Presentation on theme: "The Story of Lexington and Concord …The Shot Heard ‘Round the World."— Presentation transcript:
The Story of Lexington and Concord …The Shot Heard ‘Round the World
A Warning… Clockwise from left: Paul Revere, John Hancock and Samuel Adams. On Saturday, April 15, 1775, Paul Revere learned that the British Governor of Massachusetts had ordered his troops to prepare for a mission. They were going to march to the town of Concord to capture weapons and ammunition that the American militia had hidden there. On the morning of Sunday, April 16, Paul Revere pretended to take a leisurely Sunday ride. He rode to Lexington and met with John Hancock and Samuel Adams to warn them of the British plans.
The Signal… Colonel Conant, head of the Charlestown militia, arranged a signal with Paul Revere. Revere promised to alert Conant when the British troops would be marching. Christ Church, also known as the Old North Church, was the tallest building in Boston at that time. American rebels waiting across the river in Charlestown could easily see a light in the steeple tower. If the British went out by land, one lantern would be hung in the tower of the church. If they went out by sea, two lanterns would be hung in the tower. The Old North Church
Boston in the 1770s… Boston, in the 1770s, was almost completely surrounded by water. It was located on a small peninsula in Boston Harbor. The only way to get in and out of the city by land was through the Boston Neck. On the night of April 18, 1775, Paul Revere rowed across the Charles River to Charlestown.
The Chase… From Charlestown, Revere rode through the countryside, an 18 mile (29 km) journey to Lexington. As he rode on his way, two British officers spotted him on the road. Suspecting him as a rebel messenger, they chased him. Coming to a clay pond, Revere swerved at the last moment, avoiding the slippery banks of the pond. The British horse and rider slid and became stuck in the clay pit. Revere later explained that he rode a “very good horse.” He escaped his pursuers by leaping stone walls and racing across fields.
The Warning… He stopped to wake up the farmers, blacksmiths, and tradesmen. He spread the alarm at isolated farmhouses in the country and in crowded towns. Everywhere he went, he called out, “The British are coming!” All along his route, sleepy patriots scrambled out of bed. They grabbed their muskets and began to assemble and prepare for action. Before long, everyone along the road between Charlestown and Lexington knew that the British army was marching that night.
Lexington…The Warning John Hancock and Samuel Adams were staying at the home of Reverend Jonas Clark in Lexington. William Dawes arrived. He and Paul Revere persuaded the two men to flee to safety. After a half hour rest, the two men set out once more, heading towards Concord. The belfry bell in the Meeting House on the Lexington Green, in the center of town, rang out at 2:00 A.M. It called the militia, from three miles around, to the Green. About seventy men, led by Captain John Parker, assembled and waited two hours. They were then told to go home and get some sleep and to reassemble as soon as they heard a drum beat call them back. Some went home. Many retreated to BuckmanTavern to wait. Leaving Boston by water, the British were delayed for three hours, waiting for supplies they did not need. As they marched, they soon learned that the countryside was awake and aware of their secret march. Top: The Lexington Meeting House. Bottom: BuckmanTavern
The Shot Heard ‘Round the World At first light, the heavy beat of the drum sounded through Lexington. Seventy-seven men scrambled out of bed and the tavern. Captain Parker did not expect a battle to break out. He thought the British might turn and march back to Boston. He told his men, “ Don’t fire unless fired upon, but if they want a war, let it begin here.” Shortly after 5:00 A.M., six hundred British troops, led by Colonel Francis Smith and Major John Pitcairn, march into Lexington. Major Pitcairn shouted to the Minutemen and to Colonel Parker, “ Lay down your arms, you rebels, and disperse!” Captain Parker ordered the militia to disperse. No one knows for sure who fired the first shot. After the gunfire ceased, eight Americans lay dead, and fourteen more were wounded. Only two British soldiers and Major Pitcairn’s horse were slightly wounded.
The Capture of Paul Revere After their short rest for food and drink in Lexington, Revere and Dawes decided to ride to Concord. Outside Lexington, they were joined by a Concord physician, Samuel Prescott. About half way to Concord, Prescott and Dawes stopped at farmhouse to give the alarm. Revere rode ahead. Suddenly, two British soldiers on horseback surprised him. Revere shouted to his companions. As they approached him, four more British officers rode up. Realizing that they were about to be captured, Revere told his companions to flee. Prescott jumped a low stone wall and got away. He was the only rider to reach Concord that night. Dawes managed to escape but lost his horse. Revere galloped towards the woods, but as he reached it, six more redcoats rushed out and grabbed his horse’s bridle. The British finally let Revere go, but they kept his horse.
Concord The British marched into Concord at 7:00 A.M. Search parties hunted all over town for the American guns and ammunition. Around 9:30 A.M., two hundred soldiers British soldiers were searching near the North Bridge. On a hill, across the bridge, the Concord Minutemen watched and waited. Seeing smoke rise from the town, the Minutemen remarked, “Will we let them burn the town down?” They then marched toward the bridge, to save their homes which were being burned and looted. The redcoats at the bridge tried to stop them. Shots were fired. Two American militia men and three British soldiers were killed. Many more were wounded.
The British Retreat to Boston The British were surprised by the rebels’ bold stand and they withdrew in confusion. The British reformed their columns and silently began the long march back to Boston. The silence did not last long. All along the road, the minutemen crouched as snipers behind trees and stone walls, firing at the British. The British fired back at random, but the rebels were well hidden in the countryside. Past Lexington, the British were greeted by reinforcements. They were led by Lord Hugh Percy. Percy raised the morale of his troops as he led them back to their camps in Boston. The British lost 250 men on the long march home, but without Percy’s help, the death toll might have been far greater. The road from Concord to Boston
Glossary belfry: The part of a tower in which a bell hangs. bridle: The headgear with which a horse is controlled. Captain John Parker: A farmer and leader of the American militia (minutemen) at Lexington. Colonel Francis Smith : One of two leaders of British troops which marched to Lexington and Concord. lantern: A portable light ( in this case, a candle) with a protective covering. Lord Hugh Percy: Led a column of British troops which met and reinforced the exhausted British troops, past Lexington, as they were returning to Boston. Major John Pitcairn: One of two leaders of British troops which marched to Lexington and Concord. militia: The organized armed forces of a country (in this case, America), usually called only in an emergency. minutemen: Men (Americans) ready to fight for freedom on a minute’s notice. patriots: One who loves his or her country. peninsula: A long narrow piece of land extending into the water. It is surrounded on three of four sides by water. rebel: One who resists the authority of his government.. redcoats: Also known as ‘lobster-backs’. These were the British troops, known for the red coats they wore as par of their uniform. snipers: A person who fires shots from a hidden location. village green: the town square (in the case of Lexington Green, a triangular piece of land) at the center of town.