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Thread: Shot Heard Around the World

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    Shot Heard Around the World

    I got this from a history coordinator for the Appleseed Project. Please go here for more information about this great organization.

    http://www.appleseedinfo.org/index.html

    I thought many people might find the historical perspective of how and why the second amendment came about and the significance of marksmanship as part of our heritage interesting.

    The Historical Perspective-Part 1
    In September of 1774, a company of British troops crossed the back bay by boat from Boston to Cambridge in the middle of night. By early morning they had arrived at the Massachusetts Provisional Powder house. The powder house was a stone silo type structure used as a powder magazine to house the black powder used by the surrounding communities. They were let in by the local sheriff and subsequently confiscated 250 half barrels of powder belonging to the Massachusetts colony.

    The redcoats marched back through Cambridge drawing the attention of the locals who spread the word "the powder raids have begun." The locals were so outraged at this raid that nearly four thousand assembled. They took the sheriff hostage and made him write notice that he would never help the red coats again. They rampaged through the Tory/loyalist section of town and ran the most prominent of them out of town, never to return.

    It was only the intervention of local patriot leaders who kept the mob from marching to Boston and confronting the army stationed there.

    This raid did two things. It confirmed the fear of the colonists that the Regulars (what they called the army) could and would raid and confiscate arms. The second thing it did was motivate colonial leaders such as Paul Revere and Dr. Joseph Warren to set up a network of citizens to keep an eye on the troops in Boston for any indication of them mobilizing for future raids.

    The early warning system and subsequent alert notification system developed by Revere and Warren would be tested in the coming months.

    End of Part One.

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    Part 2
    In 1773 Parliament had passed a series of laws to bring the colonies under control. These laws were called "The Coercive Acts" and did exactly what they meant. That is to coerce the colonies into submission.The colonists didn't hear about the Coercive Act until 1774 and by then started referring to them as the "Intolerable Acts".

    The acts banned free speech. Troops raided newspapers and smashed or confiscated printing presses.They did away with local control of towns, cities, counties and colonies. It removed local judges. A person could now be held without warrant and sent back to England to be judged for any crime the crown could think up.

    Under the Coercive Acts, militias were banned as was military type training. Importation of black powder and muskets was stopped.

    In December of 1774, General Gage, commander of all British forces in north America and military governor of Massachusetts ordered another raid. This time the plan was to send a ship load of troops up to New Hampshire to secure the powder and weapons stored at an outpost called Fort William and Mary. The fort was manned by an officer and a small number of regulars.

    Paul Revere's intelligence network, called the mechanics because the were all tradesmen, notified him and he made the long ride to the fort in a snowstorm. He contacted the local militia, which was now outlawed and the gathered 250 men and stormed the fort. Shots were fired, people were wounded but no one was killed. The fort was taken and the militia relieved the fort of powder, muskets and small artillery pieces. The militia melted back into the country side.

    The governor of New Hampshire sent a message to Gen. Gage telling him of the armed insurrection. The ship load of soldiers had been delayed because of a snow squall and didn't make it for another day. To add insult to injury the ship was run aground by the harbor pilot.

    The score was now the Regulars 1, Colonists 1. The next raid wouldn't be tried for another couple months.

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    1776 Thanks for posting this. People need to remember what happened in the past.

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    Part 3 Setting the Stage
    The conflict between the crown and colonists didn't happen over night. In fact is was a decade long escalation of push and push back. By 1764, England was on the edge of a fiscal cliff. They had just finished a 7 year long war with France around the globe. In north America it was known as the French and Indian war because that's who they were fighting.

    To pay for the wars the crown turned to the American colonies. Britain like most of the major powers generated wealth by exploiting the natural resources of the regions they conquered or settled and then created a market in those locations to sell finished products back to. The American colonies had the most resources and were their biggest market. They enjoyed the highest standard of living of all of Britain's colonies including that of the homeland. It is always the way to go after the rich, they can afford it. So the crown imposed new taxes on the colonies. First it was for sugar and then they devalued the money basically creating run away inflation.

    The colonists had always considered themselves lucky to be "free Englishmen" protected by the first codified statement of human rights from centuries before, the Magna Carta. They were also somewhat autonomous from the direct government involvement. They were a long way from Parliament and as such had developed their own style of local government and justice system over a period of decades. The colonists had pushed back the frontier with their own hands. They had fought the French, Spanish, pirates, Indians and marauders of all kinds. They had fought for the land. The had bore and buried their children on it. They developed a system that worked and they highly resented the crown taking what they considered to be theirs.

    The new taxes shocked and angered them. They formed groups to protest the new taxes. One group that was particularly vocal was The Sons of Liberty. Men like Paul Revere, Samuel Adams, Dr. Joseph Warren, John Hancock and others became leaders. They were able to successfully argue down new taxes only to have them replaced with others.

