On this day in 1775, the first shots were fired in the cause of American independence. In Ralph Waldo Emerson's famous poem, "the shot heard 'round the world" came from the musket of a Concord militiaman. In reality, the first blood was shed hours before the Redcoats reached the Old North Bridge. The confrontation on Lexington Common between 77 militiamen and nearly ten times that number of British Regulars ended with the death of eight Lexington men. The Redcoats moved on to Concord. When they got there, they found several thousand farmer-soldiers who had already heard of the bloodshed at Lexington. With their nerves steeled, the Americans drove the Redcoats back to Boston and placed the city under siege. The Revolution had begun.