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The majority of Minute Man National Historical Park is a narrow strip of land on either side of Battle Road (SR 2A), with the Minute Man Visitor Center at one end, just off SR 128, and the North Bridge Visitor Center outside of Concord at the other. Encompassing lands in Concord, Lincoln and Lexington, the park commemorates the opening battles of America's War for Independence. The events of April 19, 1775, were not one but many battles along a 20-mile stretch of hilly road between Boston and Concord.
Gen. Thomas Gage, head of the British forces occupying Boston, chose that day for a demonstration of force, ordering 700 redcoats to march to Concord and seize the rebel supplies of arms and ammunition. Drawing on the tenets of 18th-century warfare, Gage's intention was simply to overawe the Colonials, not to provoke a fight. However, once news of the British mobilization reached the patriots, hundreds of people materialized from the surrounding communities to contest the British march.
After a brief fight on Lexington Green, the British moved to Concord, where the militia drove three companies of redcoats from the North Bridge back to the main force in Concord. After a brief rest, the British began their return march to Boston and were soon met by the militia, who forced the British back to the city under steady gunfire.
A running battle continued back to Boston Harbor. The British sent out flankers to flush out the patriots and protect its column. As the day progressed an increasing number of colonists joined the fight.
Exhausted and near panic, the British column was met at Lexington by a relief force of 1,000 men, swelling the ranks to 1,700. Beyond Lexington the British column met fierce and bloody resistance in the towns of Menotomy, now Arlington, and Charlestown. At 6:30 p.m. the British finally reached the safety of Bunker Hill, which was under the guns of the British warship Somerset. In all, the British lost 73 men and the patriots 49; many more were wounded or missing.
The park is open daily dawn-dusk.
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