If you’d happened to be alive in 1775, and if you’d been paying attention to politics, and if you were in Boston hanging with your friends Adams and Hancock and company, you might have been part of History.
Really, we’re all part of history, but History was happening back then in the Colonies.
More specifically, the British troops got the notion (and by “got the notion” I mean were ordered) to grab the Patriots arsenal in Concord (and maybe grab one or two of those patriots in the process). On April 18, the troops began their march. (Yes, marching in April. I get the irony.)
Paul Revere and William Dawes were tasked with alerting the Minutemen. Back in the Old North Church, the Patriots waited to send Revere and Dawes a text about what to expect. They hung two lanterns (One if by land, two if by sea) to signal that the British were crossing the Charles River into Cambridge.
Revere and Dawes (who had taken separate routes, the better to ensure one of them got through) put spur to horse (neither horse appreciated it) and rode like crazy yelling, “The British are coming! The British are coming!” and wishing more people had satellite TV so they wouldn’t have to yell as much.
They both made it to Lexington (MA not KY) and warned Adams and Hancock before continuing to Concord (MA not plane).
Along the way they were joined by Samuel Prescott who’d been out sowing a wild oat or two.
By this time it was April 19th, the Minutemen were busy arming themselves, Dawes lost his horse (there has got to be a good story in there), and Revere was captured. Prescott zigged and zagged and made it through to Concord (MA not grape). Revere was questions (and by “questioned” I mean beat up) and then released.
By 5am (have I mentioned that nothing good happens at 5am?), Major John Pitcairn and 700 of his troops (soldiers not Boy Scouts–and enough of them to make one really good agent) arrived at the Common to find 77 militiamen.
I know you haven’t studied warfare strategy extensively, but back in the day, numbers mattered (just as they do in a bar fight these days). And just in case you think you might not have read the previous paragraph correctly, let me assure you that 700 is a great many more than 77.
There they were, standing around, wondering if anyone was going to invite anyone else to dance when Pitcairn the Major ordered the Patriots (he probably didn’t call them that) to disperse. After a moment or two of sullen looks and wishing for a light saber, the Patriots began to leave the green.
Suddenly, the “shot heard ‘round the world” was fired (forensics were unable to determine who fired that first gun). “Bang. Bang. Bang.” said the Revolutionary War as it battled its way into existence.
Eight Americans died during that battle; 10 more were wounded. Only one British soldier was hurt. The Americans immediately signed up for target practice and it was only a matter of time before the country was born and the world thought of us as Canada’s obnoxious neighbors.
Happy April 18!