Rebels Redcoats and Homespun Heroes

colonial militia take cover behind a wall

Program Description:
Students participating in this one hour program learn about the soldiers who fought at Lexington and Concord on April 19, 1775, and the choices which confronted colonial men and women in the turbulent years leading up to the outbreak of war. Students meet a Colonial Militiaman, British Soldier or Daughter of Liberty (portrayed by a Park Ranger) at Hartwell Tavern or Minute Man Visitor Center / Whittemore House and discover what it was like to live through this incredible period of history and the events of 1775. Students will get the chance to perform 18th century military drill, role play, examine period reproduction objects and witness a musket firing demonstration. During the course of the program, the complexity of the Battle of Lexington and Concord emerges as students compare and contrast the experiences and perceptions of British soldiers, Colonial militiamen, and Colonial women committed to the cause of Liberty.

Colonial militiamen, British regular soldiers, and Colonial women each had their own distinct experiences that influenced their ideas about liberty and military service, and the course of events on April 19, 1775.


To create a balanced, vivid, wide-angle view of the Lexington Alarm as a historic event and its significance in American history, and gain a better understanding of the soldiers and civilians who took part in it.

Behavioral Objectives:

  • Students will be able to place key events surrounding the Lexington Alarm in their chronological order.
  • Students will recognize key vocabulary terms that come up frequently in the story of the Lexington Alarm.
  • Students will be able to locate Concord in relation to Boston and surrounding communities and calculate distances.
  • Students will gain a better understanding of the Lexington Alarm and factors leading to American victory and British defeat.
  • Students will understand why a citizen militia made sense to the colonists instead of a professional army, and what qualified a person to serve.
  • Students will gain insight into the life of the British soldier
  • Students will understand how and why18th-century battles were fought they way they were.
  • Students will learn how women of Colonial New England served the cause of resistance, even before the first shot was fired.
  • Students will gain insight into the division of labor between men and women, how women would serve the military, political, and domestic needs of their communities, and how their roles would begin to change after the Revolution.

Knowledge Required:

Before taking part in this program, students should know:

  • The various acts of Parliament and political arguments that caused tensions to mount between Great Britain
  • The events that led up to the outbreak of war on April 19, 1775

Information for the teacher:
April 19, 1775 was the first day of the American Revolutionary War. Known today as the Battles of Lexington and Concord, the event itself was much larger than just what happened whithin those two towns. During the Revolution, the event was often refered to as the Lexington Alarm; and that’s what it was, an alarm, brought on by the British march to Concord. The colonial response to the alarm was massive, well planned, and well executed. By nightfall, 4,000 miltiamen had seen combat. By April 21st, 20,000 militiamen had responded to the call to arms and were marching towards Boston to lay siege to the British.

Though we often hear about battles and the contributions of men during the American Revolution, women also played important roles in the founding of America. When the cause of resistance employed the boycott of imported goods, in order to deny import revenue to the British government, it was the women and their skills that supplied homespun substitutes to their communities.

Pre-Visit Materials:

The following pre-visit materials are designed to help students understand key concepts relative to April 19, 1775 and the Revolutionary period. We recommend you use the Rebels, Redcoats, and Homespun Heroes Activity Guide as a classroom preparation to your fieldtrip to Minute Man National Historical Park. The two maps will also be very helpful.

Rebels, Redcoats, and Homespun Heroes Activity Guide

Alarm Riders and Battle maps

Map of Minute Man NHP


Last updated: June 22, 2016

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Mailing Address:

North Bridge / Park Head Quarters
174 Liberty St.

Concord, MA 01742


(978) 369-6993

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