In 1775, King George III sent soldiers to Boston and the surrounding cities to reinforce the numerous taxes. There were taxes because King George spent his money furiously fighting in the French and Indian War(a) from 1754 to 1763 and wanted more. The Patriots did not like the taxes. Samuel Adams and John Hancock had told others to store up arms in case it came to a war, which the Patriots anxiously hoped would not happen. Ebenezer Bowman, who lived near Lexington, Massachusetts, had joined the Massachusetts Militia(b) hiding ammunition in Concord.
In between one and two a.m. on April 19, Ebenezer hurriedly left his home to Lexington, because the Regular officers were planning to take the stores.(c) Captain John Parker told the militiamen to rest in small houses near the place of where the British were coming, which was Lexington Green. At about five o’clock in the morning, Drummer William Diamond called the Militia(b) out with his drum. There were a minimum of 81 militiamen, but there were 700 redcoats.
John Parker commanded, “Stand your ground. Don’t fire unless fired upon, but if they mean to have a war, let it begin here.” (d)
British Major Pitcairn yelled, “Throw down your arms, ye villains, ye Rebels, Disperse!” (d)
Soon a shot rang out. And another. And another! Once the shooting ceased, eight militiamen were dead and more injured. The redcoats continued marching to Concord. Along the way, they met additional men. The British, who surprisingly lost the first battle of the Revolutionary War, eventually marched back to Boston. Who fired first? Nobody knows. But because it started the war, the entire world took note. It has been known as The Shot Heard ’round The World.
(a) Also known as the seven years’ war. (b) Not the minutemen! (c) Paul Revere did not ride. (d) We do not know Parker and Pitcairn’s actual words; however, it was something like that.