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June 12, 1775 - General Thomas Gage (left) declares martial law in Massachusetts and offers a pardon to all colonists except John Hancock and Samuel Adams. A graduate of the Westminster School, where he befriended John Burgoyne and Richard Howe, Thomas Gage purchased a commission as a lieutenant in the British Army in 1741. Promoted to captain two years later, he served at the Battle of Fontenoy and during the Culloden campaign. Rising through the ranks to lieutenant colonel, Gage travelled to American and took part in the General Edward Braddock's ill-fated 1755 campaign against Fort Duquesne. Staying in America, Gage fought with British forces during the remainder of the Seven Years' War, and with assistance from his brother, Lord Gage, was promoted to brigadier general. In 1763, Gage was named commander of British forces in America. After dealing with Pontiac's Rebellion, Gage returned home to England in 1773. His respite was brief as he was dispatched back to America in 1774, as the military governor of Massachusetts. Struggling to cope with growing discontent in the colony, Gage unsuccessfully dealt with groups such as the Sons of Liberty. In April 1775, Gage dispatched troops to Lexington and Concord to sieze colonial powder supplies. The raid resulted in the first battles of the American Revolution. Besieged in Boston by colonial troops, Gage declared martial law and fought the Battle of Bunker Hill on June 17, 1775. A costly victory, Gage was recalled in favor of General William Howe. Arriving back in England, Gage saw little action during the war and died at Isle of Portland in 1787.

Photograph Courtesy of the National Archives & Records Administration


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