Concord: April 19, 1775
After Dr. Samuel Prescott arrived with word that the British Regulars were coming, the alarm was given between 1 A.M. and 2 A.M. They then dispersed after arranging to reconvene when the British approached. Messengers were sent to other towns and townspeople hid valuables. After a scout reported that there was firing on Lexington Common. The Concord militia reassembled and decided to march to meet the British Regulars. Roughly two hundred and fifty men set out.
They marched about a mile or so before they saw the Regulars coming. They halted and held position until the British Regulars were within one hundred rods and then they turned around and marched ahead of the British back toward Concord. It was now 7 A.M. Colonel James Barrett and Major John Buttrick, his second-in-command, kept the Concord militia just out of reach, moving from ridge to ridge before the Regulars. They withdrew through the town to another ridge and held a council of war. They decided to withdraw across the North Bridge.
They watched from the west side of the river as the British Regulars entered the town. Lt. Colonel Francis Smith, the commander of the expedition, assigned securing the town to the grenadiers. He sent one company of light infantry to secure the South Bridge and seven companies to the North Bridge. He chose to remain with the grenadiers in the town and kept Major John Pitcairn, his second-in-command, with him.
The grenadiers peacefully went about searching for the supplies accumulated by the Massachusetts Provincial Congress for the provincial army. However, in their impatience, they did a poor job of destroying the supplies. They threw barrels of flour and musket balls into the pond where both were easily recovered by the colonials the next day. Aside from three twenty-four pound cannon that were found and destroyed, the colonials had had three days to remove much of the supplies to other towns.
The North Bridge: Apri 19, 1775
At the North Bridge, Captain Parson was in command of seven companies of light infantry or one hundred and ninety-six men. There were about four hundred provincial militia on the ridge nearby. He left one company on the west side of the bridge. Two more companies were placed about a quartter of a mile away under the command of Captain Walter Laurie. He then took the other four companies and marched to ColonelBarrett's farm to seize munitions and supplies as ordered by Lt. Colonel Smith.
When the militia began to see smoke rising from town as the grenadiers burned captured supplies, they worried that the British were going to burn the town, so they now moved to action. They held a council and decided to march back across the bridge into town to prevent its destruction. Colonel Barrett ordered the militia to not fire until fired upon by the British Regulars, then "to fire as fast as we could." The four hundred militia now began to to approach the lone company at the bridge. After a conference between the junior officers now left in command of the situation at the North Bridge, the other two companies moved back to join the third at the bridge.
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