April 19, 1775. In the area of Middlesex County in the Province of Massachusetts Bay, the first engagements of the American Revolutionary War were fought. Minor as they may have seemed at the time, the battles marked the outbreak of open armed conflict between the Kingdom of Great Britain and the thirteen colonies on the British American mainland.
After the Boston Tea Party and a “rebel” government rising in British-controlled Boston, the British government declared Massachusetts to be in a state of rebellion in February 1775.
In Boston, British army regulars were given orders to capture and destroy supplies held by the Massachusetts militia in Concord. The night before the attacks, the Patriots received firm notifications of the British plans. Rapidly racing against the British, Paul Revere & William Dawes (poor William, always forgotten) rode from Charleston to Lexington to warn of the coming of the regulars. Colonial militia men prepared to intercept the Redcoat column.
As the sun was rising in Lexington, the first shots were fired, beginning the unleashing of volleys from the British and the chaos which would then ensue for the battles. At the end of Lexington, eight militiamen lay dead and one Redcoat wounded.
After the first phase of fighting, the British then marched on toward Concord in search of the hidden militia arms. However, thanks to Revere’s famous midnight ride, many of these arms had already been hidden. What the Redcoats were able to find, they burned.
The militiamen hustled to Concord’s North Bridge to meet the British army, which was already being defended by the soldiers. Once meeting at the bridge, a shot rang out, which has now become immortalized as “the shot heard ’round the world.”
After failing to find more weapons in Concord, the British then marched to Boston. By this time, minutemen from surrounding areas had arrived on the scene, and began firing at the Redcoats from behind trees, walls, and houses. The British began abandoning clothes and weapons in order to retreat faster.
At the end of the day, only about 250 Redcoats were wounded or killed (compared to the 700 plus troops that had arrived on scene that morning). Nevertheless, the spirit of the American patriot began. The militiamen proved they could and were willing to stand up the most powerful army in the world.
By May 28, news of the battle had reached London. By the summer, the full-scale war of independence had broken out, shaping the face of world history forevermore.