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Minute Man National Historical Park

Quick Overview

This audio-only described brochure for Minute Man National Historical Park includes photographs, illustrations, maps and text. Side one sets the scene of the April 19, 1775 battle, with a brief account of the Davis family. A map of the park and text provide guidance on how to follow the events of that day when visiting the park. More information, such as safety and GPS mapping is also provided. Side two presents more historical context, including a timeline from 1765 through 1783 and a historical map. Each side, individual subjects and images are described under their own sections, like chapters in a book.

Text: One Day, Forever Changed

Minute Man Isaac Davis left his wife and sick children at home the morning of April 19, 1775. He came home dead, delivered in a cart. Discontent smoldered in the Massachusetts Bay Colony during the 1770s. Britain was increasing taxes and control over its most rebellious colony. On April 19, 1775, the years of discontent flared into fighting. Along a stretch of country road outside Boston, 1,700 of His Majesty’s Army and 4,000 colonial militia men opened the American Revolution.

Minute Men and Their Families

Minute men belonged to militia companies, and trained to be ready at a moment’s notice. Like all militia men, they were volunteers who worked full-time supporting their families. Most were farmers. Traditionally, a farmer divided his land among his sons. But after 100 years of subdivision, many farmers had little land left to give. Their children faced uncertain futures further clouded by increasing taxes and fading liberty. When militia men mustered that day, they were gathering to defend their way of life, their freedom, and their childrens’ future.

Lives Interrupted

Hannah Davis watched her husband Isaac march away from their home around 7 am on April 19, 1775. Less than three hours later, he and Joseph Hosmer were dead, shot by British soldiers at North Bridge. Major John Buttrick ordered his militia men to return fire, an act of treason by the colonials. By the time darkness fell that day, 49 colonials and 73 British soldiers were dead.

Opportunity for Freedom

The Lexington Alarm of April 19, 1775, thoroughly disrupted many lives—including those of enslaved Africans. War offered them a chance for freedom. Some accompanied their owners into fighting. Others, freed by their owners, joined militia companies. Many others, particularly once the fighting moved to the South, joined the British Army in return for the promise of freedom and money.

Evolving Memory

Today, Minute Man National Historical Park commemorates the events of April 19, 1775 and the opening of the American Revolution. As you visit North Bridge, Battle Road, and other sites, reflect upon the lasting impact of that day and explore your own feelings about liberty.


The Park's Story in Images

In addition to text, the top third of the brochure has a combination of color images. A photo of the North Bridge spans the brochures top width. In front of it towards the left, is a cut-out photo of the Minute Man statue. To the left of the statue are five cut-out photos of artifacts from the time. At the far left underneath the photo is a partial illustration of a colonial woman standing in front of Hartwell Tavern. Images are described in more detail under their own sections. 

North Bridge

This photo of the wooden North Bridge was taken during a spring sunrise, similar to the time the Minute Men and British soldiers would have seen it on April 19, 1775. Bare leafless trees and tufts of grass, still brown from winter, peek out from the stones. The orange sun is low in the distance, mostly obscured behind tree trunks and branches. Also in the distance at the left is the Minute Man statue close to one side of the bridge. The bridge itself is made up of a series of wooden posts braced together by other diagonally placed wood planks and a wooded railing. Rows of stone that make up a wall line the bank of the Concord River, which the bridge spans. Photo credit. Greg Parker

Minute Man Statue

Caption. The Minute Man statue by Daniel Chester French has been watching over North Bridge since 1875. 
Description. The famous Minute Man Statue was erected on this site one hundred years later, to commemorate the sacrifice of the Minutemen and the rest of the militia, who stood and fired the “Shot Heard Round the World.” With his left leg forward and his right leg behind and slightly bent, the figure stands, holding a musket with the muzzle pointed upwards at an angle in his right hand. The musket is long with the stock reaching past his right knee in the back and the barrel and muzzle extending past his shoulder. His pants or breeches are fastened around the knee. Stockings are barely visible between the end of his pants and the tops of his boots which almost reach the bottom of his knees. The sleeves of his collared shirt are rolled up to his elbows. His vest is slightly rumpled in the front by the strap of a bag that he wears across his left shoulder. His left arm is resting on the handle of a plow. His coat is draped over the plow on a bar that extends from one handle to the other. Photo credit. Joseph McKenna

