Lexington, Massachusetts (JFK+50) On April 19, 1775, a force of more than 700 British Regulars arrived here in Lexington just outside Boston. The King's well-trained and well-equipped army confronted a group of about 70 local militia lined up on the town's green armed with loaded muskets.
John Parker*, Captain of the Lexington militia, commanded his small group of farmers and merchants...
"Don't fire unless fired upon, but if they mean to have a war, let it begin here!"
British Major John Pitcairn** demanded the colonials disperse but in the process a shot was fired. The source of the shot has been the subject of controversy ever since. Did it come from the British side, or the American side? No one knows for sure.
Regardless, the first shot was followed by a volley and bayonet charge by the Regulars. When it was all said and done, eight colonials had been killed with ten more wounded. The American War for Independence had begun.
*John Parker (1729-1775) was born in Lexington, MA. JP was a farmer, mechanic & soldier in the French & Indian War & American Revolutionary War. He participated in the Siege of Boston after the Battle of Lexington but died of tuberculosis on Sept 17, 1775.
**John Pitcairn (1722-1775) was born in Dysart, Scotland & served in the British army from 1746 until his death at the Battle of Bunker Hill on June 17, 1775.
Minute Man statue
by Henry Hudson Kitson
photo by user: Daderot (2010)