Thursday, June 22, 2017

Minute Man National Historic Park

We did a quick a visit to the Minute Man National Historic Park in Massachusetts (on our way to Boston, so get ready for a bunch of Boston posts, dear reader). We parked at the Minute Man Visitor Center on the eastern end of the park. The park extends from Lexington in the east to Concord in the west, a four mile stretch along Route 2A.

Minute Man Visitor Center

The center has the usual interpretive exhibits about the battle. On April 18, 1775, the British forces in Boston decided to raid Concord, Massachusetts, where the colonials were stockpiling munitions.

Recreation of various munitions

A spy found out about the plan and warned some of the patriots. They sent Paul Revere and William Dawes to warn the colonials in the countryside. Dawes and Revere took separate routes out of Boston--Dawes to the south through Cambridge and Revere to the north through Charlestown. They met up near Lexington around midnight and met Samuel Prescott, who joined them in raising the alarm. On the west side of Lexington, the trio encountered some British officers who attempted to capture them. Prescott jumped his horse over a wall and he got away. Dawes also dodged capture. Revere was held for a while and then released.

Paul Revere

Dr. Samuel Prescott

By 5 a.m. the British Regulars arrived in Lexington where seventy-seven militiamen were assembled on the town green. The colonial officer told his men not to fire. The British seemed like they would pass but then they advanced on the green. A shot was fired though no one knows which side fired. The British killed eight colonials; the colonials dispersed and the British continued on to Concord.

In Concord, several hundred militia had gathered outside of town. They saw the British enter town and began to see smoke rising. They thought the town was being burned so they assembled by the North Bridge. The British opened fire and the battle was begun.

The British began a long retreat back to Boston, fighting a running battle with an ever-increasing colonial militia. At Lexington the British had some reinforcements as they continued on to Boston. By the end of the day, the British had 73 dead and 174 wounded; the colonials had 49 dead and 41 wounded.

The visitor center has a very informative and detailed video presentation of the battle. The portion of the trail from the parking lot to the center had some signs describing the battle and route. We didn't make it to any of the extant houses and bridges because we were on our way to Boston and time was running short. We hope to come back and see more on another trip.

Outdoor sign

Map of the British retreat

Rest of the map

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