Skip to comments.This Day in History, Lexington Green, the "shot heard round the world."
Posted on 04/19/2007 7:30:10 PM PDT by mdittmar
On April 19,1775, British and American soldiers exchanged fire in the Massachusetts towns of Lexington and Concord.
An eyewitness account of the start of the American Revolution and the shot heard 'round the world.
Twenty-three-year-old Sylvanus Wood was one of the Lexington militia who answered the call that spring morning.
Several years after the event he committed his recollection to paper in an affidavit sworn before a Justice of the Peace which was first published in 1858:
"I, Sylvanus Wood, of Woburn, in the county of Middlesex, and commonwealth of Massachusetts, aged seventy-four years, do testify and say that on the morning of the 19th of April, 1775, I was an inhabitant of Woburn, living with Deacon Obadiah Kendall; that about an hour before the break of day on said morning, I heard the Lexington bell ring, and fearing there was difficulty there, I immediately arose, took my gun and, with Robert Douglass, went in haste to Lexington, which was about three miles distant.
When I arrived there, I inquired of Captain Parker, the commander of the Lexington company, what was the news. Parker told me he did not know what to believe, for a man had come up about half an hour before and informed him that the British troops were not on the road. But while we were talking, a messenger came up and told the captain that the British troops were within half a mile. Parker immediately turned to his drummer, William Diman, and ordered him to beat to arms, which was done. Captain Parker then asked me if I would parade with his company. I told him I would. Parker then asked me if the young man with me would parade. I spoke to Douglass, and he said he would follow the captain and me.
By this time many of the company had gathered around the captain at the hearing of the drum, where we stood, which was about half way between the meetinghouse and Buckman's tavern. Parker says to his men, 'Every man of you, who is equipped, follow me; and those of you who are not equipped, go into the meeting-house and furnish yourselves from the magazine, and immediately join the company.' Parker led those of us who were equipped to the north end of Lexington Common, near the Bedford Road, and formed us in single file. I was stationed about in the centre of the company. While we were standing, I left my place and went from one end of the company to the other and counted every man who was paraded, and the whole number was thirty-eight, and no more.
Just as I had finished and got back to my place, I perceived the British troops had arrived on the spot between the meeting-house and Bucknian's, near where Captain Parker stood when he first led off his men. The British troops immediately wheeled so as to cut off those who had gone into the meeting-house. The British troops approached us rapidly in platoons, with a general officer on horseback at their head. The officer came up to within about two rods of the centre of the company, where I stood, the first platoon being about three rods distant. They there halted. The officer then swung his sword, and said, "Lay down your arms, you damned rebels, or you are all dead men. Fire!" Some guns were fired by the British at us from the first platoon, but no person was killed or hurt, being probably charged only with powder.
Just at this time, Captain Parker ordered every man to take care of himself. The company immediately dispersed; and while the company was dispersing and leaping over the wall, the second platoon of the British fired and killed some of our men. There was not a gun fired by anv of Captain Parker's company, within my knowledge. I was so situated that I must have known it, had any thing of the kind taken place before a total dispersion of our company. I have been intimately acquainted with the inhabitants of Lexington, and particularly with those of Captain Parker's company, and, with one exception, I have never heard any of them say or pretend that there was any firing at the British from Parker's company, or any individual in it until within a year or two. One member of the company told me, many years since, that, after Parker's company had dispersed, and he was at some distance, he gave them 'the guts of his gun.'"
I wonder if any American schools still teach this.
O thus be it e’er
when free men shall stand
Between their loved homes
and the war’s desolations....
By the rude bridge that arched the flood
Their flag to April’s breeze unfurled
Here once the embattled farmers stood
And fired the shot heard round the world
Spirit that made those heroes dare
To die and leave their children free
May God and nature gently spare
The shaft we raise to them and thee
Concord Hymn Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1837 (celebrating the dedication of the Obelisk, the Concord battle monument) By the rude bridge that arched the flood, Their flag to April's breeze unfurled; Here once the embattled farmers stood; And fired the shot heard round the world. The foe long since in silence slept; Alike the conqueror silent sleeps, And Time the ruined bridge has swept Down the dark stream that seaward creeps. On this green bank, by this soft stream, We place with joy a votive stone, That memory may their deeds redeem, When, like our sires, our sons are gone. O Thou who made those heroes dare To die, and leave their children free, -- Bid Time and Nature gently spare The shaft we raised to them and Thee.
God bless America.
Well I am glad someone else besides me remembers this day!
Years ago I hassled the state newspaper (Arkansas Gazette) about convieniently failing to rememeber what happened in 1775 on this day. The paper at that time was very anti-gun. they have since gone the way of the Dinosaur media.
If you want to see a really great representation of the patriots of that day, check out “The Minuteman” by Don Troiani.
bump for later
Ping... While the article doesn’t have anything to do with Washington, thought you might be interested in it anyway.
The MSM stations never mentioned the historical import of this date simply because there wasn’t enough time after discussing one little dweeb’s psychosis. I will be driving past the Saratoga Battlefield Memorial tomorrow, and I will stop and give thanks and restore my soul. Again, thank you so much for reminding me.
BAAAAAAWAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHH.....sorry....you’re joking, right? Of course they don’t.....
Yes, some still do. :)
Any Freepers care to pick up this ball and run with it?
It was my pleasure to do so.
On one of my trips to Boston to visit my daughter while she was attending Boston University, I got a chance to visit the Concord Bridge and see the monument. What a shame that Massachusetts is so dominated by people who don't have a clue what happened on "that famous day and year".
Farmers found themselves confronted by their own government's army, the most powerful armed force the world had ever seen, which was demanding the surrender of their arms. They would be truly ashamed of those who created the unarmed victim zone at Virginia Tech. As am I.
No, I teach this to 10th and 11th graders in the public schools. The curriculum is required by the state to be taught, which gives me the ability to teach the real story.
Not “all” public schools are bad and not “all” teachers are ignorant. Thanks :)
Here we have iron clad evidence that in fact their was no shot fired at all, and the Continental Congress has led us into a war of choice to support our Jingoist Paternalistic society, and our thirst for tea.
"Congress Lied, people DIED!!!"
I think the Democrats in the current US Congress should hold an immediate investigation to determine what really happened that day in April, and to begin posthumous impeachment hearings against all of the rich, white, slave holding white men responsible for this terrible war of aggression, and Karl Rove.
It's an obvious quagmire that's gone on for over 200 hundred years, and we need to immediately withdraw our forces and re-initiate surrender terms with the British.
Thanks. I was working from memory on that last stanza.
Please don’t even think that I was thinking that “all teachers are ignorant.” However, because I live on the LEFT coast (Seattle area) our schools curriculum are many times very wacky. Did your school participate in the “Day of Silence” or whatever it was recently?
We have a moment of silence every morning after the pledge.
“And the birth of the Greatest Nation in history of mankind”.
And the catalyst for it all was an exercise in GUN CONTROL by the British authorities.
I have considered committing it to memory. I think it rivals the Gettysburg Address for being clear and succinct.