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The Old North Bridge, located in Concord, Massachusetts, is an important part of United States History. It is here where groups of Minutemen and British Infantry first fought during the Battle of Concord. This battle took place during the first day of battle in the Revolutionary War. The Battle of Concord was fought on the same day as The Battle of Lexington, and these two battles mark the first time that citizens of the original Thirteen Colonies had to face the military might of the British Empire. The Battle of Concord started when the Minutemen and local Patriot militia uncovered British plans to steal weapons from the Patriots. This band of 800 British Infantry soldiers was led by Lieutenant Colonel Francis Smith to both an open field in Lexington and the Old North Bridge in Concord. The first shots in Lexington were fired at sunrise, but in Concord the Patriots met opposite the British and exchanged fire in the later morning. At the bridge, The British were outnumbered severely, and began a backwards retreat towards Lexington, and then back to the British-occupied Boston settlement, spelling a small victory for the Minutemen.
During this time, Concord and surrounding areas were considered “hostile territory” by the British, who considered Boston a safe haven. The British Infantry was scorned by their commanders for failing to keep their plans a secret, and failing to secure weapons from this region. The local Minutemen, along with the Massachusetts Militia, began occupying the areas surrounding Boston, leading to the Siege of Boston, an opening phase of the Revolutionary War that lasted from April 1775 to March 1776.
This Battle of Concord, and the important role the Old North Bridge played, were remarked upon in American literature by poet Ralph Waldo Emerson, in his 1837 poem, “Concord Hymn.”
Today, the bridge is apart of Minute Man National Historical Park. The bridge and the area around it has been kept much the same way it appeared in the 19th Century. At the foot of the bridge is the famous Minute Man statue by Daniel Chester French.
Also in the park is The Wayside: Home to Authors, a Minute Man residence that, during the 19th Century, became home to Louisa May Alcott, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Margaret Sidney. Perhaps one of the most somber sights near the Old North Bridge is the Battle Blood Trail, a five-mile trail that connects Lexington and Concord. It is on this trail that the Minutemen first pushed back the British from the bridge, and back to the British safety area of Lexington. Along this trail is also two other key landmarks, the Paul Revere Capture Site and Hartwell Trail Historic Area.
Today, the Old North Bridge and Minute Man Historical Park is open seasonally. Information centers and park rangers are often on hand to give presentations about events the occurred here that helped to shape our country.
- San Diego Museum of Man 7 x 10 Download $9.95
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