Sunday, April 19, 2020

The 19th of April, 1775


British Regulars marched out from Boston to confiscate the powder, shot, and weapons stored at Concord. Recognizing that this action made it "now or never", the Colonials formed up on the village green. They were not Americans. They were British subjects committing treason. They are only heroes in hindsight.

Their actions that day became the spark that lead to the Revolution.

I always take this day to remember one man. Samuel Whittemore, State Hero of Massachusetts. Born in 1696. Served in a Massachusetts Regiment in King George's War in the 1740s. On the 19th of April, 1775, he was 80 years old.

Upon hearing of the events of the day, he loaded his muskets and two French pistols he had kept from his prior service and went to intercept the retreating British. He shot one with the musket and another with the first pistol, with decisive result. He wounded a third with the last pistol. Then he drew a sword and attacked.

The rest of the British detachment shot him in the face, bayoneted him several times, and left him for dead. When he was found, he was trying to reload. He survived this, lived another 18 years, dying at the age of 98, a citizen of the United States.

"Stand your ground. Don't fire unless fired upon, but if they mean to have a war let it begin here." --Captain John Paarker, on Lexington Green, April 19, 1775.


libertyman said...

The monument gets his age wrong, but not what he did that day. His doctor who gave him no chance of survival, was Cotton Tufts, of the family that donated land to start Tufts University.

I think the Sudbury Minute Company still marches to Concord on the 19th of April every year. I made that march many times. Borepatch lived nearby for a time as well.

Ted said...

Yes The Carlisle ( the Town next to Concord ) do the same thing. But not this year. It always amazes me that the people here in the Boston area know almost nothing about why the British were Marching to Concord. They are much more focused on the Boston Marathon and the Monday Holiday. Some know the story of what Happened (vaguely ) but only a few Know why. The local media covers the reenactments with a 20 second story after spending hours on the Marathon coverage.

Brad_in_IL said...

There was another April 19th uprising a lot of folks know nothing about ... 1943 ... the Jewish uprising against German forces in The Warsaw Ghetto. SS forces ultimately prevailed, but the event marked a turning point none the less.

Goober said...

"If something is worth doing, it's worth doing hard af"

-Samuel Whittimore, probably

Sherm said...

Thanks for the reminder. It gives me a chance to reflect on my 4th great grandfather, Reuben Law, who was with the Acton Minutemen at the Old North Bridge and later at Breeds Hill.

Beans said...

And yet, today (well, to be fair, up to a month ago...) in Boston, they'll march to support murdering babies, to stop Israel treating the Palestinians poorly, to support 53,0000 non-existent 'genders' (which, really, are mostly made-up bullscat and mental illnesses, support crazies getting free drugs, supporting poisonous drugs, support illegal aliens, support space aliens, support their reproductive organs (as long as they're not talking about heterosexual Richards...) and on and on and on.

But real freedom? Real liberty? (insert sounds of crickets, wind blowing papers down empty streets, the sounds of state-supported stasi and their informers sneaking around in dark alleys...)

This day, April 19th, in America, was once a great and wonderful day. Today? To celebrate this day? Fallen times, fallen times.

My ancestors who fought, lived and died during the Revolution would be sneering or weeping as to what has become of 'Free Massachusetts.'

Or, since the lockdown, 'Free Virginia.' And my ancestors who fought for the South in the Civil Great Unpleasantness of Northern Aggression would weep over the losses of freedom in the last few weeks in the formerly great state of Virginia. Massachusetts? Probably feel the subjects in that state deserved it...

Old NFO said...

He was a tough old bird! Amazing story!

The Old Guy said...

Many years ago I was working in Massachusetts, where 1 April was a state holiday. A dozen or so of us at work rented canoes and paddled down the Concord River. When we got to the historical site we came onshore to eat our lunches.

While we were sitting at the picnic tables, a little sweetie in a Park Ranger uniform led a group of Japanese tourists down to the river and gave them her canned talk.

When the nice Japanese tourists had gone back to their tour bus, I asked the little sweetie why she didn't tell them the whole story? She looked puzzled and said, "Huh?"

I said why didn't you tell them the reason the British were here?"

She still looked perplexed and again said, "Huh?"

By this time I was getting a little hot under the collar, and said somewhat strongly, "Because General Gage was trying to pull the same bullshit them that Ray Flynn is trying to pull now!"

She, likely a volunteer, got all flustered and ran over to an adult Park Ranger, pointed over at us, and complained(?) rather excitedly to him. Unknown what he said to her, but by his gestures I assume he told her I was right.

The Old Guy said...

Correction: 19 April, Patriots Day

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

One of my favorite Revolutionary War stories.

Anonymous said...

I love the Sam Whittemore story. We should all be so lucky to follow in his footsteps.