parties which were absolutely very necessary, as there was not a stone wall, or house, though before in appearance evacuated, from whence the rebels did not fire upon us. As soon as they saw us begin to retire, they pressed very much upon our rear guard, which for that reason, I relieved every now and then.
In this manner we retired for 15 miles under incessant fire all round us, till we arrived at Charlestown, between 7 and 8 in the evening and having expended almost all our ammunition. We had the misfortune of losing a good many men in the retreat, though nothing like the number which from many circumstances I have reason to believe were killed of the rebels. His Majesty's troops during the whole of the affair behaved with their usual intrepidity and spirit nor were they a little exasperated at the cruelty and barbarity of the rebels, who scalped and cut off the ears of some of the wounded men who fell into their hands.
There is no proof the Militiamen scalped or cut off the ears of any wounded British soldier, so you wonder how much of Brigadier General Percy's report is accurate.
Most accounts say there were 73 British killed and and 247 wounded or missing at the end of the day. The Minutemen lost 93 soldiers in the fighting.
When the people in Boston heard about what happened in Lexington and Concord, they surrounded the British soldiers and officials.
Even though neither Lexington or Concord is considered a major battle, the British Army lost a lot of men. General Gage, who was in command of the British Army in the colonies, decided not to take any more aggressive action against the colonists until he could receive some reinforcements. This gave the Minutemen time to organize and strengthen their position. Soon the Patriots surrounded the British in Boston. They had men along every road and pass and on every hill within ten miles of Boston. The British did leave Boston after the Battle at Dorchester.
The Battle of Lexington and the Battle of Concord were the beginning of the Revolutionary War. The war ended after the British loss at Yorktown and then after the Peace Treaty of Paris was signed, the colonies finally became independent from England.