The British Army's infantry was nicknamed "redcoats" and sometimes "devils" by the colonists.
They had occupied Boston since 1768 and had been augmented by naval forces and marines to enforce what the colonists called The Intolerable Acts, which had been passed by the British Parliament to punish the Province of Massachusetts Bay for the Boston Tea Party and other acts of defiance.
At the North Bridge in Concord, approximately 400 militiamen engaged 100 regulars from three companies of the King's troops at about am, resulting in casualties on both sides.
Spirit, that made those heroes dare To die, and leave their children free, Bid Time and Nature gently spare The shaft we raise to them and thee.
The British forces began their return march to Boston after completing their search for military supplies, and more militiamen continued to arrive from neighboring towns. Smith's expedition was rescued by reinforcements under Brigadier General Hugh Percy, a future duke of Northumberland styled at this time by the courtesy title Earl Percy.
Gunfire erupted again between the two sides and continued throughout the day as the regulars marched back towards Boston. The combined force of about 1,700 men marched back to Boston under heavy fire in a tactical withdrawal and eventually reached the safety of Charlestown.
While the British were searching, the American militia was able to reform, and they met the enemy at the North Bridge in Concord, and they were successful this time in driving the British back.
As more American reinforcements arrived, they forced the British army south to Boston, and the militias blockaded the narrow land accesses to Charlestown and Boston, starting the Siege of Boston.