NYPL RESEARCH LIBRARIES
3 3433 08044576 [
I9tf) of April '75-
Tffi AINUTB AEN
APRIL 19, 1775
Its (Origin and History,
By ABRAM ENGLISH BROWN,
AUTHOR OF THE HISTORY OF BEDFORD, GLIMPSES OF OLD
NEW ENGLAND LIFE, ETC.
BEDFORD HISTORICAL SOCIETY,
APRIL iv, 1894.
■ ■ ' ■
I _ ~ -J
Copyrighted lS'JJf, by the Author.
PRESS OF R. H. BLODGETT & CO., 30 BROMFIELD STREET, BOSTON.
Td all whD share the blessings nf
This Snuvenir nf the Opening Revnlutinn
is gratefully inscribed,
^qUER OR 0/
|3y I l-)c rude bridge ^J \\)<3,\ arched ir)c jlood
^Frjcir [lag lo J\^^J r 'l s breeze urjjurlccl.
Here orjee lr)c ^^B orrjkaHlcd jammers stood
Irjc sr)of r)e2ird rourjd lr>c World.
The only flag in existence that waved over the "embattled farmers," April
19, '75. — Boston Journal, March, '94.
It was originally designed in England in 1060-70, for the three
Comity troops of Middlesex, and became one of the accepted standards
of the organized Militia of the State, and as such it was used by the
Bedford Company. In my opinion this flag far exceeds in historic
value the famed flag of Eutaw and Pulaski's banner, and in fact is the
most precious memorial of its kind of which we have any knowledge.
— William S. Appleton, Mass. Historical Society.
FACTS OF HISTORY.
'"THE ancient standard of the Massachusetts Militia became the flag
of the Minute Men on the morning of April 19, 177.").
In the preceding March, the Town of Bedford voted
" To pay twenty-live Minute men one shilling per week until the first of May.
they to exercise four hours in a week, and two shillings to be allowed two officers,
they to erpiip themselves according to the advice of the Provincial Congress/'
which assembled at Concord and of which John Hancock was president.
The officers of the Minute men had no commissions, as did those
of the Militia already in service, hence their authority came through
the suffrage of their associates.
The time for preparation was limited. They were upon the alert,
and were not disconcerted by the cry sent out
" Through every Middlesex village and farm."
" The Regulars are coming."
Delegates from Captain Parker's company, of Lexington, gave the
alarm at Bedford. The messengers found a ready response. The men
assembled at Fitch's tavern, according to a preconcerted plan. There
a lunch was hastily served, where Captain Wilson uttered the memor-
able words, " It is a cold breakfast, boys, but we'll give the British a
hot dinner ; we'll have every dog of them before night."
When we consider that the officers of the Minute men were not
commissioned, and the uprising voluntary, it is reasonable to account
for an improvised flag in use by the Bedford company. The old Stand-
ard was in the Page family, and the office of cornet, or color bearer,
was a sort of inheritance, hence, Nathaniel Page, aroused by the early
messenger, seized the relic of early service and hastened with his
associates to the scene of action.
On the arrival of the company at Concord, they assisted in remov-
ing stores to places of greater safety. Tradition says that Cornet Page
laid down his flag and went to work, and when returning to look for it
" found the boys had got it and were playing soldiers.'
" The Bedford companies met with no loss at the bridge, and were
all in the pursuit of the retreating enemy. They left the ' Great
Fields ' at Merriam's Corner and engaged in the attack, then hastened
in the pursuit and were in the thickest of the fight near the 'Brooks'
Tavern,' where Captain Wilson was killed and Job Lane wounded."
The old flag was returned to the Page mansion and there kept
until the centennial celebration at Concord, when it was carried by the
Bedford Delegation in the procession of that day. Ten years later,
October 19, 1885, the (one hundred and fourth anniversary of the sur-
render of Cornwallis to Washington) it was presented by Captain
Cyrus Page to the Town of Bedford "to be forever in the custody of
the Bedford Free Public Library Corporation."
It is sacredly guarded by them as an invaluable memorial. The
ravages of time have not entirely spared the delicate fabric, and it is
necessarily denied the exposure which a patriotic people would gladly
Captain. JOHN Ml lORE.
1st Lieutenant, John MEBRIAM.
Sergeant, Joseph Cow BBS.
Sergeant. James WBIGHT.
2nd Lieutenant, Eleazer I>a\i>.
Sergeant, Jeremiah Fitch, Jb.
Fifer, David Lane.
,Iames Lane Jr., 3d.
( diver Reed, Jr.
Israel Putnam, Jr.
Samuel Lane, Jr.
John Lane, Jr.
Job Lane, Jr.
Oliver Pollard, Jr.
BEDFORD MINUTE MEN,
1st Lieutenant, Moses Abbot'J
Sergeant, Christopher Page.
Sergeant, Ebenezer Fitch.
Joseph Meads, Jr.
Drummer, Oliver Bacon,
d Lieutenant, TIMOTHY JOKES.
Sergeant, Seth Saultmash.
Sergeant, Asa Fassett.
Nathaniel Page, Jr.
Fifer, Jonas Welch.
This sworn return made by the Lieutenant, some months after the 19th, did not include
the Captain, who was killed.
[George's Cambridge Almanack, for the Year of our Redemption, 177<>.]
(~\N the 19th of April, 1775, a day to be remembered by all Americans
of the present generation, and which ought, and doubtless will be,
handed down to ages yet unborn, in which the troops of Britain, un-
provoked, shed the blood of sundry loyal American subjects of the
British King on the field of Lexington. . . .
The detachment, seeming to thirst for blood, wantonly rushed on
and first began the hostile scene by firing on this small party, in
which they killed eight men on the spot and wounded several others,
before any guns were fired upon the troops by our men. . . . Colonel
Smith with the detachment then proceeded to Concord where a part
of the detachment again made the first fire upon some of the inhabi-
tants of Concord and the adjacent towns, who were collected at a
bridge upon this just alarm, and killed two of them and wounded
several others before any of the Provincials there had done one hostile
act. Then the Provincials (aroused with zeal for the Liberties of
their country, finding life and everything dear and valuable at stake)
assumed their native valor and returned the fire, and the engagement
on botli sides began. Soon after which the British troops retreated
towards Charlestown (having first committed violence and waste on
public and private property). . . . The engagement lasted through the
day, many were killed and wounded on each side.
"We never saw anything equal to the intrepidity of the Xew
England minute men." — Lord Percy.
" They fought like bears, and I would as soon storm hell as fight
them again. " — B r it is h So I die r.
" They poured out their generous blood like water before they knew
whether it would fertilize the land of freedom or of bondage "
Capt. Isaac Davis.
Capt. Jonathan Wilson.
3 T hc Immortal Scroll
/. / t/W /////////,
'// //'// '//'
Lieut. John Bacon.
Sergt. Elisha Mil
DEC 2 4 1931