These forces also saw action in the French and Indian War between 17 when they fought alongside British regulars.
Under the laws of each New England colony, all towns were obligated to form militia companies composed of all males 16 years of age and older (there were exemptions for some categories), and to ensure that the members were properly armed.
The accumulated militias then blockaded the narrow land accesses to Charlestown and Boston, starting the Siege of Boston.
Ralph Waldo Emerson describes the first shot fired by the Patriots at the North Bridge in his "Concord Hymn" as the "shot heard round the world".
On April 14, 1775, Gage received instructions from Secretary of State William Legge, Earl of Dartmouth, to disarm the rebels and to imprison the rebellion's leaders, but Dartmouth gave Gage considerable discretion in his commands.