Monday, April 17, 2006

The Shot Heard Round the World-

It's Patriot's Day here in Massachusetts, a legal holiday not familiar to many folks outside the Bay State. It commemorates the Lexington-Concord Battle of 1775, as immortalized by favorite son Ralph Waldo Emerson-

By the rude bridge which arched the flood,
their flag to to April breeze unfurled,
here once the embattled farmers stood,
and fired the shot heard round the world

Patriot's Day now means an 11 a.m. Red Sox game, the Boston Marathon, and services and re-enactments in many towns which have companies of volunteer Minutemen who dress up in colonial-era garb and march on their town greens. The Lexington-Concord area has the whole panapoly of celebrations, including a local company of the British 10th Regiment of Foot, the soldiers who were among the companies that marched to Concord that day. As a kid growing up in Concord, I always wanted to be one of the Redcoats. My illusions were shattered one day when I was walking down by the post office and saw a lanky Redcoat take off his tall tin hat and squeeze himself into a tiny VW parked by the curb.

We have an interesting Lexington-Concord-related book ending on Ebay tomorrow- it's a reminiscence about the battle, and the subsequent siege of Boston, by a British officer who was there- Concord Fight. Being so much of the Narrative of Ensign Jeremy Lister of the 10th Regiment of Foot as pertains to his services on the 19th of April, 1775, and to his experiences in Boston during the early months of the Siege.

Published in Cambridge by the Harvard University Press in 1931. Edition limited to 500 copies. An interesting account of the Lexington & Concord fights and subsequent retreat back to Boston by an officer who was wounded at the Concord Bridge. The manuscript account, written in 1782, first came to light when portions were published in the London Telegraph in 1928. Richard Eaton and Allen French of Concord tracked the original manuscript to its owner, a Lister descendant, who agreed to let them make a copy of the entire short memoir, and publish in full the parts that pertained to the Lexington-Concord battle and siege of Boston.

Ensign Jeremy Lister was a twenty-something junior officer in April, 1775, and he volunteered to join Colonel Smith's detachment on the march to Concord. Shot in the elbow at the Concord bridge, Lister's account of the devestating journey back to Boston and his stay there during the siege, as he recieved medical care for his shattered arm, contain many interesting details. This book also contains an interesting Introduction which gives further details about Lister and explains how difficult it is to figure out what happened on April 19th when using conflicting period accounts. At the end of the book there are several letters Lister wrote to his father, giving additonal details of the siege, including a short description of the Battle of Bunker Hill.

For more details click our Auctions link in the right-hand column. And Happy Patriot's Day!

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