Revolution on Their Doorstep Meriam's Corner: Concord, ma

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Commander of the Light Infantry Company of the British Marines in Boston

Correspondence from 1775

"The country by this time had took Ye alarm, and were immediately in Arms, and had taken their different stations behind Walls &c....On our leaving Concord we were immediately surrounded on every Quarter, and expected to be cut off every moment..."

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Unknown Officer, Corps of Marines

Ensign Jeremy Lister

Volunteer, Light Infantry Company, His Majesty's 10th Regiment of Foot

‍From his diary written in 1782, reprinted as The Concord Fight, The Narrative of Jeremy Lister

"On Capt. Parsons joining us [we] begun our march toward Boston again from Concord. The Light Infantry marched over a hill above the town, the Grenadiers through the town, immediately as we descended the hill into the Road the Rebels begun a brisk for but at so great a distance it was without effect, but as they kept marching nearer when the Grenadiers found them within shot they returned their fire. Just about that time I received a shot through my right elbow joint which effectually disabled that arm. It then became a general firing upon us from all quarters, from behind hedges and walls…”

Lt. James O'Calaghan, 10th Regiment of Foot

Lt. William Sutherland
Volunteer from His Majesty's 38th Regiment of Foot

Letter written by Sutherland to British commander in chief Thomas Gage, dated April 26, 1775.

On the march out to Concord at about 8:30 in the morning:
"On our approaching Concord we saw upon the heights what appeared to me to amount to 12 or 1500 people, on which we halted…to make a disposition to go up the hill… which we did…still as we marched on they retreated…but the main body of them kept still together till they retreated over the Bridge beyond Concord..."

On the return march to Boston at about 12:30 in the afternoon:
"On our being joined by all partys & the Wounded Officers put into two one horse Chairs we marched from Concord, just at the end of the Town next to this a few Concealed Villains fired on us, of which we killed 1, but they wounded 1 of
ours, here I saw upon a height to my right hand a vast number of Armed men drawn out in Battalia order, I dare say near 1000 who on our coming nearer dispersed into the Woods & came as close to the road on our
flanking partys as they possibly could, upon our as-cending the height to the road gave us a very heavy fire,..."
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Lt. John Dutton, 38th Regt, Duke of Meldrum

Letter from a Private Soldier in the Light Infantry

This account comes from an enlisted man in one of the Light Infantry companies of Col. Smith's expedition

‍Dated: Boston, August 20, 1775

Soldier's account of the march out to Concord:

"...On a hill near Concord there was assembled a number of people, about 700, at exercise; they were ready prepared for us, being all loaded with powder and ball. We then halted, and looked at them, as cocks might do on a pit before the fight. But it was not our business to wait long looking at them; so we fixed our bayonets, and immediately charged them up the hill, in order to disperse them but we were greatly mistaken for they were not to be dispersed so easily, the whole of them giving us a smart fire, but we returned the compliment, and pursued them with charged bayonets till we entered the town of Concord, where we cut down what they call their Liberty Pole."

Soldier's account of the retreat to Boston:

"...After this we began a retreat back towards Boston but we were but a poor handful of men, being only about 756, and they were so numerous, that we were not able to withstand them. They manned the hills on every side, and lined the stone walls by the roads in such a manner, that it was almost impossible for us to make a retreat..."

Pencil sketch of British Light Infantryman - Study by Phillipe Jacques de Loutherbourg, 1778
for The Mock Attack at Warley Common

Reverend Edmund Foster

Marched with the Reading Minute Company under the command of John Brooks

From a letter dated 1825 to his friend Col. Daniel Shattuck
“A little before we came to Merriam’s Hill, we discovered the enemy’s flank guard, of about 80 or 100 men, who, on their retreat from Concord, kept that height of the land, the main body on the road. The British troops and the Americans, at that time, were equally distant from Meriam’s Corner. About 20 rods (330 feet) short of that place, the Americans made a halt. The British marched down the hill with very slow, but steady step, without music or a word being spoken that could be heard. Silence reigned on both sides. As soon as the British had gained the main road, and passed a small bridge near that corner, they faced about suddenly, and fired a volley of musketry upon us. They overshot; and no one, to my knowledge, was injured by the fire. The fire was immediately returned by the Americans, and two British soldiers fell dead at a little distance from each other, in the road near the brook...

“The battle now began, and was carried on with little or no military discipline and order, on the part of the Americans, during the remainder of the day. Each one sought his own place and opportunity to attack and annoy the enemy from behind trees, rocks, fences, and buildings, as seemed most convenient...”

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A sermon of Rev. Edmund Foster
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