    The more the crown pushed, the more the colonists resisted and pushed back. This caused the crown to send more troops to enforce the regulations and protect the tax collectors and government officials. Of course this escalated the tension between the two sides and increased the odds of a confrontation. With the passing of the Stamp Act (taxing every commercial piece of paper such as newspapers, contracts, letters etc) the resistance intensified.

    Samuel Adams one of the major rabble rousers was in charge of the Boston Mob. Not an organized crime mob but laborers and tradesmen whom he could get on short notice to start a demonstration or antagonize the soldiers in Boston. This came to a head in March of 1770 when soldiers taunted by the mob and pelted with snowballs opened fired on the crowd, the infamous Boston Massacre. The British sent more troops into the city in a show of force and of course the Boston Massacre became galvanizing event for the resistance.

    The crown backed off for a time and for several years an uneasy peace reigned with only minor conflicts. However, with the passing of the Tea Tax, colonial passions were again flamed which resulted in the Boston Tea Party. As everyone knows, Sons of Liberty dressed as Indians went aboard ship and dumped the equivalent of hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of tea into the harbor. While the Indian garb may have been to disguise those involved, it was actually used because Indians were considered the symbol of a free people.

    The crown, outraged sent more troops, implemented more restrictions such as the Townsend Acts which implemented financial sanctions and import, export regulations. These were met with more resistance. By 1774, the American colonies were under martial law and Boston was occupied by thousands of troops sent in to enforce the mandates of the Coercive/Intolerable Acts.

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    Part 4 More Trouble
    By 1774, the colonists were not only resisting but actively planning for the inevitable. Because the crown banned public meetings and militias the colonists set up "Committees of Correspondence". Paul Revere was basically the chief messenger and director of communications between the various groups spread throughout the colonies. He often made long dangerous rides carrying dispatches from the leaders in Boston to New York, Philadelphia and the other colonies.

    Banning the militias only heightened their activities. What was for years a rag tag group of farmers and shop keepers were now openly arming and training out in the towns and villages.

    Colonies had also formed provisional governments and holding meetings in open defiance of the law. John Hancock was the president of Massachusetts provisional congress along with his chief mentor and aide Sam Adams.

    General Gage of course knew all of this. Most of the people in the colonies were not for revolution. Most did not support the movement and were loyal to the king. As loyalists they felt obligated to keep the Gage's forces apprized of what was going on out in the countryside. Even many of leaders of the resistance were not openly for revolution but belonged to stand up for their rights as free Englishmen.

    In February of 1775, Gen. Gage received information of more stock piling of weapons, this time in Salem, Massachusetts. With good intelligence at hand he sent a ship load of soldiers to Salem. The orders were to arrive early Sunday morning, stand off until daybreak and then make their way to town while everyone was still sleeping or at church. The destination was a local forge where they had information that ship's cannons were being converted to field pieces.

    The troops came ashore and quietly made their way to town only to be observed by a local. He ran back to the village and raised the alarm. The villagers turned out led by the local minister. When the regulars (what they were called by the locals) reached town they were greeted by a raised draw bridge and a angry crowd on the other side. The officer in charge demanded the bridge be lowered while the minister engaged him in conversation and negotiation. Finally the bridge was lowered and the troops were allowed to pass.

    Reaching the foundry the soldiers found it had been stripped clean while the minister stalled them at the bridge. They returned to Boston empty handed and embarrassed.

    Stay tuned..

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    Good posts. I recommend reading Conceived in Liberty by Rothbard. It covers this very well.

    One correction I would have from the posts is that most people were for the Revolution, but they still felt they owed allegiance to the king (reminds me of the rampant idolatry we call nationalism today). The battles and war for Independence would have never happened without majority support.
    I am not anti Cop I am just pro Citizen.

    U.S. v. Minker, 350 US 179, at page 187
    "Because of what appears to be a lawful command on the surface, many citizens, because
    of their respect for what only appears to be a law, are cunningly coerced into waiving their
    rights, due to ignorance." (Paraphrased)

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    Many parallels to current times.

    Looking forward to the next installment.
    Provision for free medical attendance and nursing, for clothing, for food, for housing, for the education of children, and a hundred other matters, might with equal propriety be proposed as tending to relieve the employee of mental strain and worry. --- These matters obviously lie outside the orbit of congressional power. (Railroad Retirement Board v Alton Railroad)

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    Part 5- Tensions Rise
    In March of 1775, Dr. Joseph Warren, a prominent Boston physician and head of the intelligence gathering operation in Boston gave a rousing oration on the 5 year anniversary of the Boston Massacre. In attendance at the church that day were numerous British officers who hissed and booed so loudly that they were run out into the street. Troops were summoned to quell the near riot.

    By now, Revere, Warren and the mechanics were patrolling the streets every night looking for any signs of mobilization. In early April Warren received letters off a packet ship from England that another raid was imminent. Reports started coming in that British officers in plain clothes were seen out surveying the roads west of Boston and watching militia units. They were identified in the taverns and way stations by the fact they were carrying pistols under their cloaks. No one carried pistol but army officers.

