Lexington & Concord
There were many battles in the American Revolution, but a special one is The Battle of Lexington & Concord. The Battle of Lexington & Concord was the first battle of the Revolution. Things that are good to know about The Battle of Lexington & Concord are what caused the battle, people, the fighting, and the weapons.
The Battle of Lexington and Concord was caused by London sending instructions to General Thomas Gage to make immediate steps to disrupt any treasonable colonial plans. General Gage believed he didn’t have enough troops. He also believed it would be several weeks before receiving reinforcement troops requested. However, General Gage knew where rebel arms were stored. He decided to seize the rebel arms very quickly. General Gage feared that if he waited until reinforcements arrived the rebels would learn his plans and move the munitions. He ordered Lieutenant Colonel Francis Smith to take 700 men to Concord to destroy the rebels guns, ammunitions, and supplies. These troops were picked – the elite grenadier and light infantry companies of each of the regiments of the Boston garrison.They were to undertake at the Back Bay at 10:00 P.M. on April 18, 1775.Loutenant Colonel Smith was given a map of the supplies and arms. General Gage ordered Lieutenant Colonel Smith to not permit any plundering or damaging of private property.
An important man of the Battle of Lexington and Concord is Sam Adams. He was called “the Firebrand of the Revolution.” He was called ” The Great Agitator.” He was responsible for the Boston Tea Party. Sam was born in Boston in 1772. He was the son of a prosperous brewer and member of the Caucus Club. He grew up hearing all kinds of freedom talk.
Sam entered Harvard College at the age of fourteen. He studied mainly Greek and Latin at college. Soon after graduation he got a loan of 1,000 pounds from his father to go into business for himself. He demonstrated failure which was to pursue him throughout his lifetime. Sam was careless about paying his bills and collecting money owed to him. His own business declining, he went to work in his fathers brewery. Sam inherited part of the estate when his father died. He soon spent his inheritance and he was poor the rest of his days. He served as a tax collector. He fell behind in collections. After a while Sam gave up trying to earn a living by ordinary means. Soon he devoted himself to politics. His friends and supporters paid his bills, bought his clothes, built a barn for him, and repaired his house. They took care of Sam and his family in every way. Despite their help Sam’s clothes continued to look shabby and his house run down.
When the Stamp Act was about to be imposed on the colonies, Sam was chosen to write Boston’s protest against unjustified tax. In 1765, he was elected to Massachusetts colonial legislature. He served until 1774. In constant touch with leaders of other colonial legislatures, Sam, fought hard against Townsend Acts and helped see them abolished. He was probably one of the chief activists of the events that led to the Boston Massacre. He stepped over the line that divides legitimate protests from rabble-rousing. He had a habit of inching over such divisions and getting himself into real trouble.
Sam was a good writer when aroused about an issue. He wrote many issues for the Boston Gazette and other papers. He was something of a political philosopher. In 1772 he made a motion in Boston town meeting to appoint a ” Committee of Correspondence ” to state the rights of the colonists and of this province in particular as men, as Christians, and as subjects. He drafted a declaration of rights that foreshadowed the Declaration of Independence written four years later.
Sam was elected to the First Continental Congress in 1774, and to the Second Continental Congress that began meeting in 1775 and continued through most of the war. One of his fellow congress men, Joseph Gallaway of Pennsylvania, described him as a man who eats little, drinks little, sleeps little, thinks much, and is most decisive and indefatigable in the pursuit of his objectives. Sam kept prodding and pushing until the first shots of the Revolution were fired at Lexington and Concord on April 18, 1775. On the way to the congressional session in Philadelphia he was almost taken by the British at the Lexington engagement. He became a proud signer of the Declaration of Independence. Sam served in the Continental Congress until 1781. He supported the United States Constitution that emerged from the 1787 convention and helped secure its ratification by Massachusetts. In old age Sam served as governor of Massachusetts from 1793 – 1797. He died in – to use his own phrase – ” honorable poverty.”
Paul Revere was also an important man of the Battle of Lexington and Concord. He was born in 1735, a New Year’s Day baby. He was an American who loved his country long before it became a nation. He was always a man of independence. He served his country well in war and peace. Paul was a silversmith. He liked silver smithing. He was a man of many skills. He was quick, strong, and athletic far more so than men of forty. He was an excellent horsemen. He was an expert engraver. He engraved the first copper plates that were used to make the first U.S. paper money. He taught himself how to make false teeth. He laid out a gun powder company. He built a foundry that cast the first cannon ever made. Paul was a member of the Boston Chapter of the Sons of Liberty. When he died at age eighty three, church bells which had cast in his foundry tolled in his memory.
