The Age of George III

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The Battle of Lexington and Concord: 19 April 1775

This is the factual account of events written by General Gage. It is very different from the accounts produced by the Massachusetts provincial congress and that written by Ann Hulton.

I am to acquaint your lordship that having received intelligence of a large quantity of military stores being collected at Concord, for the avowed purpose of supplying a body of troops to act in opposition to his Majesty's government, I got the grenadiers and light infantry out of town under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Smith of the 10th Regiment, and Major Pitcairne of the marines, with as much secrecy as possible, on the 18th at night, and with orders to destroy the said military stores; and supported them the next morning by eight companies of the 4th, the same number of the 23d, 47th, and marines, under the command of Lord Percy. It appears from the firing of alarm guns and ringing of bells that the march of Lieutenant-Colonel Smith was discovered, and he was opposed by a body of men within six miles of Concord, some few of whom first began to fire upon his advanced companies which brought on a fire from the troops that dispersed the body opposed to them; and they proceeded to Concord, where they destroyed all the military stores they could find. On the return of the troops they were attacked from all quarters where any cover was to be found, from whence it was practicable to annoy them, and they were so fatigued with their march that it was with difficulty they could keep out their flanking parties to remove the enemy to a distance, so that they were at length a good deal pressed. Lord Percy then arrived opportunely to their assistance with his brigade and two pieces of cannon, and notwithstanding a continual skirmish for the space of fifteen miles, receiving fire from every hill, fence, house, barn, etc., his lordship kept the enemy off; and brought the troops to Charlestown, from whence they were ferried over to Boston.

Too much praise cannot be given Lord Percy [the son of the Earl of Northumberland] for his remarkable activity and conduct during the whole day. Lieutenant-Colonel Smith and Major Pitcairne did everything men could do, as did all the officers in general, and the men behaved with their usual intrepidity. ... I have the honour to transmit your lordship a return of the killed, wounded, and missing. The loss sustained by those who attacked is said to be great.

The whole country was assembled in arms with surprising expedition, and several thousand are now assembled about this town, threatening and attack and getting up artillery. And we are very busy in making preparations to oppose them.

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