The Revolutionary War’s first battle—reported firsthand


On April 19, 1775, Capt. John Parker gave this account of the battle of Lexington, Massachusetts. After confronting the British Regulars, Parker ordered his men “to disperse and not to fire.” Suddenly a shot rang out, fired by an unknown person; the British reacted by firing, killing eight of Parker’s men. This deposition, which was delivered to the Massachusetts Assembly and later forwarded to the Continental Congress, presents the American perception of the battle.

National Archives, Records of the Continental and Confederation Congresses and the Constitutional Convention


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