Lexington and Concord — Deposition of John Hoar, et al

April 23, 1775

In the aftermath of the Battles of Lexington and Concord, the Massachusetts Provincial Congress ordered depositions to be taken from eyewitnesses. The Congress was trying to prove the British fired first at Lexington. Deposition #14 was given by John Hoar and others, who testified the British fired first at the Battle of Concord.

Lexington and Concord, Depositions

The Battle of Lexington by William Barnes Wollen (1910). Image Source: Wikimedia.

Deposition No. 14

Please note that section headings and spacing have been added to make the text easier to scan and comprehend.

Testimony of John Hoar, et al, About the Battle of Concord

We, John Hoar, John Whitehead, Abra. Garfield, Benjamin Munroe, Isaac Parks, William Hosmer, John Adams, Gregory Stone, all of Lincoln in the county of Middlesex Mass. Bay, all of lawfull age, do testify and say, that on Wednesday last, we were assembled at Concord in the morning of said Day in consequence of information received that a Brigade of Regular Troops were on their march, to the said town of Concord, who had killed six men at the town of Lexington; 

about an hour afterward we saw them approaching to the number as we apprehended of about twelve hundred on which we retreated to a hill about eighty rods back and the said troops then took possession of the hill where we were first posted, 

presently after this we saw the Troops moving towards the North Bridge, about one mile from the said Concord Meeting House. We then immediately went before them and passed the Bridge, just before a party of them, to the number of about two hundred arrived. 

They there left about one half of their two hundred at the Bridge and proceeded with the rest towards Col. Barrett’s about two miles from the said Bridge. 

We then, seeing several fires in the town, thought the houses in Concord were in danger and marched towards the said Bridge and the troops who were stationed there, observing our approach, marched back over the bridge & then took up some of the plank. 

We then hastened our march towards the Bridge, and when we had got over the bridge they fired on our men. first three guns one after the other & then a considerable number more, and then & not before (having orders from our Commanding officers not to fire till we were fired upon) we fired upon the Regulars and they retreated. On their retreat through the town Lexington to Charlestown they ravaged & destroyed private property and burnt three houses, one bard & one shop.

  • John Hoar
  • John Whithead
  • Abra. Garfield
  • Benj. Munroe
  • Isaac Parks
  • Wm. Hosmer
  • John Adams
  • Gregory Stone

Witnesses to the Testimony

Middlesex, April 23, 1775

The written named John Hoar, John Whithead, Abra, Garfield, Benj Munroe, Isaac Parks, Wm. Hosmer, John Adams, Gregory Stone, appear’d and made Solemn Oath to the truth of the within deposition before us

Wm Reed
John Cummings
Jon. Hastings
Duncan Ingraham

{ Justices of the peace

Certification of the Testimony

Province of Massachusetts Bay, Charlestown

I Nath. Gorham Notary & [illegible] public duty admitted and sworn, do certify that Willam Reed, John Cummings, Jon. Hastings, Duncan Ingraham Esq are four of His Majesties Justices, and that full faith is to be given to their transactions as such, in witness where of I have hereunto affixed my name & seal this twenty sixth day of April one thousand seven hundred & seventy five

Interesting Facts About the Deposition of John Hoar, et al

  • Joseph Warren of the Massachusetts Provincial Congress wanted the depositions gathered as quickly as possible, so he could send them to the Second Continental Congress in Philadelphia, and Benjamin Franklin in London.
  • Franklin was the Agent for Massachusetts and acted as its representative. Warren wanted Franklin to have eyewitness accounts that could be used to help gain sympathy for the Patriot Cause.
  • John Hoar and the other witnesses assembled in Concord and heard about the Battle of Lexington.
  • As the British column approached, they withdrew to a hill overlooking the town.
  • 200 British troops moved toward the North Bridge. 
  • Roughly 100 crossed the bridge and went to Colonel James Barrett’s farm.
  • They saw buildings in the town were on fire, so they marched down to the bridge.
  • The British troops guarding the bridge and started to remove the planks.
  • The American troops sped up and crossed the bridge.
  • The British fired on them, starting the Battle of Concord.
  • The Americans returned fire, but not until the order was given.
  • The British retreated and burned buildings between Lexington and Charlestown.
  • The notary public, Nathaniel Gorham, went on to serve as the 8th President of the Continental Congress (June 6, 1786–February 2, 1787).

Citation Information

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

  • Article Title Lexington and Concord — Deposition of John Hoar, et al
  • Date April 23, 1775
  • Author
  • Keywords Battles of Lexington and Concord, Deposition No. 14, John Hoar, Battle of Concord eyewitness
  • Website Name American History Central
  • Access Date July 15, 2024
  • Publisher R.Squared Communications, LLC
  • Original Published Date
  • Date of Last Update March 12, 2024