The Powder House
Powder House Square
On September 1, 1774 a hand-picked force of Regulars, led by Lt-Colonel George Maddison of the King's Own 4th Regiment, left Boston on a special mission for British Commander General Gage. Loaded into Navy longboats they were first rowed up the Mystic River and then marched inland. Their objective was the Powder House (magazine) in what was then part of Charlestown.
Having been given the keys by the Middlesex Sheriff, the soldiers removed 250 half-barrels of gunpowder and then made their way back to Boston. A small detachment went into Cambridge and carried off two brass cannon. General Gage's preemptive strike at the arms and munitions of the Militia companies of the Bay Colony had succeeded.
But this action was viewed with great alarm by the populace and resulted in the calling out of the militia and mass demonstrations. British troops continued to mount similar operations into the countryside, culminating in the events of April 19 , 1775, which instigated the hostilities that led to America's War for Independence.