Charlestown patriots, Col. William Conant, Richard Devens, and John Larkin are involved in the planning and execution of Paul Revere’s Midnight Ride, April 18. Revere asks church sexton Robert Newman to show lantern signals from Old North Church to alert the Charlestown patriots that British troops are coming out so they can send their own rider to alarm the countryside in case Revere fails to reach Charlestown. Revere is rowed from Boston and lands safely near Charlestown Battery. John Larkin provides Revere with a horse for his ride to Lexington and Concord. In this Revere and other riders activated by his alarm succeed. Assembled patriot militias battle the British troops at Lexington and Concord thus beginning the Revolutionary War. Battle weary British troops, ranks thinned by the battles and harassing sniper fire along their line of march, return to Boston through Charlestown, April 19.
The Battle of Bunker Hill is fought on Breed’s Hill in Charlestown on June 17. Though defeated when their ammunition runs out, the patriots inflict a significant number of casualties causing the British to make no more forays out of besieged Boston prior to their evacuation in 1776. During the battle, Charlestown, ignited by British cannon-fire, burns down.