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Captain John Parker of the Massachusetts Militia may have said those words, at the Battle of Lexington (April 19,1775), one of the first two battles of the Revolutionary War.
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The words of Captain John Parker appear on a monument on Lexington Green. As redcoats of the British Empire approached to confiscate or destroy the firearms and powder stores of the defiant Colonists the morning of April 19th, 1775, these were the now famous orders Captain John Parker gave to the American militia on Lexington Green, the day of "The shot heard 'round the world". The British soldiers greatly outnumbered the gathering of local inhabitants.

The Americans assembled knowing of the British plans. They had been forewarned by the famous Midnight Ride of Paul Revere, William Dawes, and Samuel Prescott, which brings to mind another famous phrase "One if by land. Two if by sea".

At some point, a shot rang out, and the two sides exchanged fire before the Americans dispersed. John Parker's cousin, Jonas, was run through with British bayonet and died on the Green. Later, Captain Parker reassembled his men, and attacked the British on their return to Boston. By the end of a running battle, the British suffered great losses relative to those of the Americans. This was rather startling, given that the militia were volunteers, while the British had perhaps the best trained, and undoubtedly the most powerful army in the world.

Note that while historical reports of Parker's orders differ, the actions of the American militia were undeniable. The Americans' unwillingness to submit to the King's army started a chain of events that toppled monarchies across the Earth, and are remembered by US citizens as the stepping stone towards the creation of a government by consent of the people, the Declaration of Independence, the US Constitution, and the Bill of Rights.

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10y ago
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10y ago

At the Battle of Lexington, the first armed conflict of the Revolutionary War.

The words are attributed to Captain John Parker of the Massachusetts Militia, commander at Lexington Green on April 19, 1775. Eight of his men were killed by the British, who were enroute to seize arms hidden at Concord. When the redcoats arrived there, they faced a larger militia force and a pitched battle that produced the first British casualties of the war.

Parker's full statement to his men was reported as "Stand your ground. Don't fire unless fired upon...but if they mean to have a war, let it begin here."

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10y ago

The person who said "If they mean to have war let it begin here" was John Parker. The whole quote was "Stand your ground; don't fire unless fired upon, but

if they mean to have war, let it begin here." And it mean't don't fire unless theenemiesfire first. The second part means if they want war the let it begin here and now.

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10y ago

As the commander of the Massachusetts Militia facing British regulars at Lexington, he didn't want his men to provoke a fight with the British. But he knew that one was likely that day (April 19, 1775) and neither he nor his men were going to back down. Minutes later, the first armed conflict of the war was underway, one that would end with the first British casualties as they fought a pitched battle in their retreat from Concord to Boston.

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Captain John Parker, Battle of Lexington, April 19, 1775

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11y ago

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Q: Where were these words said don't fire unless fired upon but if they mean to have war let it begin here?
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