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The first battles of the American Revolutionary War were fought in Lexington and Concord, Massachusetts. Minute Man National Historic Park preserves many places and sights important to this essential period of American history.

Battle Road, the route followed by British expeditionary troops as they marched out from Boston in search of illegal military supplies, is the park's "spine," snaking from Lexington Green to Concord's Old North Bridge (map).

There's a Visitors Center located in the Buttrick Mansion, north of the center of Concord, on the other side of North Bridge.

A large parking lot near North Bridge is often full during the summer, and if you have a good parking spot in town, and a few extra minutes, walk the half mile to the bridge and admire Concord's lovely old houses as you go.

After the events in Lexington, the British officers headed their men quickly off to Concord, afraid—no, certain—that since shots had been fired and men killed, there'd be a great deal more trouble coming.

Of course, the Minutemen in Concord knew of the Lexington fight shortly after it happened and long before the British troops arrived in Concord at 7 am.

The local Minutemen kept an eye on the British as they entered Concord, waiting for whatever was to happen. When a force of regulars was sent to stand guard over Concord's North Bridge, the Minutemen retreated before them, crossing the bridge and taking up a position on a hilltop nearby, where they awaited reinforcements from nearby towns.

Meanwhile, in the Concord town center a polite and not-too-thorough search was being carried out. Some arms were found, in particular a number of gun carriages, which were brought out and burned. The Minutemen saw the smoke, assumed the British were torching their town, and began to advance in revenge.

The British regulars retreated across the bridge and began firing at the Minutemen, who fired back and pursued them until they fled. It was here at the North Bridge, then, that the Minutemen fired "the shot heard 'round the world."

Soon afterward the British troops began the return to Boston, but Minutemen kept up a constant sniper fire on them all the way back to Boston, which enraged the regulars and goaded them to murder some of the innocent persons they met along the way of their march. The bitterness left on both sides by the events of April 19, 1775, would soon bring war to all the British colonies in North America.

Walk across the placid Concord River on the Old North Bridge (a modern reproduction of the kind of bridge that spanned the river in colonial times), and it is easy to imagine, even to half see, the way things happened on the day of the battle.

At the far (western) end of the bridge is Daniel Chester French's famous statue of The Minuteman, the pediment inscribed with Emerson's famous Concord Hymn.

On the near (east) side of the bridge, take a look also at the plaque on the stone wall commemorating the British soldiers who died in the Revolutionary War.

Old North Bridge

Battle Road

Monument Square

What to See & Do

Concord Hotels & Inns

Concord Transportation

About Concord

West of Boston

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Old North Bridge, Minute Man National Historical Park, Concord MA

Old North Bridge in autumn...



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