Today is the two-hundred-forty-first anniversary of General Gage’s attempt at gun control that sparked a revolution. It is also a story of resilience and courage at the beginning of this nation.
Capt. John Parker had lost eight men killed and ten wounded to British Regulars on Lexington Green early on the morning of April 19th. Parker, a veteran of the Battles of Quebec and Louisburg during the French and Indian War, was also dying from tuberculosis and would succumb to it five months later at the age of 46.
One might have thought that Capt. Parker having just lost about a quarter of his militia company and dying from consumption would have retired home to lick his wounds. However, Parker showed a resilience that became a hallmark of the American colonists over the next eight years as they fought for their independence from Great Britain.
In what became to be known as “Parker’s Revenge”, he reorganized his men on a hillside overlooking a curve in the road between Lincoln and Lexington. There he and his men, many of whom were wounded, awaited the return of the British soldiers from Concord. The hillside was reported to be dense with brush and strewn with boulders behind which the militia obtained cover.
When Parker’s men sprung their ambush, this time it was the British who paid the heavier price.
Parker waited until the regulars were directly in front his men, then opened fire with a volley that wounded Colonel Smith in the thigh and knocked him from his saddle. The front of the column stopped briefly under the fire, which was the worst possible reaction. As the rear of the column packed into its front, Major Pitcairn galloped up to get the regulars moving again. With Smith wounded, Pitcairn assumed active command of the column and sent troops up the hill to drive the Lexington militia away. The regulars succeeded, but this took time and allowed other militia and minute companies to get ahead of the column again and continue the ring of fire. The provincials were able to ambush the regulars again just a few hundred yards down the road.
Militiaman Jedediah Munroe, who had been wounded earlier in the day at Lexington Green, died in the ambush as did several British soldiers.
The site of Parker’s Revenge has been the subject of recent archaeological studies as well as National Park Service research. One of the findings is that the two opposing sides were within 80 yards of one another.
The lessons from Parker’s Revenge are obvious. We need to be resilient in the face of challenges from forces that on the face of it are stronger. Put in the context of gun rights, we face an enemy that is better funded due to Michael Bloomberg, that has a fawning and compliant mainstream media behind it, and that has the weight of many politicians behind it. We may lose a number of battles but, if we stay resilient, we will maintain and (hopefully) broaden our God-given rights.