Painting of the Battle of Lexington by William Barnes Wollen.

Painting by William Barnes Wollen of the Battle on Lexington Green.

Battle of Lexington

April 19, 1775

The Battle of Lexington was the first battle of the American Revolution. It took place on the morning of April 19, 1775.



Massachusetts was a hotbed of sedition in the spring of 1775. In February, the British Parliament declared the colony to be in open rebellion and authorized British troops to kill rebels who resisted the authority of the Crown. The troops were also ordered to destroy all stores of ammunition, rifles, or other arms. On the evening of April 18, 1775, British troops left Boston to advance on the village of Concord with the objective of confiscating a cache of arms and ammunition. American spies led by Joseph Warren learned of the British plan and sent Paul Revere and William Dawes on horseback to warn the people between Boston and Concord that “The regulars are coming.”

On the morning of April 19, British troops entered Lexington on their way to Concord and encountered a force of about 70 militiamen, under the command of Captain John Parker. Greatly outnumbered, the militiamen were ordered to disperse before the advancing British, when an unknown British or American soldier inadvertently fired the first and started the American Revolution.

Lexington Minuteman Statue

Statue of a minuteman in Lexington.

Eight Massachusetts militiamen were killed and 10 were wounded at the Battle of Lexington. One British soldier was wounded. After order was restored in Lexington, the British continued on their advance upon Concord, where they would not fare nearly as well in the Battle of Concord.

At the end of the day, Samuel Adams is said to have exclaimed to John Hancock, “What a glorious morning for America!”

Lexington and Concord: In Four Minutes

Suggested Reading

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Citation Information

The following information is provided for citations.

  • Article Title Battle of Lexington
  • Coverage April 19, 1775
  • Author
  • Keywords battle of lexington
  • Website Name American History Central
  • Access Date January 20, 2022
  • Publisher R.Squared Communications, LLC
  • Original Published Date
  • Date of Last Update December 1, 2021
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