My daughter asked me to present a 15 minute lesson on Lexington & Concord for her home school class. I presented it this morning. In the course of my study and listening to her presentation this morning, I learned two things I never realized before.
Thing the first, John Adams was possibly the only person at the time who understood the URGENCY of the situation. John Adams was arguing for an American Navy in the FALL or 1775. The battle of Lexington and Concord was right in his neighborhood. He understood the URGENCY to act.
Parliment declared trade with foreign Powers illegal in December 1775. But word did not arrive until February 1776. John Adams was already arguing in February 1776 for independence and circulating his thoughts about what that government might look like as the Second Continental Congress convened because he felt the URGENCY.
The end result of John Adam’s sense of URGENCY was in early June 1776 when a motion was approved by the 2nd Continental Congress after three days of debate back and forth on why we should wait and why we should not. John Adam’s sense of URGENCY prevailed and he was placed on the committee to draft a Declaration of Independence with Thomas Jefferson, Ben Franklin, Roger Sherman, and Robert Livingston.
Thing the Second is this text taken from a book by David & Tim Barton, “The American Story: The Beginings” published in 2020 by Wall Builders (https://wallbuilders.com ):
One of the American defenders that day (19 Apr 1775) was 80-year-old Captain Samuel Whittemore. He had been a soldier for nearly two decades but had retired from that profession. However upon learning of the British actions, he gathered the sword he earned fighting the French in 1745, the pistols he gained fighting the French in 1763, and his musket. He then fearlessly went out to meet the British.
Elderly Samuel took up a location by himself behind a low stone wall and as a squad of five soldiers approached, he quickly stood up and promptly shot one with his musket, another with one pistol, then a third with his other pistol. By then, the British were at point-blank range and shot Samual in the face. When he fell to the ground, they struck him on the head with the butt of a musket and bayoneted him 13 times before leaving him to die.
Four hours later, as local townsmen were picking up the American dead, they found Sam lying in a pool of blood – trying to reload his musket! They carried him to a doctor, who pronounced his case hopeless, declaring he would be dead shortly. The family implored the doctor to treat him anyway, so he did what he could before sending Sam home to be surrounded by family as he died.
But to the surprise of all, Sam did not die; He fully recovered. He had terrible scars but lived another 18 years, carrying to his grave the marks from the wounds he received while fighting for American independence. IN 1878, a marble tablet, erected near the location where he met the British, carried the inscrition: “Near this spot Samuel Whittemore, then 80 years old, killed three British soldiers, April 19, 1775. He was shot, bayoneted, beaten, and left for dead, but recovered, and lived to be 98 years of age.” Samuel Whittemore is reflective of the committed character of many Americans at that time.
– end of quote from “The American Story: The Beginings”, by David Barton and Tim Barton, pages 149-150, published in 2020 by Wall Builder Press
And from footnote 89 in the same book: https://www.hmdb.org/m.asp?m=18142