    The concern became so great that during the second week of April Paul Revere rode the 18 miles west to Concord to warn John Hancock, Sam Adams, Dr. Benjamen Church. Church, another Boston physician, was head of the security committee. He and the others were in Concord conducting meetings of the provisional congress.

    Back in Boston, orders for Gen. Gage had arrived on the same ship from which Dr. Warren received his letters. Gage's orders were clear. He was to make all efforts to quash the insurrection and arrest the leaders, particularly Hancock, Adams and Revere. Gage had his own intelligence organization in place. He knew of the meeting in Concord. He also knew that large stores of military goods were in Concord and he exactly who had them and where they were. He knew the strength and size of the militia units along the way. He knew the conditions of the roads. He also knew that his army was being closely watched.

    Gen. Thomas Gage had up to this point been roundly criticized in London for not cracking down on the rebels earlier or more harshly. Some of his junior officers referred to him behind his back as "Old Lady Gage" for not rounding up and hanging the leaders. He chose however to use a softer hand knowing that harsh treatment would only inflame the passions of the colonist.

    His actions were also tempered by the fact that he had lived in the colonies since the 1740s and because of his wife,Margaret Kimble Gage was the American born daughter of rich family in New Jersey. She was heiress to the family fortune and she and Gage held large estates in New Jersey and large plantations in the West Indies. He loved his wife and had a lot to lose if a revolution started.

    Margaret was the top rung of society being married to the most powerful man in north America. She was sometimes called the Queen of America but she was sympathetic to the cause of liberty.

    Gen. Gage formulated his plan. On April 18th, under cover of darkness, he would send a column of troops under the command of Col. Francis Smith. Their sealed orders, only opened after they left Boston would be to go to Concord and confiscate or destroy all military stores hidden there. They were to arrest Hancock and Adams and any other rebel leader the ran across and return to Boston by noon of the next day. Hours before their departure, he would send out 20 officers in advance to spread out along the roads to pick up any messengers coming out of Boston.

    In order to keep the plan a secret, he would tell only three people. They were Col. Smith who would lead the brigade of 700 men, his second in command, Gen. Hugh Earl Percy, and inadvertently his wife Margaret.

    On April 18th, Revere and Dr. Warren were kept busy by reports of a mobilization. Boats were being lowered from all the war ships in the harbors. Army officers were telling stable boys to get their horses ready. Troops had been confined to quarters or being called into garrison. As the day wore on and the soldier retreated back into their quarters Boston became quiet. Tension hung in the air. Something was up and everybody knew it.

    continued...

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    Part 6- It Begins
    By evening, troops were being moved to the south end of Boston near the back bay. It was still unknown which direction the army would move. Would they take the short route by boat across the bay or would the march out by road?

    In those days, Boston was only connected to land by a narrow strip of land called Boston Neck. The road in and out was controlled by a gate. If the army marched south they would have to swing south around the bay then back up to Cambridge to get to the road west to Concord. If they took the shorter route across the bay they would essentially land in a swamp and make their way west to pick up the road from Charlestown to Cambridge. The water route was shorter but would take more logistics to move 700 men across the bay.

    Learning of the troop movements Dr. Warren called upon his one intelligence source high up in Gen. Gage's command. He was able to get details of the plans of the column.

    Immediately Warren called on Revere and another man named William Dawes. Their preconceived plan was put into place. Revere would cross by boat to Charlestown and proceed west to put out the alarm. Dawes would try to get out the south end of Boston and spread the word as well with the idea the one of the two of them might get through. The penalty if caught was likely the hangman's noose.

    With the troops massing at the south end, it was still unknown which way they would go. Another part of Revere's and Warren's communication plan was implemented. As soon as troops started moving observers would spread the word to a pair of men in the north end. Those men, vicars in the North Church would then post lanterns in the steeple. One if the troops went out Boston neck and two lanterns if they went across the bay in boats.

    Paul Revere made his way to the water's edge on the north side of Boston. He was met by two men who began rowing him across the bay. The moon was full and laying in it's mooring out in the bay directly in their path was the British ship of the line, HMS Somerset.

    more later...

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    Part 7- The Ride
    While Paul Revere was being rowed across the bay to Charlestown, William Dawes had to make his way across Boston Neck, through the gate blocking entry to the city and take the long way toward Lexington. The guards at the gate were ordered not to let anyone in or out but Dawes had developed a relationship with the guards. He may have slipped them a drink, a coin or just a good word and was allowed to pass.

    Paul Revere's boat was quietly rowed and was able to skirt the HMS Somerset by staying in it's moon shadow. Reaching the far shore he was met by his contacts and given a horse named Brown Beauty. The horse was chosen because of it's speed and endurance. Looking back toward Boston, Revere and his contacts noticed two lanterns in the North Church steeple. The army was coming by the short route over the river, he needed to hurry.