Artifacts

Caption:
Artifacts from colonial homes speak eloquently of meals and changed lives. 
Description: Five artifacts displayed to the left of the Minute Man Statue, are a small part of the parks collection and speak eloquently of the life of the colonists. A darkly-glazed ceramic mug with a handle is partially broken, exposing the red clay used to make it. A piece of a broken white ceramic plate features its decorative, molded rim. There are also three forks. The one on the left has a wooden handle and two prongs. The middle fork has two prongs and is missing its handle. The fork on the right has a wooded handle with one of its two prongs broken off. Two of the objects, the redware mug and the two-tine fork with the wooden handle directly underneath the plate are on display at the North Bridge Visitor Center.  Photo credit: NPS

Hartwell Tavern

Description: A colonial woman stands in the doorway of Hartwell Tavern with her hands on her hips. She looks out intensely at some unseen activity on the lawn. The woman wears a floor-length tan skirt with a white apron over it and a yellow woolen waist shirt with a white blouse underneath. On her head is a a white mop cap.  
The tavern is made of unpainted wood clapboard. The thick wood door frame includes a seven-pained transom window. 
Photograph: Jonathan Ho

Text: The Wayside House

Underneath the Minute Man statue is the following text and image. Quote: “I like good strong words that mean something …” by Louisa May Alcott, from her book, “Little Women.”Visit The Wayside, which witnessed America’s literary heritage develop. Alcott’s parents, Bronson and Abby, encouraged debate about how the American Revolution continued to affect their lives. Other Concord writers such as Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau joined in these lively discussions. Perhaps they also knew the Alcotts sheltered at least one enslaved man traveling the Underground Railroad before the Civil War. Nathaniel Hawthorne lived here after the Alcotts, writing his last works. Later in the 1800s, Harriett Lothrop, author of the Five Little Peppers series, moved into the house. Her daughter preserved The Wayside; now it is a national historic landmark. Below this text is an old postcard, with the caption: "Wayside, home of Hawthorne, Concord, Mass" described under its own section.

Postcard Description

Below text about the "Wayside" home is a color postcard.Caption on the Postcard: 10186 "Wayside," Home of Hawthorne, Concord MASS.Description: The chromo lithograph postcard by the Detroit Publishing Company shows a two story wood framed house with two wings on each side and a three story tower addition in the rear.  This was the home of Harriett M. Lothrop, a noted author of children's books.  It was the only home owned by Nathaniel Hawthorne. He added the tower and the second story on west wing seen on the left side of the house in 1860.   Image Credit: New York Public Library


Text: Follow the Morning's Events

It was an unusual field of battle: 20 miles of winding, hilly road connecting a port city and several country towns. Visit these sites to follow the morning’s progress from the early alarms to the ”shot heard round the world.” Minute Man Visitor Center: Enjoy the award-winning multimedia introduction to the events of April 19, 1775.Jacob Whittemore House: Explore colonial life at one of 11 “witness houses” —houses that existed on April 19, 1775.Paul Revere Capture Site: Here a British patrol ended the rides of Paul Revere and William Dawes; only Samuel Prescott reached Concord.Captain William Smith House: Imagine the sudden activity here when the alarm reached its owner, the leader of the Lincoln militia.Hartwell Tavern: Historical interpreters talk about colonial life and demonstrate musket firing. Three of the Hartwells joined the fighting on April 19.Meriam House: British soldiers passed peacefully by this witness house in the morning but would be attacked here in the afternoon.The Wayside: Tour the home of Concord militia leader Samuel Whitney, who lived here with his family and a slave. The Wayside also witnessed literary history.North Bridge: Stand where the ”shot heard round the world” was fired and consider what liberty means to you; visit graves of the first British soldiers to die.Minute Man Statue: With plow and musket in hand, this iconic colonial silently honors the minute men where they took their stand.North Bridge Visitor Center: View exhibits and a movie about the minute men who fought at North Bridge.Colonel Barrett House: This was the British destination. British commanders were sure Barrett had hidden weapons here, but they found little.

