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Oxford Reference

Lexington and Concord, Battles of


The political dispute between Britain and its American colonies flared into open conflict on 19 April 1775 at two towns outside Boston, Massachusetts. Maj. Gen. Thomas Gage, commander in chief and governor of Massachusetts, dispatched some 800 soldiers to confiscate provincial military supplies stockpiled at Concord, about twenty miles inland. Six months earlier, colonial leaders, anticipating British action, had formed a quarter of the militia into a force ready to repel any attack on short notice. Warned of the British expedition by several dispatch riders, including Paul Revere, these “minutemen” gathered in the path of the advancing British force.

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