Concord Hymn

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On July 4, 1837, the residents of Concord, Massachusetts dedicated a monument obelisk on the eastern side of the Old North Bridge to commemorate the second battle of the American Revolution. That battle took place 245 years ago today.

The monument which was erected in 1836 had this inscription:

HERE On the 19 of April, 1775, was made the first forcible resistance to British aggression[.] On the opposite Bank stood the American Militia[.] Here stood the Invading Army and on this spot the first of the Enemy fell in the War of that Revolution which gave Independence to these United States[.] In gratitude to GOD and In the love of Freedom this Monument was erected AD. 1836.

The dedication ceremony had speeches and a hymn written for the occasion by noted Concord resident Ralph Waldo Emerson. That hymn, Concord Hymn, became better known as one of the great poems in American history.

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 today 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, and leave their children free,
Bid Time and Nature gently spare
   The shaft we raise to them and thee.

Lines such as “the rude bridge that arched the flood” and “the shot heard around the world” have since passed into the lexicon of American history. Whether such history is still taught in schools is up for debate. If I had to hazard a guess, it has been supplanted by grievance studies telling how unjust, how racist, how whatever America is and always was.

Sigh.

Great Twitter Thread On April 19th

I didn’t get to post this on April 19th as I was helping take care of my granddaughters while their parents were away. If you turn your head on a one year old who has learned to crawl, they are into everything!

April 19th was the 244th anniversary of the “shot heard ’round the world” or the Battle of Lexington and Concord. We should never forget that the battle began when authorities tried to confiscate firearms from men who decided they’d rather be citizens than subjects.

Anyway, this Twitter thread is brilliant. I’ll only excerpt a part of it but I’d encourage you to read the whole thing.

We Forget The Lessons Of Lexington And Concord At Our Peril

Today marks the 243rd anniversary of the Battle of Lexington and Concord. The impetus for the battle was the attempt by the military governor of Massachusetts, Gen. Thomas Gage, to seize the arms and ammunition of the militia. Gage had been ordered by Lord Dartmouth, Secretary of State for the Colonies, to disarm the militia.

As I noted on the 242nd anniversary, the colonists were fighting to preserve the right to keep and bear arms that was one of their rights as Englishmen since at least 1689. Since the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, our right to keep and bear arms has been under continual attack. Moreover, some of these attacks have been led by our ostensible friends such as Gov. Phil Scott (R-VT) and Gov. Rick Scott (R-FL).

It doesn’t matter if it is raising the age to 21 to purchase a firearm, bump stock bans, restrictions on standard capacity magazines, extreme violence protection orders, universal background checks, or what not, these laws and regulations are intended to destroy our rights and to destroy the gun culture in America.

Ensign Robert Munroe, Issac Muzzy, Samuel Hadley, John Brown, Jonas Parker, Jonathan Harrington, Caleb Harrington, and Asahel Porter did not die on or near Lexington Green to see modern day Americans just toss their rights away.

Nor did John Robbins, Solomon Pierce, John Tidd, Joseph Comee, Ebenezer Munroe Jr., Thomas Winship, Nathaniel Farmer, Prince Estabrook, and Jedediah Munroe suffer grievous gunshot and bayonet wounds to have modern day American politicians push safety over freedom.

I imagine the men of Captain Parker’s Company of Militia were scared as they assembled on Lexington Green. There were only 80-some of them facing about 700 or so British regulars and Royal Marines. Nonetheless, they were willing to face off against the greatest army of its day. If we can’t stand up to a coterie of freedom-despising billionaires, their PR flacks, their media allies, and their trained-bear-act teens, it is a sad day for America.

242 Years Today A Group Of Farmers And Shopkeepers Stopped Being Subjects

Two hundred forty-two years ago today a group of subjects who insisted on their rights started along the path to citizenship.

It began when Gen. Thomas Gage, the military governor of the Massachusetts Colony and the commander in chief of the 3,000 or so British regulars, had been ordered by William Legge, the 2nd Earl of Dartmouth and the Secretary of State for the Colonies, to disarm the militia. Gage sent forth approximately 700 British infantrymen on the night of April 18th to seize the colonists’ arms stored at Concord. Their advanced guard led by Major John Pitcairn entered Lexington at sunrise and were met by approximately 80 militiamen.

According to the sworn statement of Captain John Parker who was their leader:

I … ordered our Militia to meet on the Common in said Lexington to consult what to do, and concluded not to be discovered, nor meddle or make with said Regular Troops (if they should approach) unless they should insult or molest us; and, upon their sudden Approach, I immediately ordered our Militia to disperse, and not to fire:—Immediately said Troops made their appearance and rushed furiously, fired upon, and killed eight of our Party without receiving any Provocation therefor from us.

Who actually fired the first shot will never be known conclusively. Nonetheless, someone did fire his musket and the American Revolution for all intents and purposes began.

The right to keep and bear arms had been well established as a right of (Protestant) Englishman since at least 1689 and this is what the militiamen at Lexington and Concord fought to preserve. While our rights today at the national level are under less threatened than they were in the past eight years, we still have to fight for them. No matter who is in the White House or who controls Congress our rights will always be susceptible to attack. That is why we must always remember April 19th and what it stands for.

Resilience

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.

On April 19th…

April 19th commemorates a number of things.

The Battles of Lexington and Concord was fought on this day in 1775 and thus began the Revolutionary War. It is the day in which farmers, shopkeepers, and Minutemen united as a citizen militia to battle Gen. Thomas Gage’s British regulars when the latter came for the former’s guns and ammo. It is an official holiday in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts where officials have long forgotten what the spark was that ignited the war.

