Like you all I’m looking forward to the time when things return to the new normal. This pandemic situation has persisted for way too long. Some of the SAR chapters are meeting in person now. We will be looking at this closely and hope to hold a dinner meeting in May. For this month, April, we will once again go with a virtual Zoom meeting on Tuesday, April 20th at 7pm. We lost our dinner meeting location as Mimi’s in Lake Forest is boarded up and looks to be permanently closed. As you venture out a little more please be on the lookout for a venue to host our chapter meetings. Please also pass on any ideas you may have on a topic to present at the chapter meeting.
Please consider attending the upcoming virtual Zoom chapter meeting. It’s important to maintain synergy, continue to meet as a group and promote the ideals of the Sons of the American Revolution. As noted in prior messages let’s keep doing our part to promote American patriotism in our community.
For this month’s brief history lesson, it was on April 19, 1775 (246 years ago) that the first shots of the Revolutionary War are fired at Lexington and Concord in Massachusetts. The news of the bloodshed rockets along the eastern seaboard and thousands of volunteers converge—called “Minute Men”—on Cambridge, Mass. These are the beginnings of the Continental Army.
Looking ahead, the 146th Annual Meeting of the California Society is on Saturday, April 17th from 9am to 12pm. This will be a virtual Zoom meeting. I plan on attending along with Jerry Hereford representing the South Coast chapter.
Stay safe and stay healthy my fellow compatriots.
R. Scott Whitman
April 20 Chapter Zoom Meeting
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic we will be conducting our monthly meetings using Zoom teleconferencing for a while. Our next meeting is on the third Tuesday, April 20 at 7:00 PM.
Members will be emailed a meeting link, meeting ID and passcode.
Upcoming Dates and Events.
Patriots’ Day Observed – Monday, April 19: Patriots’ Day, sometimes spelled Patriot’s Day, is an annual civic holiday, celebrated in Massachusetts, Maine, and Wisconsin, that commemorates the anniversary of the Battles of Lexington and Concord that occurred on April 19th, 1775. The Battles of Lexington and Concord were the first battles of the Revolutionary War in the United States. Patriots’ Day is celebrated every year on the third Monday in April.
The Boston Marathon is held every year in Boston, Massachusetts, United States on Patriots’ Day. However, this year the Boston Marathon is delayed until fall and scheduled to be run on Monday, October 11, due to COVID.
Mother’s Day-Sunday, May 9
Dinner Meeting – Tuesday, May 18: Hopefully it will be possible to conduct a live meeting at a restaurant or other venue.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
SUNG AT THE COMPLETION OF THE CONCORD MONUMENT,
April 19, 1836.
By the rude bridge that arched the flood,
Their flag to April’s breeze unfurled,
Here once the embattled farmers stood,
And fired the shot heard round the world.
The foe long since in silence slept;
Alike the conqueror silent sleeps;
And Time the ruined bridge has swept
Down the dark stream which seaward creeps.
On this green bank, by this soft stream,
We set to-day a votive stone;
That memory may their deed redeem,
When, like our sires, our sons are gone.
Spirit, that made those heroes dare
To die, or leave their children free,
Bid Time and Nature gently spare
The shaft we raise to them and thee.
The Battles of Lexington and Concord
Contributed by Kevin Forrest
On April 19th 1775, the American Revolution began with the Battles of Lexington and Concord. After years of building tensions between the 13 Colonies, particularly in Massachusetts, and the British authorities, the escalation to an armed conflict began.
On the night of April 18, 1775, hundreds of British troops marched from Boston to nearby Concord in order to seize a cache of arms and ammunition, as well as rebellion leaders Samuel Adams and John Hancock. Paul Revere and other riders sounded the alarm, and colonial militiamen began mobilizing to intercept the “Redcoat” column. An initial confrontation on the Lexington Town Green started the fighting, and after a larger battle at the North Bridge in Concord, the British retreated to their garrison in Boston under constant attack from the local Militia
Lead-Up to the Battles of Lexington and Concord
Beginning in 1764, the British Parliament enacted a series of revenue raising measures on the American colonies. Many of those measures, including the Sugar Act, Stamp Act and Townshend Acts, generated fierce resentment among the colonists who protested against “taxation without representation.” Boston, the site of the 1770 Boston Massacre and the 1773 Boston Tea Party, was one of the main points of resistance and this resulted in King George III of Britain ramped up the military presence there, and in June 1774 the city’s harbor was shut down until colonists paid for tea dumped overboard the previous year. Soon after, the British Parliament declared that Massachusetts was in open rebellion.
