All About The North Bridge
What is the name of the river?
The North Bridge spans the Concord River. Ironically, as Nathaniel Hawthorne once pointed out, the name Concord implies peace and harmony.
How old is the North Bridge?
The North Bridge that visitors walk over today is actually a recent (summer of 2005) restoration of the last bridge built on this site in 1956. The 1956 bridge is the fifth bridge to occupy this hallowed ground since the time of the battle in 1775. The bridge that was there in 1775, the "battle bridge," was taken down in 1788.
What was the reason for the British expedition to Concord?
General Gage also believed that seizing stockpiles of weapons was not only a militiary necessity, but also his prerogative as governor of the colony. The colonists actively disagreed.
Why were British soldiers guarding the North Bridge?
Securing the bridges was necessary to prevent rebels from slipping across from remote parts of town to threaten the mission. Also, Lt. Colonel Smith sent seven companies across the North Bridge with orders to search for supplies and artillery known to be hidden at Barrett's farm, about a mile west of the bridge.
At that time, the colonists occupied the high ground overlooking the bridge. If they were to swoop down and take the bridge, the British soldiers at Barrett's farm would be cut off. Therefore, the British left three companies (about 96 men) at the bridge to guard it.
Where were the British and Colonial soldiers standing when shots were exchanged across the river?
Sometime after 9:00 a.m. the militiamen, believing the town was being set on fire, marched down upon the bridge. According to one British officer, they did so "in a very military manner."
Hopelessly outnumbered by the advancing militia, the British soldiers pulled back to the east side of the bridge, where the 1836 Obelisk now stands, and hastily organized for defense. According to one British officer, "Captain Laurie made us retire to this side of the bridge, which by the bye he ought to have done at the first for the rebels were so near..."
Whe the shots were fired, the British were on the east side (1836 Obelisk) and the colonists were on the west side (Minute Man Statue).
Did You Know?
The first monument at the North Bridge site was dedicated on July 4th, 1837. "The Concord Hymn," written by Ralph Waldo Emerson, was sung during the ceremony, and thus the phrase "the shot heard round the world" was linked with the North Bridge fight for the first time. Henry David Thoreau sang in the choir.