Text: Retreat along the Battle Road Trail

Walk or bicycle the Battle Road Trail, part of the colonial Bay Road, to experience the landscape that shaped the day’s events. This description begins at Meriam’s Corner, where the British retreat began, and heads east. Additional site battle details are on the other side of this brochure.
Boulders and Hills: While at Meriam’s Corner, look across the road: This steep, narrow ridge is typical of country shaped by glaciers. The Meriam family hid behind this ridge as the militia attacked the British Army, which had slowed to cross the stream. The running battle back to Boston began here.Wetlands: Drained in colonial times to make hay meadows, the park’s wetlands now support 23 kinds of reptiles and amphibians, plus many birds and mammals.Farms: The trail passes through fields farmed since colonial times. To restore this agricultural landscape, the park permits farmers to grow hay, vegetables, and other crops.Brooks Village: This quiet group of houses scarcely hint at the activity of the Brooks family, who lived here over 250 years. They farmed, raised livestock, and operated a tannery. Look for highland cattle, part of the park’s work to recreate landscapes familiar to the minute men and their families.Vernal Pool: Walk this short side trail near Hartwell Tavern to find out about the essential role these pools play in forest life.   Samuel Hartwell House Site: View the massive brick heating system that was common in colonial homes but seldom visible.British Soldier Monuments: These small monuments mark gravesites of British soldiers who died on April 19, 1775.Parkers Revenge: Notice how the road bends here to pass below a small hill—an ideal place for Captain Parker and the Lexington militia to ambush the British soldiers.Fiske Hill: Walk this last section of the Battle Road Trail and imagine being a British soldier bombarded by constant fire on all sides.

More Information

Address: 174 Liberty Street; Concord, Ma 01742Phone: 978-369-6993Website: www.nps.gov/mimaFor GPS or mapping programs, enter the address for Minute Man Visitor Center: 250 North Great Road, Lincoln, MA. Do not send mail here.For operating hours and seasons, call 978-369-6993 or visit the park website. For firearms regulations, see the park website.We strive to make our facilities, services, and programs accessible to all. For information go to a visitor center, ask a ranger, call, or check our website.Help support our programs and mission by joining the friends of Minute Man National Historical Park at www.friendsofminuteman.orgMinute Man National Historical Park is one of over 400 parks in the National Park System. Learn more about national parks at www.nps.gov.

Park Map

A modern map of Minute Man National Historical Park is at the bottom third of the brochure. It shows the park in relation to the town of Concord on the left (west), Lincoln and Hanscom Air Force base in the middle, and Lexington on the right (east). The park and stops noted under the "Follow the Morning's Events" and "Retreat along the Battle Road Trail" sections are identified on the map and accessible along Route 2A, which becomes Lexington Road in Concord, and Massachusetts Avenue in Lexington.
Interwoven in the map is a picture of a pumpkin patch. Following is more information about the details provided on the map.The map's orientation has north pointing up. A legend indicates that approximately one and three-quarters of an inch equals one mile and about one and one-eight of an inch equals one kilometer. The park has two sections and is identified in light green. Running east-west along route 2A, the largest portion of the park is narrow and long--less than five miles. This portion of the park between Lexington and Concord is also where the Battle Road Trail is located, which runs parallel to Route 2A. The second portion of the park is northwest in the northern area of Concord and is much smaller.The historic route of the Battle Road starts on the map in the bottom right corner in the southeast area of Lexington. In the town of Lexington are the Munroe and Buckman Taverns and the Hancock-Clarke House, which are historic sites open to the public. Also located there are the Lexington Visitor Center, Lexington Green, the Captain Parker Statue and the National Heritage Museum.Just west of the intersection of Routes 128 and 95 with Routes 4 and 225 which becomes Route 2A is the beginning of the park where there is parking. The Minute Man Visitor Center is a little more than a mile from this first parking area. Parking is also located closer to the visitor center and all along this stretch of the Battle Road Trail. Restrooms are also located at the midway point and at the end of the Battle Road Trail. An MBTA transit stop is located in the vicinity of the parking lot and visitor center. West of the main section of the park are The Wayside, Orchard and Emerson Houses. Parking is available at the Orchid House and all three houses are open to the public. Within this vicinity are also the Wright Tavern, Concord Free Public Library, Concord Visitor Center and Concord Depot, which is another MBTA stop. In the northern section of Concord is the second park area. Within this portion of the park is the North Bridge Visitor Center, the North Bridge and the Minute Man Statue. Parking and restrooms are available. The Old Manse and Robbins Hutchinson Houses are historic sites open to the public. The Major John Buttrick and Elisha Jones Houses are in this area but are not open to the public. Within the main stretch of the park and along the Battle Road Trail running east to west are the following sites are identified on the map. Historic sites closed to the public are noted. Fiske Hill, Eleanor Fiske House Site, Jacob Whittenmore House, Minute Man Visitor Center, Parkers Revenge, Thomans Nelson, Jr. House site, Josiah Nelson House Site, John Nelson House (not open to the public), Paul Revere Capture Site, Captain William Smith House, Samular Hartwell House Site, Ranger Station, Hartwell Tavern, Bloody Angle, Joshua Brooks House (not open to the public), Job Brooks House (not open to the public), Brooks Village, Noah Brooks Tavern (not open to the public), Samuel Brooks House (not open to the public), Brooks Hill, Olive Stow House (not open to the public), Carty Barn (not open to the public), Battle Road Farms (not open to the public), Farewell Jones House, Meriam House, Meriam's Corner (not open to the public).Northwest of the park are also Walden Pond, the Site of Thoreau's Cabin and Walden Pond State Reservation where parking is avaialble as well as Flint's Pond, also known as Sandy Pond). Nearby by Flint's Pond are the DeCordova Museum and the Gropius House both of which are historic sites open to the public. 

