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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Battle of Lexington & Concord

Patriot's Day (or Patriots' Day) commemorates the battles of Lexington and Concord, which were fought near Boston in 1775. Patriot's Day is annually held on the third Monday of April. It should not be confused with Patriot Day, held on September 11 to mark the anniversary of terrorist attacks in the USA in 2001.

The first shots starting the revolution were fired at Lexington, Massachusetts. On April 18, 1775, British General Thomas Gage sent 700 soldiers to destroy guns and ammunition the colonists had stored in the town of Concord, just outside of Boston. They also planned to arrest Samuel Adams and John Hancock, two of the key leaders of the patriot movement.

Dr. Joseph Warren learned of the British plans and sent Paul Revere to alert John Hancock and Samuel Adams. Paul Revere promised to warn them when the British soldiers started to march. Since he wasn't sure that he would be able to get out of Boston with the message, he made plans to alert people by putting lanterns in the Old North Church steeple. He would light one lantern if the British were coming by land, and two lanterns if the British were coming by sea.

On the evening of April 18th, the British troops were ferried across the Boston Harbor to start their march on Lexington. Paul Revere hung two lanterns in the church steeple. Then Paul Revere, William Dawes and Dr. Samuel Prescott rode to warn the colonists that the British were coming.

Paul Revere rode to Lexington and alerted Samual Adams and John Hancock. By the time the British soldiers reached Lexington, Samual Adams and John Hancock had escaped.

The colonists had been expecting a fight with the British. They had organized a group of militia, called the Minutemen. They were called Minutemen because they needed to be prepared to fight on a minutes notice.
When the British soldiers reached Lexington, Captain Jonas Parker and 75 armed Minutemen were there to meet them. The Minutemen were greatly outnumbered. The British soldiers fired, killing 8 Minutemen and injuring 10 others.

Although Paul Revere was captured by British scouts before reaching Concord, other messengers managed to get through and warn the people. While the British soldiers continued on their way to Concord, the men and women of Concord were busy moving the arms and ammunition to new hiding places in surrounding towns. When the soldiers arrived they were only able to destroy part of the supplies.

Minutemen from nearby towns were now responding to the messengers' warnings. The smoke from the burning supplies was also attracting local farmers and townspeople. A large force of patriots was now gathered in response to the British troops.

As the British soldiers headed back to Boston, they were attacked by the Minutemen. All along the route, Minutemen, local farmers and townspeople continued the attack against the British. By the time the soldiers reached Boston, 73 British solders were dead and 174 more were wounded.

In the days fighting, 49 patriots were killed, and 39 more were wounded.

Here are a couple of videos and links to learn more about this day...

Story of the Shot Heard Round the World, Battle of Lexington and Concord.

Here are videos from The American Revolution, that start off with the Battle of Lexington and Concord...

Part One

Part Two

Part Three

Part Four

Part Five

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