This pictorial map of the area around Boston, including Lexington and Concord, tells the story of the inception of the American Revolutionary War.
Between 9 and 10 p.m. on the night of April 18, 1775, Doctor Joseph Warren told Paul Revere and William Dawes that the king’s troops were about to embark in boats from Boston bound for Cambridge and the road to Lexington and Concord. Warren’s intelligence suggested that the most likely objectives of the regulars’ movements later that night would be the capture of Adams and Hancock. They did not worry about the possibility of regulars marching to Concord, since the supplies at Concord were safe, but they did think their leaders in Lexington were unaware of the potential danger that night. Revere and Dawes were sent out to warn them and to alert colonial militias in nearby towns.
Riding through present-day Somerville, Medford, and Arlington, Revere warned patriots along his route, many of whom set out on horseback to deliver warnings of their own. Revere arrived in Lexington around midnight, with Dawes arriving about a half-hour later. They met with Samuel Adams and John Hancock, who were spending the night with Hancock’s relatives. Revere and Dawes then continued along the road to Concord accompanied by Samuel Prescott.
Revere, Dawes, and Prescott were detained by a British Army patrol in Lincoln at a roadblock on the way to Concord. Prescott jumped his horse over a wall and escaped into the woods; he eventually reached Concord. Dawes also escaped, though he fell off his horse not long after and did not complete the ride.
Revere was captured and questioned by the British soldiers at gunpoint. He and other captives taken by the patrol were still escorted east toward Lexington, until about a half mile from Lexington they heard a gunshot.
The Revolutionary War had begun.