Besides Luther Blanchard, there’s another story of a wounded fifer on 19 Apr 1775, this one on the British side. But I’ve been unsuccessful in nailing down the details.
Abram English Brown wrote Beneath Old Roof Trees in 1896 based on historical accounts, family traditions, and some fictionalization—but it’s hard to know how much of each. Setting the scene as a yearly reunion of Revolutionary War veterans in Lexington, Brown quoted a “Lieutenant Munroe” about a “little fifer”:
“He was a bright little fellow, and had piped away for [Maj. John] Pitcairn as well as he could, in coming down from Concord, until an old fellow had let fly at him from his musket loaded with shot for wild geese, and had broken one of his wings; at least, there he sat, with his fife stuck into the breast of his jacket, begging for help.”Almost a century later, in 1994, David Hackett Fischer wrote in Paul Revere’s Ride:
“We gave it to him too,” cried a voice from the perch above; “although they abused our folks, young and old.”
Later, [Joshua] Simonds captured a musician, a boy fifer whose coat was closely buttoned, and fife projecting from it. This English fifer was but a child, and begged Simonds not to kill him. The militiaman discovered that the coat had been buttoned to staunch a fatal wound. The child was taken to an American farmhouse, and died a few days later.The citation for that paragraph and the preceding is “Simonds, ‘The Affair in the Lexington Meetinghouse.’” Unfortunately, that source doesn’t appear in the book’s lists of first-person American accounts or local histories. Perhaps it sits unpublished in a local historical archive.
Joshua Simonds’s willingness to blow up the Lexington meetinghouse was first described in Elias Phinney’s History of the Battle of Lexington in 1825, so it seems reliable. Brown’s book retold that story, citing Simonds’s descendants, and another anecdote about a prisoner. However, Brown didn’t go on to connect Simonds to the young fifer as Fischer’s book did.
Gen. Thomas Gage listed one musician killed in the Battle of Lexington and Concord, one wounded (I don’t know which regiments). Did those casualties include this young fifer? Did he die, as Fischer wrote, or survive, as Brown implied? Or is he entirely fictional?