Leadership of the resistance included men like James Otis, Samuel Adams, John Hancock, Paul Revere, Joseph Warren and others. The two “most wanted” by the British authorities were Adams and Hancock, both of whom had left Boston for the countryside and had a price on their head. In April, 1775, General Howe decided to track them down, rumored to be at Lexington, and to capture gunpowder stored in the town of Concord.
About 700 of the 3,000-man British Garrison left Boston for Lexington in the early morning hours of April 19. The task force contained companies from every infantry regiment plus Marines. The countryside was brought to “alarm” by riders from Boston, especially Paul Revere and William Dawes, and the two Patriot leaders in Lexington left before the Redcoats arrived. The local militia did not leave. They assembled on the Commons to await events.