Documenting the American South Logo
Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letters concerning news of the Battle of Lexington in Massachusetts
No Author
April 20, 1775 - May 09, 1775
Volume 09, Pages 1229-1239

[Reprinted from the American Archives. Vol. 2. P. 363.]
An Account of the Battle of Lexington and how News was Transmitted.

New York, Sunday, April 23d, 1775.

This morning we had reports in this City from Rhode Island and New London that an action had happened between the King's Troops and the inhabitants of Boston which was not credited: but about twelve o'clock an express arrived with the following account, Viz:

Watertown, Wednesday Morning,
Near 10 O'clock, April 19th, 1775.

To all Friends of American Liberty let it be known

That this morning before break of day a Brigade consisting of about one thousand or twelve hundred men landed at Phipp's farm at Cambridge, and marched to Lexington, where they found a Company of our Colony Militia in arms upon whom they fired without any provocation and killed six men and wounded four others. By an Express from Boston we find that other Brigades are upon their march from Boston supposed to be about one thousand. The bearer Israel Bessel is charged to alarm the country quite to Connecticut and all persons are desired to furnish him with fresh horses as they may be needed. I have spoken with several who have seen the

-------------------- page 1230 --------------------
dead and wounded. Pray let the Delegates from this Colony to Connecticut see this; they know Colonel Foster of Brookfield, one of our Delegates.

One of the Committee for Safety.

A true copy taken from the original per order of the Committee of Correspondence for Worcester, April 19th 1775.

Nathan Baldwin, Town Clerk.

Fairfield, Connecticut,
Saturday, 22d April, 8 o'clock.

Since the above was written we have received the following by the second Express:

Thursday, 20th, 3 o'clock A. M.

I am this moment informed by Express from Woodstock taken from his own mouth that arrived there at 2 o'clock this afternoon that the contest between the first Brigade that marched to Concord was still continuing this morning at the town of Lexington, to which place said Brigade had retreated; that another Brigade said to be the second mentioned in the letter of this morning had landed with a quantity of artillery at the place where the first did. The Provincials were determined to prevent the two Brigades from joining their strength if possible and remain in great need of succour. The Regulars when in Concord burnt the court-house took two pieces of cannon which they rendered useless and began to take Concord Bridge on which Captain ——, who with many on both sides were soon killed, then made an attack on the King's Troops, on which they retreated to Lexington.

I am your humble servant,
To Colonel Obediah Johnson, Canterbury.

P. S. Mr McFarland of Camfield, merchant, has just returned from Boston by way of Providence who conversed with an express from Lexington who further informs that about four thousand of our Troops had surrounded the first Brigade above mentioned who were on a hill in Lexington, that action continued and there were about fifty of our men killed and one hundred and fifty of the Regulars as near as they could determine when the express came away. It will be expedient for every man to go who is fit and willing.

-------------------- page 1231 --------------------

The above is a true copy as received by express from New Haven and attested by the Committee of correspondence from Town to Town.

Jonathan Sturgis,
G. Silleck Silliman,
Job Bartram,
Andrew Rowland,
Thadeus Burr,


The above was received on Sunday April 23d about twelve o'clock by the Committee of New York and forwarded to Philadelphia by Isaac Low, Chairman of the Committee, at 4 O'clock P. M.

New York, April 25th 1775.

This day about noon arrived a second express from New England with the following important advices,

Wallingford, Monday, April 25th, 1775.

Dear Sir: Colonel Wadsworth was over in this place most of yesterday andhas ordered twenty men out of each company in his Regiment, some of which have already set off and others go this morning. He brings accounts which came to him authenticated from Thursday in the afternoon. The Kings Troops being reinforced a second time, and joined as I suppose from what I can learn by the party who were intercepted by Colonel Gardner, were then encamped on Winter Hill and were surrounded by twenty thousand of our men who were entrenching. Col. Gardner's ambush proved fatal to Lord Percy and another General Officer who were killed on the spot the first fire. To counterballance this good news the story is that our first man in command (who he is I do not know) is also killed. It seems they have lost many men on both sides. Colonel Wadsworth had the account in a letter from Hartford.

The Country beyond here are all gone and we expect it will be impossible to procure horses for our wagons as they have, and will in every place, employ themselves all their horses. In this place they send a horse for every sixth man, and are pressing them for that purpose. I know of no way, but you must immediately send a couple of stout able horses, who may overtake us at Hartford, possibly

-------------------- page 1232 --------------------
where we must return Mrs Noyes's and Meloy's if he holds out so far. Remember the horses must be had at any rate.

I am in the greatest haste, your entire friend and humble servant,


N. B. Colonel Gardner took nine prisoners and twelve clubbed their firelocks and came over to our party. Col. Gardner's party consisted of seven hundred men and the Regulars one thousand eight hundred instead of one thousand two hundred as we heard before. They have sent a vessel up Mystick River as far as Temple's farm, which is about half a mile from Winter Hill. The accounts being true all the King's forces except four or five hundred must be encamped on Winter Hill.

