The Battle of Lexington

April 19, 1775


After the First Continental Congress, King George III told General Thomas Gage, the Governor of Massachusetts and the commander of all the British soldiers in North America, to use force if it was necessary to maintain British authority in the colonies.

In February of 1775, Massachusetts was declared to be in rebellion and the British soldiers were told to be strict with those who showed disrespect for the British rule.

This did not improve the relations between the British and colonies. The colonies were more convinced than ever to bear arms and prepare for war at any time. In Massachusetts, the men became known as Minutemen, because they were known to be ready at a minute's notice. The colonists called themselves Patriots.

By April of 1775, British General Thomas Gage knew the Patriots had gathered an large arsenal of weapons in Concord, sixteen miles from Boston. He ordered his soldiers to go to Concord and capture the weapons. They decided to go through Lexington to look for Sam Adams who they wanted to arrest.

Somehow the Minutemen learned the British troops were going to Concord to take their weapons. They went to Lexington and waited for the British to march through the city. The British arrived in Lexington early in the morning of April 19 and were met by seventy Minutemen drawn upon in two lines.

There were between 600 and 700 British soldiers. When the Minutemen saw they were outnumbered, they started to back down. It was then that the shot heard around the world was fired. Even today, no one knows who fired first, the British or the Patriots?

That shot caused the British to fire two volleys. The first went over the Minutemen's heads and the second was fired right into their midst. The Minutemen scattered, but not before eighteen of them were killed.

The British marched on to Concord where they hoped to find a stockpile of rebel weapons.