When thou goest out to battle against thine enemies, and seest
horses, and chariots, and a people more than thou, be not afraid
of them: for the Lord thy God is with thee… – Deuteronomy 20:1
It was early in the morning 0f April 19, 1775 that patriot militia members from Lexington faced the far larger, superior, and more highly disciplined regulars of the British army on Lexington Green.
The British column numbered 400 highly trained men, but only 77 patriots formed the line on Lexington Green, led by Captain John Parker. It was his statement that galvanized his men:
Stand your ground. Don’t fire unless fired upon,
but if they mean to have a war, let it begin here.
It has been long disputed who actually fired the first shot, but once the battle commenced, eight patriots were killed in the skirmish.
The Battle of Lexington: Painting by William Barnes Wollen (1910)
Dividing their forces, about 100 British marched on to Concord, seven miles distant, arriving about 11 AM. This gave the militia time to gather additional men and prepare for the confrontation. By the time the British arrived, 400 militia men were waiting.
This time, numerical superiority for the patriots proved decisive and the British retreated in mass confusion, leaving their wounded behind. It was a rout, but the day was not over.
Concord Bridge (not the original, but much like the 1775 version)
Photo by Sharon Otegaard
Throughout the day, as the British contingent marched back to Boston, the patriot militia, now numbering nearly 4,000 men, fired upon the enemy from behind stone walls, trees, and any cover they could find.
By the end of the day, the battle of Lexington and Concord was counted as a victory for the Massachusetts Bay Militia and the beginning of the Revolutionary War.
Today we recognize and honor those courageous men who fought against the finest professional military in the world. They stood their ground and set an example that would inspire others in the next eight years, leading to independence for the original thirteen colonies.
© Jeffery J. Michaels / Plain English Publications 2023
(Quotations allowed with attribution to this blog)