Lexington and Concord Essay

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The Battle of Lexington and Concord also included the villages of Lincoln, Menotomy (now Arlington), and Cambridge, all near Boston. This was the beginning of armed conflict between Great Britain and its thirteen American colonies. The British General Gage sent 700 British army regulars under Lt. Col. Francis Smith with secret orders to capture and destroy the military supplies of the Massachusetts militia at Concord. The colonials found out their intention through their intelligence network and had already moved most of the supplies. Though they heard the night before the battle, they could rapidly notify the towns because of the Minuteman network of riders like Paul Revere. Three such riders set out from Boston to warn the towns along the Concord path. Paul Revere made it as far as Lexington. Only Sam Prescott made it to Concord. In case the riders failed, there was a backup signal system with the colonials lighting lanterns in the Old North Church in Boston: “one if by land; two if by sea.” The British troops crossed the Charles River, so two lanterns were lit and seen in Charlestown across the river. The first shots were fired at dawn in Lexington. Howard Fast plays up the innocence of the colonial militia in their intention not to start a war or fire on the British. However, historically it has never been determined who started the conflict. The British officers also claimed it was not their intent or orders to fire on the Americans. Probably it was a random shot from a hothead on one side or the other, and then chaos ensued. The British officers lost control of the men, who were not informed of their mission. They are portrayed as ignorant in the novel, and it is true that many British recruits were taken from prisons or the London streets. It was British Major Pitcairn who led the troops into Lexington with his superior officer, Smith, behind him on the

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