“On the 19th of April, 1775, the first blood shed, in the revolutionary war, was poured out on the field of Lexington: and the result of the contest between provincial valor and patriotism, and British skill and discipline, served only to rouse the whole people more fully. Lexington and Concord will ever be remembered, as the opening of that long and perilous struggle, which resulted in the independence of the United States. The British government, finding every attempt to compel submission to their arbitrary enactments had failed, in the fall and winter of the preceding year, gathered a strong force at Boston and cut off all communication between that city and the country. This step only hastened the preparations of the patriots instead of overawing them. Magazines of arms and ammunition were collected, and minute men enrolled, and the country put in such a state of defence. that at a moment's warning. the militia swarmed together in thousands.
In the midst of this excitement General Gage, who commanded the British troops, sent a detachment to destroy the provincial magazines at Concord and Lexington. At Lexington, warned in spite of the precautions of the enemy, about seventy minute men hurriedly assembled to make resistance. As the British approached, Major Pitcairn, who led their van gallopped up, calling out 'disperse rebels!' The soldiers at the same time charged, firing a volley upon their half armed opponents, and the militia dispersed, leaving on the ground eight men killed and seven wounded. Immediately the news spread abroad, and before the British had finished their work of destruction at Concord, their advanced parties were driven in; and from Concord to Lexington a continuous fire poured upon them from every fence and cover. Worn down and exhausted, they reached Lexington, where they were joined by a strong reinforcement with cannon. But no sooner had the march been recommenced, than the galling fire of the provincials again opened upon them. The route of the retreating column was marked with slain. At length, they found security under the guns of their ships near Bunker Hill, on the evening of the 19th of April- having lost in killed, wounded, and prisoners, two hundred and seventy- three men. The loss of the Americans did not exceed ninety. At each point where the skirmishing took place, the British gave the first fire for the provincials remained upon the defensive desirous not to violate the letter of the law.”