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tachment is said to have consisted of 900 men, prepared and appointed for the purpose. This body of troops embarked on the right preceding the 19th of April, and landed at a place called Phipps's Farm, about fix miles north-west from Charlestown Ferry ; from thence they proceeded in their march with great filence and expedition, towards Concord. This town stands on the east side of the river of the same name, sometimes also called Billerika, which runs into the river Mirimak, a little below the falls of Pantucket. On the road to Concord stands Lexington, about five miles towards the east ; thither the troops marched with great expedition. Several officers upon horse. back secured the country, and secured all the people which they found in their way at that early time, lest they should give the alarm to the inhabịtants, who would be ready to rise in arms to oppose their designs. This precaution, "hough it was abundantly prudent, did not prevent the town and country people from receiving notice of their approach, which they soon difcovered by the firing of guns andringing of bells. They were now assembling in the neighbouring fore day-light, and making prepårations for the event which they feared. Upon the troops arriving at Lexington at five in the morning, they found the company of militia belonging to the town, assembled upon a green near the road ; upon which an officer in the van called out, “ Disperse ye rebels; throw down your arms and disperse;" the soldiers at the same time, running up with loud huzzas, fired some scatter. ing shot, and then gave a general discharge, by which eight of the militia were killed, and several wounded. This was the first thedding of blood that happened in this unhappy and unnatural contest. Much pains have been taken on both fides of the question to prove K k k
the others the aggreffors upon this occafion. The gazette affirmed, that the troops were fired upon from fome neighbouring houfes; but for this there does not appear to be the smallest evidence. The gazettes about that time were so inconfistent and badly com. posed, often contradicted by the friends of govern, ment that were upon the spot, phat the public have ance given very little credit to them.
It appeared from the whole tenor of the evidence, as well as of our own people who were taken prisoners, as from many of the provincials, all whofe depositions were taken by proper magiftrates, that the firing both at Lexington and Concord, was begun by the king's troops. It is not at all probable thar those in the houses would have exposed the lives of their friends in the militia, who were standing in a manner under the muzzles of the guns of the soldiers, by firing upon the troops from their covers, The few militia who were now in the power of the troops, may be cons ceived as fufficient pledges to prevent any outrage from their friends and neighbours in the adjoining houses.
After this execution, the detachment proceeded to Concord, the commanding officer having previously, dispatched fix companies of light infantry, to poffefs two bridges which lay beyond the town, upon the Sudbury and North Concord, with a design to prevent any of the stores from being carried away, or the two devoted rebels, Adams and Hancock, from escaping. It happened, however, that they were disappointed in both their views ; for they could not find these two obnoxious persons, and except three old cannon, and a finall quantity of flour, they found nothing of consequence. They indeed did execution upon the cannon by rendering them unserviceable,
and most heroically threw the barrels of four into the river. About a year after that flour would have been of fome service to the same troops, when they were cooped up in Bolton. It argues a great malignity of temper to destroy the bounties of provia dence, for fear that our enemies should enjoy them. We have certainly a right; provided we are in want of provisions, to prefer ourselves to our efiemies; but wantonly to destroy corn and flour, for fear orher's Thould use it, is a warring with providence, and declaring, we have no confidence in the justice of our cause. Weapons of war, and instruments of hostility, may lawfully be destroyed in the hands of our foes, or taken away from them whether we need them or not, but to destroy that food which is the general support of all men, for fear those we call enemies should use it, affords a different moral reflection. Besides, at this time these colonists had not shewn any acts of enmity against the troops; they were therefore both seeking to starve and murder their friends and countrymen. The colonists appear to have industriously avoided engaging in hostilities on this occasion, for a body of militia; which occupied a hill in the way between Concord and the bridge, retired, and passed along it at the approach of the troops, which immediately took poffeffion thereof. This fliews that they did not intend to have begún hostilities at this time, otherwise they would havedispated the passage of the bridge with the light in fantry, which they might easily have done. The milia tia had not retired far till they perceived several fires in the town, which they imagined were houses in Aames ; they therefore returned towards the bridge which they had passed, which lay directly in their way. Upon this the light infantry retired on the Cồncord fide of the river, and began to pull up the bridge ; but
upon the approach of the militia, who seemed industri. ously to avoid beginning the attack, and made as if they intended to pass as common travellers, the sola diers immediately fired and killed two men.
Thc provincials returned the fire, and a skirmish ensued at the bridge, in which the kings troops were put into fome confusion, and were forced to retreat, having several men killed and wounded, and a lieutenant and some others taken prisoners. This fully proves that the provincials had no intention of beginning hostilities at this time ; for they might have at first disputed the bridge with the troops, had they designed to have come to blows, more easily than to drive them from the poffeffion of it. The country now arose upon the king's troops ; they were attacked on all
quartert, and skirmish succeeded skirmish. A continued, though scattered and irregular fire, was maintained through the whole of a long and very hot day. The troops did not find it so easy in marching back as they did in marching from Boston. All the way between Concord and Lexington the houses, walls, and coverts were lined with armed men, who constantly annoyed the troops, and they were pursued and attacked in the rear by the militia which defeated them at the bridge. They were now in a very critical situation, and much distressed, which evils they had brought upon themselves, by their rashness in thedding blood when they had no occasion; they were now likely to suffer severely, when Lord Percy arrived at Lexington with a Itrong reinforcement for their relief and aslistance. General Gage, either through suspicion of what would happen, or from knowing what orders he had given to Colonel Smith, had, early in the morniug, sent off Earl Percy with fixteencompanies of foot, a detachment of marines, and two pieces of cannon,
to support the operations of the Colonel. This reiniforcement was just arrived as the fatigued troops re. turned to Lexington. This fresh assistance was the more acceptable and feafonable, as the troops are said to have run short of all kinds of ammunition ; but fuppose that had not been the cafe, it was impoflible for them to have escaped being cut off, or being taken, in the journey of fifteen miles they had to make before they arrived at Boston.
This powerful support gave them a breathing, and the cannon was of great service to them. These kept the pursuers at some distance, as they had no ordnance of the same kind to answer them. But when the troops resumed their march, the attack became more fierce and violent; the country assembled on all fides, and attacked the forces with the utmost fury. Many were killed in the retreat by people that watched the approach of the troops behind walls, hedges, and ditches, and the danger encreased until fun-setting, when they arrived at Charlestown in a most shattered and fatigued fituation. All things considered, both officers and men, who did not fall by the way, made an exceeding swift and expeditious march back to Bof
What on this occasion was exceedingly fingular was, the troops accused the provincials of cruelty, and upbraided them with cowardice; though their behavia our to their prisoners shewed the accusation to be false, and the defeating the king's troops shewed their assertion of cowardice to be unjust. It had long been the tone of military men, that the colonists were cowards and would not fight, but they began now to experience to their cost, that they had been greatly mistaken. Courage is a thing that may be acquired more ways than one; and is not confined to those who make war a proteflion. When men are persuaded