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Lieutenant Colonel Francis Smith received orders from Gage on the afternoon of April 18 with instructions that he was not to read them until his troops were underway.They were to proceed from Boston "with utmost expedition and secrecy to Concord, where you will seize and destroy… But you will take care that the soldiers do not plunder the inhabitants or hurt private property."Gage used his discretion and did not issue written orders for the arrest of rebel leaders.
They were fought on April 19, 1775, in Middlesex County, Province of Massachusetts Bay, within the towns of Lexington, Concord, Lincoln, Menotomy (present-day Arlington), and Cambridge, near Boston.
This battle is generally described as the opening battle(s) of the American Revolutionary War.