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Trip Report History in Concord, Mass.

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As I am documenting journeys in and around Boston as a new resident/explorer I want to include a full description of a trip to Concord, actually two trips. The first was earlier to hear a band concert at Old North Bridge but more to tour the Old Manse nearby. This is one of a number of preserved residences of historic figures in the Concord area. In this case Ralph Waldo Emerson's preacher father owned the property. R.W. let his friend stay for awhile but finally kicked him out because he didn't pay his rent and didn't take care of the place. Preserved are some original writings and also family furnishings. It was a gathering place for intellectuals and Henry David Thoreau was a gardner for while. www.theoldmanse.org

But last Saturday in Concord marked the 300th anniversary of he birth of Col. James Barrett. Special events were held at the farmhouse which is being restored. Various people were in Colonial era clothes with some music. Principally there was a reenactment of the search by British Regulars for armament. The Colonel was not at home and the cannon had been hidden elsewhere. Mrs. Barrett indignately met the soldiers at the door and objected to their entry. But the troops conducted a search as ordered, one scattering bed feathers until another told him he looked silly (actually there was some munition hidden further down).

Mrs. Barrett served the officers cider but not stronger ale. She said it was her Christian duty. Several units were left to guard the bridge. The minutemen from the surrounding area gathered to face the Red Coats who by the way had a skirmish with wounded men passing through Lexington that morning. The farmers from all over had been forewarned of the English march into the countryside to capture armments. Sixty four old Barrett had reluctantly accepted command of the militia which had purged some thought to be Loyalists. So on that day April 9, 1775, there was the Battle of Concord with casualties on both sides.

The British contingent retreated back to Boston and were fired upon along the way with casualties. Not long thereafter came the Battle of Bunker Hill when the Colonists outflanked the British and forced the evacuation of Boston. At the Barrett farm on Saturday we heard a talk by John L. Bell who has a very informative blog about many Revolutionary War matters. See www.boston1775.com. Did you know why the British uniforms were red? It had nothing to do with style. It was because in those days the musket fire raised a great deal of smoke and the red uniforms provided a means of identifying where the troops were in the line. Also it seems the rural area was in a more rebellious mood than was Boston. They were already pretty independent.

At the bridge earlier was a ranger talk and also fife and drum corps, the Middlesex County Vounteers Fifes and Drums who marched across the bridge from the National Parks visitors center. www.mcvfifesanddrums.org/media.html. There are a number of music and militia re-enactor groups both Colonial and British: www.actonminutemen.org, www.lincolnminutemen.org, www.brigade.org, http://friendsofminuteman.org, www.footguards.tripod.com (The First Footguard later called Grenadiers) with stirring music, and at www.redcoat.org (10th Regiment of Foot) go to /Songs/tunes.html if you want a selection of many tunes. Also see www.ushistory.org/people/minutemen.htm

So glad it was a beautiful day in the 70s. We came back by way of Lexington green.
Concord and other towns have events during the year. We just moved to the Boston area from Missouri.

Bill in Watertown, MA
walongman@yahoo.com

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