Stories Heard on Father’s Lap

This is from a group of stories told by men and women, living in April 1894.  They heard them from the lips of the heroes of April 19, 1775.*  These narrations were published in the Boston Globe of April 15, 1894, having been obtained by a correspondent of that journal from the persons whose names are mentioned with their recitals.

The only living son of a man who stood in the Concord fight is Luke Smith of Acton. He was the youngest of thirteen children, and thus tells the father's story : —

“Sitting upon my father's knee in the full enjoyment of the blessings of liberty, I received from him this account of the eventful day of history: —

“ 'The 19th of April, the day of the great battle, was a bright, crisp morning. The sun had been up a full hour and a half. We were drawn up in line when I heard the word of command for which we were anxiously waiting. “ March !” How those words still ring in my ears ! Luke Blanchard was our fifer, and Francis Barker was the drummer. To the tune of the “White Cockade” we left the town for — we knew not what end. We were too much in haste for many parting words. A few did run back to say a word to wife or parent.

concord bridge for WEB“'We took the road for a while, and then left it and struck through the woods, a shorter cut to Concord. We passed Barrett's mill before coming to old North Bridge. How indignant we were when we first caught sight of Captain Parsons's detachment of British troops, with axes, breaking up the gun-carriages, and bringing out hay and wood, and setting fire to them in the yard.

“'We had a good mind to fire upon the redcoated soldiers of King George there and then, but we trusted our captain and waited for his orders. When [at the hill and bridge] I heard him say to Colonel Barrett, “I have not a man who is afraid to go,” my heart beat faster than the drum of our company; but how my feelings changed when I saw Isaac Davis fall, and Abner Hosmer by his side ! I then thought of the widow at home, whom a few hours before I had seen Isaac so tenderly leave, after giving her advice as to the care of the children in case of his death.

“'But we soon rallied and fought the harder until the British troops started on the retreat. I got a glimpse of Colonel Smith and Major Pitcairn as they stood with spyglasses in hand overlooking the scene from the old graveyard on the hill.

“'Although we had the great satisfaction of driving off the redcoats, we went sorrowfully back to our homes; for two whom we had loved had perished, and we had the dead bodies as our charge.'”


Patriot's Day Cover without edits* From The Story of Patriots Day by George Varney – Published by Lee and Shepard Publishers 1895.  This book is in the last phases of reproduction by Battle Road Books and will be available soon.