American Revolution
Lexington and Concord

Lexington and Concord
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 6 to 8
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   6.35

     challenging words:    standing, countryside, best, armed, skirmish, militia, disarm, government, resistance, wounded, leading, ammunition, formation, immediately, rebel, victory
     content words:    In April, English Secretary, State Dartmouth, General Thomas Gage, John Hancock, Samuel Adams, Reverend Clarke, General Gage, Lieutenant Colonel Francis Smith, Lord Percy

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Lexington and Concord
By Jane Runyon

1     By 1775, the British government stopped ignoring the events which were leading to a war of independence. They were beginning to think that, perhaps, the colonists were a serious threat. In April of 1775, English Secretary of State Dartmouth ordered Lt. General Thomas Gage to arrest the leaders of the rebel uprising. His timing could have been a bit better. If the order had been received one day earlier, the entire Massachusetts congress would have been in session, and all members could have been easily arrested. As it was, the members had adjourned and were on their way to their homes. John Hancock and Samuel Adams, two of the leaders in Massachusetts, had been advised to leave town immediately after the congress adjourned. They decided to make their way to the home of Reverend Clarke in Lexington, Massachusetts.
2     The members of the congress were scattered throughout the countryside, so General Gage decided to destroy the weapons and ammunition he had heard were being stored in Concord, Massachusetts. He realized that every move the British army made in the colonies was being watched carefully. He decided that the best way to carry out his plan would be to keep the plans secret to everyone, even his own soldiers. He told only one man, Lieutenant Colonel Francis Smith. At 9:00 P.M. on the night of April 18, 1775, Gage ordered his troops to assemble and made ready to leave Boston. He ordered Lord Percy to follow six hours later with his troops. By 9:30 P.M. the secret was already out. Word had spread to the colonists that the army was on the move. William Dawes was already on his way by land to find and warn John Hancock and Samuel Adams. By 10:00 P.M., Paul Revere was on his way across the Charles River with the same message.
3     Around midnight, Revere arrived at the home of Rev. Clarke. He reported the news to John Hancock, and Rev. Clarke sent for the minutemen of Lexington. William Dawes arrived a short time later, and then both Revere and Dawes left for Concord. A resident of Concord, Dr. Samuel Prescott, joined them in their ride. Around 1:00 A.M., the three riders were stopped by British officers. Dawes and Prescott were able to escape capture, but Revere was held for a couple of hours.

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