    Revere's ride was to take him through Charlestown down the Charlestown neck and into open country where he would pick up the west road north of Cambridge. As he swiftly rode he swung south and noticed a pair of riders in the road ahead. He slowed and upon realizing they were British Officers, wheeled his horse around and took off across the fields. The officers gave chase. One was eventually bogged down in mud and Revere was able to outrun the other. The choice of Brown Beauty had been a good one.

    The chase had pushed Revere north and fearing other riders he chose to take the north road up to Medford a detour of 5 or 6 miles out of the way. This did however afford him the opportunity to contact local leaders who in turn sent out other rides to spread the word.

    Unlike popular myth, Revere did not ride through the countryside shouting "the British are coming". He and everyone else considered themselves British so it didn't much sense to call them what they themselves were. He also didn't shout out, instead he had a well established fan out notification system in place. He would wake the local leader who in turn would send out more riders. By this method by the end of the night some 80 riders had spread the word to a distance of 100 miles away.

    After Medford, Revere swung south back down to Menotomy (now modern day Arlington) and notified his contacts there. After a short rest he turned west on the road to Lexington. Revere reached Lexington around midnight.

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    This is fascinating reading - keep up the good work!

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    Part 8- The Column
    While Revere was riding west to Lexington, Col. Smith's column was assembling at the water's edge on the south end of Boston. The officers who were present did not know the mission and were only told to get their companies in line. By 10 pm the units that were supposed to have been ferried across were still being formed and no progress was being made. Large wooden skiffs were present but there was not enough of them to carry the 700 men across. Col. Smith was not in attendance and arguments broke out among the officers as to who should go first.

    The troops had been issued the standard combat load of 36 rounds of ammo for their .75 cal smooth bore Brown Bess, flint lock muskets. They also carried the requisite 18" triangular bayonet, cartridge box and haversack for food and personal items.

    Col. Smith arrived near midnight and found his troops still on the eastern shore of the Charles River. He quickly got his officers in order and the troops began moving across. The troops were packed shoulder to shoulder in the low skiffs with water all the way up to the gunnels. They were set ashore at a place called Lechmire Point in a marsh at high tide. Many had to wade ashore in waist deep water.

    Once ashore it was learned that food rations had not been issued. A call was put out to the navy to bring rations. The navy responded by clearing out their spoiled and rotten supplies which once issued, the soldiers promptly threw them away.

    Long after Paul Revere had reached Lexington and the militia turned out, the troops were finally ashore and assembled. The orders were given to march west.

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    Part 9- Lexington
    Upon reaching Lexington Paul Revere immediately went to the house of Reverend Jonas Clark. He knew that John Hancock and Sam Adams when warned out of Concord a few days before had retreated to Rev. Clark's house. This house was chosen because Hancock's grandfather had built the church and rectory and served as it's minister for many years before Clark took over. Hancock was well known in the town having spent a great deal of time there with his grandfather.

    Revere was surprised to be stopped by armed militia men as he approached the house. He was told that earlier in the day 8 men on horses identified as army officers had come through town. John Parker the militia captain had ordered the same number of his men to protect Hancock and Adams.

    Revere, Hancock, Adams and Parker met to discuss what to do. Hancock wanted to stay and fight but Adams and Revere talked him out of it. Parker decided he would call out his militia and send scouts east toward Boston to try and locate the column. As they discussed, William Dawes, the other rider out of Boston showed up.

    After some rest and food, Adams and Hancock were to leave town as soon as possible while Revere and Dawes would continue their ride to Concord.

    On the road out of town, Revere and Dawes ran into a man who turned out to be Dr. Samuel Prescott from Concord. Prescott had been in Lexington visiting his fiance' Lydia Mulligan. While talking Prescott informed Revere that he was "a true son of liberty" and would help spread the word. Since he was doctor he knew most of people in Concord and surrounding area.

    As the trio rode west they noticed a couple riders along the road ahead in the moonlight. Moving forward two more riders appeared from the shadows under the trees. Four more riders suddenly appeared behind them and they realized these men were British officers. Faced with 8 armed men with pistols and nowhere to run Revere and his companions were forced to surrender. The officers, a combination of lieutenants and sergeants forced the men off the road into a stone walled coral. A quick glance among the men was exchanged and all three spurred their horses forward. Prescott and Dawes managed to clear the wall and escape while Revere's reins were seized by the nearest officer. Revere was caught and ready to pay the price.

    Stay tuned...

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    Part 10- The Alert
    Sixteen year old Billy Diamond lay asleep in his house with his family. He was warm and comfortable under the quilts and blankets huddled together with his brothers and sisters. There was no central heat just a fireplace that had burned down leaving the house cold in the mid April night.

