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Patriots Day | Timeline

Patriots Day and Related Events

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Library of Congress

1770
March 5: After 18 months of a British Army presence in Boston, Americans taunt the Redcoats into making a deadly mistake, shooting into a crowd and killing five men. The event, known as the Boston Massacre, is widely publicized by Paul Revere, who engraves and distributes color prints depicting the incident.

1773
December 16: In the event known as the Boston Tea Party, colonists disguised as Indians dump imported tea into Boston Harbor to protest taxes on the product. Suspected participants include Samuel Adams, Paul Revere and Joseph Warren.

1775
April 18: At 10pm on a Tuesday night, Dr. Joseph Warren sends Paul Revere and William Dawes, Jr. to Lexington to warn Samuel Adams and John Hancock that the British are planning to march there to seize military supplies.

At 11, friends row Revere across the Charles River to Charlestown where a fast horse awaits. Meanwhile, Dawes takes the longer land route through Roxbury.

At 11:30, avoiding two British soldiers, Revere takes the Medford road, awakening all the people in houses along his path.

April 19
T
he day that history will know as Patriots Day begins.

12am
Dawes catches up to Revere at the Hancock-Clarke House in Lexington. Dr. Samuel Prescott joins the two riders on the road to Concord. The pealing of a bell on the green summons Captain John Parker and the local militia.

1am
Two British soldiers surprise Revere, the lead rider. Dawes cuts back toward Lexington and escapes. Prescott jumps his horse over a wall, rides down by a swamp and continues onto Concord. Revere tries to lose his assailants in the woods, but is captured by another half-dozen British soldiers.

1:30am
Prescott reaches the Hartwell Tavern and Mary Hartwell carries his warning to the nearby Lincoln minute men.

2am
The Town House bell announces Prescott's arrival in Concord. Meanwhile, the last of the British regulars have finally been ferried across the Charles River from Boston. They begin their march toward Concord.

4am
British General Thomas Gage orders General Earl Percy to lead a thousand-man brigade of reinforcements to Concord; missed messages will delay this group for five hours. In Concord, more of the supply depot is moved out of town, hidden or buried.

4:30am
An American scout reports that the British are half a mile from Lexington. On Lexington Green, Captain Parker and 77 of his minute men stand in wait.

5am
The British and the rebels face each other across the Green. Parker orders a retreat, but a shot rings out, leading to a full volley from the British. Both sides are engaged as the Colonists flee. Eight Americans are killed and ten wounded.

7am
The British arrive at Concord and begin searching the town for weapons. The minute men watch from positions above the town, aware they are currently outnumbered but gaining troops each moment.

9am
Percy's British relief force finally sets off, taking the land route.

9:00-9:30am
Spotting smoke in the town, 400 minute men descend from their positions towards town via the North Bridge. Confronting a small group of British soldiers at the bridge, the minute men are fired upon and return fire, killing three British and wounding nine others. Two minute men are killed and four are wounded.

10am
The various British companies regroup in the center of Concord. Tired from having marched through the night, they rest for a couple hours before they begin their journey back to Boston.

12:30pm
Now numbering more than a 1000, the minute men race to meet the British at Meriam's Corner. There, the Americans open a relentless attack as the British retrace their path towardsLexington and the safety of Boston.

2pm
Captain Parker and his Lexington minute men avenge their fallen comrades in a second clash when the British regulars return to their town.

3pm
General Percy and the King's Own 4th Regiment meet the retreating British soldiers and absorb them into their ranks. Percy's cannons open up on the local buildings, destroying any potential sniper positions.

4:30pm
By the time the British reach Menotomy (now Arlington, Massachusetts), the American ranks have grown to more than 1900 men. The fighting here will claim about half of all the lives lost that day.

6:30pm
Percy's men finally arrive at Bunker Hill where they are able to rest for the boats that will take them back to Boston. By the day's end the rebel force has grown to close to 4000.

April 20
Local militias lay siege to the British-occupied city of Boston.

Late April
In the days and weeks that followed, local militia continued to gather in Massachusetts from neighboring colonies.

June 17
At the Battle of Bunker Hill,Dr. Joseph Warren and Royal Marine Major John Pitcairn are both killed. Although the British capture the position, their heavy casualties against the smaller Colonial force constitutes a loss.

July 3
A Virginian, George Washington, takes command of the Continental Army in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

1776
March 17: After 11 months, the Siege of Boston ends; the British leave the city.

1837
July 4: Poet Ralph Waldo Emerson's "Concord Hymm" is sung at the ceremony for the completion of the Concord Battle Monument. Generations of American schoolchildren will memorize his lines describing "the shot heard round the world."

1860
As a divided nation heads toward Civil War, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, another American poet, composes "Tales of a Wayside Inn," including "Paul Revere's Ride" which will also become one of America's most famous poems.

1894
First observance of Patriot's Day as a Massachusetts state holiday.

1959
Congress establishes Minute Man National Historical Park, encompassing the sites of the Patriot's Day skirmishes in Lexington and Concord.

1969
Patriot's Day is officially designated as the third Monday of April, in the states of Maine and Massachusetts.

2000
April 17: The 225th anniversary of the Battles of Lexington and Concord features an especially large parade.

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