You know the rest. In the books you have read
How the British Regulars fired and fled,—
How the farmers gave them ball for ball,
From behind each fence and farmyard wall,
Chasing the redcoats down the lane,
Then crossing the fields to emerge again
Under the trees at the turn of the road,
And only pausing to fire and load.
Excerpt from “Paul Revere’s Ride” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Trivia: Casualties of the Battles of Lexington and Concord
Engraving by James Smilie
19 April 1775 As the British advance party approached shortly after dawn, 77 Minutemen were instructed by Captain Parker: “Stand your ground; don’t fire unless fired upon, but if they mean to have a war, let it begin here.” The British commander, Major John Pitcairn, who was pleasantly surprised by the small size of the American force, ordered the colonists, “Disperse, ye Rebels! Lay down your arms and disperse.” Some began to obey the order to leave, but held on to their arms. At that point a shot was fired — its source is unknown. Other shots quickly followed and when the smoke cleared, eight Americans lay dead and 10 were wounded; one British soldier was slightly wounded. The outmatched Minutemen retreated into the nearby woods and the redcoats proceeded westward to Concord.
Who actually fired the first shot cannot be answered with certainty, but a number of experts have theorized that it was probably an American who may have fired from a hidden position — perhaps from behind a stone fence or from the nearby tavern.
1775 Boston: Thanks to two Liberty riders, Lexington and Concord minutemen were warned of the Redcoat advance on their towns. Details of the midnight warning on the 18th of April are just becoming clear.
“I hung two lanterns in the Old North Church to signal a British advance by boat across the Charles River,” reported church sexton Robert Newman. “The prearranged signal was devised in case Revere was captured crossing the Charles River to Cambridge. In that event another rider could carry the message. Revere rowed passed the British Somerset, arrived safely, and galloped through the countryside from Charlestown on a borrowed mare, Brown Beauty, across the Mystic River to Medford raising the alarm. Young William Dawes carried the same warning but took the road south by way of Boston Neck, Roxbury, and Brookline and out to Lexington to meet up with Revere. These men deserve the credit for saving Hancock and Adams and the munitions stored in Concord.”
The Boston Local
Now you’ve gone and done it! All of Boston will suffer from the deeds of the Sons of Liberty (and some of their sons) at the Tea Party. Did ye think King George would ignore 14,000 British pounds of ruined tea? Now the port of Boston is closed until we pay for the tea, more Redcoats are arriving every day, and the citizens of Boston can no longer meet as they please unless they have permission from the royal governor. What a fine kettle of fish! Ye must know this will effect our daily lives and trades. Please let me know just how severe the impact is on your family because, in my misery, I need company.
Loyal to the crown,
Someone was caught lining their pockets with tea from the “party”. Though I do believe participants should remain nameless…..this culprit should be revealed.
This week’s trivia: Who was the guilty man!
17 December 1773
Dear customers of the Cobbler Shoppe,
I am writing a letter to the editor of the Boston Local and need your assistance. Could any of ye eyewitnesses let me know what you saw and heard on Griffin’s Wharf tonight? I need more details to make my point. I attended the meeting at the Old South Meeting House last night but had to return home to tend to my ill sister.
Boston: In the trial of the soldiers of the Boston Massacre, which began November 27, 1770, John Adams argued that if the soldiers acted in self-defense of their lives they were innocent. If the soldiers were provoked but their lives were not in danger, they were at most guilty of manslaughter. The jury agreed with Adams and acquitted six of the soldiers. There was overwhelming evidence that two of the soldiers, Kilroy and Montgomery, fired directly into the crowd; they were found guilty of manslaughter and branded with an M on their right thumbs.
John Adams: “These Regulars are citizens of Great Britain and as Englishmen deserve a fair trial.”
Boston: Because of the decline in profits as a result of the colonial boycott of imported British goods, Parliament has withdrawn all of the Townshend Act (1767) taxes except for the tax on tea. For three years colonists have paid taxes on glass, lead, paint, paper and tea. The boycotts have had their desired effect and Parliament has repealed all but the tea tax. Huzzah!
The Boston Gazette
Postscript: Charles Townshend estimated the Townshend taxes would produce ₤400,000 a year for the English treasury. He died on September 4, 1767, and never saw the strain his taxes put on the relationship between the “mother” country and her “children”.
At the suggestion and advice of Mercy Otis Warren, we have formed Committees of Correspondence to keep patriots in all the colonies in touch with each other. Horseback riders will carry messages from town to town, up and down the post roads from New England to Georgia. As Mercy says, “This will cement the union of the colonies.” Trustworthy post riders are needed to fulfill our mission.