In February of 1775, the British Parliament had declared Massachusetts to be in open rebellion. in an attempt to keep them quiet, British troops were instructed to kill any and all violent rebels, as well as destroy all stores that sold guns and ammunition. American spies--James Dawes and Paul Revere--had heard that the British troops were en route to Concord, and were sent to warn people of their arrival. During the early hours of the next morning, Lt. Gen. Thomas Gage had dispatched troops under Lt. Col. Frances Smith to Lexington and to secure the bridges at Concord. Maj. James Pitcairn had ordered British soldiers to disarm the militia without opening fire, but the infamous "Shot heard 'round the World" was fired by an unknown soldier. Pitcairn had told his soldiers to cease fire, but they swept the militia and were invading houses when the militia returned fire.