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The bridge is the site where Concord’s Minute Men and militias from nearby towns fought and routed a detachment of English infantry at about 9:30 a.m. on April 19, 1775. This was the first time Colonial militias were ordered to fire on King George’s troops, an act that signaled the beginning of the war for American independence. Besides the bridge itself (a 20th-Century reconstruction), other important landmarks at the site are: • The obelisk erected in 1837 to memorialize the men who fought at the bridge • The Minuteman statue by Daniel Chester French, dedicated at the centennial of the battle in 1875 • The grave of two British soldiers who were killed in the fight in 1775.

  • North Bridge as it appears today
  • The battle at the North Bridge as engraved by Amos Doolittle in 1775
Some 700 English light infantrymen and grenadiers left Boston on the night of April 18, 1775, having been ordered to find and seize military supplies that the Colonists were hiding in Concord. Spies had alerted the English about the Colonists’ activities.
Passing through Lexington en route to Concord at about 5:30 a.m. on the 19th, the redcoats encountered about 77 armed Lexington militiamen. Shots were exchanged, though neither side was given orders to shoot. Eight Lexington men were killed.
Arriving in Concord later that morning, the Regulars spread out across the town to search for military supplies. About 200 went to the North Bridge, and 100 of those crossed the bridge to search Barrett’s farm. They returned empty-handed, rejoining their comrades at the bridge just as Concord’s Minutemen—now reinforced by neighboring militias to form a force of more than 400–were advancing toward the bridge. 

The Minute Men at the North Bridge were ordered to return fire, inspiring Ralph Waldo Emerson, writing in 1837, to call the engagement “the shot heard ‘round the world.”
The original bridge, built c. 1760, was demolished c.1793 and not replaced until 1875. It’s been rebuilt at least three times since then. The current bridge was built in 1956 and restored in 2005.
The bridge is part of the Minute Man National Park.