Retreat: Lexington to Boston
It was about 2:30 P.M. when Lord Percy's relief force made contact with Lt. Colonel Francis Smith's expedition at Lexington Common, where hostilities had begun eight hours earlier.. Lord Percy used his field artillery to keep the militia at a distance while the wounded were tended to and Smith's men were given a rest.At approximately 3:45 P.M. the entire force was ready to get under way.
Maj. General William Heath, meanwhile, had arrived to assume command of the provincial forces. Dr. Joseph Warren, the Boston Patriot who had sent William Dawes and Paul Revere to warn the countryside the night before, also arrived with Heath to join the militia at Lexington. Dr. Warren had received word of firing at Lexington Common eight hours before. He had followed Lord Percy's force to Menotomy where he joined the Committee of Public Safety.
Flanking parties and occassional cannon fire by the British Regulars were sometimes effective in reducing the militia firing. Four hours after leaving Lexington, Lord Percy's force reached Charlestown at 8 P.M. having enduried fire nearly the entire route. Once in Charlestown, they were protected by the ships anchored in Boston Harbor. They sustained 273 casualties (73 killed; 174 wounded; 26 missing) during the expedition The provincials suffered 93 casualties (49 killed; 39 wounded; 5 missing).
While the British Regulars reached the safety of Boston on the evening of April 19, 1775, they would not leave again until they evacuated the city a year later. A ring of nearly 6,000 militia and minutemen began to turn out to encircle the city and the Siege of Boston had begun. On April 20th, Dr. Joseph Warren set up a headquarters in Cambridge and took control of the political aspects of the events of the previous day. General Artemas Ward took military command of the miliita companies surrounding Boston.
On May 10, 1775, Ethan Allen and Benedict Arnold captured Fort Ticonderoga, New York. On June 15, 1775, the Continental Congress formed the Continental Army and chose General George Washington as its Commander-in-Chief. On June 17, 1775, the Battle of Bunker Hill was fought on Breed's Hill. The British took the hill, but at a tremendous casualty rate. Major John Pitcairn, who has been second-in-command of the British Regulars on the Concord expedition and Dr. Joseph Warren were killed in the fighting that day.
On July 3, 1775, General Washington arrived in Cambridge, Massachusetts to take command of the troops arrayed there. He begins drilling and putting together the Continental Army out of the militia forces. On October 10, Maj. General William Howe replaces Lt. General Thomas Gage as Commander-in-Chief of the British Army in America. A few days after Henry Knox arrived with the cannon that had been captured at Fort Ticonderoga, the British evacuated Boston on March 17, 1776.
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