    Suddenly he was shaken awake by his mother."Billy get up, there is trouble in the village, take your drum." He was still groggy when he and his father started the walk into town. He was also cold in the chilly New England air. He noticed the full moon. The same moon that saw Paul Revere rowed across the river earlier in the night was now high in the sky. He could hear the meeting house bell ringing in the distance.

    As they walked he noticed other people in other houses moving about in the flickering candle light. He noticed other men and boys moving silently along, the bright dots of candle lanterns swaying as they walked.

    One of those boys he saw was Jonathon Harrington. Jonathon was walking with his father and cousin Caleb Harrington. As they reached the town square, known as Lexington Green, his family met at Jonathon's uncle and namesake's house at the north end of the green.

    Prince Esterbrook was already awake in his shack behind the main house when there was a knock on his door. "You don't have to go" his master said. Prince knew the value of freedom by not having any. As a slave he thought maybe these white men might appreciate what they had if it was in danger of being taken away. He had already decided. He would go. "I am ready," he said as he stood.

    Captain John Parker was 40ish. He was a veteran of the French Indian War. He had been in Roger's Rangers an elite company for it's time. Parker had been elected Captain of the Lexington Militia by his friends and neighbors because of his steady hand, resolute demeanor and experience.

    Parker watched the men file singly or in small groups onto the green. When he saw Billy Diamond and the young Jonathon Harrington he walked over to them, put a hand on each of their shoulders and said, "I need you boys to stay close to me. Billy, beat assembly to call the men in. When they are formed, Jonathon play something on your fife while we wait for the others."

    Diamond the company drummer and Harrington the company fifer did as they were told. Both were only five years old when the trouble started. From the time they could remember all they heard from their elders was about how their liberty was being taken away. They had grown up under the shadow of government oppression and they were both eager to stand up against it no mater what the cost.

    As the men and boys formed that day they had no idea what to expect in the coming hours. Standing in armed defiance to the crown was treason.

    There was no health insurance or life insurance to help their families if wounded or killed. There was no social security or welfare. The death or disablement of the bread winner in the family meant destitution for the whole family. The was no emergency medical service to respond if wounded. There were no anesthetics to dull the pain. There were no antibiotics to prevent infection.

    The choice was not simple and it's consequence this day was likely the hot lead of a musket ball, the cold steel of the bayonet or the hangman's noose.

    Yet, the women of the town sent their sons and husbands, brothers, fathers and grandfathers. They were as young as 15 years and old as 70. The fathers stood with their sons, nine pairs on the green that morning. Nearly everyone on the green were related either by blood or marriage.

    They stood together as one in defense of liberty.

    to be continued.

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    Campaign Veteran ATM's Avatar
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    I've told this story dozens of times as a volunteer instructor with Project Appleseed, but I never tire of hearing and reading it again.

    Every American should know the real events of April 19th, 1775, the day our nation was truly born.
    The romanticized and largely inaccurate versions from poems written a century later and the diluted economic-centered versions popular in modern school texts completely miss the spirit, the lessons, the very point of the American Revolution and the events leading up to armed conflict in the colonies.

    Of the many excellent books available, the standard by which this story is told at Appleseed events comes from Paul Revere's Ride by David Hackett Fischer. Highly recommended reading.

    Thanks for posting this here and please continue.

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    Part 11 -The Advance
    Paul Revere stood in the darkness with 8 officers of the kings army surrounding him. A cocked pistol was pressed to his head and the officer demanded his name.

    "I am Paul Revere" he replied. Surprised, the men all looked at each other as if to ask "Paul Revere? THE Paul Revere?"

    "Do not lie to us sir, who are you and what are you doing about this eve?" Asked the leader.

    "I am Paul Revere and I beg your pardon. I am taking a message to Concord about the column of troops going there to deprive our countrymen of their rights and arms."

    The Lieutenant was started by this. He had no knowledge of the mission of Smith's column. His orders were simply to patrol the roads and arrest any messengers that might be out. As he pressed Revere for more information Revere readily obliged.

    Back in Lexington, Captain Parker had briefed his men on the green. He has sent scouts east to find the column. As the night wore on the men standing in the cool spring air became tired and restless. The initial surge of adrenaline had worn off and many fought to keep their eyes open. No word had yet come back from the scouts about the location of troops.

    Reveres was being pressed for more information. He thought that his only chance was to tell the truth but maybe enhance it a little. He began to tell his captors that they had been watching the troops assemble in Boston and knew from the outset the mission. He explained that by now all the supplies they were after in Concord had been removed and hidden. He told them that he had 500 men in Lexington waiting for Smith, the mission would be a disaster.

    Captain Parker surveyed his men. With no real idea of what was happening he decided to have the men stand down. "Men," he said. "Stand down but stay in town and within the sound of the drum." Many of the men including the Harringtons retreated to Uncle Jonathon Harrington's house on the edge of the green. Many others who had come into town from the surrounding countryside appreciated that the proprietors of the Buckman Tavern on the south edge of the green opened its doors to provide food and a chance to warm up. As those men gathered to enter the tavern they unloaded their muskets by firing a volley into the air. The cool damp air worked it's way into the black powder if given a chance. The only way to ensure proper operation was fire the muskets and then reload when the time came to go back out.