Text: For Your Safety

In an emergency dial 911Sections of the battle road trail coincide with MA 2A. Because of heavy traffic, use caution.Please respect the rights of private landowners within park boundaries.Dogs must be leashed at all times.No trash barrels in the park; carry out your trash.Federal law protects historic and natural features in the park. Do not excavate, disturb, deface, or destroy any structure, exhibit, artifact, animal, or plant life. Report any criminal activity or safety hazard to park rangers: Phone: 508-254-7491.

Introduction to April 19, 1775

Side Two Title: "The Regulars Are Out! They’re coming!"Text: Hoofbeats fade as the cloaked riders gallop down the road to the next house, raising the alarm in the early hours of April 19, 1775.Wives, mothers, and children say goodbye to their husbands, sons, and fathers who grab their guns and head out the door. They will confront other British this day, mostly soldiers new to battle and three thousand miles from their families. One side standing up for their rights as British subjects, the other side following orders. They cannot know what we know now, that one day, 16 miles, and 8 years would bring forth a new nation.

Photo: Reenactors Portraying Minute Men Soldiers

Caption: Volunteers portray minute men waiting to avenge their friends’ deaths earlier that morning at North Bridge.Description: In the picture at the top of the brochure, costumed reenactor volunteers portray minute men standing behind a typical stone wall. They are clustered together holding their weapons. They look onward with their faces mirroring the uncertainty and fear that awaited the militia of 1775.
Photo Credit: Michael McNally

Timeline Text Part I: 1765-1775

1765–1770, Taxation and Rebellion: To pay for the French and Indian War, Britain begins taxing its American colonies. Colonials protest; they do not believe Britain has the right to tax them. Tensions mount when British soldiers arrive in Boston to restore order. Soldiers fire into a mob, killing five colonists in what rebels call the “Boston Massacre.”1773–1774, Tea Party and Trouble: Britain repeals most taxes except on tea. The rebels respond with the Boston Tea Party, dumping tea into the harbor. Britain closes the port and strips Massachusetts of self-government. The Massachusetts Provincial Congress recommends towns raise companies of “minute men” from the militias who can respond “at the shortest notice.”1775: Preparations: The British Army begins patrolling beyond Boston. Militia companies and minute men continue to drill; colonists continue to stockpile gunpowder and supplies, enough to supply an army of 15,000. Rebels in Boston keep a close watch on British movements. In turn, subjects loyal to Britain spy on the rebels.

