By early 1775, it was becoming more evident to American patriots that war with Great Britain was inevitable. Massachusetts was home to the largest concentration of patriots who were regularly challenging British rule and authority. Many of them began purchasing munitions – gun powder, cannonballs, musket balls, etc., and then stockpiling them in Concord, a small town about twenty miles from Boston.
Word of the munitions stockpile reached British authorities who ordered General Thomas Gage, the British Governor of Massachusetts to confiscate the stockpiles in Concord.
On April 18, 1775, Gage gave the order for the British troops to march to Concord to confiscate the munitions and arrest the leaders of the American patriots John Adams and John Hancock. Nearly 700 British troops were ferried across the Charles River and began their march to Lexington in the late hours of April 18.
If you read the post for April 18, 1775, you will know that much of what you were taught about the midnight ride of Paul Revere was far from being accurate. William Dawes also rode from Boston to warn the militiamen at Lexington and Adams and Hancock in Concord. They both arrived quietly in Lexington and then were met by young Samuel Prescott as they rode to Concord. The trio was discovered by a British patrol. Revere was captured, Dawes escaped but lost his horse and it was Prescott who escaped and rode on to Concord and warned Adams and Hancock of the approaching British troops and the plans to arrest them.
On April 19, 1775, alarms were sounded in Lexington before dawn, summoning the Minutemen and any other willing patriot. By the time the British troops arrived, Minuteman Captain John Parker had managed to assemble about 70 militias on the common green of the Lexington.
The British were led by Major John Pitcairn, who ordered the Minutemen to disperse. The tension was at the breaking point as silence loomed across the green. Eventually, the Minutemen, realizing they were outnumbered 10 to 1, began to withdraw from the green when suddenly a shot rang out.
No one knows who fired the shot, but once it rang out, the green was filled with a thick cloud of musket smoke. The skirmish didn’t last long, but when the smoke wafted off the green, the Minutemen suffered 8 dead and 10 wounded. The British suffered 1 injury.
In the meantime, Revere, who had been captured, interrogated and released by the British, managed to escape to Philadelphia along with John Adams and John Hancock.
After the Battles at Lexington and Concord, the British troops retreated to Boston and laid siege to the city.
On April 22, 1775, British General Gage met with Boston city officials and made arrangement under which Boston residents would be allowed to leave and re-enter the city.
On May 27-38, the Battle of Chelsea Creek, also known as the Battle of Hog Island or Nodder’s Island, took place because of a call sent out by the Massachusetts Committee of Safety. The call was made to stop the British from raiding and seizing livestock in the area. The Americans removed all the livestock from the harbor islands and then burned all the hay so that the British could not have the feed for what livestock they managed to capture.
On June 15, 1775, the Committee of Safety called for the fortification of Bunker Hill and Dorchester Heights.
On June 17, 1775, the Battle of Bunker Hill, or more properly Breed’s Hill, took place. It took the British three efforts to drive the Patriots off the hill fortifications but it was a very costly win for the British as they suffered 268 dead and 828 wounded.
On July 10, 1775, the British Army moved across to Boston Neck and on to Roxbury. Patriot troops in the area responded by setting fire to a tavern that had been taken over to quarter British troops.
On August 2, 1775, The British hung a Patriot rifleman in Boston, inciting a gunfight with other Patriot forces.
On August 23, 1775, King George III issued his Proclamation of Rebellion stating that the rebellion, mostly occurring in the Boston area, was enough to incite a state of war and that the rebels needed to be subdued using military force.
On August 30, 1775, British soldiers raided Roxbury while a force of 300 Patriots attacked the British at Lighthouse Island, killing several British troops and taking 23 prisoners.
On this day, October 28, 1775, British Major General Willian Howe issued an order that banned anyone from leaving or entering Boston. The order was made to quell all the Patriot raids, fights and skirmishes. Howe’s order also commanded the citizens of Boston to form military companies under British control to help establish order in Boston.
On March 2, 1776, American General George Washington launched his final assault to end the siege of Boston and drove the British from Dorchester Heights.
On March 27, 1776, British troops withdrew from Boston, ending the 11-month siege.
Sources for the above includes: British Proclamation Forbids Residents from Leaving Boston; The Siege of Boston; Siege of Boston; Siege of Boston; Siege of Boston; Siege of Boston; Siege of Boston; Today, April 19, 1775: The Shot Heard Around the World Was Fired; Today, April 18, 1775: Boston, Famous Ride, Lanterns – What is the Truth? [VIDEO]; Today, March 2, 1776: Washington Launches Final Assault to End Siege of Boston