Just down the road, the road to Lexington led the regulars past the
houses of William Smith, the captain of the Lincoln
minuteman company, and Ephraim and Samuel Hartwell, both sergeants in Captain Smith's company. Here the militia and
minute men again fired on the regulars with lethal effect, until light infantry companies swept the provincials from the side of the
Here, as it was during most of the regulars' retreat to Boston on April
19, geography was destiny. Where the road was
surrounded by open fields, the regulars could send the light infantry into the fields to force the provincials far enough away from
the road to make their musket fire ineffective against the main body of the regulars. Because the effective range of a musket is
relatively limited, this tactic succeeded where the light infantry could drive the provincials as little as 100 yards from the road.
On the other hand, where the road passed through a wooded area or any other terrain that hindered the ability of the light
infantry to keep the provincials out of effective range, and offered some kind of cover or concealment for the provincials-like at
the Bloody Angle-the regulars often suffered heavy losses.
The regulars were now under almost continual attack from both sides
of the road and from their rear. They were tired and
thirsty, and they were running out of ammunition. The only strategy available to Colonel Smith and his officers was to move as
fast as possible and hope that the provincials would not cut off their retreat to Boston.
British Rout March Towards Boston Ambush at (Fiske Hill)