In 1895, on the rocky ledge of a tiny hill in Lincoln, Massachusetts, a local farmer named John Lannon found a British sword when moving a boulder. He also found a flattened musket ball. The ledge, overlooking the road that Paul Revere rode, (and a short distance from where he was arrested), is now known as the site of “Parker’s Revenge.”
John Parker certainly wanted revenge and so did his cohorts. Parker was the Captain of the Lexington Militia and it was his men who confronted the British at dawn on their town’s green in what became known as the Battle of Lexington. Eight colonists were killed and ten were wounded that morning before the British marched off to Concord.
Gathering many of his men, including some of the injured, Captain Parker re-engaged the British later that day as they battled their way back to Boston in retreat. This time, the minutemen didn’t face their enemy in line-formation as they did earlier. Instead, they ambushed them from the rocky ledge located at a bend in the road. One shot knocked the British Colonel Smith off his horse with a hit to the thigh. The columns of Redcoats were stopped in their tracks, allowing the Lexington Militia to continue to fire from close range.
Eventually, the British drove the patriots away, but the delay in their forward progress allowed for another ambush just a few hundred yards down the road.
Walking the Battle Road on the weekend of Patriots Day, I too, came across a nervous band of patriots and not far from “Parker’s Revenge.” Turns out, it was the modern version of the Lexington Minute Men. I sat on a stone wall and sketched as the leader of the group prepared his men for a reenactment of the famous skirmish scheduled in a short hour’s time.
The commander showed impatience with his rag tag group. He was concerned the coordination of musket fire was sloppy. Over and over they practiced how the two rows of men should fire and reload. He was insistent they get it right before engaging in battle. Captain Parker would be proud.