On April 18, 1775, Dr. Joseph Warren, a member of the Sons of Liberty, learned from a source inside the British high command that Redcoat troops would march that night on Concord. Two couriers, Boston silversmith Paul Revere and tanner William Dawes, to alert residents of the news. They went by separate routes in case one of them was captured. Revere crossed the Charles River by boat to get to Charlestown, where fellow patriots were waiting for a signal about the movement of British troops. They had been instructed to look at the steeple of Boston’s Old North Church. If there was one lantern hanging in the steeple, the British were arriving by land. If there were two, the British were coming by sea. Two lanterns were set out, and the covert signal was memorialized in American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s poem, “Paul Revere’s Ride,” in which he wrote:
“One, if by land, and two, if by sea;
And I on the opposite shore will be,
Ready to ride and spread the alarm
Through every Middlesex village and farm,
For the country folk to be up and to arm.”
As Revere carried out his mission in Charlestown, Dawes left Boston and traveled along the Boston Neck peninsula. The two met up in Lexington, a few miles east of Concord, where revolutionary leaders Samuel Adams and John Hancock had temporarily holed up. Having persuaded those two to flee, as a weary Revere and Dawes then set out again. On the road, they met a third rider, Samuel Prescott, who alone made it all the way to Concord. Revere was soon captured by a British patrol, while Dawes was thrown from his horse and forced to proceed back to Lexington on foot.
At dawn on April 19, some 700 British troops arrived in Lexington and came upon 77 militiamen gathered on the town green. The British Major yelled, “Throw down your arms! Ye villains, ye rebels.” The heavily outnumbered militiamen had just been ordered by their commander to disperse when a shot rang out. To this day, no one knows which side fired first, but several British volleys were subsequently unleashed before order could be restored. When the smoke cleared, eight militiamen were killed and nine were wounded, while only one British Regular was injured.
The British Regulars then continued into Concord to search for arms, not realizing that the vast majority had already been removed. They decided to burn what little they found, and the fire got slightly out of control. Hundreds of militiamen occupying the high ground outside of Concord incorrectly thought the whole town would be torched. The militiamen hustled to Concord’s North Bridge, which was being defended by a contingent of British soldiers. The British fired first but fell back when the colonists returned the volley. This was the “shot heard ‘round the world” later immortalized by poet Ralph Waldo Emerson.
After searching Concord for about four hours, the British prepared to return to Boston, located 18 miles away. By that time, almost 2,000 militiamen, known as minutemen, had descended to the area, and more were constantly arriving. At first, the militiamen simply followed the British column. Fighting started again soon after, however, with the militiamen firing at the British from behind trees, stone walls, houses and sheds. Soon, British troops were abandoning weapons, clothing and equipment in order to retreat faster.
When the British column reached Lexington, it ran into an entire brigade of fresh Regulars that had answered a call for reinforcements. However, that did not stop the colonists from resuming their attack all the way through Menotomy (now Arlington) and Cambridge. The British, for their part, tried to keep the colonists at bay with flanking parties and canon fire. In the evening, a contingent of newly arrived minutemen from Salem and Marblehead, Massachusetts, purportedly had a chance to cut off the British forces and perhaps finish them off. Instead, their commander ordered them not to attack, and the British were able to reach the safety of Charlestown Neck, where they had naval support.
Effects of Lexington and Concord
The colonists did not show great marksmanship that day. As many as 3,500 militiamen firing constantly for 18 miles only killed or wounded roughly 250 British soldiers, compared to about 90 killed and wounded on their side. Nevertheless, the relatively low casualties of the Battles of Lexington and Concord proved they could stand up to one of the most powerful armies in the world. News of the battle quickly spread, reaching London on May 28. A few months later, the British narrowly defeated the Americans in Battle of Bunker Hill on June 17, 1775, the low number of casualties once again showing the strength of patriot forces. By the following summer, a full-scale war of independence had broken out, paving the way for the creation of the United States of America.