Timeline Text Part 2: April 19th, 1775

One If By Land, Two if By Sea: Paul Revere learns the British Army is preparing to cross the Charles River and march to Concord to capture weapons. A man hangs two lanterns in North Church to alert colonials, using Revere’s code: one if by land, two if by sea. Revere crosses the river, mounts a strong horse, and races west to spread the alarm. William Dawes gallops out along a southern route.1 am: CAPTURED! In Lexington, Revere and Dawes encounter Samuel Prescott, who joins them in spreading the alarm. A British patrol surprises them and captures Revere. 5 am: First Blood. Seventy-seven militia men await the British Army on Lexington Green. A shot rings out and British soldiers fire a volley. Eight colonials die.7 am: Concord's Early Light: Several hundred militia men watch from nearby hills as the British start searching Concord.9 am: Homes on Fire? British soldiers burn weapons and military supplies but militia men think homes are burning. They advance to North Bridge.9:30 am: North Bridge. The militia men confront British soldiers, who fire and kill two colonials. The militia officer orders his men to return fire, an act of treason against the British government that would become known as the “shot heard round the world.”12:30 pm: Battle Begins. After regrouping, the British Army begins marching back to Boston. Militia open fire at Meriam’s Corner—and so begins the running battle back to Boston along the Bay Road. The map below shows locations of some skirmishes.3 pm: Reinforcements. Exhausted British soldiers stagger into Lexington while reinforcements fire cannon at the colonials. After a short rest, the British resume their march.4:30 pm: Menotomy. Militia men hide in deserted houses and open fire. Soldiers charge into the houses with their bayonets. More men die here than anywhere else.  6 –7 pm: Bloody Day's End. The British reach safety in Charlestown; fighting ends. The British count 73 dead and 174 wounded soldiers. Colonials have 49 men dead and 41 wounded. The war has begun.

Painting Depicting April 19, 1775

Painting caption: The modern paintings on this page are known for the artist’s attention to historic detail. The quotation: "The shot heard around the world." (placed over and across the bottom of the painting) is from Ralph Waldo Emerson’s poem, ”The Concord Hymn.” He wrote this poem for the 1837 unveiling of the first monument commemorating the fight at North Bridge.
Description:  This color painting depicts two scenes that feature militia men. On the left eleven militia men stand alert in a group. Most hold their muskets upright with the long barrels resting against their shoulders. The male on the far left is younger and plays a drum suspended from his neck by a strap. Their jackets vary in color from red to green, to blue and brown. They all wear dark-colored hats, most of which are tricorn hats, which have three pointed sides. on the right are ten militia men mostly with their backs facing forward. They are clustered together and engaged in battle. Some take aim with their muskets, which have bayonets attached to the end of their barrels. Some muskets are pointed upwards. Several pockets of smoke from shooting the muskets rise and dissipate into the air. On the group's left side is a low stone wall with a wooden railing. 
Painting Credit: Don Troiani

Timeline Text Part 3: 1776-1783

1776: Independence Declared. Through 1775, colonists keep fighting to restore their rights as British subjects while leaders consider a larger goal. In January 1776, New Hampshire declares its independence from Great Britain. On July 4, the Continental Congress issues the Declaration of Independence for the new nation.1777–1781: Long Struggle. The Continental Army wins and loses many battles during 1777. They spend winter in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, and emerge rested, well-trained, and supported by France. But another three years of war pass until British General Cornwallis surrenders at Yorktown, Virginia, on October 18, 1781.1782–1783: Peace. November 1782, Britain and the United States sign a preliminary peace treaty. General George Washington declares the war has ended in April 1783, exactly eight years after the Lexington and Concord battles. The Treaty of Paris is signed September 3. The war is officially over.

Painting and Text: Defending the Colony

Text accompanying painting: Until 1774, Massachusetts Bay Colony relied upon a part-time citizen militia for its defense. All free men ages 16 to 60 were required to serve in their town’s militia company and attend regular trainings. They were farmers, artisans, merchants, and laborers. Rich men and poor served, as did some African and Native Americans. In 1775 many towns had also recruited elite “minute companies”—the minute men—who were ready to march at a moment’s warning.Description: Two militia man stand next to each other. The man on the right appears to be African. To his right is a white man. Each holds a musket. They both wear black brimmed hats, brown long coats and green vests. The African man has white pants tucked into black calf-high boots. The white man has brown pants that are fastened below the knee, blue stockings and dark leather shoes. Illustration Credit: Don Troiani whose modern paitnings on this side of the brochure are known for the artisit's attention to detail. 

