J. L. BELL is a Massachusetts writer who specializes in (among other things) the start of the American Revolution in and around Boston. He is particularly interested in the experiences of children in 1765-75. He has published scholarly papers and popular articles for both children and adults. He was consultant for an episode of History Detectives, and contributed to a display at Minute Man National Historic Park.

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Friday, November 02, 2012

The Return of “Parker’s Revenge”

The Boston Globe ran a regional story on Thursday about archeological finds from a part of Hanscom Air Force Base that probably saw fighting on 19 Apr 1775:
In recent years, archeologists have uncovered several musket balls, a shoe buckle, a knife, and other Colonial-era artifacts on land that is part of the Hanscom Air Force Base property. And at a ceremony last month, Hanscom officials officially loaned eight of the items to the neighboring Minute Man National Historical Park, which plans to create a display for its visitors. . . .

Part of the Hanscom property extends near the site of a battle known as “Parker’s Revenge,” which took place hours after the dawn clash on Lexington Green where British regulars killed eight Colonial militiamen. Around 1:30 p.m. that day, Captain John Parker and his Lexington militia unit ambushed the British as they returned to Boston from Concord.
Although the article repeatedly refers to “the Battle of Parker’s Revenge,” that event is usually classified as a skirmish, a small part of the larger Battle of Lexington and Concord.

The term “Parker’s Revenge” appears to be a twentieth-century coinage that provides an inspiring narrative shape for the experiences of Capt. Parker’s Lexington militia company that day: after the devastating shooting on their common at dawn, they picked themselves up and participated in the attack on the British column as it withdrew back through town in the afternoon.

Here’s a report on these artifacts last year. The archeologists seem careful not to tie them directly to the battle since it’s possible they were dropped deposited at some other time. But they certainly reflect eighteenth-century weaponry.

The Friends of Minute Man National Park supports these archeological and preservation efforts.

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