Who shot first in lexington

8 August 2016

ThomasGageThe first shots of the Revolution rang out April 19 1775 at Lexington green. Reports say the British fired first killing eight patriots. I believe these reports to be true. There was a lot of controversy surrounding this, since none of us were there, no one can be certain on who fired first. Evidence shows the British fired first. I think based on the evidence provided it was very easy to see the British were the first to fire the shot of the revolution. Paul revere was riding home with Samuel Dawes and William Prescott and noticed the British were marching toward Lexington in large numbers.

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He also noticed the were heavily armed and were ready to fight. He rode north through the streets of Lexington, Concord, and other various small towns shouting the British were coming. This allowed the colonists to hide there arms and the militia to get ready and be lined up on Lexington green ready to fight. The battle of Lexington Green occurred April 19th 1775 in Middlesex county, Province of Massachusetts, within the towns of Lexington, Concord, Lincoln Menotmy and Cambridge near Boston. The battles marked the first armed conflict between the Great Britain and its thirteen colonies in the British North America. About 700 British and 1500 colonist fought. Many leaders including general Thomas gage, Jon Pitcairn, Hugh Percy and Francis Smith helped guide British troops. Many commanders of the minute men such as john parker. James Barret, John Buttrick, William Heath, Joseph Warren, and Isaac Davis helped influence the result of the battle by guiding troops and keeping them organized. The colonists lost 73 men while the British lost only 49.

This was due to the fact the British had less men and they were much more experienced than the colonists who suffered much higher casualties. The first shots were fired in the morning on Lexington Green. The militia were outnumbered and fell back, and the regulars proceeded on to concord to search for supplies. At the north bridge in concord, approximately 500 militia men fought and defeated three companies of the kings troops. The outnumbered regulars and fell back from the minutemen.

At the battle of Lexington Green, a British officer rode forward, waving his sword, and called out for the assembled throng to disperse, and may also have ordered them to “lay down your arms, you damned rebels! ” Captain Parker told his men instead to disperse and go home, but, because of the confusion, the yelling all around, and due to the raspiness of Parker’s tubercular voice, some did not hear him, some left very slowly, and none laid down their arms. Both Parker and Pitcairn ordered their men to hold fire, but a shot was fired from an unknown source.

No one knows why this shot was fired but it was surmised that a nervous minuteman was frightened by the oncoming British. According to one member of Parker’s militia none of the Americans had discharged their muskets as they faced the oncoming British troops. The British did suffer one casualty. Some witnesses among the regulars reported the first shot was fired by a colonial onlooker from behind a hedge or around the corner of a tavern. Some observers reported a mounted British officer firing first. Both sides generally agreed that the initial shot did not come from the men on the ground immediately facing each other.

Neither side heard it come from this way. Also, no soldier lowered his weapon to reload and no smoke came from either barrel. Some witnesses claimed that someone on the other side fired first; however, many more witnesses claimed to not know. near-simultaneous shots occurred when the fighting did break out so no evidence was gained from that. Witnesses at the scene described several intermittent shots fired from both sides before the lines of regulars began to fire volleys without receiving orders to do so.

A few of the militiamen believed at first that the regulars were only firing powder with no ball, but when they realized the truth, few if any of the militia managed to load and return fire. After taking heavy fire the rest wisely ran for their lives. It is all still very unclear who shot first. The evidence leans toward the British. But no one will ever no for sure. Historians are split both ways on this fact. I have leaned towards the British but I have a applied a bias simply because I am American.

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