Heard round the world…
0500 Lexington Green-
The British light infantry halted at Vine Brook, about a half mile from Lexington Green, in order to load their muskets. They then continued their advance. When they approached the Green they discovered Captain Parker’s company, about 77 men, formed up and in the open. Someone somewhere fired a shot. The light infantry then rushed onto the green with bayonets, and fired upon the retreating militia. Eight militiamen died on the town common in Lexington. Ten others were wounded. Captain Parker then worked to collect what was left of his company and take them back into the fight later that afternoon.
The British entered Concord. Thaddeus Blood, a Private in Captain Nathan Barrett’s Company was among an advanced party that marched about mile east from the center of town along a high ridge that runs along the north side of the road. There they saw the column of British soldiers, 700 strong in a column stretching about a quarter mile, marching toward them. Blood described the scene a follows:
“…we were then formed, the minute (men) on the right, & Capt. Barrett’s (militia company) on the left, & marched in order to the end of Meriam’s hill then so called & saw the British troops a coming down Brooks Hill. The sun was arising & shined on their arms & they made a noble appearance in their red coats & glistening arms…”
0930 Battle of the North Bridge-
When the British first deployed at the North Bridge, they were positioned on the west side of the river. This is the side where the Minute Man Statue now stands.
Hopelessly outnumbered by the advancing militia, the British soldiers pulled back to the east side of the bridge, where the 1836 Obelisk now stands, and hastily organized for defense.
As the colonial column advanced to within about 80 yards of the British position, a succession of three shots rang out from the British side and landed in the river on the right of the advancing minute men. Luther Blanchard, a fifer from Acton cried out that he was wounded. Major John Buttrick of Concord then gave the fatefull order “Fire! For God’s sake, fire!” This was the first time colonial militiamen were ordered to fire on British soldiers.
In all, twelve British soldiers were hit, three of them fatally. Four out of eight officers present were wounded. The rest of the British soldiers broke and fell back in disorder towards Concord. On the colonial side, Captain Isaac Davis and Private Abner Hosmer were killed. Four other militiamen were wounded.
By the time the British staggered back into Boston at 1930, the British casualties were 73 killed, 174 wounded, 26 missing. The Colonial casualties were 49 killed, 41 wounded, 5 missing.
Ralph Waldo Emerson memorialized that day in the poem Concord Hymn
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.