American colonists and British troops had their first exchange of fire in the towns of Lexington and Concord in the "shot heard 'round the world." The British general Thomas Gage sent a force to capture stockpiled munitions at Concord. This incident is often regarded as the start of the American War for Independence.
The night before, of course, silversmith Paul Revere rode from Boston to Lexington through the Massachusetts countryside to warn the colonists of the approaching British. During his midnight ride, Reveres did not shout, "The British are coming," or "The Red Coats are coming," but rather, "The Regulars are coming." The "Regulars" were then the common name for the British forces garrisoned throughout the colonies.