Today in Boston by Ethan Underhill: 4/19/1775 — The Shot 💥

It’s been 244 years and we still don’t know who started it.

Maybe it was an overzealous militiaman. Maybe it was an unsportsmanlike Redcoat. Maybe someone just lost control of their gun.

In any case, today in 1775, someone fired on Lexington Common — and the American Revolution began.

Paul Revere and over 30 other riders had spent the night of April 18th warning fellow colonists that the Regulars were shipping up from Boston to raid Concord for munitions and munchies.

It was time to rally the troops. Literally.

But neither commanding officer that morning wanted a fight. Lexington’s competent captain John Parker knew that he was destined for a slaughter if shooting broke out, and British Major John Pitcairn simply wanted to get to Concord.

That’s why upon finding 6 dozen colonists standing there awkwardly on the Common, Pitcairn yelled, “Throw down your arms! Ye villains, ye rebels.”

The pragmatic Parker saw his 77 men outnumbered 10 to 1 and ordered the patriots to disband.

That’s when everything hit the fan.

Somebody fired. The Redcoats, ignoring Pitcairn, unloaded on the minutemen, many of whom were shot in the back as they’d tried to leave. 8 patriots were dead. 9 were injured.

With Lexington grieving, the Regulars patted themselves on the back and continued to Concord. But upon their arrival at the Old North Bridge, 3,500 militiamen from all over the Commonwealth stood ready to get rowdy.

Revere’s operation had worked. The colonists had answered the call. In a guerrilla campaign that spanned from Concord to Cambridge, the Continentals drove ‘em back to Charlestown.

The most moving part of this story for me rests in a bunch of farmers and their families’ collective will to sacrifice everything in a battle they knew they might lose. Still, they stood up to an abusive power — and would continue to do so until independence was won.

Today, as we continue to watch our own president and his government continue their own train of abuses, may we find the courage to continue the legacy of those willing to fight 10 to 1.

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