The showdown between British troops and local militia was a bloody affair in Concord, Massachusetts.
On April 18, 1775, approximately 700 of Britain’s famous “redcoats” marched from Boston to the town of Concord. General Thomas Gage had been informed that a stockpile of ammunition was being kept there, and he ordered his men to destroy it all.
Amazingly, Gage was hoping that seizing and destroying this stockpile would convince the colonists to back down. He sorely underestimated them.
Gage’s army, led by Lt. Colonel Francis Smith, was set to secure two main bridges in town – the North Bridge and the South Bridge. The British were met by militia.
Emerson lived in the house built by his grandfather, Reverend William Emerson. Named “The Old Manse”, it was constructed in 1769 and just a stone’s throw from the North Bridge. The original Emersons had a front row seat to history as the British soldiers and colonial militia met face to face. They would have watched out of their upstairs windows as the guns fired.
It is an incredible place to visit. As you stroll through the wooded trails, you must remember how flat and open it all used to be. As farmland, the trees would’ve been few and far between. The Emersons would’ve seen the battle clearly, and the militiamen on high ground would’ve been able to see for miles – a good place to be when your opponent is closing in.
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 today 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.
Still in progress… thanks for your patience!