    Back on the road, Paul Revere was raising the anxiety of his captors with each telling of the massing of the militia. Suddenly as if on cue, a volley came from the direction of Lexington. The startled officers suddenly had to make a decision. Do they hold the prisoner, take him with them or ride quickly back to warn Smith of the ambush? An extra horse would be useful if they chose to race back to meet the column and surely they would be forgiven for not bringing the famous Paul Revere if it meant saving their fellow troops.

    Taking his horse and leaving Revere on foot the officers raced east hoping to meet Smith before he got to Lexington.

    continued....

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    Part 12- The Challenge

    Col. Smith's troops had reached Menotomy (modern day Arlington) just a few miles from Lexington when 8 of his officers rode up. Smith called a halt while he listened to them explain that they had caught Paul Revere and that there was 500 militia in town. No, they hadn't seen them themselves because they took a wide berth around Lexington to avoid detection but they had heard the shots, heard the bell ringing the alarm.

    Smith's troops themselves had heard bells in each town they passed through. They had heard shots off in the distance alerting the country side as they marched. He knew that there presence was known but was sure the colonists didn't know the purpose.

    Turning to Major Pitcairn, his royal marines were ordered to the head of the column. Pitcairn's marines, essentially light infantry, were to proceed as fast as they could in advance of the main body to Concord and carry out the mission.

    As the marines advanced on Lexington, Capt. Parker was suddenly made aware of one of his scouts returning to town. The scout reported that he had been trapped behind the column in Cambridge and only managed to get around them when they stopped in Menotomy. He reported that they were only a mile or so out and moving fast.

    Parker immediately ordered young Diamond to beat assembly. The men filed out of their houses and the Buckman Tavern and formed up again at the west end of the green.

    About this time Paul Revere walked into town from his ordeal on the road. Upon talking to Capt. Parker he was shocked to learn the Hancock and Adams were still in town. Revere immediately ran to Rev. Clark's house and confronted the reluctant Hancock. Hancock wanted to stay and fight. Revere explained that if he was killed or captured it would be devastating blow to the cause. He must leave, NOW!

    Hancock finally agreed to go. Urged on by Sam Adams they packed up and headed north out of town. Revere stayed behind and learned from Hancock's male secretary that all the papers from the provincial congress were in a trunk and still in his room at the Buckman Tavern. If those papers fell into the hands of the army, the cause and many people associated with it would suffer terribly. Revere determined to save the trunk.

    The Lexington Green is a triangular shaped space about 100 yards long and 50 yards wide at it's north west end. The narrow point is toward the east where the meeting hall stood. The road from Boston split at the meeting hall. The right fork going past Buckman Tavern across the street from the hall and continuing at a north west angle skirting the green. The left fork swung straight west to Concord.

    Parker's men in the meantime were formed at the wide end of the green. They were nervous and uneasy, not knowing what to expect. A few grumbled about how it wasn't worth it and talked about leaving. Parker said, "the first man to leave will be shot dead." These were his own friends and family standing with him. Most of them knew he meant it. The fear of Parker humiliating them and perhaps shooting them in front of their families was worse than the fear of the redcoats. They remained steadfast.

    As the dawn broke the sounds of many men on the road to the east became apparent. Revere and Hancock's secretary had reached Buckman Tavern and were wrestling with the heavy trunk. Jonathon Harrington's cousin Caleb, John Simmons and another man were on the second floor of the meeting house watching as the royal marines came into view on the road to the east.

    Major Pitcairn had put one of his firebrand lieutenants at the head of his column. Lt. Jesse Adair rode ahead and noticed men at the far end of the green. His mission was to go to Concord but he was itching for a fight. He wanted to teach these rebels a lesson. As his men reached the fork in the road he chose to confront the men on the green, he lead his two hundred men onto the right fork and then onto the green. He immediately formed them into battle lines.

    Paul Revere had seen the approach of the marines. He and Hancock's secretary barely got out the back door of the tavern when the marines spilled past them intent on forming on the green. Staying behind the tavern, he made his way behind the buildings skirting the road to the treeline as the troops formed their ranks.

    Seeing the ranks of soldiers spilling onto the green, the 70-80 man militia heavily outnumbered, took an involuntary step backward. Capt. Parker shouted to his men, "stand your ground men. Do not fire unless fired upon, but if they mean to have a war, let it begin here!"

    to be continued...

  18. #18
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    Part 13- The Fight
    Capt. Parker's 70 odd men watched the redcoats form into battle formation some 70 yards away, their bayonets glinting in the early morning light.

    Suddenly a rider from the back of the column rode up. Major Pitcairn swinging his pistol rode half the distance to the militia and shouted at them "lay down your weapons, ye villains, ye rebels, lay down your arms and disperse!"