At the instance of the Gentlemen of Fairfield, just departed from hence this is copied verbatum from the original to be forwarded to that town.

Isaac Beers.

New Haven April 24th 1775, half past nine o'clock forenoon,

Pierpont Edwards.

Fairfield April 24th 1775, three o'clock afternoon.—A true Copy as received per express.

Thadeus Burr,
Andrew Rowland,
Elijah Abel.


Norwalk, April 24th seven o'clock afternoon. A true copy as received per express.

John Cannon
Thaddeus Betts
Samuel German


Stamford, April 24th ten o'clock evening. A true copy.

John Hait Junr
Samuel Shelton
David Webb
Daniel Gray
Jonathan Warring Jun

Greenwich, April 25th three o'clock morning.—The above is forwarded to the Committee of Correspondence at New York.

Amos Mead.

-------------------- page 1233 --------------------

A true copy received in New York two o'clock P. M.—Tuesday April 25th 1775.

Isaac Low Chairman New York Committee.


A true copy received at Elizabethtown seven o'clock in the evening—Tuesday April 25th 1775.

Jona Hampton
Chairman of the Committee
George Ross
John Blanchard


A true copy received at Woodbridge ten of the Clock in the evening—Tuesday April 25th 1775.

Nathaniel Heard
Samuel Parker
Jonathan Clawson
Three of the Committee.


The above received at New Brunswick the 25th April 1775 twelve o'clock at night.

Wm Oake
Jas Neilson
Az. Dunham


A true copy received at Princeton April 26th 1775 half past three o'clock in the morning.

Thomas Wiggin
Jones Baldwin
Members of Committee.


The above received at Trenton on Wednesday Morning about half after six o'clock and forwarded at seven o'clock.

Samuel Tucker
Isaac Smith
Alexander Hunt
Three of the Committee.


Philadelphia twelve o'clock Wednesday—received and forwarded at the same time, by

Lamb. Callwalader
Wm Bradford
Tho. Pryor
Isaac Melchor
Committee for the city of Philadelphia.

-------------------- page 1234 --------------------

Chester four o'clock Wednesday P. M.—received and forwarded by

Francis Johnston
Isaac Eyre
Samuel Fairlamb


New Castle nine o'clock Wednesday evening.—Received and forwarded.

Z V Lewenigh,
Stephen Spencer.


Wednesday night Christeen Bridge, twelve o'clock.—Forwarded to Col. Thomas Couch, Esquire who received it this moment and he to forward it to Tobias Rudolph, Esquire, head of Elk in Maryland. Night and day to be forwarded.

S Patterson.

27th April 1775, half past four o'clock A. M.—Received and forwarded to Patrick Hamilton, Esquire in Charlestown by

Tobias Rudolph,
Jos Gilpin.


Baltimore April 27th 1775.—Received at ten o'clock P. M.

John Boyd,
Clerk of the Committee.


A true copy received in Annapolis, Friday April 28th, 1775, half after nine o'clock A. M. and forwarded at ten per Express.

Mat Tilghman
Ch. Carroll of Carrolton,
Charles Carroll,
I Hall,
Thos Johnston, Jun,
Samuel Chase.
Committee of Correspondence for Maryland.


Friday, Alexandria, Eight o'clock P. M.—We received the enclosed from Annapolis at six o'clock. Please forward to Fredericksburg. I am for self and Committee of Correspondence in this place, gentlemen your humble servant.

Wm Ramsey.
To the Committee of Correspondence in Dumfries.


Dumfries, April 30th Sunday—Gentlemen, the enclosed came to hand this morning about ten o'clock. In one hour I hired the

-------------------- page 1235 --------------------
bearer to convey it to your place to the different Committees. For self and the Committee of Correspondence in this place, I am, gentlemen, your most obedient humble servant.

William Carr.
To the Committee of Correspondence at Fredericksburg by Express.


Fredericksburg Sunday evening, half past Four.—Gentlemen: The enclosed arrived here about an hour ago and is forwarded to your Committee by your very humble servants.

James Mercer,
Geo. Thornton,
Mann Page, Jun,
Hugh Mercer.


King William, May 1st 1775.—Gentlemen: The enclosed arrived here to day and is forwarded to your Committee by your most obedient servant,

Carter Braxton.


Surry County, May 2d 1775.—Gentlemen: The enclosed arrived here this evening and is forwarded by your most obedient servant,

Allen Cocke.


Williamsburg, May 2d 1775.—Gentlemen: The enclosure is this moment come to hand and I forward it to you by express with the request of the Committee of Williamsburg that you will be pleased to forward the papers to the Southward and disperse the material passage through all your parts.

I am very respectfully gentlemen your most obedient servant,
Rd C. Nicholas, Chairman.


Smithfield, May 3d 1775, Five o'clock in the morning.—The enclosed arrived here this morning and is forwarded to your Committee of Correspondence by your humble servants,

Arthur Smith
Nathaniel Burnne
To the Committee of the County of Nansemond or any of them—an express from Boston.

