J. W. Hanson’s History of the Town of Danvers (1848) prints part of a speech that that veteran Gideon Foster delivered when laying the cornerstone of that town’s Revolutionary War monument (shown at right) in 1835. Foster described how his militia company had marched on 19 Apr 1775:
I was then 26 years of age. About ten days before, I had been chosen to command a company of minute-men, who were at all times to be in readiness at a moment’s warning. They were so ready. They all assembled on the very spot where we are this day assembled:—they all went; and in about four hours from the time of meeting, they travelled on foot (full half the way upon the run) sixteen miles, and saluted the enemy. This they did most effectually,—as the records of that day most clearly prove.I first took note of this passage as yet another example of someone shooting two balls at once, as likely happened at the Boston Massacre. Some folks have said it would be foolish to try to shoot two balls from a flintlock musket; all I can say is that men of the eighteenth century did it.
I discharged my musket at the enemy a number of times (I think eleven,) with two balls each time, and with well directed aim. My comrade (Mr. Cleaves of Beverly) who was then standing by my side, had his finger and ramrod cut away by a shot from the enemy.
Whether my shots took effect, I cannot say; but this I can say, if they did not, it was not for the want of determined purpose, in him who sent them.
After the British evacuation, Dr. Edward Augustus Holyoke billed Massachusetts for treating:
Nathaniel Cleaves of BeverlyHolyoke’s treatment lasted from 20 April to 24 May, and cost 12 shillings.
wounded in Lexington Battle
To Amputating his finger, sutures &c
To 5 dressings Do.
While the Danvers men traveled on foot, Cleaves rode from Beverly. We know that because he asked to be reimbursed £12 for his lost horse, saddle, and bridle. He got £2.12s.
And speaking of Beverly, I’ll repeat the announcement that on Monday, 25 April, at 9:30 A.M., I’ll speak at that town’s library on “The Lost and Legendary Riders of April 19th.” I’m afraid that Cleaves doesn’t make the list.