Thursday, April 19, 2012

Anniversary of The Shot Heard Around the World

The Concord Hymn

by Ralph Waldo Emerson

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 which seaward creeps.

On this green bank, by this soft stream,We set to-day a votive stone; That memory may their deed redeem,When, like our sires, our sons are gone.

Spirit, that made those heroes dare To die, and leave their children free, Bid Time and Nature gently spare The shaft we raise to them and thee

It’s the anniversary of the shot heard around the world. The battles of Lexington and Concord changed the political landscape between colony and protectorate. It was the catalyst when man became a citizen, instead of a subject. April 19, 1775 will forever be remembered as the day we became Americans.

Here is an excerpt from Rebels and Redcoats describing the retreat of the British regulars:

Our men had very few opportunities of getting shots at the rebels, as they hardly ever fired but under cover of a stone wall, from behind a tree, or out of a house, and the moment they had fired they lay down out of sight until they had loaded again or the column had passed, In the road indeed in our rear, they were most numerous and came on pretty close, frequently calling out “King Hancock forever!” Many of them were killed in the houses on the roadside from whence they fired; in some of them seven or eight men were destroyed. Some houses were forced open in which no person could be discovered, but when the column had passed, numbers sallied out from some place in which they had lain concealed, fired at our rear guard and augmented the numbers which followed us. If we had had time to set fire to those houses, many rebels must have perished in them, but as night drew on Lord Percy thought it best to continue to march. Many houses were plundered by the soldiers, notwithstanding the efforts of the officers to prevent it. I have no doubt this inflamed the rebels and made many of them follow us farther than they would otherwise have done. By all accounts some soldiers stayed too long in the houses were killed in the very act of plundering by those who lay concealed in them. We brought in about ten prisoners, some of whom were taken in arms. One or two more were killed on the march while prisoners by the fire of their own people.

Even some women got into the fight:

….even women had firelocks. One was seen to fire a blunderbuss between her father and husband from their windows. There they three, with an infant child, soon suffered the fury of the day. In another house which was long defended by eight resolute fellows, the grenadiers at last got possession, when after having run their bayonets into seven, the eighth continued to abuse them with all the [beastlike] rage of a true Cromwellian, and but a moment before he quitted this world applied such epithets as I must leave unmentioned….

And for the progressives, here is a little primer to help you along on American history:

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