76 men, women, and children died a fiery death in Waco, Texas when the FBI launched their attack on the Branch Davidian compound on this day in 1993. Regardless of who actually started the gun battle between the Branch Davidians and the ATF in February, no one can deny that many innocents died in the fire.

Two years later in 1995 (corrected), Timothy McVeigh “commemorated” Waco by blowing up the Murrah Federal Building in downtown Oklahoma City. 168 men, women, and children died in the bombing and scores more were injured.

Dave Hardy at Of Arms and the Law notes that the Washington Post only remembers one of these events.

Frankly, we should remember all three as each event imparts a lesson we should learn. I’ll leave it to you and to history to figure out those lessons.

April 19, 1775

Two hundred thirty-nine years ago today, an effort at gun confiscation by General Thomas Gage was the spark that started a revolution.

Sylvanus Wood was a Minuteman from Woburn, Massachusetts who responded to the call of the Lexington bell. Later in that fateful day, he is credited with being the first man to capture a British Regular during the American Revolution. Below is his sworn recollection of the battle on Lexington Green.

“I, Sylvanus Wood, of Woburn, in the county of Middlesex, and commonwealth of Massachusetts, aged seventy-four years, do testify and say that on the morning of the 19th of April, 1775, I was an inhabitant of Woburn, living with Deacon Obadiah Kendall; that about an hour before the break of day on said morning, I heard the Lexington bell ring, and fearing there was difficulty there, I immediately arose, took my gun and, with Robert Douglass, went in haste to Lexington, which was about three miles distant.

When I arrived there, I inquired of Captain Parker, the commander of the Lexington company, what was the news. Parker told me he did not know what to believe, for a man had come up about half an hour before and informed him that the British troops were not on the road. But while we were talking, a messenger came up and told the captain that the British troops were within half a mile. Parker immediately turned to his drummer, William Diman, and ordered him to beat to arms, which was done. Captain Parker then asked me if I would parade with his company. I told him I would. Parker then asked me if the young man with me would parade. I spoke to Douglass, and he said he would follow the captain and me.

By this time many of the company had gathered around the captain at the hearing of the drum, where we stood, which was about half way between the meetinghouse and Buckman’s tavern. Parker says to his men, ‘Every man of you, who is equipped, follow me; and those of you who are not equipped, go into the meeting-house and furnish yourselves from the magazine, and immediately join the company.’ Parker led those of us who were equipped to the north end of Lexington Common, near the Bedford Road, and formed us in single file. I was stationed about in the centre of the company. While we were standing, I left my place and went from one end of the company to the other and counted every man who was paraded, and the whole number was thirty-eight, and no more.

Just as I had finished and got back to my place, I perceived the British troops had arrived on the spot between the meeting-house and Bucknian’s, near where Captain Parker stood when he first led off his men. The British troops immediately wheeled so as to cut off those who had gone into the meeting-house. The British troops approached us rapidly in platoons, with a general officer on horseback at their head. The officer came up to within about two rods of the centre of the company, where I stood, the first platoon being about three rods distant. They there halted. The officer then swung his sword, and said, ‘Lay down your arms, you damned rebels, or you are all dead men. Fire!’ Some guns were fired by the British at us from the first platoon, but no person was killed or hurt, being probably charged only with powder.

Just at this time, Captain Parker ordered every man to take care of himself. The company immediately dispersed; and while the company was dispersing and leaping over the wall, the second platoon of the British fired and killed some of our men. There was not a gun fired by any of Captain Parker’s company, within my knowledge. I was so situated that I must have known it, had any thing of the kind taken place before a total dispersion of our company. I have been intimately acquainted with the inhabitants of Lexington, and particularly with those of Captain Parker’s company, and, with one exception, I have never heard any of them say or pretend that there was any firing at the British from Parker’s company, or any individual in it until within a year or two. One member of the company told me, many years since, that, after Parker’s company had dispersed, and he was at some distance, he gave them ‘the guts of his gun.'”

BY The Rude Bridge That Arched The Flood

While I might be accused of being an insurrectionist for remembering that today is the 237th anniversary of the stand that our forefathers took at the Lexington Green and the Concord Bridge, I think it is worth remembering their stand and the ultimate sacrifice paid by militiamen of Massachusetts.

One of the better ways of remembering them is to participate in the Appleseed Project of the Revolutionary War Veterans Association. For those that are unfamiliar with the Appleseed Project, it is dedicated to teaching both riflery and history. According to those who have participated such as Bob Owens and Sean Sorrentino, the experience is well worth the effort. As Bob notes, it is “affordable, enjoyable and empowering.”

To learn more about the Revolutionary War Veterans Association and the Appleseed Project, go here.

I saw a couple of their billboards in Illinois while attending the NRA Annual Meeting last week. One was at the base of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Bridge and was co-sponsored by ISRA. The other was on Interstate 57 near Rend Lake. It was a pleasure to see both of them in a state which seeks to put up as many roadblocks to lawful firearm ownership as does Illinois.

Ralph Waldo Emerson, philosopher and writer, commemorated the event with his poem Concord Hymn. Unlike many modern day intellectuals, Emerson was not ashamed to show his patriotism. The poem was first read on July 4th, 1837 to mark the erection of the Concord Monument.

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, and leave their children free,
Bid Time and Nature gently spare
The shaft we raise to them and thee.