The British were shocked by the news coming from the Colonies. They did not expect the Colonists to really fight. The British truly expected the Colonists to back down. When the first news of the debacle in Lexington and Concord reached England, the story was initially written off as "colonial propaganda". However, within a week, it became painfully clear to the British that the story was true. The bad news kept coming. Fort Ticonderoga had fallen. Soon news of the bloody battle of Bunker Hill arrived in England. By late summer, the British heard the sorry tale of the arrival of the Charming Nancy at Plymouth, carrying the wounded from Bunker Hill, together with the widows and orphan.
The British government had made no plan for fighting a war. The government cancelled their normal summer vacations, and met through the summer to develop a strategy.
King George III issued a proclamation stating that the "Colonies are in open and avowed rebellion." King James was a supporter of strong actions against the Colonies. Some government advisors warned that it would be near impossible to beat the Colonists. The advice of these advisors was ignored. Instead, the British began plans to increase the size of their army and prepared for a long campaign.