On April 19th, 1775 at around 5 o’clock in the morning, John Pitcairn, a Major in the British army led 700 troops to Lexington to seize Patriot leaders and their arsenal.
Tensions had been running high between American colonists and the British government especially in Massachusetts, where Patriot leaders Samuel Adams and John Hancock had formed a shadow revolutionary government and had begun training militias to fight against the British troops who occupied Boston.
Captain John Parker (Source)
When they got to Lexington, the British found waiting for them 77 specially selected men from the militia known as minutemen, led by Captain John Parker. Hancock and Adams were tipped off that the British were coming by Boston Patriots Paul Revere and William Dawes and managed to escape to Philadelphia.
Major Pitcairn ordered the Patriots to disperse but as they did so, the so called ‘shot heard around the world’ was fired from an unknown gunman. By the end of the Battle of Lexington, 8 Americans were dead or dying with another 10 wounded and only 1 British soldier was dead, however the war for American independence from Britain had begun.
A British Officer (Source)
The British marched on and reached Concord around 7 a.m. but found themselves surrounded by Patriots. Although they did destroy enemy supplies and munitions, the British suffered numerous casualties at the hands of the minutemen.
Lieutenant Colonel Frances Smith, overall commander of the British force, ordered his men to retreat to Boston without directly engaging the enemy. However his men were constantly harassed on the 16 mile journey by marksmen firing at them, often from behind trees, rocks and stone walls.
Along the way, they were forced to go back through the town of Lexington, giving Captain Parker and his men a chance for revenge, which they gladly took killing several British soldiers as they passed through. By the time they got back to Boston, nearly 300 of the Kings men were dead, wounded or missing in action, the Patriots had suffered fewer than 100 casualties.
The signing of the Declaration of Independece 4 July, 1776 (Source)
Although it had small beginnings, what started as an uprising with the battles at Lexington and Concord soon escalated into a full scale revolution that would last 7 years and lead to the birth of the United States of America.