A View of the Green in Lexington



Background Notes

April 19, 1775 was the first day of the American Revolution. There were several events that led up to this fateful day, including the Boston Massacre, Boston Tea Party, and the Stamp Act, to name a few. The colonists were agitated by the policies that the British crown continued to place on them, and decided to prepare their defense. A group of colonists in Massachusetts created the Massachusetts Provincial Congress, and began to store large quantities of guns and ammunition. The British found out about this, and sent Lt. Col. Francis Smith and his men to dismantle and destroy the weapons. The colonists in Concord and Lexington were warned of the impending arrival of the British, so, under the leadership of Capt. John Parker (1729-75) they had time to arm themselves and to meet up with the British in Lexington around dawn. As the British were telling the militia to back down, someone fired a shot. No one knows who fired this first shot, or if it was intentional or accidental, but it set off a round of firing from both sides. After the firing ceased, seven militiamen were dead and nine were wounded.

  This engraving contains a caption at the bottom noting that the site in the image is where the British first fired one the Americans, thus showing us that this piece was executed from an American perspective.

Transcription of Primary Source

A View of the Green in Lexington where the British Troops first fired on the Americans in 177.(?)

Curator Notes

Engraver: S. Hill
10 x 16 cm.
American Antiquarian Society