    Capt. Parker had made his point. Vastly outnumbered he turned to his men and told them to disperse. At the same time a shot rang out. Paul Revere would later testify that it sounded like a pistol shot as he retreated with the trunk of papers. Others reported it came from the side of the green from behind a wall.

    No one knows who fired that first shot but we know who fired the first shots. Without orders, the front line of the regulars opened up in an ragged volley. The second line advanced and poured a full volley into the militia as they scrambled away.

    Most of the men wounded were shot in the back. Jonas Parker, Capt. Parker's uncle defiantly stood his ground yelling "I shall not run". He was knocked down by a musket ball. Prince Esterbrook was also wounded but helped off the field.

    The troops now out of control and ignoring orders charged the militia with bayonets, they bayoneted Jonas Parker as he lay on the ground and continued after all those who ran.

    Jonathon Harrington's uncle and namesake was shot in the back as he retreated. He rose back to his feat and collapsed again. Crawling on his hands and knees he made his way to the edge off the green. Falling into the arms of his horrified wife on their doorstep, he died as she and his children watched.

    At the other end of the green, Caleb Harrington, John Simmons and another were caught in the meeting hall as the redcoats swarmed on to the green. When the troops charged, Caleb, John and the other man attempted to make a run for it. They were seen by soldiers who fired upon them. The other man was wounded but was able to make it to the cover of a woodpile. Caleb was shot down and killed as he ran.

    Simmons was forced back into the meeting hall where he barricaded the door. The soldiers who fired upon him pounded on the door trying to gain entry. Simmons knew that if they entered they were likely to find the town's black powder supply stored on the second floor. He ran up the stairs as the troops broke down the front door and started searching for him. Picking up his musket, he thrust the muzzle into one of the barrels of powder. They would not get the powder, he thought to himself as he cocked the hammer and said a prayer.

    The soldiers still out of control were hunting down anyone they could find. Col. Smith in the main column rode to the sound of the fighting and was shocked to see his troops rampaging through the town ignoring their officers. He quickly grabbed a drummer and had him beat to assembly. The men, more out of conditioning than duty began to respond.

    The soldiers in the meeting house reached the bottom of the stairs, as they began to climb they heard the beat of the drum. They wheeled around and exited the meeting house angry that the rebel they had chased into it would slip through their fingers.

    It took some time for the troops to reassemble. Their blood lust was up and they were reluctant to stop. Col. Smith finally got them into order and calling upon his officers told them the mission.

    Many of the officers realized that they had just fired upon their own people. They knew that their men had gone out of control and they would be held responsible for the deaths. There would be courts-martial and trials. The countryside would be up in arms over this atrocity. They had another 8 miles further west to travel and another 18 miles back to Boston though hostile territory. To continue would be folly.

    Col. Smith looked past the officers to the men. They were still charged up for the fight. He listened to the arguments of his officers and clearly stated that the mission would continue. Turning back to the men, he ordered three HUZZAHS and a volley of musket fire to celebrate the victory.

    Forming back into column they began the march west to Concord.

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    Part 14- The Aftermath
    Capt. Parker standing on the green looked at the dead and wounded. He looked past the green to the houses and the heard the lament of the women and families who lost loved ones. He saw others scurrying about taking anything of value and burying it in the garden. He knew that the column had continued west and would come back through Lexington. He knew there would be reprisals against the town for standing up to the king's troops. He knew there would be pillaging and plundering.

    He also knew that if he didn't hide the bodies of those who were slain, the army would dig them up, and hang them out of spite and as a warning. His men would take the dead to the edge of the burial grown and dig a ditch. They would bury the dead including his uncle Jonas in the ditch and then cover the ditch with leaves, branches and brush to disguise the grave.

    He knew that the fight wasn't over. He began to prepare to avenge the attack on his town.

    Young Jonathon Harrington couldn't stop crying. He had lost his uncle and his cousin. He had seen his friends and neighbors shot down. Of the 9 sets of fathers and sons on the green, 5 were separated by death.

    The day had just begun. No one knew what would transpire that day or how it would end. They did know that by standing up for their liberty the spark of revolution had been lit.

  20. #20
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    Epilog
    At Appleseed they tell the story in three parts. Part one is the Lexington, story you just read. Part two is the events at Concord and part three is the fight back to Boston.

    We all know the story doesn't end in Lexington. The other two stories are as intriguing as the one you just read. You'll have to go to an Appleseed to hear the rest. It is well worth it.

    I did want to throw out some interesting tidbits about the story you just read.

    If you recall, Dr. Joseph Warren found out the details of the raid on Concord through someone high up in Gen. Gage's command. That person is thought to have been Gage's wife. Margaret Kimble Gage was American born and her high status in society put her in contact with many people including Dr. Warren. It was pretty evident who gave Warren the information. After the battle, Gen. Gage put her on a ship ferrying wounded back to England. They reportedly never lived under the same roof again.

