George Washington by Gilbert Stuart

Battles of Lexington and Concord

The Battles of Lexington and Concord officially mark the beginning of the American Revolutionary War on April 19, 1775. That morning, the British army planned to travel to Lexington and Concord. In Lexington, they would capture Samuel Adams and John Hancock and in Concord they would take the Patriot’s weapons. Seventy-seven militiamen, who had been warned by Paul Revere, gathered to stop the British in Lexington. Then 700 British troops confronted the militiamen and a shot was fired, sparking the battle. The outnumbered militiamen retreated as the British moved on to Concord. While the Regulars searched Concord for weapons, more and more militiamen came together. The Americans decided to face the Regulars and were strong enough to force them into a retreat, winning the famous battle of Concord. This was a turning point in the Revolutionary War.

“On our leaving Concord to return to Boston, they began to fire on us from behind the walls, ditches, trees, etc., which, as we marched, increased to a very great degree…”—Lieutenant Colonel Smith in a letter to General Gage

”…I have receiver intelligence that the ministeriel troops under the command of General Gage did last evening march out of Boston and marched to Lexington & there killed a number of our American Soldiers & thence proceed to Concord killing and destroying our men and interest.”—Isaac Merrill in a letter to Jon Currier

To this day, no one knows who fired the first shot at the Battle of Lexington. The poem “Concord Hymn” called it the “shot heard round the world,” as it is now commonly known.

Between the two battles, the British lost 73 men and the Americans lost 49 men.

Captain John Parker led the militiamen in Lexington. About 25% of the militiamen were his relatives.