-------------------- page 1236 --------------------

Nansemond, May 3d 1775.—Gentlemen: The enclosed is this moment come to hand and we forward it to you by express with the request of the Committee of Nansemond and you will be pleased to forward them to the Southward.

We are gentlemen your most obedient servants,
Willis Riddick
Willis Cowper
To the Committee of Chowan, North Carolina.


May 3d 1775.—Gentlemen: The enclosed papers we have just received and forward them by express to you to be sent to the Southward.

We are gentlemen your obedient servants,
The Committee of the County of Chowan.
To the Committee of Correspondence for the Town of Edenton—by express.


Edenton, May 4th nine o'clock 1775.—Gentlemen: The enclosed is this moment come to hand and we forward to you by express with the request that you will be pleased to forward the papers to the Committee of Craven County immediately and disperse the material passages through all your parts.

We are gentlemen your most obedient humble servants,
James Blount, Chairman
John Hamilton
Jno. Green
Robt. Hardy
S. Dickinson
Tho. Jones
Charles Bondfield
William Bennett
Robt Smith
To the Committee of Beaufort County.


Beaufort County, May 6th 1775.—Gentlemen: The enclosed is this moment come to hand and we forward to you by express with the request that you will forward the different papers to the Southward immediately.

We are gentlemen your obedient humble servants,
Roger Ormond
William Brown
To the Committee of Craven County.

-------------------- page 1237 --------------------

Bath, May 6th 1775.—Dear Sir: In haste have sent to request you will peruse the enclosed papers and you will do by opening the packet herewith sent the moment it comes to your house. Get three or four of your Committee to write a line and send the whole enclosed to the next Southward Committee with the utmost dispatch.

We are dear sir with regard your most humble servants,
William Brown
Roger Ormond
To Abner Nash Esquire or either of the Committee for the County of Craven—per express.


Newbern, May 6th 1775.—Gentlemen: the enclosed arrived here about an hour past and is forwarded immediately to you and desire you will keep a copy of James Lockwood's letter and send them on as soon as possible to the Wilmington Committee.

We are gentlemen your obedient servants,
Samuel Smith
R. Cogdell
John Green
William Tisdale
Thomas McLin
A. Nash
Joseph Leech
John Fonville
William Stanly
James Coor.

N. B. We have enclosed our last paper which gives an account of the first beginning of the battle which please to send to Wilmington &c, and send all the bundle of papers forward as soon as you possibly can.

To the Committee of Onslow County.


Onslow County, Sunday 10 O'clock Morning, May 7th.—Gentlemen: About an hour past I received the enclosed papers. Disperse them to your adjoining counties. Keep a copy of James Lockwood's letter and pray write us what to do. We are, for Onslow,

Wm Cray,
Seth Ward,
Jos. French,
Edward Ward,
Robert Snead.

-------------------- page 1238 --------------------

Enclosed is the last Gazette for Brunswick.

To the Wilmington and Brunswick Committees: For Cornelius Harnett, Esquire, Colonel John Ashe, or any one of the Committee for Wilmington (Express.)

New River, May 7th 1775.—
Received and forwarded by Wm Cray.


Wilmington, May 8th 1775, 4 O'clock Afternoon.—Dear Sir: I take the liberty to forward by express the enclosed papers which were received at 3 o'clock this afternoon. If you should be at a loss for a man and horse the bearer will proceed as far as the Boundary House. You will please direct Mr Marion or any other gentleman to forward the packet immediately to the Southward with the greatest possible dispatch. I am with esteem, dear sir your most obedient servant,

Corns. Harnett.

P. S. For God's sake send the man on without the least delay and write to Mr Marion to forward it by night and day.

To Richard Quince, Esquire, Brunswick.


Brunswick, May 8th 1775, 9 o'clock in the Evening.—Sir: I take the liberty to forward by express the enclosed Papers which I just received from Wilmington and I must entreat you to forward them to your community at Georgetown to be conveyed to Charlestown from yours with all speed. Enclosed is the Newspaper giving an account of the beginning of the battle and a letter of what happened after. Pray don't neglect a moment in forwarding. I am your humble servant,

Richard Quince.
To Isaac Marion, Esquire, at the Boundary.

May 8th, 1775.—Dear Sir: Though I know you stand in no need of being prompted when your country requires your service, yet I cannot avoid writing to you to beg you to forward the Paper containing such important news and pray order the express you send to ride night and day. I am dear sir in the greatest haste your most obedient servant,

R. Howe.
Isaac Marion Esquire, Boundary.


Boundary May 9, 1775, Little River.—Gentlemen of the Committee, I have just now received express from the Committees of the

-------------------- page 1239 --------------------
Northward Provinces desiring I would forward the enclosed Packet to the Southward Committees. As your's is the nearest I request for the good of our Country and the wellfare of our lives and liberties and fortunes, you will not lose a moment's time but dispatch the same to the Committee of Georgetown to be forwarded to Charlestown.

In mean time am gentlemen your obedient humble servant &c,
Isaac Marion.
To Danness Hankins, Josias Allson, and Samuel Dwight Esquires, and Messrs Francis and John Allston, Gentlemen of the Committee for Little River.