    Dr. Warren was a widower with 4 young children yet he spent most of his time working for the cause. While the British were fighting their way back from Concord, he rode out and connected with the militia near Lexington. Despite have no military experience he distinguished himself in such close contact with the enemy that he was offered a Generalship after the battle. At one point a musket ball cut a hair lock (ribbon that held back his long hair) on his head.

    Warren refused the rank saying he hadn't earned it. In June of that year he was fighting as a private but in command of a delaying action on Bunker Hill. They were holding off the British advance until the militia could retreat. He was killed on the last charge up the hill by the British. Sadly Dr. Warren who is relatively unknown today, would likely have gone down in history of one of our great founding fathers, perhaps even a president had he lived.

    Major Pitcairn, the officer who led his Royal Marines on Lexington Green was also on Bunker Hill with Dr. Warren in June. He was however on the other side. Pitcairn was wounded in the last charge that took the hill and killed Dr. Warren. Pitcairn died in the arms of his son who was a Lieutenant in the king's army.

    Fifer Jonathon Harrington survived Lexington and went on to enlist in the Colonial Army. He fought in many battles and survived the war. He lived to a ripe old age.

    William Diamond, the Lexington drummer also survived the battle. He also enlisted and survived the war. He became a prominent citizen. Ten thousand people came to his funeral when he died.

    Capt. John Parker was sick from tuberculosis when he stood his ground at Lexington on April 19th. Later in the day he would lead his militia west and get his revenge against Col. Smith. He died in August of that year from the disease.

    Dr. Samuel Prescott rode to Concord after he escaped from the officers on the road. He warned the town and they sent out other riders to spread the word. His brother Able was one of the riders. Able Prescott as shot and killed later in the day at the south bridge while trying to return to town. Samuel Prescott never married his fiance'. He enlisted as a ship's surgeon and was captured. He died of disease aboard a filthy prison barge two years later. Without a word from him or about him Lydia Mulligan waited 7 years for him to return.

    William Dawes never made it to Concord. Upon escaping, he rode until he was thrown from his horse losing his pocket watch in the process. He decided he had had enough, turned and limped back to Boston. He later went back and found his watch.

    The black slave Prince Esterbrook was wounded but survived the Lexington battle. He signed on for a number of short term militia enlistments and then in the Continental Army. He and thousands of other blacks served in the first integrated army and the last until the Korean war.

    Esterbrook survived the war and was freed for serving as were many others. Their service in the revolution was the seed that grew into the abolitionist movement in the New England states after the war.

    Dr. Benjamin Church: Church was a prominent physician in Boston and in charge of the security committee for the Massachusetts provincial congress. He was in charge of the colonial secrets and security of John Hancock and Sam Adams. He was also a spy for Gen. Thomas Gage. It was Church who compiled a list of the guns and powder/supplies stored in Concord and the whereabouts of Hancock and Adams.

    It wasn't ideology that made him give secrets to the British general it was greed. Church had a wife and also kept a mistress. He spent his money poorly and was always in debt.

    On April 20th, the day after the events at Lexington and Concord Church was seen easily passing through the gate into Boston. Boston was now besieged by 14,000 militia and the British army was holding the city. Church was contacted by Paul Reveres' wife who gave him a note and 200 pounds (a huge sum of money) to give to Paul who needed money to live on outside the city. Paul never got the money and the note was found in Gen. Gage's papers after the war.

    People became suspicious of how Church could pass in and out of the city so easily. After the British evacuated Boston, Church was arrested and imprisoned. He was later banished from the colonies. The ship he got on to go to England never reached it's destination and was never seen again.

  21. #21
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    These were real people, not just nameless figures in a story. They sacrificed their lives and families to stand up for a revolutionary principle. That we, not some tyrant thousands of miles away, should govern ourselves.

    You may copy and paste this, please pass this on to family and friends but give credit to Appleseed and please include the link. www.appleseedinfo.org

    I suggest reading the rest of the history and then go to an Appleseed.
    http://www.appleseedinfo.org/

    Paul Revere's Ride
    http://www.amazon.com/Paul-Reveres-D...dp/0195098315/

    NCCS.net
    They have books, study courses etc.
    http://www.nccsstore.com/

    They also have a webinar that you can download for free with a study guide. I have taken this course twice Live. You will learn a ton.
    http://www.nccs.net/seminars/index.html

    The 5000 Year Leap
    http://www.amazon.com/5000-Year-Orig...dp/0880801484/

    The Making of America
    http://www.amazon.com/The-Making-Ame...dp/0880800178/
    Last edited by 1776; 02-02-2013 at 08:51 AM.

  22. #22
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    Mods, If at all possible I think this should be made a sticky.

    Not only can current members read this when they want but also future members.

    We have to know our history or it will be forgotten and repeated.

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