The Battle of Lexington and Concord is officially the very first battle of the American Revolutionary War that eventually saw America gain independence from Britain. This battle is pivotal, not because it changed the face of the war, but more because it is the opening battle in a war that would eventually change the world.
There is a lot of prior to the Battle of Lexington and Concord, none of which was physical conflict but was enough to cause the colonies to rise up against the British.
Prior to the Battles of Lexington and Concord
The political situation started to deteriorate in the America when the British started enforcing acts in the country to gain more income and cause more hardship on Americans trying to build successful business. The hardest hit of all these were sugar plantations because of the sugar act and the attempt at abolition of slavery and other acts affecting those who trade with other countries using ships.
The Americans had long held local militia in different states; this militia were for the protection of the states and had been used against the French and the native Indians. Now it seems the political situation meant they would turn on the red coats of the British.
In April 1775 the British received word that the rebel militia in Concord had a hidden stash of weapons and decided to act and quell the rebel actions.
On 18th April the British sent out 20 men on horseback to find messengers and glean information, but because of their actions the militia started preparing for potential battle.
On 10pm of the 18h April the British started their march to Concord to engage in battle.
The Battle of Lexington and Concord
At 3am the British forces were ambling along when Major Pitcairn was asked to take a small group of six companies and double march to Concord. Not too long later Pitcairn entered Lexington with his men; the Lexington militia were there too and watched, waiting for the British to come.
The Lexington militia made formation and stood in plain sight, the British saw them but no one would fire with both sides telling their men to hold fire. Unfortunately a shot did happen from somewhere but no one knows where, this caused the British to start moving forward with bayonets attached.
The militia responded to the British advance with a few disorderly shots, the British responded with a volley of fire causing casualties before then advancing forward, killing 8 militia. The British were out of control at this point but the drummer beat the assembly beat and the British fell back into ranks and marched on Concord.
The militia in Concord had heard of the commotion in Lexington and formed ranks ready for the British. A column of militia decided to march out to meet the British but upon seeing superior British numbers retreated back into Concord.
The British finally arrived at Concord and were split up to find the weapons stash, this accumulated in the British finding the local tavern locked. The owner of which refused to let them in so at gun point the British made him let them in and then tell them where the weapons were. The weapons happened to be three massive cannon which the British smashed. The British also found gun cartridges which were burned.
Upon seeing smoke in Concord Colonel Barrett’s militia troops decided to march back on Concord, this meant a smaller force of British troops who were stationed on a hill retreated back to a bridge giving the hill to the militia.
The militia men number 400 strong while the British at the bridge numbered just less than one hundred. The militia formed a long line two men deep; they had been ordered not to fire unless the British fired first.
The British unfortunately did fire first, the militia marched down to the bridge and opened up a devastating barrage of fire killing many, including officers and causing the remaining soldiers to flee back to the slower column of British still marching on Concord.
The first battle was won by the Americans who had a smaller force. The Americans lost 49 men to the British 73, but it seems the victory was down to poor British tactics by the officers as the British advance was not well managed and controlled.