Painting and Text: In Service to the King

Text accompanying painting: British regulars were professional soldiers who had volunteered to serve their king. The average British soldier was in his late twenties and had been in the army five to six years. All were far from home, and few had been in battle. On April 19, they were also sleepless, wet, and nervous. These factors and a breakdown in discipline may have led to the first shots being fired at both Lexington and Concord. Description: Two men stand next to each other.  The man on the left faces left with his leg spread wide and his face turned forward. The butt of his gun rests on the ground. He holds the top portion of the barrel with his two hands. The top of the barrel is at the same height as his face. He wears a tricorn (three pointed) black hat. The man on his left faces right. His right arm is bent and lifted. He holds his musket in his left hand at an angle. He wears a black hat with a tall panel in the front the comes to a point at the top and has a metal face plate closer to the forehead portion of the hat.  They both wear red long coats with yellow trim, white pants fasten below the knee, white stockings and calf-high black boots. Painting Credit: Don Troiani whose modern paintings on this side of the brochure are known for the artist's attention to detail. 

Map Text and Description: From Concord Back to Boston

Description: The bottom third of side two of the brochure features an illustrated map from Concord to the west and Boston to the east, which spans about 16 miles. Through text and line-drawn routes, a timeline of events on the evening of April 18th and during April 19, 1775 is presented. Text and description of Revere's and Dawes' overnight march to Concord:10:30 pm Revere leaves Boston. Description: Revere heads north crossing over into Charlestown where Bunker Hill is located before turning west towards Concord.  10:30 pm Dawes leaves Boston. Description: Dawes heads south out of Boston through Roxbury before turning west towards Concord.1:00 am Revere captured; Dawes escapes. Description: Revere and Dawes are relatively close to each when Revere is captured and Dawes escapes. They are more than  halfway to Concord west of the town of Lexington.2:00 am Prescott warns Concord. Slightly further West of where Revere was captured and Dawes escaped, Prescott continues west on Bay Road.Text and description of the British retreat during April 19, 1715 going west to east from Concord to Boston. 7:00 am: The British Army arrives from Boston with orders to destroy weapons and supplies stored in Concord. Description: On the map, the Colonel Barrett House is about two miles west from Concord. This is the farthest advance of the British that day. But their main problem in Concord will be at the North Bridge, located just outside the center of town, where the advance guard set by the British there will face the growing numbers of militia. 12:30: Militia ambush the British just south of Merian's house as they slow to cross a stream. The running battle back to Boston begins. Description: The house is at the corner of Old Bedford Road and Lexington Road and is noted on the map as "Meriam's Corner."1:30, Bloody Angle: Militia next attack where the Bay Road veers sharply north and then east again to avoid marshes and streams. Description: This location not far from Meriam's Corner and to its east.  2:00 pm, Parkers' Revenge: Captain Parker leads a surprise attack on the British to avenge his men who had fallen that morning in Lexington. Description: The location of the attack is within close proximity of Bloody Angle. 2:15 om,  Fiske Hill: Under steady fire, British soldiers hurry past Fiske Hill to Lexington.3:00 pm, Lexington: Just as the British Army feels defeated, they hear cannon booming and see reinforcements coming to Lexington from the east.4:30 pm: Newly-arrived militia companies fight from within homes in Menotomy. The British storm the houses and rout the rebels. Description: Menotomy is about the halfway point between Concord and Boston.By afternoon, 4,000 militia from 27 Massachusetts towns have joined the fighting along the Bay Road to Boston.Charlestown: Nightfall finds the British crossing Charlestown Peninsula to safety. The Battle of Bunker Hill will be fought in June.Boston: By week’s end, 20,000 militia have trapped the British Army in Boston. The siege lasts 11 months.Map Credit: Library of Congress

Last updated: June 14, 2018

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

North Bridge Visitor Center / Park Head Quarters
174 Liberty St.

Concord, MA 01742

Phone:

(978) 369-6993

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