After spending four historically packed days in Boston, we thought we had a good grasp on the reasons for the beginnings of the Revolutionary War. But something still seemed void. We understood the unrest of the early settlers towards Britain, we read detailed accounts of Paul Revere racing through the country side warning the Massachusetts Bay Colony about the coming of the “Regulars” (aka Redcoats), and then the battle of Bunker Hill. Bunker Hill, we found out, was 2 months after Paul Revere’s ride, two months after….”The shot heard round the world.” That was the missing link. Though our itinerary had us going to Rhode Island the day after Boston, we made a one day deviation in our plans to find the last piece of the puzzle- Lexington & Concord.
Our first stop in Lexington was the house Paul Revere rode to the night of his famous ride. His mission was to warn Samuel Adams and John Hancock of the British’s plan to capture them (they were the leaders of the Continental Congress, an illegal governing body in the eyes of the King) and destroy colonial war provisions stored at Lexington.
Next, we visited the battle green in Lexington, the location where colonial militia lost 8 lives and found 10 wounded as the British forces marched past in their efforts to travel to Concord.
We drove the 5 mile stretch between Lexington and Concord, the very route the British Redcoats traveled as they prepared their assault on Concord. The U.S. Parks Department has actually created a National Park for this stretch of land called the “Minute Man National Memorial.” Then we found the missing link. The “Shot Heard Round the World”, the location that began the Revolutionary War but would eventually lead to our lasting establishment as a Nation.
After the British marched part way through Concord, and succeeded in destroying approximately 30% of the colonial war provisions, they were met by the “Minute Men” of the surrounding area- Men who had all committed themselves, on a minutes notice, to be ready for such an invasion. These men lined the North side of “North Bridge” as they waited for the coming army. This battle was the first time in history the colonial forces were ordered to fire on the British Army. The Minute Men succeeded in holding the British men from crossing the bridge and the enemy raid was forced to turn back and retreat. At the end of the day, the casualties added up to about 80 dead on the American side and 60 dead on the British.
Our mission (the Miller family’s I mean) had been complete. The missing link between Paul Revere and Bunker Hill had been bridged. The detour was well worth it. Mission accomplished. On to Rhode Island.