Paul sprang into action on the night of April 18, 1775. A stable hand, overhearing two British soldiers, had come with vital news: British troops commanded by General Thomas Gage were marching on Concord that night to capture colonial stores of gun powder and shotguns. The British were also to arrest John Hancock and Sam Adams. Paul sped through the streets carrying the news to Dr. Joseph Warren. Dr. Warren was in charge of the Sons of Liberty when Sam was away. Dr. Warren already knew the news before he was warned by Paul Revere. Paul knew his task was to inform the patriots along the way to Lexington and Concord the British were on the march. First he had to learn from Dr. Warren which way the British were proceeding. He also needed to know if the British would go by land or take boats and if he needed to signal the Charleston militia of British approach. The signal would be to hang two lanterns in the tower of the Christ Church. Dr. Warren told Paul he was also dispatching William Dawes along an alternate route to warn people.
Leaving Dr. Warrens house, Paul slipped quietly to the Christ Church. He hung the lanterns when he got there. Then he went on a boat across the Boston Harbor to Charleston. Leaping into the saddle of the new horse, he sped off into the night. Almost at once he was pursued by two British mounted troopers. By jumping his steed over a wall and galloping down a stretch of farm land he shook the troopers off of him.
Paul awakened the sleeping town of Medford and saw the defenders at their posts. He was in Lexington by midnight rousing the local militia and sending word to John Hancock and Sam Adams that the British were out to capture them. In Lexington, Dawes rode up to Revere. Then Dr. Samuel
Prescott, came along to make a third member of the warning party. The three
raced on toward Concord. British red coats soon blocked their way. Prescott
slipped through their grasp. The British held Revere and Dawes for a time, then turned them free without their horses. Paul hustled back to Lexington on foot. He arrived just in time to see Adams and Hancock depart for Philadelphia to attend the opening session of the Second Continental Congress.
The first fighting of the Battle of Lexington and Concord happened at Lexington. The British advance guard, under Royal Marine Major John Pitcairn, reached Lexington at dawn on April 18, 1775. The British were met by seventy minutemen of Lexington drawn up in two lines across the Common. Major Pitcairn was anxious to avoid bloodshed. Major Pitcairn ordered the Americans to disperse their weapons and told his own men to hold their fire. Some minutemen started to drift away, but suddenly a shot rang out, probably from a rebel musket. Major Pitcairn tried to rest in the British, but one of his platoons fired a volley, and others followed. As some Americans began to answer back with individual aimed shots, the British followed their musket volley with a bayonet charge. The Americans fled taking ten wounded men with them and eight dead on the Common. The British only had one man wounded. Their spirits high the British troops marched on toward Concord to the fife and drum.
The second fighting of the Battle of Lexington and Concord wasn’t at the East Bridge, the West Bridge, or the South Bridge, but it was at the North Bridge. The Patriots of Concord, after being warned by Samuel Prescott of the British approach, moved the already hidden arms and supplies to different hiding places three hours before the British arrived there. As the British approached Concord their militia leader James Barnette gathered his men on Punkatasset Hill north of the village and west of Concord River. A British colonel, Colonel Smith, sent six companies of light infantry to guard the North Bridge across the river and another company to guard the South Bridge. The rest of the British began search for the arms and supplies. The British only found a few gun carriages and a few barrels of flour. The British rolled the barrels into the millpond and burned much other equipment. The burning set fire to the courthouse and a blacksmith shop. Although, the British moved quickly to put out the fires, the Americans watching from the hill could only see smoke. Thinking they were seeing wanton plunder and destruction the Americans began to load their muskets and move down toward the North Bridge. By then only three companies were at the bridge because the other companies had moved across the river to the Barnette Farm in search of rebel weapons. The American militia moved forward , led by Captain Isaac Davis from the Village of Action. The outnumbered British bridge guard moved back across the river and opened fire. The Americans, spreading out in a skirmish line, returned the fire with accurate sharp shooting and the British withdrew hastily into the village. Expecting a counterattack the Americans waited at a stone wall out of musket range from the bridge. When the three British companies returned from Barnette Farm they got past the Americans easily and then crossed the bridge without difficulty. Colonel Smith seemed to be uncertain about what to do next. Colonel Smith had lost three men killed and nine men wounded in the skirmish while the Americans only lost two men dead and two men wounded. The aimed American fire was more effective at Lexington. It was significant that four of the wounded British were officers whose gleaming epaulets and gold lace made them good targets. Colonel Smith finally decided his men had found and destroyed all the stores they were most likely to. At noon the next day he ordered his troops to move out to Boston.
Weapons were very important in the Battle of Lexington and Concord because you can’t have a real battle with only arms and legs. The flintlock musket was secured in wooden stock by pins or bands. Bands are smooth borbed tubes, closed at the rear end. The lock was consisted of the cock. The cock was under pressure from the mainspring and controlled by the trigger. The pan was in front of the cock connected to the interior of the musket breech by the vent. The pan was normally covered by the hammer. The English dog lock musket was a detail of the lock. The English Ferguson rifle had the first successful breech – loading fire arm. Turning the rear of the rifles trigger guard the breech dropped down. The Ferguson rifle was one of the most important weapons of the battle.
The Battle of Lexington and Concord was an important battle of the American Revolution. There are many things that occurred during the battle. It is also fun to learn about. That makes it a good topic for a class research project.