Lt. Gen. Thomas Gage
On 18 April 1775 Gen. Gage, commander of British forces in Boston, gave his orders to Col. Smith of the 10th Regiment of Foot to lead an expeditionary force to Concord and seize the Colonial "Artillery, Ammunition, Provisions, Tents, Small Arms, and all Military Stores" that were being kept there.
His orders were as follows:
To Lieut. Colonel Smith
10th Regiment of Foot
Boston, April 18, 1775
Having received intelligence, that a quantity of Ammunition, Provisions, Artillery, Tents and small Arms, have been collected at Concord, for the Avowed Purpose of raising and supporting a Rebellion against His Majesty, you will March with a Corps of Grenadiers and Light Infantry, put under your Command, with the utmost expedition and Secrecy to Concord, where you will seize and distroy all Artillery, Ammunition, Provisions, Tents, Small Arms and all military Stores whatever. But you will take care that the Soldiers do not plunder the Inhabitants, or hurt private property.
You have a Draught of Concord, on which is marked the Houses, Barns, &c, which contain the above military Stores. You will order a Trunion to be knocked off each Gun, but if its found impracticable on any, they must be spiked, and the Carriages destroyed. The Powder and flower must be shook out of the Barrels into the River, the Tents burnt, Pork or Beef destroyed in the best way you can devise. And the Men may put Balls of lead in their pockets, throwing them by degrees into Ponds, Ditches &c., but no Quantity together, so that they may be recovered afterwards. If you meet any Brass Artillery, you will order their muzzles to be beat in so as to render them useless.
You will observe by the Draught that it will be necessary to secure the two Bridges as soon as possible, you will therefore Order a party of the best Marchers, to go on with expedition for the purpose.
A small party of Horseback is ordered out to stop all advice of your March getting to Concord before you, and a small number of Artillery go out in Chaises to wait for you on the road, with Sledge Hammers, Spikes, &c.
You will open your business and return with the Troops, as soon as possible, with I must leave to your own Judgment and Discretion.
I am, Sir,
Your most obedient humble servant
Interestingly enough, although Col. Smiths orders were quite explicit, there is no mention in these orders to seek out and capture the two rebel leaders Samuel Adams and John Hancock. This was one of the concerns uppermost in the minds of the members of the Committee of Safety and Paul Revere had been dispatched on April 18 to warn the two men who were staying in Lexington at this time.