Lexington and Concord, Massachusetts (JFK+50) 240 years ago this morning, April 19, 1775, a force of more than 700 Regulars arrived at the village of Lexington just outside Boston, Massachusetts. The well-trained and well-equipped British army confronted a group of about 70 local militia lined up on the town's green armed with loaded muskets.
John Parker, Captain of the Lexington militia, commanded his small group of farmers and merchants...
"Don't fire unless fired upon, but if they mean to have a war, let it begin here!"
British Major John Pitcairn demanded the colonials to disperse but in the process a shot was fired. The source of the shot has been the subject of controversy ever since. Did it come from the British side, or the American side?
Regardless, the first shot was followed by a volley and bayonet charge by the Regulars. When it was all said and done, eight colonials had been killed with ten more wounded.
The British army reformed and then marched on to Concord where they occupied the town. The militia took up positions on Punkatasset Hill on the opposite side of the Old North Bridge.
When smoke came from the town, the militia launched an attack on the North Bridge. British Lt. Col. Francis Smith ordered his troops to march back to Boston, about 16 miles distant. On their return, the British were harassed by militia from throughout New England.
The Battles of Lexington and Concord mark the beginning of the American War for Independence. Legendary leader of the Sons of Liberty Samuel Adams said as the historic day came to a close...
"What a glorious day for America!"
Samuel Adams Statue