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The British forces began their return march to Boston after completing their search for military supplies, and more militiamen continued to arrive from neighboring towns. Smith's expedition was rescued by reinforcements under Brigadier General Hugh Percy, a future duke of Northumberland styled at this time by the courtesy title Earl Percy.Gunfire erupted again between the two sides and continued throughout the day as the regulars marched back towards Boston. The combined force of about 1,700 men marched back to Boston under heavy fire in a tactical withdrawal and eventually reached the safety of Charlestown.Although in recent history, the term "Shot Heard Round the World" is attached to the game-winning home run by New York Giants outfielder Bobby Thomson to win the National League Pennant in 1951, and synonymous with the shot that killed Archduke Franz Ferdinand at the beginning of World War I, Emerson did not write this famous ode to baseball, nor did he live to see the wars of the Twentieth Century.
The first shots were fired just as the sun was rising at Lexington.
Eight militiamen were killed, including Ensign Robert Munroe, their third in command. The militia were outnumbered and fell back, and the regulars proceeded on to Concord, where they broke apart into companies to search for the supplies.
The American War for Independence was now in full swing.
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General Thomas Gage was the military governor of Massachusetts and commander-in-chief of the roughly 3,000 British military forces garrisoned in Boston.
He had no control over Massachusetts outside of Boston, however, where implementation of the Acts had increased tensions between the Patriot Whig majority and the pro-British Tory minority.In late 1774, Colonial leaders adopted the Suffolk Resolves in resistance to the alterations made to the Massachusetts colonial government by the British parliament following the Boston Tea Party.The colonial assembly responded by forming a Patriot provisional government known as the Massachusetts Provincial Congress and calling for local militias to train for possible hostilities.On the night before the battle, warning of the British expedition had been rapidly sent from Boston to militias in the area by several riders, including Paul Revere and Samuel Prescott, with information about British plans.The initial mode of the Army's arrival by water was signaled from the Old North Church in Boston to Charlestown using lanterns to communicate "one if by land, two if by sea".Gage's plan was to avoid conflict by removing military supplies from Whig militias using small, secret, and rapid strikes.This struggle for supplies led to one British success and several Patriot successes in a series of nearly bloodless conflicts known as the Powder Alarms.The first shots were fired just after dawn in Lexington, Massachusetts the morning of the 19th, the "Shot Heard Round the World." The colonial militia, a band of 500 men, were outnumbered and initially forced to retreat.The British army was able to press forward to Concord, where they searched for the supplies, only to come up empty handed.The Colonial government exercised effective control of the colony outside of British-controlled Boston.In response, the British government in February 1775 declared Massachusetts to be in a state of rebellion.