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Lexington and Concord, battles of

Lexington and Concord, battles of, opening engagements of the American Revolution, Apr. 19, 1775. After the passage (1774) of the Intolerable Acts by the British Parliament, unrest in the colonies increased. The British commander at Boston, Gen. Thomas Gage, sought to avoid armed rebellion by sending a column of royal infantry from Boston to capture colonial military stores at Concord. News of his plan was dispatched to the countryside by Paul Revere, William Dawes, and Samuel Prescott. As the advance column under Major John Pitcairn reached Lexington, they came upon a group of militia (the minutemen). After a brief exchange of shots in which several Americans were killed, the colonials withdrew, and the British continued to Concord. Here they destroyed some military supplies, fought another engagement, and began a harried withdrawal to Boston, which cost them over 200 casualties.

See studies by A. French (1925) and A. B. Tourtellot (1959, repr. 1963).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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