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April 19, 1775

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April 19, 1775 has been an important day in the history of the American people. This day marked the beginning of the American Revolution sparked off by the desire of the British imperial powers to dominate over the Americans. The dilemma was who might have fired first during the first encounter in the contest between the minutemen, the Americans and the British troops. Going by the circumstances that revolved around the first encounter, it can be decided that the firing was made by the British troops. This assumption is based on several reasons.

The leaders of both troops during the first encounter gave directives to the troops they were leading. They told them not to shoot at their adversaries. The British troop commander, Francis Smith, and the militia leader, Parker, warned their troops against firing at their enemies prior to any attack. As the British troops headed towards Concord to disarm the American rebels, they looted and burnt houses as well as executed the colonial militia along the route. There is substantial evidence to prove that the British troops could have executed the first gunfire (Lister, 1931).

First, the commander of the militia in Lexington, John Parker, says that upon hearing the British troops approaching, he ordered his troops to cease from firing before they could be provoked. He also recorded that the British troops harassed them and, in fact, fired and killed eight of their men without receiving any provocative action from the militia men (Samantha, 2011).

Another piece of evidence can be drawn from a horse rider, Simon Winship. He says that the British troops ordered him to dismount from his horse and accompany them. After resistance, the troop removed him by force and he was forced to travel with them.  He marched with them. After a journey of approximately an eighth of a mile, the troops were ordered to load their weapons. The troops moved until they came into contact with the militia forces. Winship also recounted about an officer among the British troops shouting “Fire, fire!”. Winship says that the voice of the officer was later followed by a discharge of arms. Meaning that the first firing came from the British troops but not from the American militia, he goes further to proclaim that there was no firing heard before the shout of the officer (Claude, 1902).

From the incidence that took the lives of eight militia men, we can also conclude that the British troops were the first to fire. From the onset, both troop leaders ordered their troops not to fire to their enemies. However, after the first shot, the British troops started shooting recklessly until they killed eight men from the militia group. The American soldiers were told to disperse and not shoot.

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