Guns, Revolutions, History

by Charles M. Richardson

paul-revere

Paul Revere

TODAY the U.N. wants to take away our guns. Where's the parallel in our Nation's history? Why is it a UN issue? During the past few decades the teaching of American History in our public schools has suffered greatly at the hands of the American Historical Association and others who would manipulate our children. So I'm going to recap some need-to-be-aware American History: How and WHY our American Revolution started.

We celebrate April 19th as "Patriot's Day," the anniversary of Paul Revere's Ride. What was that all about? For starters, here are the first three stanzas of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's famous poem:

Listen my children and you shall hear
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere,
On the eighteenth of April, in seventy-five;
Hardly a man is now alive
Who remembers that famous day and year.

He said to his friend, "If the British march
By land or sea from the town tonight,
Hang a lantern aloft in the belfry arch
Of the North Church tower as a signal light,
One, if by land, and two, if by sea;
And I on the opposite shore shall be,
Ready to ride and spread the alarm
Through every Middlesex village and farm,
For the country folk to be up and to arm."

Then he said, "Good night!" and with muffled oar
Silently rowed to the Charlestown shore,
Just as the moon rose over the bay,
Where swinging wide at her moorings lay
The Somerset, British man-of-war;
A phantom ship, with each mast and spar,
Across the moon like a prison bar,
And a huge black hulk, that was magnified
By its own reflections in the tide.

Now let us see what that was all about, courtesy of Worcester Polytechnic Institute's Military Science Department's Battle of Lexington & Concord Abstract. You can download its entirety HERE.

"On the 15 of April 1775, General Thomas Gage, British Military Governor of Massachusetts, was ordered to destroy the rebel's military stores at Concord. To accomplish this he assembled the 'Flanking units," including Light Infantry and Grenadiers, from his Boston Garrison. In charge he put Lieutenant Colonel Francis Smith and Marine Major John Pitcairn. ....In an attempt at secrecy he did not tell his officers his plan until the last minute. The problem with his security measures was that Boston had become a glass fishbowl. All rebel eyes were watching to see the British's next action, and when the garrison committed to an action, the Americans knew their every move.

"At midnight on the 19th of April the British column, consisting of 650-900 troops left Boston, crossed the Charles River, [preceded] closely by the alarm rider Paul Revere. As the British marched toward Concord, the entire countryside had been alerted to their presence, and rebel militia was deployed to meet them.

"Until this time there was no armed resistance to the British that had resulted in loss of British life. Several months earlier, Gage had attempted to destroy military arms at Salem and met with resistance but no shots were fired, and the British retreated without completing their objective. Lexington Militia Captain John Parker had heard of the events at Salem, and collected his men on the Lexington Green to face the British column.

"At dawn Smith's advanced parties under the command of Major Pitcairn arrived at Lexington Green to see [Parker's] group of armed Militia in formation across the Green. Pitcairn ordered the Militia to be disarmed. In response Parker ordered his men to disperse ... the British fired upon the small group [which] retreated into the woods...

"The British column then advanced to Concord encountering a group of armed militia at the Concord North Bridge. This time when shots rang out the Americans were more prepared, and fired back in 'The Shot Heard Round the World' and so began the American Revolution. The short battle at the bridge was a rout, and the British abandoned the bridge, retreating to Concord center. Knowing that he was in a dangerous situation, Smith decided to return to Boston as soon as possible. In his retreat the real battle began.

"Militia and Minutemen from all surrounding towns had marched toward Concord, and when the retreating column ran into this army they were outflanked, out gunned, and scared. The Americans did not fight as the British did. ...Because the Americans never formed a firing line the inexperienced British had little to shoot at. This ...shooting from behind trees, walls, etc. destroyed the British morale and they broke ranks...

"...The British suffered badly, nearly 20 percent casualties, but more importantly, this action led to the siege of Boston and the start of the Revolutionary War."

Longfellow's last stanza:

So through the night rode Paul Revere;
And so through the night went his cry of alarm
To every Middlesex village and farm, —
A cry of defiance and not of fear,
A voice in the darkness, a knock at the door,
And a word that shall echo forevermore!
For, borne on the night-wind of the Past,
Through all our history, to the last,
Is the hour of darkness and peril and need,
The people will waken and listen and hear
The hurrying hoofbeats of that steed,
And the midnight message of Paul Revere.

—H. W. Longfellow [1807-1882]

At the dedication of the Minute Man Monument at Lexington Green, on April 19, 1836, was sung/read Ralph Waldo Emerson's "Concord Hymn:"

By the rude bridge that arched the flood,
Their flag to April's breeze unfurled,
Here once the embattled farmers stood,
And fired the shot heard round the world.

...Spirit, that made those heroes dare To die,
and leave their children free,
Bid Time and Nature gently spare
The shaft we raise to them and thee.

—Ralph Waldo Emerson [1803-1882]

I hope all of you have seen "The Patriot," as the suffering and sacrifices were great, to bring into being the America that has beckoned to so many millions.

Let us beware of any tyrants who would seize our guns. The illusion of "peace" through a "one-world" government is not worthy of such risk.

Remember. Sir Winston Churchill's inspiring words to British Parliament in 1939 ring true today:

"If you will not fight when you can easily win without bloodshed; if you will not fight when your victory will be sure and not too costly; you may come to the moment when you will have to fight with all the odds against you and only a precarious chance of survival. There may be even a worse fate. You may have to fight when there is no hope of victory, because it is better to perish than live as slaves."

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