Leslie's retreat

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On Feb. 26, 1775, the first armed resistance by the colonies to British authority occurred at North Bridge in Salem. When reports that a cannon and ammunition had been hidden in North Fields, (now North Salem) General Gage sent

Colonel Leslie and 300 British soldiers from Boston to Marblehead by ship.

The citizens of Salem had been forewarned of the approaching British forces gathered at the North

Bridge and raised the draw. What might have been the first battle of the Revolutionary War was

averted because of a compromise that was made by Colonel Timothy Pickering and Colonel David Mason

of the local militia and Colonel Leslie. Rev. Thomas Barnard of the North Church helped bring about the compromise.

The draw was lowered and Colonel Leslie and his men marched a short distance beyond, turned and

headed back to Marblehead. The British soldiers under Leslie numbered approximately 140. American

soldiers under Pickering numbered approximately 50.

See Also

  • Vertical File in Salem Collection - Leslie's Retreat
  • "Park may be named for patriot's first stand" Salem Evening News, April 11, 2002 , p.A2