On April 19th, 1775, in the Providence of Massachusetts Bay, the “shot heard around the world” was fired during the battles of Lexington and Concord. It is here that the American Revolutionary War would begin the birth of a nation and independence from Great Britain.
Despite lacking a formal hierarchy or battlefield experience, the colonists were able to organize and defend themselves against the British Army. Due to the fast actions of Paul Revere, William Dawes, and Samuel Prescott, the Minutemen were able to save critical military supplies and rebuff Britain’s forces.
The Events Leading to the Battles of Lexington and Concord
The first battles of the American Revolution were fought at Lexington and Concord because Massachusetts had become a hotbed for rebellion. There were many colonists located in New England affected by the rising taxation brought on by the Crown.
Acts of dissent and protests were seen in the weeks leading up to the battles of Lexington and Concord. King George III had decided that the colony was rebelling against Great Britain due to an increasing amount of unrest. This caused the British to devise a plan aimed at stifling such displays by confiscating the colonists’ weapons.
But the colonists had a plan. Composed of a secret network of local militias using a secret network to notify others, the colonists were able to move their supplies before the British ever arrived. Then, a day before the arrival of British soldiers, Paul Revere would take his infamous ride to warn fellow rebels that Great Britain was arriving by sea.
What Happened at Lexington and Concord?
As the Redcoats set out from Boston, Massachusetts, to take the colonists’ weapon cache, unrest continued, and militias strengthened. Around 700 British troops marched towards Concord, where another 400 troops were stationed to keep the peace. Additionally, 100 British soldiers were also ready to fight in Lexington.
Upon arrival, the British forces were keen on securing control of the North Bridge. British commanders Francis Smith and John Pitcairn ordered more than 200 soldiers to secure the bridge and then advance to where they suspected the weapons cache of being, a mile up the road at the Barrett Farm.
Historians debate on how the first shots were fired, but the result would eventually see the British outgunned. Yes, Great Britain was able to destroy supplies and even a cannon in Concord, but the soon-to-be Americans would claim victory, sending an outnumbered British force running. Overall, the American forces would suffer 93 casualties, whereas Great Britain would suffer 300 losses.
The Aftermath of the Battles of Lexington and Concord
The British forces retreated, demoralized and defeated, eventually regrouping in Concord before being chased to waterways near Boston and Charlton. Because there was no clear direction at the time, the Redcoats escaped, but the actions would cause larger militia groups to form, totaling 20,000 soldiers that would become a part of the Continental Army.
These events would also lay the framework for the siege of Boston – a conflict that would see the British Army blocked in by land via an army led by the newly appointed Commander in Chief, George Washington.
Over the next several months, British reinforcements would reach the colonies after word of impressive victories by the Minutemen made its way back to Great Britain. Simultaneously, the American army continued to gather support and created the conditions that would set off several years of conflict known as the American Revolutionary War.
Today, America is free from Great Britain and proudly stands on its own two feet, and it all started thanks to the success of the battles of Lexington and Concord.
Facts About Lexington and Concord
It’s time to see if you were paying attention! See if you can answer all the questions in this Battle of Lexington and Concord quiz below!
- Where is Lexington and Concord?
- Middlesex Country in what is now the state of Massachusetts. The battles of Lexington and Concord would take place throughout these cities and the surrounding towns, eventually leading forces to Boston as the Redcoats retreated. The American Battlefield Trust has a wonderful map of Lexington and Concord depicting the movement of the soldiers.
- What is considered the first battle of the American Revolution?
- The battles of Lexington and Concord are known as the first battles of the American Revolution. It is here that we see acts of rebellion evolve into armed forces engaging in acts of war.
- Who won the battle of Lexington and Concord?
- The American forces would win the battle of Concord and Lexington led by Commander John Parker. Victory would come due in part to the establishment of guerrilla warfare tactics and a revitalized divide between the colonists and Great Britain, causing a rise in militiamen.
- What is the date of the battles of Lexington and Concord?
- The battle of Lexington and Concord date was on April 19th, 1775, when the first shots were fired.
More military history: Here are the Facts About the Surrender at Appomattox Court House