A website from the Massachusetts Historical Society; founded 1791.


Thomas Gage

1719 or 1720 - 2 April 1787

Thomas Gage, a decorated war hero in the French and Indian War, served as the commander in chief of the British Forces in North America from 1763-74. He arrived in Boston in May 1774 to replace Thomas Hutchinson as royal governor of Massachusetts. Charged with enforcing the Coercive Acts, Gage soon realized that it would be difficult to subdue the well-organized patriot forces in New England. On 19 April 1775, under orders from England, Gage sent a detachment of troops to seize patriot munitions in Concord and to apprehend Samuel Adams and John Hancock. The confrontation between British soldiers and townspeople in Concord and Lexington became the first battle of the American Revolution. Gage's only other military engagement in the colonies was the battle of Bunker Hill on 17 June 1775. Although technically a British victory, nearly one-third (or 1,500) British troops were left dead, wounded, or captured. Gage was recalled to London in the fall of 1775 where he remained until his death in 1787.