Lexington, April 19, Midnight | 5:00 a.m.

I ordered our militia to meet on the common

Paul Revere’s alarm at midnight caused Captain John Parker to summon his company of militia to the Common in Lexington. When nothing immediately happened, Parker dismissed his men with the understanding that they would reassemble at the sound of the drum.

Near dawn, about 700 Regular Army troops were sighted one half mile from the Lexington Common and Captain Parker ordered 16-year-old William Diamond to beat the drum to summon the militia. About 70 members of the Lexington militia had gathered on the Common by the time the Regulars arrived there. Major Pitcairn with about 100 Regulars went across the Common to confront the militia. Captain Parker ordered his men to disperse, but the Regulars opened fire, killing eight and wounding ten more. The Regulars gave a cheer, then rejoined the main body at the edge of the Common and continued on to Concord.

To Learn More

Explore Lexington’s Revolutionary history at The Lexington Historical Society.

Hear Concord Museum Curator David Wood share the story of William Diamond’s drum.

Learn more about the contemporary views by Amos Doolittle of the opening battles of the American Revolution.

Background photo credit: David Bohl
Photo/audio credits: David Bohl and Six One Seven Studios