In the early morning hours of April 19, 1775 a small expeditionary force of British soldiers, some 700 strong, entered the town of Lexington. Following the orders of their commander, General Gage, this mixed force of Grenadiers and Light infantry, led by Lt. Colonel Smith of the 10th Regiment, were hoping to quickly pass through Lexington and proceed onward to Concord.
General Gage was in receipt of new orders from London. More army regiments were being sent to Boston from England and Ireland to assist him, but in the meantime he was to take more proactive measures against the budding rebellion in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Looking to follow up on the success of seizing powder from the colonial Powder House in Charlestown in September of 1774, Gage developed the much more ambitious plan of seizing the supplies at Concord.
Through the efforts of Dr. Warren and the Sons of Liberty his plans were soon learned and a watch was kept on the British garrison. When on April 18 it was observed preparations were being made for the expeditionary force, alarm riders were sent out into the countryside to warn the militia and to order out the "Minute Men" companies.
As for Colonel Smith, his mission depended upon secrecy and speed. Unfortunately for him and his men, the secret was out and his small force met up with a number of delays. Instead of being in Concord by sunrise, they were still in Lexington. Instead of meeting no armed resistance, they faced Captain Parker and his men on the village green. The skirmish that followed dashed the hopes of the British command for a bloodless coup
and a bloody war for freedom was begun.