The Fight on Lexington Green
I saw, and heard, a gun fired, which appeared to be a pistol. Then I could distinguish two guns, and then a continual roar of musketry."
--Paul Revere, Deposition, 1775
WHILE Paul Revere escorted the Whig leaders to safety, General Gage's Regulars marched steadily toward Lexington. Five hours had passed since the British troops had left Boston, and still they did not know where they were going or what they were expected to do. Even the company commanders had not been told the purpose of the mission. But the men could feel the tension in the air, and they could see in the demeanor of Colonel Smith that things were not going according to plan. As they advanced rapidly through Cambridge, they began to hear gunshots in the distance. One officer looked at his pocket watch and noted that the time was about three o'clock. Another thought to himself, "a very unusual hour for firing." 1
Suddenly they heard the hoofbeats of many horsemen galloping toward the column from the west. In the van, Marine Lieutenant Jesse Adair and Tory guide Daniel Murray anxiously searched the moonlit road ahead. In a moment, the riders were upon them, shouting General Gage's password, "Patrole! Patrole!"
It was the party of British officers who had been scouting the road to Concord--MajorEdward Mitchell, Captain Charles Lumm, Captain Charles Cochrane, and seven others, fresh from their encounter with Paul Revere. The column halted to hear their news. In high excitement, Major Mitchell announced that "the whole country was alarmed" and that they had "galloped for their