Amos Doolittle — Battles of Lexington and Concord Engravings

1775

Amos Doolittle was a soldier and artist from Connecticut. In 1775, he produced a series of plates documenting the Battles of Lexington and Concord, based on eyewitness accounts. They are the only known contemporary illustrations of the battles.

Amos Doolittle, Portrait, Earl

This portrait of Amos Doolittle was painted by Ralph Earl, after the American Revolutionary War. Image Source: Connecticut Digital Archive.

Amos Doolittle and the Engravings of the Battles of Lexington and Concord

Amos Doolittle (1754–1832) was a silversmith and engraver from Cheshire, Connecticut. In 1775, he was enlisted in the “Governor’s Guards,” a militia company commanded by Captain Benedict Arnold. When news of the Battles of Lexington and Concord reached New Haven, Connecticut, Arnold mustered his company and marched to Cambridge, joining the New England Army at the Siege of Boston around April 29.

While the Siege of Boston carried on, Doolittle received a leave of absence and traveled to Lexington and Concord. Doolittle was accompanied by his friend, Ralph Earl, a landscape artist who was also a Loyalist. Together, they interviewed eyewitnesses and Earl made sketches of the landscape. Afterward, Doolittle used the interviews and sketches to create a series of engravings. In December 1775, Doolittle offered the engravings for sale in the Connecticut Journal. The advertisement read:

“THIS DAY PUBLISHED, and to be SOLD at the STORE of Mr. JAMES LOCKWOOD, near the College, in New-Haven. Four different views of the BATTLES of LEXINGTON, CONCORD, etc. on the 19th of April 1775.”

The four plates are the only contemporary illustrations that were made regarding the events of April 19, 1775, and the first battles of the American Revolutionary War.

Plate I — The Battle of Lexington, April 19th, 1775

This engraving depicts the British advance force, under the command of Major John Pitcairn (seen on his horse, behind the British line) firing on the Lexington Militia, which was under the command of Captain John Parker. See Doolittle Engravings, Plate I for more details.

Battle of Lexington, 1775, Doolittle, Plate 1 Detail, NYPL
Plate detail. Image Source: New York Public Library Digital Collections.

Plate II — A View of the Town of Concord

This engraving depicts British troops marching in Concord and searching for military supplies while Lieutenant Colonel Francis Smith and Major Pitcairn observe Massachusetts Militia forces gathering east of Concord. See Doolittle Engravings, Plate 2 for more details.

Concord Fight, 1775, Doolittle, Plate 2 Detail, Smith and Pitcairn, NYPL
Plate II detail. Image Source: New York Public Library Digital Collections.

Plate III — The Engagement at the North Bridge in Concord

This engraving depicts the Concord Fight at the North Bridge. See Doolittle Engravings, Plate III for more details.

Concord Fight, 1775, Doolittle, Plate 3 Detail, North Bridge, NYPL
Plate III detail. Image Source: New York Public Library Digital Collections.

Plate IV — A View of the South Part of Lexington

This engraving depicts British forces in Lexington, on their way back to Boston. It shows the British reinforcements, led by General Hugh Percy, meeting Smith’s expedition. Upon the return to Lexington, the British set fire to buildings while American forces continued to fire on them from behind the walls and trees that lined the road. See Doolittle Engravings, Plate IV for more information.

Lexington and Concord, 1775, Doolittle, Plate 4 Detail, NYPL
Plate IV detail. Image Source: New York Public Library Digital Collections.

Citation Information

The following information is provided for citations, including APA Style, Chicago Style, and MLA Style.

  • Article Title Amos Doolittle — Battles of Lexington and Concord Engravings
  • Date 1775
  • Author
  • Keywords Doolittle Engravings, Amos Doolittle, Battles of Lexington and Concord, Battle of Lexington, Battle of Concord
  • Website Name American History Central
  • Access Date May 30, 2024
  • Publisher R.Squared Communications, LLC
  • Original Published Date
  • Date of Last Update April 24, 2024

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