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THE BATTLE OF LEXINGTON.
and reached the drawbridge across the it was his full intention to devote his river. Here the passage was disputed; life and fortune to the cause of his but the dispute did not proceed to country, if it was required. bloodshed, owing to the judicious inter- Little satisfied with the ill result of ference of Barnard, one of the Congre- the previous attempt to seize upon the gational ministers of Salem. This at-colonial stores, Gage determined
upon tempt on the part of Gage, served to a fresh movement, which, he hoped, , rouse the activity of the people to a would produce the desired effect. high pitch; it was plain also that en- Aware that the Americans had collectcounters of this kind must ere long ed together a quantity of military stores result very differently.
at Concord, about sixteen miles from The second Virginia Convention met Boston, he resolved to send a strong at Richmond on the 20th of March. body of troops to seize upon and deWashington was present as a delegate, stroy the magazine. Great efforts were and the proceedings of Congress were made to keep his intentions secret; but discussed and approved. Patrick Henry the Americans were ever on the alert, introduced resolutions setting forth the and news of the expedition was in importance of embodying, arming, and stantly circulated in every direction. disciplining the militia of the colony. At eleven o'clock at night, April 18th, Many of the members were startled at Gage detached eight hundred grenathe proposition to prepare for a contest diers and light infantry, the flower of of arms, and the resolutions were op- the army, under the command posed earnestly by some of the best of Lieutenant-colonel Smith and men in Virginia, who still clung to the Major Pitcairn, to 'march secretly and hope of reconciliation with the mother expeditiously to Concord. They sailed country. Henry, however, with im- up Charles River, landed at Phipps petuous eloquence, bore down all op- farm, and advanced towards Concord. position, asserting boldly, "There is no Of this movement some of the friends longer any room for hope, we must of the American cause got notice, just fight!-I repeat it, sir; we must fight! before the embarkation of the troops; An appeal to arms and the God of and they instantly dispatched meshosts, is all that is left us !” Henry's sengers by different routes, with the inproposition was carried. Washington, formation. The troops soon perceived, also, was one of those who had lost all by the ringing of bells and firing of faith in the success of petitions. The musketry, that, notwithstanding the Convention strongly urged the en- secrecy with which they had quitted couraging of domestic industry and Boston, they had been discovered, arts and manufactures. At this date, * and that the alarm was fast spreadWashington wrote to his brother, that ing throughout the country. Between
four and five o'clock, on the morning See Wirt's Patrick Henry, p. 132–142 ; Sparks's of the 19th of April, the detachment Washington, p. 124–5.
reached Lexington, thirteen miles from
Boston. Here about seventy of the Concord, who commanded the Amerminute-men were assembled, and were icans, ordered his men to advance : standing near the road; but their but, ignorant of what had happened at number being so small, they had no in- Lexington, enjoined them not to fire, tention of making any resistance to the unless the troops fired first. The matter military. Major Pitcairn, who had did not long remain in suspense. The been sent forward with the light in Americans advanced; the troops fired fantry, rode towards them, calling out, on them; the Americans returned the
Disperse, you rebels ! throw down fire; a smart skirmish ensued, and a your arms and disperse !" The order number of men fell on each side. was not instantly obeyed : Major Pit- The troops, having accomplished the cairn advanced a little farther, fired his object of their expedition, began to repistol, and flourished his sword, while tire. But blood had been shed, and his men began to fire, with a shout. the aggressors were not to be allowed Several Americans fell; the rest dis- to escape with impunity. The country persed, but the firing on them was con- was alarmed; armed men crowded in tinued; and, on observing this, some from every quarter; and the retreating of the retreating colonists returned the troops were assailed with an unceasing fire.
Eight Americans remained dead but irregular discharge of musketry. on the field.
General Gage had early information At the close of this rencounter, the that the country was rising in arms; rest of the British detachment, under and about eight in the morning, he disLieutenant-colonel Smith, came up; and patched nine hundred men, with two the party, without farther delay, pro- pieces of cannon, under the command of ceeded to Concord. On arriving at Lord Percy, to support his first party. that place, they found a body of militia According to Gordon, this detachment drawn up, who retreated across the left Boston with their music playing bridge before the British light infantry. Yankee Doodle, in derision of “the rebThe main body of the royal troopsels," as they termed the colonists. entered the town, destroyed two pieces Lord Percy met Colonel Smith's reof cannon with their carriages, and a treating party, at Lexington, much exnumber of carriage-wheels; threw five hausted; and, being provided with hundred pounds of balls into the river artillery, he was able to keep the Amerand wells, and broke in pieces about icans in check. The whole party rested sixty flour-barrels. These were all the on their arms till they took some restores they found
freshment, of which they stood much in While the main body of the troops need. But there was no time for was engaged in these operations, the delay; as the militia and minute-men light infantry kept possession of the were hastening in from all quarters to bridge, the Americans having retired the scene of action. When the troops to wait for reinforcements. Reinforce- resumed their march, the attack was ments arrived ; and Major Buttrick, of renewed; and Lord Percy continued the
APPENDIX TO CHAPTER XII.
retreat under an incessant and galling although they had thirty-six in the fire of small-arms. By means of his morning. * The loss of the British in field-pieces and musketry, however, he this unfortunate expedition, was, sixtywas able to keep the assailants at a five killed, one hundred and eighty respectful distance. The colonists were wounded, and twenty-eight made prisunder no authority; but ran across the
Of the Americans engaged in fields from one place to another, taking the battle, fifty were killed, and thirtytheir station at the points from which four wounded. they could fire on the troops with most Truly may it be said, in the words safety and effect. Numbers of them, of Washington, in a letter in which becoming weary of the pursuit, retired he speaks of the necessity the British from the contest; but their place was troops were under, to give way before supplied by new comers; so that, al- the aroused people of Massachusetts, -though not more than four or five hun- "If the retreat had not been as predred of the provincials were actu- cipitate as it was,—and God knows it ally engaged at any one time, yet the could not well have been more so,conflict was continued without inter- the ministerial troops must have surmission, till the troops, in a state of rendered, or been totally cut off.” great exhaustion, reached Bunker's Hill, a little after sunset, with only
* See “ History of the United States," in Lardner's two or three rounds of cartridges each, Cabinet Cyclopædia, vol. i., p. 124.
APPENDIX TO CHAPTER XII.
SIGNED BY EIGHTY-NINE MEMBERS OF THE LATE HOUSE OF
I. AN ASSOCIATION,
by the heavy hand of power now lifted against North America. With much grief we find, that
our dutiful applications to Great Britain for the WE, his majesty's most dutiful and loyal sub- security of our just, ancient, and constitutional jects, the late representatives of the good people rights, have been not only disregarded, but that a of this country, having been deprived, by the determined system is formed and pressed, for sudden interposition of the executive part of this reducing the inhabitants of British America to government, from giving our countrymen the slavery, by subjecting them to the payment of advice we wished to convey to them, in a legis- taxes, imposed without the consent of the people lative capacity, find ourselves under the hard or their representatives ; and that, in pursuit of necessity of adopting this, the only method we this system, we find an act of the British Parliahave left, of pointing out to our countrymen suchment, lately passed, for stopping the harbor and measures as, in our opinion, are best fitted to se- commerce of the town of Boston, in our sister cure our dear rights and liberty from destruction, | colony of Massachusetts Bay, until the people