Tensions in Boston, Massachusetts had been building for months. The colonists had grown more and more unhappy about the series of taxes passed by Parliament: Sugar Act, Currency Act, Quartering Act, Stamp Act, Townshend Act and the Tea Act. The last had prompted the Boston Tea Party in 1773. The Commander-in-Chief of the British Army in America, Lt. General Thomas Gage, who was headquartered in Boston, attempted to minimize tensions between the colonists and British soldiers. However, his efforts were hampered by continued harsh legislation from Parliament.
On June 1, 1774, the Boston Port Bill went into effect, closing Boston Harbor and placing the colony under martial law. Gage began seizing colonial powder stores in an attempt to prevent any armed rebellion. On April 14, 1775, General Gage received orders that he was to put an end to the building rebellion. He decided to seize the powder stores at Concord, where the Massachusetts Provincial Congress was seated, but had already adjourned.
General Gage attempted to keep the impending expedition a secret, but numerous spies in the city made note of unusual preparations and movements by British troops. On Sunday April 16, 1775, Dr. Joseph Warren sent Paul Revere to warn John Hancock and Samuel Adams, who were the leaders of the Massachusetts Provincial Congress, of the possibility that troops would soon be sent to arrest them. They were staying in Lexington, which was along the route from Boston to Concord. He also warned the Patriots in Concord to removed the powder stored there.Revere then returned to Boston. He stopped in Charlestown and arranged with Colonel Conant of the Charlestown Committee of Safety a signal that one lantern in the North Church steeple of the British went by land over Boston Neck or two lanterns if they went by "sea" over the Charles River.
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