Word arrived that the newly formed American Congress had chosen to defy the British government. General Gage was ordered to suppress the rebellion in Massachusetts and seize the leaders of the Sons of Liberty, among them Samuel Adams and John Hancock.
On April 19th, 1775 nearly 800 redcoats were dispatched to Concord, twenty miles west of Boston. They were ordered to seize the militia’s arsenal and capture their leaders. Citizens of Concord had found 72 hours before that soldiers were coming to the village to destroy their weapons taking precautionary measures to hide the ammunition. The night of April 19th as the redcoats were approaching Concord, dispatch riders, Paul Revere and William Dawes, alerted residents and the militia that soldiers were coming.
Paul Revere alerted residents that the British were coming
Little after dawn the first confrontation occurred. As the redcoats were entering Lexington on their way to Concord and outnumbered nearly ten to one, citizens stood strong and defiant ready to defend their freedom. The British commander ordered the militiamen disarmed, a shot was fired and soon eight militiamen were dead and nine wounded.
Once in Concord they succeeded in destroying part of the arsenal. But the bloodshed occurred when the redcoats were retreating to Boston. A large group of militiamen had gathered in Concord and ambushed the British with the result of seventy three dead British soldiers and two hundred wounded or missing. The Americans suffered close to one hundred casualties.
Adams heard the news as he was preparing to head out to Philadelphia to the Second Continental Congress in which all thirteen colonies strengthened the young union and supported Massachusetts.