Key Places on April 18-19, 1775
Visit the Web site of Minute Man National Historical Park for a detailed map showing the paths of the combatants.
See a few of the locations visited by the midnight riders, Paul Revere and William Dawes, and the site of the "shot heard 'round the world" on the historic day that began the American Revolution.
1. Old North Church, Boston
Located in the historic North End, this active Episcopal church was built in 1723. The church sexton hung an agreed-upon signal, two lanterns, in the prominent steeple on the night of April 18, 1775. The lanterns alerted Paul Revere and others that the British planned to leave Boston the next day by boat across the Charles River, rather than marching via the narrow isthmus of Boston Neck.'
2. Boston Neck, Boston
In 1775, Boston was almost an island. Only a thin strip of land -- Boston Neck -- connected it to the mainland. William Dawes had cultivated friends among the British soldiers guarding it, and was able to slip through the gate on the night of April 18 and head west. Today, land reclamation projects have altered Boston's geography, and the neck is no more. But Washington Street follows the route of the revolutionary-era road that was there.
3. Lechmere Point, Cambridge
Named after landowner Richard Lechmere, Lechmere Point was the landing-place for British soldiers en route from Boston to Concord in the early hours of April 19, 1775. Lechmere, loyal to the British crown, returned to England when the war broke out, and the new American government eventually seized his estate. A present-day Boston landmark, the Longfellow Bridge, spans the Charles River near Lechmere Point and carries subway trains as well as other traffic between Boston and Cambridge.
4. Lexington Green, Lexington
By 5am on April 19, 1775, British troops had reached Lexington. Facing them down on the town green were Captain John Parker and 77 other minute men. A shot was fired (who fired it remains a mystery), leading to a brief military skirmish. Eight Americans were killed and ten wounded in the first direct conflict of the American Revolution.
5. North Bridge, Concord
Poet Ralph Waldo Emerson memorialized this bridge over the Concord River as "the rude bridge that arched the flood," the birthplace of American freedom. By 9am on the morning of April 19, 1775, British soldiers and American minute men were clashing in Concord. Three Redcoats were killed, and nine others were wounded; the butcher's bill on the American side was two dead, four wounded.
The bloodiest spot of the day was at Menotomy, present-day Arlington, as the British retreated to Boston. Additional British soldiers and minute men arrived to fight as the day went on, swelling the ranks by the hundreds. By 4pm, the redcoats were rooting out snipers, ransacking and burning colonial residences in Menotomy. The Jason Russell house, the site of much of the violence, is today the headquarters of the Arlington Historical Society.