Capt. Parker stood looking at the dead and wounded. He looked past the green to the houses and the heard the lament of the women and families who lost loved ones. He saw the women scurrying about taking anything of value and burying it in their gardens. They knew that the column had continued west and would come back through Lexington. They knew there would be reprisals against the town for standing up to the king’s troops. They knew there would be pillaging and plundering.
Parker also knew that if he didn’t hide the bodies of those who were slain, the army would dig them up, and hang them out of spite as a warning. His men would take the dead to the edge of the burial grown and dig a ditch. They would bury the dead including his uncle Jonas in the ditch and then cover the grave with leaves, branches and brush to hide it. He knew that the fight wasn’t over and he began to prepare to avenge the attack on his town.
Young Jonathon Harrington couldn’t stop crying. He had lost his uncle and his cousin. He had seen his friends and neighbors shot down. Of the 9 sets of fathers and sons on the green, 5 were separated by death.
The day had just begun. No one knew what would transpire that day or how it would end. They did know that by standing up for their liberty the spark of revolution had been lit.
We all know the story doesn’t end in Lexington. In fact it was just beginning. At Appleseed we tell the story in three parts. The other two stories are as intriguing as this one if not more so. I’ve told these stories dozens of times and I wrote this one based on memory. It took a bit of effort to condense the events down into a story form so I am not going to do the other two parts.
Sorry, you’ll have to go to an Appleseed to hear the rest or contact Appleseed or me to come to your group and tell you the story. It is well worth it.
I did want to throw out some interesting tidbits about what happened to some of the people in the story I just told.
Dr. Joseph Warren was a widower with 4 young children yet he spent most of his time working for the cause. While the British were fighting their way back from Concord, he rode out and connected with the militia near Lexington. Despite have no military experience he
distinguished himself in such close contact with the enemy that he was offered a Generalship after the battle. At one point a musket ball cut a hair lock (ribbon that held back his long hair) on his head.
Warren refused the rank saying he hadn’t earned it. In June of that year he was fighting as a private but in command of a delaying action on Bunker Hill. They were holding off the British advance until the militia could retreat. He was killed on the last charge up the hill by the British. Sadly Dr. Warren who is relatively unknown today, would likely have gone down in history of one of our great founding fathers, perhaps even a president had he lived.
If you recall, Dr.Warren found out the details of the raid on Concord through someone high up in Gen. Gage’s command. That person is thought to have been Gage’s wife.
Margaret Kimble Gage was American born and her high status in society put her in contact with many people including Dr. Warren. It was pretty evident who gave Warren the information and she paid a heavy price. After the battle, Gen. Gage put her on a ship ferrying wounded back to England. They reportedly never lived under the same roof again.
Major Pitcairn, the officer who led his marines on Lexington Green was dismounted from his house on the way back to Boston later in the day. His horse and horse pistols were captured by the militia and used by a Colonial general the rest of the war. Pitcairn also fought on Bunker Hill in June. He was wounded in the last charge that took the hill and killed Dr. Warren. Pitcairn died in the arms of his son who was a Lieutenant in the royal marines.
Fifer Jonathon Harrington survived Lexington and went on to enlist in the Colonial Army. He fought in many battles and survived the war. He lived to a ripe old age.
William Diamond, the Lexington drummer also survived the battle. He also enlisted and survived the war. He became a prominent citizen. Ten thousand people came to his funeral when he died.
Capt. John Parker was sick from tuberculosis when he stood his ground at Lexington on April 19th. Later in the day he would lead his militia west and get his revenge against Col. Smith. He died in September of that year from the disease. One of the iconic statues of the minuteman is based on Parker and stands on Lexington Green.
Col. Francis Smith was wounded later in the day. He was eventually shipped back to England.
Dr. Samuel Prescott rode to Concord after he escaped from the officers on the road. He warned the town and they sent out other riders to spread the word. His brother Able was one of the riders.and was killed later in the day at the south bridge while trying to return to town. Samuel Prescott never married his fiance’. He enlisted as a ship’s surgeon and was captured. He died of disease aboard a filthy prison barge up in Canada two years later. Without a word from him or about him Lydia Mulligan waited 7 years for him to return.
William Dawes, the other rider out of Boston never made it to Concord. Upon escaping outside of Lexington, he rode until he was thrown from his horse losing his pocket watch in the process. Battered, bruised and frightened, he decided he had had enough. He turned around and limped back to Boston. He later went back and found his watch.
Prince Esterbrook was wounded but survived the Lexington battle. He signed on for a number of short term militia enlistments and then in the Continental Army. He and hundreds of other slaves served in the first integrated army and the last until the Korean war. Esterbrook survived the war and was freed for serving as were many others. Their service in the revolution was the seed that grew into the abolitionist movement in the New England states after the war.
Dr. Benjamin Church was a prominent physician in Boston and in charge of the security committee for the Massachusetts provincial
congress. He was in charge of the colonial secrets and security of John Hancock and Sam Adams. He was also a spy for Gen. Thomas Gage. It was Church who compiled a list of the guns and powder/supplies stored in Concord and the whereabouts of Hancock and Adams. It wasn’t ideology that made him give secrets to the British general it was greed. Church had a wife and also kept a mistress. He spent his money poorly and was always in debt.
On April 20th, the day after the events at Lexington and Concord Church was seen easily passing through the gate into Boston. Boston was now besieged by 14,000 militia and the British army was holding the city. Church was contacted by Paul Reveres’ wife who gave him a note and 200 pounds (a huge sum of money) to give to Paul who needed money to live on outside the city. Paul never got the money and the note was found in Gen. Gage’s papers after the war.
People became suspicious of how Church could pass in and out of the city so easily. After the British evacuated Boston, Church was arrested and imprisoned. He was later banished from the colonies. The ship he got on to go to England never reached it’s destination and was never seen again.
Paul Revere served throughout the war as an artillery officer. He was overlooked several times for higher rank and didn’t see much action which frustrated him. He went on to do his metal work and eventually started a foundry that made bells and became very successful. His greatest fame and what he is most remembered for came after his death as a result of Longfellow’s poem, ’The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere’.
General Thomas Gage continued to command the British army until relieved about a year later. He went back to England to wait out the war but never returned.