Massachusetts in the American Revolution

The American Revolution began in Massachusetts in the 18th century.

At the time, Massachusetts was a part of a royal colony called the Province of Massachusetts Bay, which consisted of the merged colonies of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, Plymouth Colony, the territories of Maine and Nova Scotia and the islands of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket. This colony was one of 13 British colonies in North America during this time period.

Many significant Revolutionary War battles occurred in Massachusetts, such as the Battle of Bunker Hill, as well as notable protests, riots and other historic events.

The area was also home to various patriots of the revolution, such as Paul Revere, John Adams and John Hancock. With all this history, it’s no wonder Boston has become synonymous with the American Revolution.

According to the book Massachusetts in the American Revolution, Massachusetts was the most impassioned and patriotic of all the colonies:

“The patriotic devotion which inspired all the American colonies in the inception, the progress, and the final triumph of the War of Independence was nowhere more conspicuous than in Massachusetts. To the intellectual resources of her sons were conjoined a spirit, a courage, and a zeal for liberty, which made an indelible impression upon the whole country, and still shine upon the page of history. It was upon Massachusetts soil that the first blood of the Revolution was shed; and it was from her patriotic sons that the earliest protests against arbitrary power were heard…”

The following is a list of notable people, places and events of the American Revolution in Massachusetts:

Boston in the American Revolution:

Boston, Mass is known as the “birthplace of the American Revolution.” Many notable events of the American Revolution occurred in Boston as well as the first battles of the Revolutionary War.

After a series of Parliamentary acts were passed in the 1760s and 70s, which regulated commerce and trade in the colony, a number of protests and riots occurred in Boston, such as the Boston Massacre and the Boston Tea Party.

In response to the unrest, the British government passed even stricter legislation which eventually escalated the already tense situation to the point of war.

This resulted in the Siege of Boston in April of 1775, which was the early phase of the Revolutionary War. The war eventually moved on to New York, Pennsylvania and South Carolina after the siege ended in 1776.

Lexington in the American Revolution:

Lexington, Mass is where the Battle of Lexington occurred on April 19, 1775, which was the first official battle of the American Revolution.

The colonists were quickly defeated in the battle and the British troops continued marching onward to Concord, Massachusetts where they were seeking the colonist’s hidden ammunition supplies.

Concord in the American Revolution:

Concord, Mass is where the “Shot Heard Round the World” took place, which was the first shot fired against the British that resulted in a victory for the colonists. The shot was fired during the Battle of Concord, which occurred at the Old North Bridge on April 19, 1775.

The colonists won the Battle of Concord and forced the British back to Boston. During the retreat, the colonists continued to attack the British and several skirmishes occurred in Concord, Lexington, Menatomy and Cambridge as a result.

When the British arrived back in Boston, the colonists blockaded them in the city, an event that later came to be known as the Siege of Boston.

Revolutionary War Battles in Massachusetts:

Skirmish at North Bridge, Salem, Mass, February 26, 1775
Battle of Lexington, Mass, April 19, 1775
Battle of Concord, Concord, Mass, April 19, 1775
Skirmish at Merriam’s Corner, Concord, Mass, April 19, 1775
Skirmish at Hardy’s Hill, Concord, Mass, April 19, 1775
Skirmish at Bloody Angle, Concord, Mass, April 19, 1775
Skirmish at Smith and Hartwell properties, Concord, Mass, April 19, 1775
Skirmish at Fiske’s Hill, Lexington, Mass, April 19, 1775
Skirmish at Russell’s Yard, Menatomy, Mass, April 19, 1775
Skirmish at Watson’s Corner, Cambridge, Mass, April 19, 1775
Battle of Grape Island, Boston, Mass, May 21, 1775
Battle of Chelsea Creek, Boston, Mass, May 27, 1775
Battle of Bunker Hill, Charlestown, Mass, June 17, 1775
Skirmish at Boston Neck, Boston, Mass, July 8, 1775
Battle of Brewster Island, Boston, Mass, July 21, 1775
Battle of Gloucester, Mass, August 8, 1775
Skirmish at Ploughed Hill, Cambridge, Mass, August 26-27, 1775
Skirmish at Lechmere Point, Boston, Mass, November 19, 1775
Battle of Dorchester Heights, Dorchester, Mass, March 17, 1776

Massachusetts Revolutionary War Soldiers:

According to the book Massachusetts in the American Revolution, out of the 37,363 soldiers enlisted in the Continental Army in 1775, about 16,449 were soldiers from Massachusetts.

In 1777, out of the 68,720 soldiers listed in the Continental army, about 12,591 were from Massachusetts.

In almost every year of the Revolutionary War, Massachusetts soldiers made up the majority of the soldiers in the Continental Army.

In addition, six of the 21 Major-Generals chosen to command the American armies were from Massachusetts as were 10 of the 49 Brigadier-Generals.

If you want to learn more about the American Revolution, check out the following article Best Books About the American Revolution.

Massachusetts in the American Revolution

Images of Massachusetts during the American Revolution. Top left: Image of the Battle of Bunker Hill. Top right: Image of the Boston Massacre. Bottom left: Image of the Boston Tea Party. Bottom right: Image of the British troops marching to Concord

Massachusetts Historical Society: The Coming of the American Revolution: British Parliament Adopts the Coercive Acts:
Massachusetts in the American Revolution by Ainsworth Rand Spofford
National Park Service: Date in History: 1775
Revolutionary War 101: Revolutionary War Raids & Skirmishes in 1775:
Historical Marker Database: Bloody Angle Historical Marker:

About Rebecca Beatrice Brooks

Rebecca Beatrice Brooks is the writer and publisher of the History of Massachusetts Blog. Rebecca is a freelance writer and history lover who got her start in journalism working for small-town newspapers in Massachusetts and New Hampshire after she graduated from the University of New Hampshire with a B.A. in journalism. Visit this site’s About page to find out more about Rebecca.

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