Lexington and Concord, battles of

Lexington and Concord, battles of,

opening engagements of the American RevolutionAmerican Revolution,
1775–83, struggle by which the Thirteen Colonies on the Atlantic seaboard of North America won independence from Great Britain and became the United States. It is also called the American War of Independence.
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, Apr. 19, 1775. After the passage (1774) of the Intolerable ActsIntolerable Acts,
name given by American patriots to five laws (including the Quebec Act) adopted by Parliament in 1774, which limited the political and geographical freedom of the colonists.
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 by the British Parliament, unrest in the colonies increased. The British commander at Boston, Gen. Thomas GageGage, Thomas,
1721–87, English general in North America. He came to America (1754) with Gen. Edward Braddock and took part in the ill-fated expedition against Fort Duquesne (1755).
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, 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 PitcairnPitcairn, John
, 1722–75, British royal marine officer in the American Revolution. Major Pitcairn commanded the advance guard of the British troops at Lexington (see Lexington and Concord, battles of) on Apr.
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 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).

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