The Battles of Lexington and Concord started the American Revolutionary War (1775-83). On the night of April 18, 1775, hundreds of British troops marched from Boston to nearby Concord to seize a hidden supply of arms. Paul Revere and William Dawes sounded the alarm, and colonial militiamen began mobilizing to intercept the Redcoats. A confrontation on the Lexington town green started the fighting, and soon the British retreated. More battles followed, and in 1873 the colonists formally won independence.
Fighting Breaks Out in Lexington and Concord: At dawn on April 19, some 700 British troops arrived in Lexington and came upon 77 colonial militiamen gathered on the town green. Several volleys were fired before order could be restored. When the smoke cleared, eight militiamen lay dead and nine were wounded; only one Redcoat was injured.
The British then continued into Concord to search for arms, not realizing that the vast majority had already been relocated. After searching Concord for about four hours, the British prepared to return to Boston, 18 miles away. By that time, almost 2000 militiamen—known as minutemen for their ability to be ready on a moment’s notice—had collected in the area, and more were arriving. Fighting started again, with the militiamen firing at the British from behind trees, stone walls, and houses. British troops began abandoning their weapons, clothing, and equipment in order to retreat.
When the British reached Lexington, they were joined by an entire brigade of fresh Redcoats that had answered a call for reinforcements. That did not stop the colonists from resuming their attack. The British tried to keep the colonists at bay. In the evening, the minutemen had a chance to cut off the Redcoats and perhaps finish them off. Instead, their commander ordered them not to attack, and the British were able to reach the safety of Charlestown Neck, where they had naval support.
Source: First Revolutionary Battle at Lexington and Concord
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