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April’s Biggest Moments in American History

April 30, 2012

April is a busy time of the year for everyone, especially with springtime weather, Easter and lots of things to be done outdoors. But have you ever thought about how much history has occurred during the month of April? Here is an overview of some of April’s biggest highlights in America’s history books.

The American Revolutionary War began on April 19th of 1775. When King George heard that weapons were being gathered in Concord for a possible rebellion, he decided to take matters into his own hands. He sent over British troops to destroy the weapons and keep the citizens in line. However, the troops were in for a surprise when they arrived. The local militia in Concord fought back against the British using their weapons, now known as the battles of Lexington and Concord. The first shot of the war, fired at North Bridge by the Patriots, was later famously described by Ralph Waldo Emerson as “the shot heard ‘round the world.”

We all know the story of the midnight ride of Paul Revere. It happened on April 18, 1775, during a time of intense political uncertainty. That night, Paul Revere was warned that British ships were departing Boston and heading towards Cambridge for the land path to Lexington and Concord. Paul Revere and William Dawes set out at 9 PM on horseback to Lexington to warn his fellow Patriots about the possibility of a British invasion. During the course of the night, Revere warned people in present-day Somerville, Arlington and Medford about the British soldiers and the message spread quickly. On the way to Lexington, Revere was questioned by the British at gunpoint. Today, his story lives on as one of the original brave acts of American patriotism.

In April 1861, the American Civil War began with an attack on Fort Sumter. The war continued for years, finally reaching a long-awaited end in April 1865. April 1865 was a historic month in American history for many different reasons. On April 2, Confederate General Robert E. Lee evacuated the Confederate capital of Richmond, Virginia, after losing to Ulysses S. Grant at Petersburg. Lee’s troops would eventually surrender at Appomattox Courthouse on April 9th.  When President Lincoln and his wife were at Ford’s Theater in Washington, D.C. on April 14th, John Wilkes Booth assassinated him. The Union, while chaotic, continued on the path of success without their leader. By the end of April, almost all Confederate troops and officers had surrendered, leading to the official end of the American Civil War.

As April comes to a close, let’s appreciate these moments throughout our nation’s epic history.  If you like Boston, look up all the historical events that have happened here and explore away!

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